Friday, April 21, 2017

The Single Worst Night Sleep Ever....Thanks Avery

On some levels ten years is a long time.  With today’s life expectancies it’s somewhere between 12 and 15 percent of a lifetime.  For me, however, the last ten years have flown by.  I’ll explain.

Ten years ago last night, Adrienne and I were in the hospital because of an unusual heartrate they had detected in a yet to be born Avery, my eldest.  It seems that her heartrate would slow every time my wife had a contraction.  They said that they would like to keep her overnight to monitor.  Before too long, they decided that they would like to induce labor and get Avery out for safety’s sake.

That was definitively not how it goes on TV.  There’s supposed to be ‘broken water’ and a rushed car ride and a wheelchair with screeching tires into a delivery room.  Here was supposed to be cigars in the waiting room, and glad-handing and a spanking to get the little tyke crying.  It was supposed to be quick, a cacophony of noise and sweat and then a relaxed couple of days in a recovery room bonding with the newest resident of Larkbunting Drive.  This didn’t feel like any of that.   This felt decidedly like TV lied. 

Some of this will be new, even to my wife.  When the doctor informed us that Adrienne would be induced, things started moving really quickly.  As a first time dad, none of this was welcome.  To those who have never experienced this, there is an assembly line of people who vie for your extremely pregnant wife’s attention.  There’s questions and instruction and injections and then when all of this is done there is hours of labor. I was left on an island, an island of confusion and pant soiling fear.  At least that’s the way it was for us.  For the sake of expediency that the night itself had none of, I’ll make the labor part short, after hours and hours of labor, they decided to go cesarean.  That is when the real fun began. 

Adrienne opted for an epidural as she had been exhausted during the labor and also, why not?  She was then wheeled into the operating room.  The doctor began her incision and Adrienne yelped.  More meds, stat!  It becomes important later.  The rest of the C-section went normally, at least through the eyes of someone who had never seen one.  Avery was born and she was beautiful. She had a full head of hair and a quiet smile. I had just enough time to show Adrienne her daughter and then Avery and me were whisked off to a room where they would begin prodding and measuring my little girl. 

Here is where it gets dodgy.  Two things were unbeknownst to me: the first is that when a baby is born, the clock is ticking for their desire to eat.  The system seems to be “get ‘em out, get ‘em cleaned, get’ em weighed and get ‘em fed.”  Best laid plans of mice and men.  I sat with Avery and both my father and my father in law.  I was proud but still frightened.  This was the first, post birth, “what-the-hell-have-I-done?” moment.  I sat there with this new little life in my hands and considered how much better off she would be being raised by wolves.  The nurse who measured Avery was kind enough to let me know that it would be a couple of minutes and they would get Avery fed, that this was important, and that it would happen relatively quickly. 

Fast forward 45 minutes.  No Adrienne, no feeding, no nurse.  I sat there with this little angel as she expressed her displeasure with the delay in the only way she knew how.  Funny thing.  There were a handful of other babies in the room and they decided that is was time for them to eat as well.   The noise made my teeth hurt.  I didn’t understand what was going on or why my wife wasn’t there.  All I knew was that I was an hour into being a dad and buyer’s remorse was creeping in. 

It turns out that the doctor was concerned that she had nicked my wife’s bladder during the C-section and it was important to make sure she was okay.  I was brought in to see Adrienne and she was out of it completely.  The combination of effort, hours awake and the cocktail of pain management substances had left her near incoherent.  The nurse took my little one from me and tried to get her to latch on to Adrienne.  In this, the nurse failed to realize that Adrienne couldn’t move her arms.  She had literally handed the baby to my wife and walked away.  My daughter still owes me a ‘thank you’ for catching her as she rolled off of my wife’s lap.  From there we were brought to a recovery room and I changed my first meconium diaper.  For those who haven’t seen this substance, imagine tree sap mixed with blackberry jelly and crude oil.  After that we all drifted to sleep.  A couple of hours later, Avery woke and started screeching.  Adrienne and shot up simultaneously and looked deep into each other’s eyes.  It was that moment where I recognized that Adrienne, who is so often my rock, was having the same “what-the-hell-have-I-done?” moment.  This will be news to her, but her panic comforted me.  Ten years ago yesterday I wasn’t a dad, ten years ago today, I was. 

