Monday, June 8, 2009

The Second Born

August 18, 2002

It was a beautiful day. My wife, daughter and I were spending the day with my parents on the deck in their backyard.

We enjoyed some good conversation, cold drinks, and barbequed steak with baked potatoes. All in all, it had been a great day. Except that my wife had been complaining about stomach pains most of the day. I kept asking if she wanted to go home, but she said she wanted to stay.

By the time we got the baby ready to go and drove back to our place, it was after ten PM. We put our daughter to bed, then I proceeded to play some boxing on the Playstation.

I had only got a few rounds in, when my wife came into the room and said that she thought she should call the midwife.

"Why?" I asked. Stpuid question considering she was nine months pregnant.

"I think I'm in labor."

So she picked up the phone and, from where I was sitting, I could hear her talking.

"I think I'm in the early stages of labor. I just thought I'd let you know.....No, no. I'm fine."

Apparently, while they were on the phone, the midwife had taken it upon herself to time the contractions. He feeling was that my wife was further along than she had thought, and we should go to the hospital, now.

Of course, my wife had been through this once before, so she knew what she was talking about. Nevermind that the midwife had already delivered over a hundred babies. "Oh no," my wife said. "I'm okay. It's just the early stages yet. I probably won't have to go to the hospital until the morning."

Of course, in my mind, I wanted to tell her that perhaps she should listen to the midwife. She may know what she's talking about. However, I have learned something through two pregnancies. Never argue with a pregnant woman. It's an excercise in futility. So, I kept my mouth shut.

Finally, the midwife was able to get her point across and make my wife realize that we needed to get to the hospital NOW!

We called my mother who came over to watch the 18 months old, and we then left for the hospital. When we got there, I realized I had no money to pay for parking. Luckily, the supervisor for the security guards was an old high-school friend of mine and happened to be in the parking lot writing tickets. I told him what was going on and he placed a note on the windshield telling the other guards not to ticket my car.

With that problem solved, we made our way to the maternity ward, ready for the next arrival to our family.

Once again, we had hoped for a homebirth. However, there were complications with the pregnancy. The complication being, there was too much amniotic fluid. This meant that when her water broke, the amniotic fluid could rush out, bringing the umbilical cord out before the baby. If this were to happen, the cord could strangle the baby. This meant that not only did we have to have the baby in the hospital again, just as a safety procaution, it also meant that my wife hed to be examined by an obstetrician.

So, the doctor walks in the room, very gruffly examines her, announces that she is seven centimetres dialated (meaning, midfwife was right. She was pretty far along.) then without telling anyone what he was about to do, breaks her water with his finger, successfully pissing off my wife. But, before he could get yelled at, he rushed out of the room, never to be seen again.

What began next was a few hours of seven centimetres, two centimetres, and so on. For whatever reason, the uterus wasn't only not dialating, it was going back down. WTF?????

It took six hours for the baby to come. I had learned my lesson from the last time, and I didn't crack jokes nearly as much. Again, I got to cut the cord, but still wasn't allowed to catch the baby. Apparently, I was remembered from last time.

Soon, I was holding my new baby boy in my arms.

Again, I made all the obligatory phone calls from the hospital room. In doing so, I learned that my daughter had woken up and my mother took her to their house so that we could take the baby home and gets some much needed rest.

First, my wife declared that she was hungry and wanted McDonald's. (No, I'm not kidding. She actually wanted McDonald's) So, we went through the drive-thru with our baby who was only a few hours old (yes, I corrupt my kids early in life). As we were driving home, my friend Marty happened to be crossing the street while we were stopped at the light. So now, I'm hanging out my window yelling "WE HAD A BABY!!!!"

Finally we get home, and sleep. We slept for maybe six hours, then decided that it was time to introduce the 18 months old to her new baby brother. Unsure of how this would go, my wife had concocted a speech in her mind that she was going to give to this child that had the attention span of a goldfish.

The speech went something like: "Honey, you have a new baby brother now. This doesn't mean that we love him anymore than you. We love you both the same. Would you like to meet him?"

That's the short version. Hers was much longer, and it's been awhile, so I can't remember it word for word.

Turns out it didn't matter.

We walked through the fron door and I had just set the carseat with the sleeping baby in it in the front room and was taking off my shoes when my daughter ran into the room looked right at me and yelled: "BABY!"

Apparently my mother got to her first and already explained the situation.

Our baby boy is going to be seven this August. He is a very quiet boy, who prefers to be in a room alone flipping pages of books and looking at the pictures. He is very sensitive and will cry if he even thinks you're mad at him for any reason (I'm told he gets that from me). He also has a good sense of humor and loves to laugh.

And so ends the story of the birth my second child. Not as humorous as the first one, I know, but it still is one of my favorite memories.

