A New Vocabulary and the Musical Child

11/10/2003

Volume #11

As human beings in the world we take communication on a daily basis for granted. With the advent of pocket universal translators and the help of advanced charades a person can travel almost anywhere and can be understood. To date no one has invented a translator in any language that will assist a new parent in understanding their new child’s cries. I think they did invent one once on the “Simpson’s” and I didn’t really see the usefulness of such a tool till now. I think to any man this would be a useful aid because to me it’s just a baby crying but to a woman it means something totally different. Maybe it’s because JoAnn has spent a lot more time with Katie she recognizes the different cries in her limited arsenal of a vocabulary but to me it all means the same thing, “Help she’s broken again” as I hold her out to JoAnn. Of course this instantly stops her crying which at first was cute the power of the mommy but after a while it starts to dawn on you, “what the heck is the matter with me? What am I doing wrong?” If she keeps this up I’m bound to develop a complex, all I want to do is cuddle her but I’m told I’m getting to close I need to give her space. She’s six weeks old and I need to give her space, are you kidding me? I didn’t expect this speech till she was fifteen.

 

JoAnn has in her time with Katie developed the skill in reading her cries so as she knows exactly what it is she wants or needs and is able to satisfy her in a way I have not been able to do. She knows a hungry cry, from a change position cry, wet diaper cry, to a “I’m tired” cry, it’s amazing really. Of course JoAnn has been living with me for over a decade so she’s had lot of practice at reading the cries of others. My breasts don’t start to ache when Katie cries so I don’t have that going for me, she’s really got all the advantages and I just have to accept she knows what Katie’s telling her and hope I’m not being lied too. I’ve got to learn this new baby language or I’ll be an inferior father unable to satisfy my little girl’s smallest whims. When she’s older and speaks my language I’ll be able to buy off her loyalty by spoiling her rotten…not that I condone that sort of fathering by wallet style but come on it’s got to be easier than this. All I want to be able to do is hold her and have her smile at me and know I love her and all I get is crying. Am I trying to hard? Does she not like me? It’s so hard for me to read but I keep trying.

 

JoAnn seems to have figured it out and instinctively knows what Kathleen wants with a mere whimper, is this that whole mothers intuition? Or is it just some sort of black magic? No matter at least one of us is able to look after her needs although I am starting to feel a little helpless or useless I’m not sure which just yet. I look forward to when she’s able to vocalize what she wants but then of course she’ll get whatever she wants if she comes to daddy, I already know I won’t be able to say NO.

 

It is neat now that she’s able to hold her head up on her own she will hold a conversation of sorts while sitting in your lap. She’ll chirp and grin and make noises that I think surprise herself when she hears them and I just mimic everything she says right back at her which she loves and she shoots right back at me. If I make a noise that impresses her she looks at me with wonder than will smile and make a cute noise back at me. There is a dangerous line you cross if you make a sound that scares her more than amuse her as once she processes what she heard her eyes start to look concerned and her smile disappears into a quivering lip, which is followed by a loud cry. Sometimes I can pacify her but more often than not it’s something only mommy can fix and she’s whisked away from me till she’s calm again. Just hearing her cry fascinates me as I’ve spent so little time around crying babies other than myself so it’s interesting to watch. Of course if JoAnn is out of the room she comes in to see what I’ve done and why her daughter is crying. These are the moments you think about before she’s born and I savor them as long as they’ll last which is usually about ten to twenty minutes.

 

Something JoAnn and I both wanted for her was an early introduction to music. I took lessons all through school and was mediocre at best; JoAnn never learned to play anything and still has regrets so she was hot to get Katie involved early. Imagine our surprise when our little girl has beat us both and started singing already. Well it’s a form of singing isn’t it the way my little girl lets loose with an earth shattering belch once she’s finished eating, it’s music to me. This is a talent I’ve had as long as I can remember, the ability to belch on command or recite anything in belch form. JoAnn is fond of reminding me of a time when I was rather drunk in a bar out with buddies having wings and pizza on a Friday night as was our tradition. I leaned over to her in a tender way to whisper in her ear and belched “I love you”. Now to a group of drunken guys this was killer stuff and I did mean it, I loved her as we were still in that honeymoon first year of our relationship stage. I guess that was her first clue as to what I’d be like later in life. Thou I’ve grown up I can still belch on command and wouldn’t you know it my little girl inherited her Daddy’s ability to do the same. This couldn’t have surprised JoAnn but who knew it would manifest itself at such a young age, that’s my girl. She seems very proud of herself but it could just be the relief of passing the gas bubble.

