Friday, November 21, 2014

11/19/2010 - The Day S*** Got Real

Ready Or Not, Here I Come

On Wednesday, we celebrated a huge day in our household. Four years ago on November 19th, my wife, Jess, celebrated her 27th birthday by giving birth to our first child, Isla (think island without the 'nd'). This obviously means that on Wednesday we were celebrating Isla's 4th birthday, and my wife's, well, I'll let you do the math.

What a great birthday present, right? Share a birthday with your first baby, and a girl at that! Jess has certainly warmed up to it and been incredibly selfless at making the day about our daughter. But spending her birthday in labor for 12+ hours was probably not at the top of her to do list on that day. Irregardless of the day and the fact that she was two weeks early, we were completely overjoyed to have a healthy baby when it was all said and done, along with a pretty smooth and uneventful delivery.

My wife and I discovered we were expecting our first child somewhat unexpectedly. In hindsight, this was probably the best possible way we (definitely me) could have welcomed a child into this world. When my wife told me she was pregnant, my first response, literally, was, “how?” We hadn't actively been trying to conceive, which is something I've always found a little odd for people to say. To me, the notion of "trying to conceive a child" conjectures up images of people having sex in the most fertilization-friendly positions at the optimal times designated to increase the chance of a spermatozoa penetrating an egg patiently waiting inside the uterus. Sounds kind of like a science experiment, and I'm certain it has never resulted in a female orgasm.

It’s not that I was ever anti-kids, it’s just that I never really considered myself “pro-kids”. As much as I tried to convince myself otherwise in my early 20s, I always figured I’d have kids eventually, like most people do. I just never really felt that calling to have kids, like some people do. If I had kids, great. If not, also great. In that regard I was somewhat indifferent. Jess and I had just gotten settled into our careers, so to find out that our lives were going to be drastically changing in less than nine months, prevented us from having that intense conversation about when we thought we should start a family. Now we just had to be ready. It also proved that you can't believe everything Toby Keith sings about.

I was still relatively suspect of my wife’s findings about being pregnant. I am not a science person, and stayed as far away from anatomy in college as possible. Despite her education on the various indicators that proved she was with child, I wanted some additional confirmation from a trained medical professional, not just a pharmacist. Needless to say I was a little surprise to find out that her first doctor appointment didn't occur until eight weeks into her forty week pregnancy. That seems like a long time to suspect that you are creating a human being inside your own body - especially if you see a lot of pro-life billboards pointing out the various milestones the fetus hits in the first trimester.

Luckily, we had an incredible support system around us, food, shelter and steady paychecks, so we felt like nine months would be ample time to get our lives baby-proofed (if that is ever even possible). We should have seen in coming when wife's water broke two weeks before her due date. Isla apparently knew better than we did when she wanted to enter our lives and when she thought we'd be ready to be her parents. She seemed to have more confidence in us than we did in ourselves at that point - at least me for sure.

Following the delivery, after we moved from the delivery room to the postpartum room, the three of us were enjoying some quiet alone time. We actually waited until after Isla was born to contact our friends and family with the news, which was a great way to keep visitors at bay for a little while. A luxury we didn't necessarily have with number two, and definitely won't have with number three.

It was a Friday evening, and as I was holding a sleeping newborn in the rock chair while my wife slept, I had a phone call from Tago, a good friend of mine. He mentioned that he was out at one of our favorite establishments with a few people enjoying some adult beverages and good conversation, and wondered if I was interested in meeting him out. Below was our conversation that transpired (or how I recall it). It was a noisy place, so he was having some trouble hearing my responses.

Me: "I'd love to, but I'm holding my newborn baby girl right now."
Tago: "Alright. Sounds good. Maybe we'll catch you sometime this weekend."
Me: "No, Tago. I don't think you heard me. We're at the hospital, Jess just gave birth today!"
Tago: "Yeah, sure. I'll give you a call or something. Maybe racquetball on Sunday."
Me: "Dude. Listen to me. We just had our baby. I'm a dad."
Tago: "Wait. What? Congrats mate! Holy shit, you're a dad!"

Indeed. It would still be six or seven months before my daughter would call me "dada" or make noises that sounded like she was referring to me by my new title, but from that day forward I would be known as a dad. Her dad. A few year's later, her sister Havi's dad. In a few months, her baby brother's dad. I might have had trouble seeing myself as a dad four years and nine months ago when I first found out I was going to become one. But now that I am one, I'm going to do everything I can to be the best damn Dad possible.

Birthday Buddies 2010
Birthday Buddies 2014


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