The lesson here girls?  First of all, happy birthday Avery, and thank you Adrienne for the greatest gift I’ve ever been given, yes even better than the Millennium Falcon I got for Christmas in 1980.  I suppose the lesson here is about fear.  I have never been more afraid in my life.  It is a fear so specific that I can remember it distinctly a decade later.  The catch is that fear isn’t always a bad thing.  If it were, you wouldn’t have any sisters.  Yes I was afraid, terrified really, but your parents would dip their toes back into that water again.  You know why?  Because you’re worth it.  You are a generous, kind, funny little girl. You are smart and beautiful and thoughtful.  You are so special you made us have a Macy and a Darby too.  That’s a lot of pressure and you handled it fantastically.  Happy Birthday little girl.  I’m very proud of the big ten year old you’ve become. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Chris Jacobson - Poo Hoser

I was recently talking to a couple of buddies about being fathers.  The conversation was pretty funny but something stuck out to me the next day.  I had made a comment about iPads, or school, or diet or sports (it was a long conversation late into the night) and one of my friends said something that I didn’t expect.  I’m paraphrasing when they said, “Yeah, but you’re a really good dad.”
It was said as a joke but it got me thinking.  The last thing I want to do with this blog is to come across as high-and-mighty.  I looked back at my previous posts and think that I genuinely show how inept I tend to be as the ‘old man’ to my kids, but if not…here goes.

My intention, from this point forward, is to pepper my postings with stories of exactly how unprepared I have been over the years.  This will be one of these postings. 

We were having dinner the other night and Avery asked about stories when she was a baby.  One that I recall was from the months after she was born. 

During those months, Adrienne had gone back to work and I was working nights as a bartender.  I was also just finished with my degree and as fate would dictate, I would need to go to campus to turn in some paperwork to my department on the Colorado State campus.  The woman who worked behind the desk was a lovely woman named Marnie.  I had known her for a year or two longer than I should have but was happy to see her one last time. 

Key to this story is that Avery hadn’t pooped in a couple of days and was extremely grouchy about it, as anyone of any age would be.  She was fussing in her carrier on the Marnie’s desk while she filed my paperwork across the room.    With Marnie’s back turned to us, Avery finally let loose what she had wanted to relieve herself of for the previous 48 hours.  What came out of her was a sound that echoed through the entirety of the English department and the smell that followed is usually accompanied by a zombie or maybe a Kraken.  My initial response was shock then relief when I looked into my Avery’s smiling face.  The relief was short lived as a flood of realizations came to me. 

First, it dawned on me that the carrier she was in may not be a large enough vessel for the crap-wrath that had been unleashed upon it.  The diaper had been breached in every imaginable capacity, and the carrier itself looked to be the next to fall. 

Second, wipes.  Adrienne had purchased me a slick Jeep brand bag that looked more like a workout bag than its diaper toting cousins. Despite its utter lack of embarrassment factor, I still left it dead center of the kitchen counter.  Loaded for bear, sure, but utterly useless in its present locale. 

Finally, there was Marnie’s  glare.  What I hadn’t noticed in my flood of emotions is the fact that Marnie had heard what had transpired, obviously, and smelled what had transpired, unavoidably.  The look I received was akin to one that one would give to someone going barefoot in a gas station bathroom.  It was pure disgust, from the sweetest little old lady ever. It took a second to sink in; she thought I was the culprit.  That these vile smells exist inside me.  That I was such a person who would let fly such olfactory malfeasance and not excuse myself to do so.  The realization of the situation his me like I’m sure the smell hit her.  Instead of explaining or showing her the crap covered child that would exonerate me completely I chose to scramble out of the building. 

I found myself at my car now not knowing what to do.  Could I possibly go back inside to scrub this child?  Maybe find an unsuspecting restaurant on the way home where I could lay waste to their bathroom?  I settled on making the drive home, carefully, not turning hard enough for the contents of the carrier to spill their way onto my car’s interior. 

I got home and pulled into the front of my house, not opting for the driveway for spillage sake.  I took my still smiling daughter into the house to figure out my next conundrum; how do you clean a half gallon of poo with wipes and warm thoughts?  The answer, you don’t. 

Now, I’m not proud to admit that I was discovered by my wife a few minutes into my child cleaning in the back yard with a hose, a spray nozzle and a bucket of soapy water.  Suffice it to say that it worked and Avery survived.  Those two elements make this a win, not a blowout victory, but one in the ‘W’ column. 

So the lesson here little ladies?  I suppose there are a few of them.  The first of which is that Mommy and Daddy aren’t perfect.  Far from it actually.  You’ll look back when you are young ladies and your little minds will turn to some of the things we did wrong.  Fair enough, but keep in mind we really did try our best.  Which leads me to the second point, you have a few people in your life, myself included, who will literally scoop you up out of the poop and clean you off.  There is no amount of bad that can come out of you that I won’t help you hose away.   It’s nice to know.  Grandma will sill clean the poo off of me, and Mimi and Poppy are still hosing Mommy off from time to time.  Someday, you’ll be that for your sisters, too.  I suppose that’s a huge role for all of us, 'poo hosers', one and all.