 

Katie does have other musical ability I had no idea about. In the one baby book that I did read, it didn’t say anything about the fact babies like all humans get gas and fart. I think what shocked me was the sound this cute little girl could pump out of her diapers. Who knew babies could fart like a trucker on a steady diet of baked beans and light beer. It’s almost refreshing someone not concerned with what someone might say, she just lets it blow it’s really quite cute even if it doesn’t smell like a rose garden.

 

Thankfully her gas doesn’t always signify a full diaper or we’d never leave the change table. Sometimes you just need to fart to keep from exploding. Something else we never read anywhere is that she can go quite a period without filling a diaper. The first time she went a week JoAnn was worried there was some sort of blockage but the doctor assured us she was fine and this was completely normal. For Katie this started after her first growth spurt about three or four weeks old then we settled into long gaps between full diapers. In fact we were counting ourselves lucky as when she did finally go there was nary enough room in her diaper for all she had to put out, she was full right up to her belly button. The first time you open one of these surprises it freaks you out, like where was she storing all this? You just resolve yourself your washing her cloths the change table cover any anything else that came within range of her butt as to perform a normal diaper change and keep her out of it you’d need three hands minimum.

I think what were both looking forward to most in the next few months is the opportunity to just watch Kathleen grow and develop now that the drama of the birth is done. We’ve also finished with the parade of family and friends wanting to meet Katie for the first time and give us all the advice that worked so well for them when they had kids. So now we can get down to the job of being parents and finding our way through the obstacle course and hurdles of early childhood development. It’s a challenge that now that I’m here doesn’t seem so bad at all; I’m not sure what I was so afraid of. I always thought I was way too immature to have the responsibility of a child in my life but now that Katie is here I can’t imagine not having her around. It just doesn’t seem a big deal at all and I’m loving my new role as a Dad even if Kate still isn’t to sure about me yet, I know she will soon enough and we’ll wish she was still a baby. I can see why people say kids keep you young as I feel more like a kid than I ever did and watching her takes me back and I feel as I’ve finally found what it is I’ve always wanted out of life. We’ll see if I’m so optimistic in a couple of years.

(I found a bunch of old DVD’s with videos I made of Kate as a Baby. Funny how I found the time to do this for our first daughter but not with the daughters that were to follow. I just never seemed to have the spare time to edit let alone film as much once we had more than just one child to deal with. Here are a couple from that first year I found amusing)

Katie Chronicles Baby Love

Katie Chronicles- I’m Only Sleeping

The Worst Birthday Party Ever

11/20/2015

Volume #224

For nearly twelve months I’ve been hearing this statement, “for Halloween I’m going out as (insert costume choice of the week here)” and I’ve been hearing that times four. It changes more frequently then they brush their hair it seems sometimes. Thankfully their mother doesn’t jump up and buy every thing they think they want to be because we’d have quite a collection by now. Of course some of those early choices based on movies that were popular that week didn’t last long. When it comes right down to it they will go out for Halloween in the best most affordable costumes their mother comes home with and that will be that. Sure we sometimes have to sell it a bit but in the end is it the costume that matters or the fact that you get to dress up and every door they knock on that night will give them candy. One year not so long ago Samantha was so unhappy with the outfit that was selected for her that she refused to wear it. So she went out as a little girl who was just so stubbornly fierce and scary that looking at her would make you scream, (no costume required for that). After a few houses I didn’t even have to explain her outfit any longer, she was getting candy by looking cute regardless. No one really wants to ask if they can’t identify it right off like a princess or a witch.