Thanks for sharing this memory with me,


Thursday, June 4, 2009

The First Born

Febrary 5, 2001, 5am

I was in the process of recuperating from the hustle and bustle of a wedding day. My wedding day to be process. The day before, I married my high-school sweetheart, and after the ceremony and reception, then all the photos and doing meet and greets with the guests who showed up, I was tired. It was about 1 am by the the time I fell asleep.

At 5am, when I was woken to the sweet sound of my new bride's voice screaming at me "I THINK MY WATER BROKE!" And I did what just about any man would do in that situation. I freaked out. I started to panic and asking her what she wanted me to do.

So began the process of a very long process. First thing I did was page the midwife. My wife had a thing against doctors and had her heart set on a homebirth (many of our relatives, however, kept advising against it and being the no-backbone people we were, agreed to have the baby in a hospital. We did, however still go with a midwife instead of a doctor because of the personal contact we got, and because it was basically no holds barred in the delivery room. We could do it anyway we wanted.)

The midwife called back almost immediately and I explained the situation to her. I asked if we should go to the hospital, and she told me it was still way too early for that. She told me to make sure that my wife was comfortable, and to wait it out. I hung up the phone, and my wife and I promptly went back to sleep.

When I woke up a few hours later, I found her on the phone telling everyone that she was in the early stages of labor. I'm pretty sure she even called the people at Blockbuster to inform them why we weren't showing up to rent movies every weekend, just in case. This, by the way is a bad idea. If I were to give any young couple expecting a child advice for the birth of their firstborn, it would be this: DO NOT EVER CALL ANYONE TO TELL THEM YOU'RE IN LABOR. Except, of course your doctor/midwife and anyone who is going to be a support person in the delivery room. The reason I say this, is because when you inform people that you are in labor, you then recieve phone calls every 5 minutes from well-wishers to find out how things are going.

So, in order to make sure that my wife got a lot enough rest so that she would be well-rested for delievering the child, my job was to man the phones and inform said well-wishers that "no, she hasn't had the baby yet" and "yes, we will call you when the baby is born."

This went on for two days. Yes, my wife was in early stages of labor for 2 days. We didn't get to the hospital until late February6 but it may even have been late enough to be the 7th, when her constractions were starting to get closer together.

I will say this, a good way for women to help take their mind off the contractions is to sing, or recite a poem out loud. It won't make you not feel the pain. of course, but according to the mother of my children, it helps you to bear it a little more.

My wife, took to humming through the contractions, which resulted in what I thought was a hilarious situation. We recieved a phone call from the midwife who asked my wife how she was handling the contractions. My wife responded, "Oh, not bad. I find humming songs during them helps." At that exact moment a particularly strong contraction hit, and she dropped the phone and ran around the room, yelling "OW! OW! OW! OW! OW!"

So, I picked up the phone, and I heard much laughter and then, "Nice song!"

Okay, back to the hospital. I found out, that jokes are not appreciated in the delivery room. I also found out that apparently the husband isn't supposed to sleep when you're in the delivery room for 14 hours. (I'm pretty sure the picture of me sprawled out on the hospital bed and using a rather large birthing ball as a pillow sitll survives).

So, the night pretty much consisted of myself and my mother-in-law taking turns walking with my wife down the hallway, since we were told that walking speeds up the birthing process. My father-in-law spent most of his time in the waiting room, probably hoping that we'd hurry the hell up.

And then the moment finally came. They had my wife on the bed, and the baby was on it's way out. During the night it never hit me until this point that I was actually going to be a father in the very near future.

Of course, when I get stressed out, I make jokes. Usually at the most inappropriate times. Just as the baby was starting to come out, the midwife turned to me and asked if I wanted to catch the baby. I ran to the back of the room and yelled at my wife, "GO LONG!" To which the midwife responded, "Okay, you are no longer allowed to catch the baby."

Which, was all right with me, really, since I have never in my life held a newborn and I'm sure in my current state of anxiety, might have dropped the baby. So, I think all-in-all, it was for the best.

Then I watched as my child came out of my wife. It's a surreal experience, really, when you see that head come out. Once the shoulders make their way out, that tiny body just basically slips out. And then I saw the midwife holding my child.

Just as the baby came out, I heard a nurse (who really needs to go back to nursing school and retake the anatomy course) yell, "It's a boy!" and my heart leapt with joy. I had a son. A beautiful baby boy. The midwife walked the baby over to me and handed me my son, who was apparently missing his penis. Turns out it was a girl, and I gazed down at this little bundle of joy. I even got to cut the cord (and resisted making any jokes, as this privilege might have been taken away from me as well) and then I started making calls to family members to inform them of our new family member.

I'll never forget my father's response when I told him. "Congratulations, I guess." I was later told that he was in shock from becoming a grandfather for the first time.

