Last Monday, we brought Leanne home from the hospital. It’s a weird feeling. We’ve given dozens of people a tour of the house, but this time, we were giving Leanne a tour of her house. It was especially weird when we got to her room. Sure, as parents we have the final say on the room, and realistically we’ll be out of this house well before she’s old enough to want to decorate herself. Regardless, it’s a small part of the house that’s dedicated more to Leanne than to Meg and me.

We got home around 1pm. The following story takes place that night at about 10pm. Keep that in mind; this all transpired within the first 9 hours of the child being home.

I was in the family room on the first floor when I heard Meg calling me. She didn’t sound like she was in the middle of an emergency, but I went upstairs anyway to see what was up.

We keep the pack and play on the second floor, behind the couch. It works out well, since it provides us with a changing table on the second floor (her room and furniture is on the third floor). Meg was in front of the pack and play, but something was different. Let me see if I can describe this properly. She was standing about two feet back from the pack and play, well further than she would have if she was changing Leanne. She was bent over so her hands could touch the changing table, on which I realized Leanne sat.

My immediate fears that something was wrong with her surgery recovery were put to rest when I saw she was laughing. Not too long after, I saw a bright green liquid trail down the front of her shirt.

“She pooped on me.”
“What the hell did you do, pick her up?”
“No.”

I was confused by the situation. If she hadn’t been dumb enough to pick up a naked newborn, how did she managed to poop down her shirt?

The answer, as it were, had actually arrived earlier that day, well before the question. Kristy and I had been text messaging (blech, I feel like such a teenage girl saying that… I personally think anyone over the age of 16 who sends more than one text message a day seriously needs to get their life in check) earlier that day, sending back and forth picture of Leanne and Ryan (her 8 month old daughter, adorable by the way). She asked if we had experienced any “projectile poop” yet, and simply alluded to how awful it was.

Snapping back from the irony of the timing of Kristy’s warning, I went to the changing table to finish the job while Meg cleaned herself up. The new diaper was now already stained, so I grabbed a new one. In that time, the child decided that she wasn’t finished with the fun yet, and chose that opportune moment to pee. A picturesque fountain of urine emerged from my child, continuing to soak both her onesie and swaddle blanket, as well as giving the waterproof changing table a nice thin layer of liquid in which she now sat.

Stunned at our awful luck, we both noticed one key aspect of the adventure: this was the first time we changed Leanne where she didn’t cry. If anyone was wondering, Leanne got my sense of humor and obnoxiousness.

We managed to stumble through the situation. Eventually, we got a clean, dry diaper on to the child. I picked her up so she wouldn’t get any dirtier in the cesspool we once called a changing table while Meg grabbed a new onesie. Not content that her work was done, the half naked child decided to spit up. Right down the front of my shirt.

That makes three different orifices from which the child chose to expel liquids. Two of which managed to hit mom and dad. My child erupted.

Here’s a finally tally of the amount of laundry generated by one changing:
1 Onesie
1 Swaddle Blanket
1 Changing Pad Padding
2 Adult T-Shirts

Never let it be said that Leanne doesn’t have a penchant for the dramatic. She waited until we were home from the hospital, away from the ability to send her away to the nursery for the night, before unleashing this flood of bodily fluids.

This was the first night at home with our new daughter. I’d say this sufficiently qualifies as a bad omen.

Follow Up: Grandpa and Uncle Eric came to visit today for Eric’s birthday. After two peaceful hours of sleeping on grandpa, Leanne needed changing. Meg took that job while I went to start dinner. I chose wisely, as Leanne decided it was another key opportunity to demonstrate the awesome power of her ass. This time, it was much less liquidly and in much greater quantities. I came into the room to find it literally dripping off the front of Meg’s shirt. Let’s take a look at the leaderboards:

Number of times projectile shit on by Leanne
Mom: 2
Dad: 0

Daddy’s little girl indeed.

Wow, where to start.