This year Kate went a bit spooky as a zombie but Emma was a Bobby sox girl from the fifties and Sam and Dan went out as a kitty and a unicorn respectively. I told the older girls to choose one of their younger sisters to stick with and they’d be sure to feel the cute factor in their candy bags. The smaller they are the more candy they seem to get and I guess I’m no different when kids come to our door. I always give the little kids the most (like they need it) but it’s better than rewarding teenagers for trying to score free candy at their age. I guess it’s better then doing drugs, maybe I better rethink my strategy for the older kids.  Since we always kid that Dani is basically fueled by candy this was her night. True to form she was the last one to throw in the towel. Her older sisters were done first with Emma no longer even going up to the doors we passed, but Dani was not about to pass any closed-door that might give her more candy. Occasionally as we marched around the neighborhood we’d find some candy on the ground and Dani would try to pick it up. She didn’t tell me it was hers and it wasn’t till we were probably ¾ of the way through the night that I realized she had a fist size hole in the bottom of her candy bag. She’s been bleeding candy since the first house. I did what I could to set her up with plastic bags to line her candy bag but she still lost the odd piece as we headed towards home. Since Halloween fell on a Saturday night we stayed out a bit longer then if it were a school night. It had been raining for three days straight so going into the evening I was concerned it would be a very short night but almost like it was planning all along, as the sun went down the rain stopped. I looked up and saw nothing but stars as I waited for the girls at each house. This was the second straight year of solid weather for trick or treating. It seems only fair since we had about three years of downpours before that.

The piles of candy on the floor when we got home were staggering, I just kept trying to put a dollar value to it. What’s more surprising is that even with Dani’s leaky bag she still accumulated more candy then any of her sisters. Like I said the cute factor pays off. Again for the third year running JoAnn had an open invitation to trade candy for cash. After you’ve enjoyed a few select pieces and pulled aside about a dozen for later enjoyment she would give them $20 to spend at Toys R Us. This year all but Emma took the deal. She decided to be the master of her own candy bag. I think what she doesn’t realize is that her mother would not be destroying the candy or giving it away. This candy would be coming back to the girls in the form of treats for months to come. So really three of the girls got the addition of $20 and to have their candy in moderation. Emma got no cash but did hold onto the right to be able to self govern her own candy intake. I’m not sure who won here in the end. As a kid I’m not sure I would have made that deal with my mom. I find it easy to side with Emma’s choice but knowing that you’re getting it all back in the end it does make the cash seem pretty attractive. Sometimes the bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush and I respect that she stuck to her guns no matter how hard her mother pushed her to accept the deal.

As if Halloween on a Saturday night wasn’t enough sugar for the girls, the very next day Dani was having her fifth birthday party and for the first time ever, on her actual birthday. In recent years we’ve staged parties at indoor play zones, movie theaters and even an indoor rock-climbing place. Last year Dani wanted her birthday at the rock wall so bad after Samantha had her party there. She was nearly the only little girl who made it to the top of the rope and rang the bell every turn she had, twenty-five feet in the air. However they don’t generally do parties for kids under the age of six and last year all her friends would have been four. The people who ran the place were a bit shocked to find out she was so young because she showed no fear at all. Last year she had her party at the gymnasium where she took gymnastics classes for fun even though her instructor was an Olympic golf medalist.

 

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This year she wanted to have her party at home. I think she just wanted to have her school friends to the house. She gets so annoyed all her sisters have play dates or “Hang outs” as her older sisters refer to them these days and I think she just wanted to have her friends here in her house. The only prerequisite she demanded was a piñata, (as she did last year also) so as long as she could have one of those then a party at home would be fine. The theme was to be “Frozen” and she wanted a Elsa Frozen cake but other than that everything else was open. We hadn’t had a party at the house like this for quite a few years. Maybe it was Samantha’s fifth I’m not sure but we used to have them at the house all the time till we had so many parties to deal with a year. There is a certain satisfaction being able to show up at a location, let the kids party their little brains out, eat pizza, cake and some one else does the clean up. Even better with set start and finish times there is no loitering. You have to be there to pick up your kid on time.

When I was a kid we only ever had a party at home. Places like Chuck-E-Cheese or indoor play zones just didn’t exist. Mom got a movie projector from the library since this was before the advent of the video store. (Yes I am just that old). We’d watch a couple of Laurel and Hardy shorts, play a few games, eat some cake, open a couple presents and that was your party, see you next year. It was always co-ed too. My mom always had me invite 2 boys and three girls, like it was a set up and we were all going to pair off. When I went to other kids parties it was the same thing except sometimes they’d have the entire class show up. When I was a little older than we went to a pizza joint and I just got to bring the two boys. It was never a really big deal. JoAnn has proclaimed this to be the last big party for any of the girls. Big in terms of the amount of friends invited. Kate and Emma have been enjoying smaller gatherings for a few years and even Sam had a lunch and movie party so it was a smaller affair. I’m not sure I’m really ready to give up on the crazy big birthday party yet because they can be fun, certainly memorable. There are moments from parties past that really stand out in my mind, like Kate’s first birthday because it was the first for us as parents. Dani’s fifth party however may have given us the sound bite we’ll never forget.

