My son, Mauldin, finally decided to arrive on Saturday, March 21st at 10:13 AM. He came out weighing 5lbs, 6 ounces and 18 ¼ inches long. My wife, Laura, started having major labor contractions on Friday, March 20th around 9:30 PM. We had eaten grilled chicken.. the weather was so nice so we decided to use our new grill my parents had bought us this past Christmas. After dinner, all was well… we had been to the OB earlier that day, around 4PM, for our weekly check-up.
Laura’s doctor came in all smiles and asked us if we were ready to have this baby… “I certainly can try to speed things along,” he said with his back to us and popping his fingers inside a latex rubber glove. “That is, if you want me to!”
Laura’s eyes were huge and I could basically read her mind…
“What exactly do you mean?” said Laura. “We are ready, but what is speed things along entail?”
“I can strip your membranes!” said the Doctor.
At the sound of this I was totally confused and sure I was not destined to be a doctor… I mean having this baby tonight sounded great, but were we ready?
Bottom line, our Doctor, “stripped” Laura’s membranes and let us know… well more like cautioned us, that doing this “may cause labor within the next 24-48 hours.” We, of course, held strong that Mauldin was still not going to come. We had our hopes up so many times that doing this surely wouldn’t cause “true” labor.
10:00 PM – We are in bed, I thought it would be nice to watch a movie in bed on this Friday night, so I picked “Spaceballs!” We hardly got into where Princess Vespa runs from the alter when Laura insists we may need to head on to the hospital. We decide together not to inform anyone about this, as to not insue or cause anyone to panic and show up at the hospital only for it to be, yet another, false alarm.
At about 12:30AM on Saturday, March 21, the nurse comes into our triage room to ask if she was comfortable.
“You’re contractions seem to be pretty strong and really close together.” Said the Nurse. “Would you like to have your epidural?”
“Epidural?” I yelped with a surprised reaction. “But, I don’t want to pay for an epidural and then be sent home!”
“No, no Sir.” Said the nurse. “If your wife is given an epidural… she will be admitted to a room today… to have the baby.”
“Are you kiddin’?” I said in shocked amazement! “But… we… uhhhh…”
“So, this is, like, it?” said Laura
“Pretty much, yah!” replied the nurse while she was inputting information into the computer next to Laura.
Right then, I whipped out my cell phone to call our family and friends to tell them the exciting news… in between each contraction that is… Laura needed me to count her through her contractions that were now 2-3 minutes apart and all seemed to inflict equal amounts of pain.. So, that meant I had to talk quick… if the person I was calling did not answer on the second dial, at 12:45 AM, then I had to go on to the next person. Thankfully, my mom, sister, dad, mother-in-law, father-in-law and sister-in-laws were all readily available. I called my boss as well to inform her so that she knew that I would not be in on Monday. I had decided early on that I would be taking a week off of work to be with Laura and the little man, so it was very important she was aware of the current events.
Fast forward… 10:00 AM on Saturday, March 21, 2009 and we are in full-blown labor… who knew that in 13 minutes our son would literally pop-out into the world!
I have never counted to ten so many times in my life… but it was totally worth it and I have a whole new respect for my wife. Laura is one of the strongest and most determined women I know… I never left her side… I wanted to make sure I was there to experience every moment, every precious moment that I could never get back… each and every second that went by was something I could file as one of the most amazing life experiences I could ever witness.
And, at 10:13AM he was here… after all this time… after all the singing to a belly and reading to a bump… I get to see what my wife and I made all those nine months ago. The nine months that seem like a lifetime.
Fast forward to today… I am back at work, after my one week off with my new family… and I know it wasn’t enough time. I woke up and knew I would have to leave them. But, would he remember me when I got back? What if our baby’s short term memory doesn’t work yet and he totally forgets who I am.. what I smell and sound like? Will I just be another stranger who wants to hold him for a bit and then gives him back up to his mom? All during the time I was home I wanted to hold him 24/7… but I knew that was a bad idea because if we did that he would never learn to be alone and sleep alone. We have a baby now… it is just unreal to me. Honestly, during the entire stint in the hospital Friday – Sunday… I thought they were testing us.
“Oh, you didn’t hold him right today, Sir… we are going to have to take him, sorry.”We are taking things one day at a time. One night he sleeps soundly the other he is up at all hours… the sleep deprivation set in on day two… There is also one tiny... hiccup... he is 5lbs so that means none of the newborn diapers fit him... nor will any of the newborn clothes... so we have had to stock up on packs of premie diapers. Please, I wanna take this moment to thank all of you who have bought Mauldin some new clothes... otherwise he would be hanging out in his diaper and a blanket only!
After Mauldin's debut... I cried for about 30 seconds and then the tears disappeared and never returned. What was wrong with me? Why was I being such a unfeeling, unemotional bastard? My son was just born and my emotions were on hiatus! Well, so I thought… until… he peed on me. I remember it clearly… I was sitting next to Laura, on the squeaky, hospital bed trying to burp him from his afternoon snack and I felt a warm, wet sensation in my lap. Right then, on the bed, the tears began to flow… I lowered my face so no one would see…
“How embarrassing!” I said “Here comes the ugly.”
I tend to make really ugly faces when I get emotional and cry. One thing I certainly have noticed, in my son, in the one week I was with him… he gets upset when you change his diaper and makes the ugly cry. But, will this be the only time he looks like me? During the ugly cry? Well, that is just depressing.
It all came out… it was like I had an IV of estrogen attached to me. I couldn’t stop it. Everything I had been feeling… all the happy’s, all the sad’s, all the mad’s, all the good and the bad came out. I didn’t want to be rude or mean to nurses, family or friends… I was having a emotional outbreak with ADD! What was wrong with me? I unintentinally insulted probably everyone... My thoughts were running... they wouldn't stop!
Will I be a good dad to his little guy? Why doesn’t he look more like me? Why??? All his clothes are too small! He sure does sleep a lot! Will he like me? What if I don’t make a good impression on him and he always wants mommy? I would like to learn some stuff on my own… I need help… I can do it by myself… we need help! Why is he still crying? Why doesn’t he look like me? Why are his legs so long? Will he ever fit in his high chair? Why doesn't he look more like me?
Please understand… my mind is a complex thing and it fluxuates in five million different directions. However, I am incredibly stable! One thing is for certain… We are overjoyed, thrilled and ecstatic to have this little guy in our lives now! He is the perfect addition our family. I love you Laura and Mauldin...
Mauldin, Daddy will be home soon.