I guess I should set the context. I’m writing this on Sunday, July 8th, as Leanne approaches the end of her third day outside of the confines of Meg’s womb. After a whirlwind of visitors over the past three days, we have some downtime on our last night here in the hospital, so I figured I’d try to make a dent in all of the stories I have to tell.

Last we left our heroes, it was 1pm on Thursday. I apparently spoke too soon. Shortly after finishing up the last entry, the contractions started to hurt. A lot. And not just Meg, my hand was killing me from all the squeezing she was doing.

I’ll skip all the lovely details: we decided it was time for an epidural. Within seconds of the epidural being applied, Meg turned from Godzilla into a purring kitten. I, on the other hand, didn’t get such a euphoric effect. In other words, I got woozy, and all I had to do was stand there. I stayed in front of her supporting her shoulders the entire time and I didn’t watch it getting inserted, but I still knew what was going on. And conceptually, the entire process is just plain fucked up. I don’t know who first thought to jam a needle into a person’s spine, but I’m willing to bet it wasn’t in the name of medicine but rather the act of a psychotic madman. Meg went right to sleep after the epidural kicked in, and I went for a walk; I needed to clear my head after seeing that.

Hours passed. We watched movies. We played Uno. She slept. I paced. By 8pm, she was still only about 5cm dilated. Two hours later, no progress. Meg wasn’t in any pain, but I was starting to lose my freaking mind. Apparently, 24 hours in the hospital is my limit before I lose my nerve.

I started to pace the halls and soon ran into the doctor and our nurse. I’m sure they were used to dealing with much more panicked dads, and were pretty good in talking me down from my growing insanity. I managed to be a first for him, as I described that our issues weren’t with picking a name so much as deciding on how to spell Leanne (I originally liked LeAnn). Barely any more relaxed, I returned to Meg’s side.

Shortly after, the doctor said what both of us wanted to hear: it was time to abandon the natural child birth and go with a C-section. Without even needing to discuss it, Meg and I both readily agreed.

45 minutes later, I’m in full scrubs, with a shampoo cap, booties on my shoes, and a surgical mask. I gotta admit, I looked damn good. Too bad everyone knew I was with Meg, I totally could have scored.

I then spent the longest 10 minutes of my life in isolation. I was told to wait in the recovery room while they prepared Meg for the surgery. Here I found myself, minutes away from becoming a dad after they cut open my wife to extract my child. I can’t even begin to describe the feelings. I ran the gauntlet from terrified to excited to anxious to relieved to sad to happy. I thought of when Meg first told me she was pregnant. I thought of when Meg and I first met, and how I had no idea at the time that it would lead us to that very moment. I missed my grandmother, who died earlier this year, and thought of how happy she would have been to meet the baby. I thought of everyone who was anxiously waiting to hear news of the baby being born and how lucky he or she would be to have so many people in his/her life. I realized that after 9 months, I’d finally know the gender of the one we called Monkey.

As long as it took to get to that moment in time, it was over in a heartbeat. I was seated by Meg’s head, behind the three foot high curtain extending upward from her chest. Meg was awake and very aware of the situation, but was also completely relaxed. We talked about things that will stay between her and me. Well, and the 3 doctors who didn’t do shit but were still positioned near her head. I’m still not sure why half of those people were in there.

I’ll never forget the sound of the baby’s first cry. One of the many people positioned around Meg’s body asked what the gender was. I heard the doctor say that he couldn’t see yet. Another cry later, and all of the noise in the room went silent.

“I hope you two figured out how you are going to spell Leanne.”

It took Meg a minute to realize what just happened. She wasn’t around for my conversation with the doctor earlier, so her first reaction was to wonder just how the hell the doctor knew the names we were considering.

We didn’t get to cry for long. All of a sudden, a baby’s head appeared above the curtain I mentioned earlier. It was adorable. I was stunned at the full head of hair, but happy to see she wasn’t white/blue/gray/purple as I heard is possible in all of the classes we took. I half expected the doctor to treat her like a puppet and put on a show; you probably had to be there to fully appreciate it, but the baby’s head floating over the curtain just struck me as really funny.