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As you do with house parties we had games lined up and JoAnn had a table of prizes all laid out. Win lose or draw everyone was going home with a prize. We started the day with a couple of rounds of musical chairs, before we moved onto hot potato and pin the nose on the Olaf (formerly pin the tail the donkey when I was a kid). We didn’t have Disney commercialization to help set new trends and I think my mom used the same Pin the tail on the Donkey game for all my brothers so it was about twenty when it was finally retired. There was one little girl who cried when she was eliminated from the very first game of musical chairs. She refused to play the second round. She was angry when she was left holding the hot potato and was cut from that game. Even after being spun she managed to get Olaf’s nose to the EXACT spot because she was pulling the blindfold down with her free hand and cheating. She was that determined to win a game because whoever won got first pick at the prize table. She was not happy when her nose pinning attempt was not deemed the winner because she had cheated.

After some cake we set up the piñata and gave everyone a bag to collect the candy when it finally broke open. We’ve seen WAY too many episodes of AFV where some parent gets nailed with a bat in the balls to play that game so JoAnn always gets the kind of piñata you have to pull one of a few dozen hanging strings. Last year the first kid actually pulled the right one and the game was over quick. This year it was the third string that did the trick. What I found funny was that all the girls were lined up waiting to take their turn and when it opened up and the candy hit the ground they were all still standing waiting in line. I had to tell them to “Get the candy!” before any of them realized they needed to pounce. We all have such polite kids it seems. The last game of the party was pass the present. This was a double whammy because if you took off the last layer of wrapping to reveal the present you got to keep it plus pick from the prize table of dollar store crap. When our little cheating princess did not get to remove the last layer of paper to win the round she spun around on the floor where they were all sitting and loudly proclaimed “THIS IS THE WORST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER”! The other girls didn’t seem to notice since I’m guessing they are all used to this sort of drama from her at school. I think I even saw a five-year old roll her eyes at her classmate. All the other parents that were within earshot could not contain their laughter. This wasn’t just this little girls statement, she really believed it. I know Dani was at this girls birthday party only the week before so I’m guessing any party that did not have her as the centre of attention was going to pale in comparison. I don’t believe in rewarding bad behaviour but I had asked this precious little drama princess earlier in the day what it was she had her eye on from the prize table. At the end of the party when anyone who had not won a game lined up to claim their prize I made sure she got exactly what it was she wanted. No one goes away from one of my daughter’s birthday parties upset. Maybe it wasn’t the worst birthday party ever after all.

 

Welcome Home at Last

11/08/2003

Volume #10

Finally at long last a full four days after after being delivered into the world a full month premature we bring our new little baby girl home. It’s a bit strange we’ve been waiting for this moment nearly eight months now and once she’s in the door what is there really to do. She doesn’t care about the view from any window or the masterwork that has become her room it’s all irrelevant to her and that’s when it hits me this is a different kind of houseguest. Of course this houseguest won’t be leaving for another eighteen years but unlike when friends or family visit your home Kathleen has no concern how nice her new home is as long as it’s warm and her mommy the food supply is close at hand.

 

Having been held up all day at the hospital awaiting Kate’s Billy Rubin test we don’t come through the front door till after nine PM with neither JoAnn nor I having eaten and just really overwhelmed by the experience of the past eight days. I know that no matter how many times we’re interrupted from sleeping tonight JoAnn will have the first real rest she’s had in a week and as for me this is night one with a new born in the room so I’m set for no rest at all. In my quest to finish the last minute shopping we thought we had another month to achieve I came to a vast realization, why do we need a bassinet? This was one of the items on my baby-shopping list, a bassinet or a Moses basket for our bedroom but after spending over four hundred dollars on a stroller/carriage/car seat combo I figured why can’t the baby sleep in this. After all she’ll only be a month or so in our room till we move her to her own crib and it’s not like she can really go anywhere, JoAnn agreed so we set the stroller into it’s flat sleeper mode and lined it with warm fuzzy fleece blankets and put her down for the night.

