by BrianRobinson
Dec 15, 2011 | 3906 views |  0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
The Strange and Wonderful Creature had a birthday this week.  Ten years


     We hadn't slept much the night before.  Tracy had a scheduled

inducement early in the morning, and that appointment kept us awake

better than Xander ever would.  We played Scrabble, talked, prepared,

re-checked all our luggage, the car seat, gas in the car...anything.

     We left early to get to the hospital.  As we left the apartment we

were living in, we bumped into our next-door neighbors who we didn't see

much of.  The man said, "So, what's new with you guys?"

     Sometimes the comedy gods are giving,  I turned and pointed at

Tracy, who was obviously pregnant, and said, "Eh, nothing much."  They

congratulated us, talked happily, helped me load the car with the

suitcases, CD player, whatever else.

     We got to the hospital.  We had been told to be there at, I think,

7:30 AM.  No later.  I suppose they may have held the threat of making

Tracy wait another month if we were late - don't really recall.  Of

course, when we got there, we had to wait for quite some time and had to

refill all the paperwork we had done before for a pre-check in, to save

us all the time we then used to refill in everything again as we waited.

     We finally got a room, got settled in.  When they hooked Tracy up to

the monitor, it turns out she had started labor at some point.  Gotta say

this - these doctors knew timing.  She got in bed, hooked up to monitors,

tubes, what have you.

     I practiced looking calm and staying out of the way.  Best training

for dadhood.

     We had mixed up some CDs to play while we waited for our son.  I

asked where I could plug up the CD player, and a nurse said, "Oh

anywhere.  Unplug something."  Um?  Ma'am, we're getting ready for our

first child in a completely all new experience for us - I'm not

unplugging ANYTHING without your express permission, the okay of the

attending doctor, and if it's not too much trouble, a signed statement

from the CEO.

    I needed more practice at looking calm.

    Time went on.  Tracy's family and mine came in the room, kept us

company.  One of the nieces really enjoyed watching the monitor and

telling Tracy when she was having a contractions.  I'm not sure Tracy

needed the confirmation, but it was awfully cute.  For me, anyway.

     It started to get more serious and most people were ushered out of

the room.  Pushing in earnest commenced.  I did my part, holding her

hand, telling her she was doing fine, all that stuff you find yourself

relegated to here.

     Xander had decided to start his life of making ours interesting and

wouldn't move.  We could see his hair, but that was all he deigned to

show us.  So Tracy was scheduled for a C-section.  They wheeled her out

to get her there, I went to update everyone what was going on, came back

to the empty room.  While I was gone, they had dropped off the George

Clooney ER Halloween disguise package of surgical scrubs.

     I soon discovered it was very difficult to put on scrubs by yourself

if you've never done it before.  Requiring double-jointedness and a third

arm for the ties in the back was the least of my problems - I had a time

figuring out how to put the hairnet on and the mask and leave enough room

for my glasses without them slipping off the green cloth over my nose. 

And then once I had reached a cautious victory there, my breath would

steam up my glasses, making me blind and badly dressed.

    Then I had to wait.  And wait.  And wait some more.  I did a casual,

nonchalant stroll out of the room now and again to let me people see me

and know that here was dad, just waiting for the call.  Here I am.  Over

here.  Don't know what good I'll be, but here I am to do it.

    They came for me in what seemed to be a little over twelve hours and

pulled me to surgery, the nurse kindly and roughly adjusting my

mismatched and badly done clothes into some semblance of correct and

functional.  As we entered the room he pulled me back by my mask to fix

it, an awkward motion on all our parts, but I could see again, so all to

the good.  Otherwise there was a chance I would have tried to comfort a

machine instead of my wife.

    They sat me by her, we talked, I resisting making jokes for the most

part.  They operated on her, and after a short time (after all the long

times we had had), Xander was born.

    He didn't cry.  Tracy mentioned that.  "I can't hear him," she said. 

I walked over to where they had placed him.

    They were working on him pretty frantically.  I stood as out of the

way as I could, watched them, went back and told my wife he was fine,

they were getting him ready and testing his breathing, that was why she

couldn't hear him.

    He had swallowed some of the mucus in the birth canal before, and

they had to clear it out of his mouth, which was why he didn't cry.  But

he didn't cry much in the hospital anyway.  At one point they had to slap

his feet over and over to get a reaction, and he balled up his first, and

one of his new nieces asked if he was going to hit the nurse.

    Knowing him as I do now, probably not.  Maybe.

    Because of the C-section and his troubles, we stayed for a few days.

The first room they were going to move Tracy to was a shared one, with a

younger woman who had her first baby and, apparently, a WHOLE LOT of

friends to share the news with.  The nurses had grown to like Tracy and

me, Tracy because she's Tracy and they were impressed with the music CD's

she had mixed, me because I stayed out of the way and did what I was

told.  Husband training came in useful.  They could see Tracy was tired,

and elected to move her to a ward room with only one other woman in there

where she could get more rest.  But because of that, I couldn't stay

overnight with her.  Her mom stayed over, I was allowed in once or twice

to check on her, and I ended up finding a dark spot in the Delivery

Waiting room and catnapping as much as I could, waking up now and again

to go see my son through the window.  He was hooked to a machine to

monitor him and slept a lot.  Unlike today, both machine and slumber.

     The next night we were moved to a private room and Xander got to

spend some time with us.  I had my first experience changing a diaper.

Extra wet wipes, guys.  MANY of them.

     Tracy was exhausted and Xander was unhappy, so I stood up and walked

with him up and down the room, singing to him "Bad Day" by Fuel, over and

over.  "Had a bad day again/She said you would not understand/Slammed the

door and said I'm Sorry, I/Had a bad day again."  Up and down, over and


      It was a busy first week.  Xander wouldn't gain weight, so we were

placed on a two hour feeding schedule.  This is exhausting for everyone.

Start at midnight, feed the child for, say, fifteen minutes.  Calm him

down, calm us down, go to sleep for, say, hour and a half.  Wake up.

Wake the child up.  Calm him down.  Feed him.  What took fifteen is now

forty-five.  Get him back to sleep - one hour.  Try to go back to sleep

ourselves - twenty minutes.  Wake up in forty, lather rinse repeat.  I

don't remember too much those days, except Tracy tells me I talked in my

sleep VERY EMPHATICALLY about Harvey Birdman, and Cartoon Network ran a

surreal cartoon about a crocodile in a hot air balloon who flew to France

really early in the 'why-am-I-still-awake' morning.  "Monsieur Le

Crocodile!" became a shorthand for us.  I was so groggy and

sleep-deprived that when I went out to buy supplies I bought the wrong

size bottle nipples, too big,  Kid took one sip and nearly drowned.  I

don't think he's forgiven me yet.

      Ten years ago.  He has changed, and changed us, in so many ways.

In a few ways, and only in a sorta-kinda way, some things haven't

changed.  We still have to guess at a lot of what he means when he tries

to talk to us.  We still stay up late many nights, waking up every few

hours to check on him.  We still watch cartoons.

      But - just yesterday he woke up in an awful humor.  I'm fighting

yet another bug - just call me Typhoid Brian - and I was trying to sleep

in, but he was so mad he woke me up.  I went back to check on them,

Tracy had checked him for fever, nothing.  He was jumping and yelling and

pretty much in what could be called a bad mood if you like

understatement.  I finally got him to calm down and said, "Look, Buddy,

if you can't tell or show us what's wrong I've gotta assume this is a bad

mood from little sleep and can't help."

     He stopped jumping, took my hand, and pressed it to his head.


     Happy birthday to us.   

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