How did I commemorate what is probably the most beautiful moment in my life?

“Look Meg, she’s not funny looking or nuthin’.”

If you believe nothing else I write, believe that this is exactly what I said. Good thing I wasn’t the first man to walk on the moon, I’d probably have been immortalized in history as saying “It’s all squishy.” To all future fathers out there, prepare ahead of time what you are going to say; you won’t be thinking straight at the time. Thankfully, the doctors had a good sense of humor and many laughed.

I was told to go back to where they were cleaning the baby. I made sure Meg was ok with me leaving; it was a huge conflict of interest between leaving Meg alone on the operating table and getting to see the first minutes of my daughter’s life. Meg was totally in favor of the baby option, and I was able to take a few billion pictures as they cleaned her off and took the baby footprints.

I brought Leanne back near Meg’s head while they patched her up. Soon after, we were in the recovery room, deciding who wouldn’t be too pissed at a 12:30am baby announcement call. Once the nurse was convinced Meg was on the road to recovery (it didn’t take long at all, Meg was an amazing trooper), we found our way to our Mother Baby room, where we’d spend the next few days. The nurses moved Meg in her bed, while I followed behind pushing Leanne in her rolling tupperware crib. She sneezed. I felt all fuzzy inside.

Once we got settled into the room, they took Leanne for various shots and a bath. You can imagine how much of Meg’s innards were stuck in all that hair. Leanne didn’t sleep much when she got back to the room, but she didn’t cry either. I fell asleep to the sound of her sucking on her fingers.

The feeling of relief I had that night was one of the most intense emotional experiences I’ve ever felt. It had an almost narcotic effect. In the middle of the night, Meg asked me to get Leanne for her so she could feed her (she couldn’t get out of bed). I wanted more than anything to pick her up again, but I physically couldn’t pick myself up out of bed. I’m serious about that, Meg had to call a nurse. Months of anticipation and worrying were over and I was relieved. The real journey would begin the next day, complete with its own anticipations and worrying, but for that night, I was able to relax.

Written at about 1:00pm on Thursday, July 5th, from the hospital’s labor & delivery room.

This isn’t what Hollywood told me it would be like.

Labor is always depicted as beginning with the giant splash of water breaking. The mother-to-be screams and starts her breathing as the father frantically runs around the house grabbing all of the bags, pillows, and whatever else and cramming into the car. The car speeds away, only to speed back in reverse to pick up the mother that was left in the driveway. A 10 minute car scene ensues, with the father bobbing and weaving between traffic while the mother huffs and puffs and contorts her face with the pain of her contractions. They race into the hospital, at which point the mother is whisked away in a wheelchair. Five minutes later, the mother has her legs up, is sweating, lets out a primal scream and *plop*, out comes the baby.

Our experience hasn’t been quite so dramatic.

We double checked the house to make sure the doors and windows were locked. I neatly packed the bags in the trunk of my car. We put on Jimmy Buffett as we pulled onto the road. We stopped at 7-Eleven. I bought a Vitamin Water, Dragonfruit flavor. The bored hospital attendant signed us in and showed us to our room. As Meg changed into her gown, I played around with the HDTV on the wall, learning that we had cable TV, movies for rent, and free Internet access.

Wait, let me back up a bit.

Last Tuesday, July 3rd, we had a baby doctor appointment. After the doctor (who looks disturbingly like Fonzie from Happy Days) finished checking Meg, we began to discuss our options. I say “our options”, but realistically they were quite simple. Meg was to be induced, it was simply a matter of when.

We scheduled the induction to begin on Wednesday night (July 4th). Since she still wasn’t very dilated, the induction process began with a balloon that is inserted into her cervix and expanded. I could go into more detail, but believe me, you don’t want me to. That would take place over the course of the night, and then the induction drugs would begin in the morning.

We told anyone we couldn’t avoid that we had another doctor appointment on Thursday, just to buy us some time. In reality, we knew we’d be in the hospital. But as you people proved you can’t be trusted to not endlessly call, we decided to keep it quiet. I was even tempted to post this as I wrote it, directly on the site through the Internet access in our room (I wasn’t kidding about that). But again, we’re looking to avoid a barrage of calls.