 

Unlike JoAnn I was unaccustomed to being woken at all hours by the cries of a hungry baby so sleep was sporadic the first couple nights while we slowly learned what to expect from our little girl, or rather while I learned. JoAnn was far more in tune with Katie already and on the first grumbling before she even really began to cry she was up to tend to her. I always suspected she would make a great mom but even now at this early stage I was amazed at how well she was adapting. Me on the other hand, I’d never baby sat kids before other than my niece and nephew and they weren’t babies at the time. I had no experience with babies in fact I’d shied away from them my entire life so I wondered if I was at all qualified to be called a father, surely this was going to be a much steeper learning curve for me.

 

Katie seemed to us to be suckling well and sleeping lots not fussing much and we patted ourselves on the back for having a wonderfully easy going baby, that was until the public health nurse made her first home visit a week later. Her first comment was Kathleen was still very jaundiced looking which we had noticed but thought would pass in time, she’d also lost nearly 10% of her birth weight which is the maximum they will let it go before they think there is a problem. Another Billy Rubin was ordered and the test result was higher than when she was still in hospital and her pediatrician wanted her readmitted right away. Of course I found out about all this on the phone as I’d gone back to work. What worried me was the emotional JoAnn was calling not the comfortable at home mommy I was getting to know the past week. I’m not sure if she thought she’d done something wrong but it just came across that way she felt she’d broken our daughter and failed as a mother to notice her child was sick. Neither of us did and that’s why there is a public health nurse to look in on newborns and their incompetent overwhelmed new parents.

 

I drove the two of them back to the hospital, as JoAnn would be staying the night on a cot next to Katie to feed her and watch her bake under the blue lights again while I went home alone again after only a week with the two of them. As it turned out the doctors were able to figure out JoAnn wasn’t producing enough milk yet to satisfy Katie and even though she suckled well and long she wasn’t getting enough nourishment. It’s a vicious cycle really Katie doesn’t get enough food she’ll develop jaundice but you don’t know how much food she’s getting on the breast you just assume she’s getting enough as long as she’s suckling. So it was formula for Katie and pills to help ramp up JoAnn’s production and after one night and day away basking under the blue lights they were released home again. All indications had her Billy Rubin numbers falling and on the bottle they knew she was getting plenty of food so they took a chance on letting us be parents again.

 

I personally was never really that worried, I never had a real fear of doom that she wouldn’t get through this early hiccup in her development but I was less sure about JoAnn. She was more worried than I’d ever seen her less sure of herself and when she asked me if I’d call my mom to see if she’d be interested in flying west for a visit I knew she needed some reassurance. She was doing everything she could and doing it right she just wanted someone to tell her she was doing it right and what better person than a retired pediatric nurse. I think in a perfect world if didn’t have to work to put food on the table I might have been able to help shoulder more of the burden JoAnn felt but the reality of the situation meant one of us had to work.

 

Imagine my surprise when I drop the invite on my mom expecting her in a week or two she flies in the next day. Kathleen was not her first grandchild rather her forth but it was however the first new one she’d had in over twelve years and she was as excited as anyone to see her plus she’d be the first in the family. There are both good and bad aspects to having family live far away and I guess over the next month we were about to find out as we were booked up with back to back family visits. My mother is the only one requested by JoAnn and it seemed to do the trick to settle her down, she didn’t do anything different than she was already doing but with my mother not critizing her she knew she was doing fine. That’s the good thing about my mom she never forces her views on you, only giving careful advice where she see’s fit, the next month would not prove as simple as everyone else seemed to have advice on how to raise Katie and were less discriminating in sharing their views.

 

Once my mother flew home we finally had a week to get used to this whole being a parent thing and seemed to get into a grove but with Katie’s demanding feeding schedule of every three hours JoAnn was not getting much sleep. I picked up the slack on the weekends trying to let her sleep and getting up to service the baby and sometimes I even pulled it off but on other occasions JoAnn would come to the rescue of an inept dad floundering way over his head. I found it quite frustrating not being able to quell Katie’s cries the way JoAnn could just by picking her up. They did spend a lot more time together and she was mom. Really who was this hairy guy she didn’t know changing her diaper in the middle of the night and trying to feed her a bottle without burping her. I mean really what do you think? of course she’s going to throw it all up on you. I think the oddest thing was I didn’t mind hearing her cry and I loved just walking around holding her as she cried but this always brought JoAnn out after a minute or two as her mothering instinct to sooth her child would not let her sleep while her idiot husband tortured her child letting her cry. To me it was like music, just hearing this little voice I had a small part in helping create still floored me. I was just overwhelmed by the love I felt for this small very vocal package and still found it hard to believe I was a father.

