What have we learned so far?
Labor and Delivery: Stay flexible. No matter what your birth plan, it's not going to matter. When we walked in, water broken and no contractions, we expected to just come in and follow the birth plan.
We don't want to be tethered to the machines. They tethered her to the machines.
Can we not be tied to an IV the entire time? Nope. You're hooked to the IV and we're going to spill some blood on you when we do it. Don't worry, it'll be yours.
We'd like our doctor there. Sorry - she's not on call this evening and the doctor from the practice who is on call will never show up.
Do you have all our paperwork? Nope. He's come three weeks early - we're going to have to do all the blood tests again and while you're going through active labor and having contractions, we'll be asking you questions about your insurance.
Do we go through the phases of labor? No. Water breaks and straight to active rolling contractions. Bummer.
No epi? Not after four painful hours of laboring. GIVE US THE EPI!
Trying not to vacuum? No, he needs some help coming out. He'll only be a cone head for a couple days.
What DID go as planned?
No C-section. Check.
Perfectly healthy and beautiful baby? Check.
Healthy mother? Check.
In the end that's all that matters. They're both healthy and he's active, alert and perfectly fantastic.
We've been amazed that as early as 8 hours old he was alert, eyes open and taking in the world. He rolled over on his side by day three.
We've also learned that Angie seems to be able to breast feed, which is a huge feat. The two of them are champs at it.
Formula as a supplement is also not a defeat. It can lead to a restful night.
And again, we've learned that people are so generous. From Angie's employer, Hunter College, to my employer, Merlin Temps and Showtime, they've been fantastic. Our neighbors who threw their own celebration... Not that they need a reason, but they made this one, and they have given us so much. Our parents and families. Our friends. We can't wait for him to meet you all.
I've also learned that becoming a parent is intense. I watched with amazement as my mother in-law held her first grandchild. I listened as my mother gave me quick advice and recounted the story of my own birth, comparing notes with my mother in-law. I spoke to my father and said, "I can't stop looking at him." He just replied, "I know." And the connection hit me. The flowing stream that runs from my grandparents to my parents to me and now to my son. How Angie's stream connected with mine and we can reach back through family stories of how we got here and can almost see where we are going. I saw myself sitting with this beautiful child and the image of my father sitting with me came to me, as did the image of my grandfather sitting with my father, the story of him ice skating outside the window of the hospital in Holland waving to my grandmother and my newborn father - his own private celebration.
There is a thread, a common humanity that connects us all and I've always known it. Until this moment, I've never really felt it. I'm looking into this little boys eyes and seeing my own and I've learned that it's a powerful thing.