It was less than a half hour after I spoke to my mother that she arrived at the hospital. I had the baby in my arms and I asked her if she wanted to hold her. My mother shook her head and said, "No," obviously nervous to hold the child. It took about two minutes before she asked me if she could hold her, and I saw her eyes light up when she looked into her granddaughters eyes for the first time.

Of course, by the time we got home (another good thing about midwives is that, as long as they're are no complications, you get to go home pretty much right away) everyone was exhausted. So, my wife went straight to bed, and I went into the living room with my new daughter. I walked her around the room until she fell asleep, then I placed her in the bassinet we had in the living room and I fell alseep on the couch.

Now, the worst thing you can do to a new parent is tell them that their baby will be up every two hours crying. People had told me this. I had prepared myself for this. So, I was up every two hours checking to see if she was still alive because I couldn't understand why she wasn't waking up. She was okay every time.

I would also like to add to any men reading this: "Daughters are wonderful. Every man should have them. They truly are a joy to have around and they will inspire you to do things you never thought you could ever bring yourself to do. Every dad who has played Barbies with their little girl knows I speak the truth."

I hope one day my daughter reads this, because I want her to know that I remember the day she was born like it happened yesterday. I also remember on nights when she was cranky, I would put on music and dance her around the room until she fell asleep. And then I would sit in a rocking chair and hold her and just looked on her as she slept, thinking to myself how amazing it was that I had a hand in making something so beautiful.

My daughter is 8 now. She is still a lovely little girl and she is extremely smart. She amazes me all the time at how brilliant she is. She is fun-loving and and inquisitive and doing very well in school. She is also very sociable, and makes friends very easily.

I love my little princess, and I wish I could offer her more than what I can. It breaks my heart that I don't get to see her every day like I used to, but I'm hoping that will change one day soon.

Well, that is the story of my firstborn. The first part of a series of posts I call, The 4 Happiest Days of my Life. Hopefully, the second part will be posted soon.

Take care,


Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last night. Why? Because it's a weird movie, it's a well-written movie and, despite being kind of sad, it's also a movie full of hope. And right now hope is what I need.

I've been going through a lot of stress in my life right now, and for the last few weeks, I've been at the point where everything either irritates me for just flat-out pisses me off. I'm irritable and over-emotional (as those of you who are following me on Twitter got to witness this past Monday).

So, I watched this movie for the first time in a while, and it brought up a few things in my mind.

I won't give away the plot for those of you who haven't seen it, but I will say the movie asks this question: "If you could erase the memory of someone to alleviate the hurt of losing them, would you do it?"

Now, while watching this movie, a lot of my own memories were brought up, especially my ex-wife, since the movie deals particularly with removing the memory of an ex.

So, I began to remember how hurt I was when my marriage ended. I remembered all of the bad memories I have of her (and there are a lot of bad ones). Our marriage was never really a happy one. We have had more bad times than good. There was a lot of pain and we both threw hurtful words at each other recklessly. The years I was married were definitely painful ones for both of us.

I began to ponder that if it were possible to erase my ex from my memory, would I do it?

I must admit, it's very tempting. I mean, to be able to rid myself of all those painful memories, which still haunt me today? Where do I sign up?

But there are a few things which make the decision more difficult.

First of all: Yes, we do have a lot of bad memories. But, we have a lot of good ones too. I can still remember the day I graduated high-school and when, after the ceremony, I found her in the lobby and I remember how beautiful she looked in her light blue outfit. I remember the time we got caught in the rain, and we laughed so much when we got back to my place soaken wet. And when I first proposed at the waterfront of Lake Nipissing, at night under the stars. I remember the day we became parents for the first time. I remember how nervous I was to be a father at such a young age, but I also knew that i had someone with me, and that made it so much better. It helped alleviate almost all of my fears.

Which brings me to second point: If I were to erase my memories of my ex-wife, what about my kids? Would I forget that they're my kids? I wouldn't take that chance. My kids are too important to me.

So, to answer my question at the beginning of this post: Would I erase the memories of my ex-wife if I had the chance? Not on your life!

Anyway, because of the stressful situation I am going through right now, I need some happy thoughts. So, what I will do starting tomorrow (or tonight if I feel up to it) is over the next week or so I am going to post 4 blogs detailing the 4 happiest days of my life. That's right, I am going to relive my 4 happiest memories: the births of my children. Why? Because I'm stressed out, I'm depressed and I need this right now. I need to remember the times that I truly felt happy in my life, and what better way to that than to remember how the most important people came into my life.

I hope you will join me as I relive these memories. These stories are quite funny and I hope you will find them entertaining and heart-warming at the same time.

The first of these posts will be tonight or tomorrow and I expect to have them done in the next week or two. They will not be in any order of favoritism. They will go from the oldest ot youngest. So, please tune in for a series of 4 blogs that I am calling: "The Happiest Days of My Life."

Bye for now,

And if you're reading, please leave a comment to tell me if you're interested in reading this series at all.