 

I may not know anything at all about how to raise her but it didn’t matter I’d learn. The important thing was she was here. It seemed like not that long ago we found out we were pregnant and now here she is, my little girl in my arms crying for her mother. It’s been a long journey to get here, thirteen years with JoAnn and me not really sure I ever wanted to be a father really but now so glad we made the decision to do this. It’s truly the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. She’s healthy and I’m determined to make her happy and if she’ll be patient with me I’ll even learn how to be a competent father as long as her mom doesn’t kill me first. Standing in the darkness of our living room with her in my arms as the sun rises I pledge to her to be the best Dad I can be and I give her a little kiss I am truly humbled and proud she’s my little girl and she’s what I’ve always wanted in this life. It took me a while to get to this moment but now that it’s here I won’t trade it for anything, welcome home Kathleen.

The Big Gig Revisited

08/21/2015

Volume #220

“It was Twenty years ago, today Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play” and I also got married. I know this blog is called Daddy Files and this post has little to do with our kids but when we got married twenty years ago that’s when they all became a possibility.

One thing I never really did when JoAnn and I got married twenty years ago was spend much time thinking of where we’d be a few decades later. I didn’t even give much consideration to the an idea about kids other than I thought having both a son and daughter would be nice even thought I knew my likely hood of every having a daughter was slim. Boy did I get that wrong. When I finally decided to pop the question on my self-imposed deadline of five years from when we first started dating I didn’t think much about what it meant. (I rode that one right to the last-minute as I proposed on the 5th anniversary of our first blind date.) Why rush in, I still had minutes left and she said “Yes” anyway. For us we had already been living together for the better part of four years and we’d moved across the country the summer before so what really would change. Realistically JoAnn would just have a shorter signature. So we decided to get married after never really talking about it much at all those first few years. It’s just one of those subjects that never really came up. I’m sure it was on her mind but I’m a guy so you have to excuse me for being a bit obtuse. We did have fun the Christmas before when we were in Vegas and we video taped our walking up to a wedding chapel and looking in, then we cut the tape and sent it to our folks. A week later frantic calls asking if we went through with it arrived on our answering machine.

After we got engaged we set the date for exactly two months later and we told everyone we were going to do this thing our way or not at all. Our parents wanted the big epic event; her dad wanted us to be married in their church of course. But we were having none of it. It was going to be our way if we came back east or it was going to be a very quite affair in Vancouver with no family. JoAnn never wanted the big dress, just another clue I picked the right woman to marry. For me having worked as a DJ for hundreds of wedding receptions I knew everything I didn’t want this day to be so we went out of the box, way out. We wanted it to be casual, no ties, in fact since I lived in shorts and t-shirts, that’s what I wanted to wear on the day and JoAnn agreed. Ok the shirts were custom-made baseball shirts with hand painted stencils but it still wasn’t a tux. I had never been to a wedding where the bride and groom were in shorts and sandals and we both knew that was the way to go. As lovers of the great outdoors we wanted this to take place outside which seeing as we were talking August in Ontario that could backfire with either rain or staggering heat. Both would threaten the day at different times but in the end neither materialized. We also wanted this to be a real family affair since we no longer lived close to family we wanted to see everyone on our day so this was a kid friendly event. We had planned picnic games with prizes for the little ones. It was also to be a catered BBQ with every item on the menu being finger friendly, ribs, corn, kabob. We called it “The Big Gig” and our favorite cartoon character Opus the penguin was all over the concert style t-shirts we got our bridal party to wear. (My brother and his family). Other then the day it’s self and all the family and friends we invited I personally never thought much about where we’d be or what this day would mean decades later till this summer as our 20th anniversary approached.

I thought it was high time I finally watched all the video footage from our wedding and put together a video for JoAnn and to share but I had no idea what to expect. I knew what happened that day as I have a pretty good memory for the broad strokes of the day but as they say the devil is in the details and when I got into the footage that’s what blew me away. Other then a quick scan of what family had recorded for us after we got home twenty years ago the tapes have been sitting in a box with one of the cameras that captured the footage. So old it didn’t even have a digital plug so I had to order one just to get the footage onto my computer to be able to edit. The first thing you start to notice is all the faces in the crowd you haven’t seen for years and how much younger we all looked. My memory of the ceremony it’s self was pretty accurate though on that hot afternoon the only thing JoAnn and I were watching were the beads of sweat that rolled down the preachers arm like a plinko chip as they hit the hairs on his arm.