As I said, we arrived at the hospital on Wednesday night, at about 8pm. We were told to enter through the emergency room.

“Hi, we’re checking in for Labor & Delivery.”
“Are you in labor?”
“No… yes… uh, Jay?”

Meg was a bit frazzled when we got there. We managed to get through the registration and were escorted to our room. On the way to the room, I saw a rather expensive looking piece of hospital equipment in the hallway. I looked up at the monitor connected to it, which proudly and prominently displayed a Windows blue screen of death. I tried to stop and take a picture — I figured my company would get a kick out of it — but I figured I’d get in trouble and I at least wanted to make it to the room before being labeled a disturber of the peace. Needless to say, I was discomforted at the fact that my child’s delivery would be done with the assistance of Windows based machines.

The room is… well, surprisingly comfortable. I was happy to find it wasn’t painted hospital white. I was even more surprised to find that there was an HDTV mounted to the wall. I grabbed the giant remote connected to Meg’s bed and began to explore my potential distractions. Recent movies for rent and Internet access would do nicely to pass the time. We also have a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom, so all in all, it was starting to feel like vacation. I also felt comforted in the realization that there is an extremely good chance I won’t have to eradicate the room of any lizards this time.

I was also surprised to find the pull out chair thing I was meant to sleep on was reasonably comfortable. If not for the constant interruptions of nurses throughout the course of the night, it would have been a downright good night’s sleep.

Meg was hooked up to two monitors. The first tracks the baby’s heartbeat. It wasn’t just a graph, it also played the sound out loud. For those of you that don’t know, I’m an awful sleeper and really can’t get to sleep without some form of white noise. The rhythmic heartbeat served that purpose well. I figure if I have to spend the next 5+ years rocking, gliding, singing, and whatever other efforts to get the kid to fall asleep, he/she can start out life on the right foot by helping me to get to sleep for one night.

The other monitor tracks Meg’s contractions. Apparently, she has been having contractions. She just didn’t feel them, or misdiagnosed them as the baby kicking. We spent the better part of an hour watching this graph as Meg tried to see if she felt the contractions the computer was telling her she was having. She’d get all excited when she hit a spike, and kept trying to top her previous highest peak. I smiled at my good fortune that, at least for the time being, Meg was excited to see strong contractions.

So where are we now? Around 1pm on Thursday. Waiting. Meg’s been given the Pitocin IV, which is the drug that is supposed to bring on labor. The nurse comes in every 15 minutes or so and raises the concentration. Another hour of this bullshit and I’m gonna up it myself. I figure with my solid lack of any medical training whatsoever, she’ll expel not only the child in short time, but her lungs as well.

No doubt there will be more to write in the coming hours. We’re just entering Baby Watch: Hour 17 (counting from when we got to the hospital), and with very little reaction to the drugs, I’m not expecting the kid any time soon.

I had every intention of making this blog entry a long, drawn out story that left the details of boy or girl until the very end. No one should be that surprised I’m that much of an ass. But frankly, I’m too damn tired. :)

There’s a ton to say, but that will have to come with time. For now, let’s skip to the summary:

Leanne Abigail Dobies
8lbs, 22 inches
July 5th, 11:16pm

I blogged during the day on Thursday while waiting for the baby to come, but my laptop is still at the hospital (along with mom and baby). I stopped home quickly because we’re staying in the hospital two days longer than anticipated and to be blunt, I ran out of boxers (so many people offered to pick us up anything we needed, but I didn’t feel the need to subject them to having to go to my house and bring me boxers). Everything is fine, Meg just ended up needing a C-section because her body didn’t want to let the baby out. It wasn’t even an emergency C-section (I’ll eventually explain the difference), so it’s not like anything was ever at risk.

Meg is doing well. I can’t tell you how proud I am of her, she did an amazing job. Her recovery is going extremely smoothly and she’s already up and about.

Leanne is also doing well. The kid is truly a Dobies; I’ve had to change at least a half dozen shit-filled diapers already. She has mom’s looks and dad’s ass. She doesn’t quite have the concept of night and day down yet, sleeping soundly for all the guests during the day and wailing up a storm at night (well, for the one night she’s been alive at least). And despite all of this, I can’t keep my hands off her.

Dad is trying to absorb all of what has just happened in the last 48 hours. The phrase “I have a daughter” keeps ringing in my head but I can’t fully grasp it yet. I didn’t pass out or anything during delivery, though I’ll fully admit that despite not looking, I was a bit woozy during the epidural.

I owe a ton of people e-mail or text message replies, and I’ll get to them when I can. But while I was home I at least wanted to post a quick update to appease the people who have been hammering the web site in anticipation. I’m serious about that, the web traffic has gone up to 8x more as we got close to and past the due date. We appreciate the interest :)

 

This sucks.

Think back to the last time you went on a nice long vacation. Remember your last Friday of work before your vacation weekend officially began, and the eternity that passed between 9:00am and 9:01am.

Think back to being a kid and realizing Christmas is coming. Remember the countdown from December 21st when school ended until Christmas morning.

Now realize I’m dealing with something that will drastically and irrevocably change my life. Oh, and to make matters worse, I don’t have a friggin clue when it’s going to happen.

Meg and I are planners. We’re not completely compulsive, but we do like to be able roughly see in our heads how something will play out. And now we sit here not only not knowing the day, but not even sure if things will go down at 2:00pm or 2:00am.

On top of that, we’re not patient. It only took about three months to get pregnant, but even that was too long. After the first month of no news, we already had gotten anxious and were tired of waiting.

There is also a certain symmetry that I didn’t previously realize. This time last year, we were on vacation in Duck. It was during that vacation that Meg thought she was pregnant. She obviously wasn’t, but that’s what made us realize we both wanted kids soon. Exactly one year later, here we are.

All weekend, we’ve subscribed to just about every wives’ tale for bringing on labor that we could come across. We heard eating pineapples can bring on labor, so I came back from the gym yesterday with a damn harvest worth of them. After a day of this, I assumed we were doing it wrong and tried to get Meg to eat the green leaves on the top. She’s been bouncing on an exercise ball, which has done nothing more than make me almost piss with laughter at the site of her lack of coordination (I know, in her defense she’s got a giant stomach, but that doesn’t make it any less funny). We’ve been taking walks around the neighborhood every hour all weekend. No baby, but I’m down 2lbs from it all. Go Monkey.

It’s slowly driving us to insanity. I’m told that once you have a child, even when you do manage to get alone time, all the couple talks about is the kid anyway. We’re at that point already, and the kid isn’t even born. We’re doing what we can to distract ourselves from talking or otherwise even thinking about birth, but it’s really difficult.

You people aren’t helping. Meg was more graceful in saying this, but I lack that ability. So I’ll be blunt: Stop. Freaking. Calling. There is no reason to “check in”, since we don’t really care about your status. You’ll know when the baby is born. Trust us. Calling every 7 minutes does nothing but destroy what rhythm we have as far as not thinking about the baby.

Not that I haven’t thought about capitalizing on this behavoir. For literally weeks now, conversations with my mother have started almost identically:

“Hi mom, it’s me.”
“Meg have the baby?!”
“No. No baby yet.”
“Oh, ok, I’ll talk to you in a few days then.”
“No, mom, wait, I called you.”
“Oh. What do you want?”

I’ve thought about messing with her head. I’m tempted to call at 2am from my cell phone. When she loses her mind thinking I’m calling to tell her about the baby, I’d just tell her I wanted to say hi and hang up before she can threaten to kill me. I’ve also thought about doing the same to Meg’s sister Tara, but I’m scared she honestly would kill me.

And so we sit here, well, at least when we’re not out walking around the neighborhood. And we wait. But like I said, as soon as we actually have news to report, we will. Until then, assume Meg’s not in labor and I’m stuggling to not degenerate into complete madness.