Then there were video interviews with family and friends to get through. The first time you see and hear someone who’s long passed happily smiling and chatting up the camera you have to stop for the tears. To hear my father’s speech from that day when he’s been gone now seven years ended any further work I could do that day. This was supposed to just be a fun video flashback and a great way to mark twenty years together. All of the sudden this day, this footage was taking on an even bigger significance because some of what I was seeing was the last footage in existence of many family members. JoAnn had all four of her grandparents in attendance (I only had one) and none of them are here today to see this video. JoAnn’s uncle Bert who sadly passed very young a decade ago was especially hard to see. When his son (who’s also featured) saw the video he asked if we could give him the raw footage, as it’s the only video he’s ever seen of his dad. Each interview I saw became harder to watch not because you were afraid of what they may say, but you just didn’t want the clip to end, you were hanging on every word unlike when they were alive and you knew you‘d see them later. I did somehow get through it all and get it edited, mostly because I put music over it but just the images were still enough to bring tears to your eyes. The music was sort of an obvious pick since we used the lyrics of a John Lennon song on our invites and my buddy Phil played the song live while we signed the registry. I did select a second song that both JoAnn and I really like a lot, and old Beach Boys song reimagined by Natalie Maines. I’m not a big country fan, well truth be told there are only two kinds of music I don’t like “Country and Western” but she really nailed this song and the lyrics seemed to really resonate for me when I thought of what each of the people who attended this day meant to us as today.

I think the hardest part of this entire process was both keeping it a secret from JoAnn and getting it done in time. I thought I had more time then I did because our anniversary wasn’t till August 12th but we were leaving on our family vacation on the 6th. I had to have this project done before we left, It’s not like I could be editing our wedding video in the cottage we were staying at and not have her notice what I was doing. Once it was done I wanted to show her right away because I knew it was going to hit her just as hard as it hit me but I had to sit this for over a week. That was hard. I was afraid she’d see the finished video clip on my desktop so I renamed it a very odd title but I didn’t notice I had also left a folder titled “Wedding Video” there that she could see at any time. Thankfully she never uses me laptop preferring to do all her browsing on her i-pad.

On August 12th as she showered, I drank my morning coffee and quietly uploaded the video to Facebook being sure to link in every friend who was in the video to the post. I hit upload and waited. While I enjoyed a pancake breakfast with the girls she sat down with her i-pad and instantly saw what I’d done. She was a little skeptical because she doesn’t really enjoy being photographed but within seconds of the video beginning I knew I’d scored a direct hit as her tears started to flow. When she saw any of the family we’d lost her reaction was the same as mine. Her first comment about the video being seven minutes long vanished, as she couldn’t believe it was over so quick. We sat there at the table with tears in our eyes but the girls didn’t seem to notice.  View the video by clicking the photo or here.

Wedding 1995

Her gift to me was also related to our wedding day as she’d gone out and had a 20th Anniversary reunion shirt that mimicked the tour shirts we had made for our wedding party. Only now she added tour dates to the back and she did a list of all the places we’d visited the world over since we’ve been married. I’ve been wearing one of these tour shirts every year on our anniversary for 19 years only this year since we were away from home I’d forgotten to pack it. Now I was able to keep the streak alive with this new shirt. A little reflection is a good thing and it’s especially powerful when there is video to back up that memory.

IMG_0406 IMG_0407

Now I’m wondering what I can do for our twenty-fifth anniversary. Actually I already have an idea and the song picked out but I’m sure I’ll leave it to the last minute as usual. It’s been working for me the past couple decades so why change now. Happy Anniversary.

 

 

 

Blue Light Special and the Yellow Baby

 

(Written as a post script to the events that happened just after our first daughters birth in 2003. It’s hard for me to even recall the events and emotions I felt at that time so I’m glad I kept this record)

Volume #9

So now I’m a father with all the responsibilities and rewards that go along with that title and right out of the gate we have problems. Our brand new daughter has shoulder dystocia, which happened during the difficult last couple minutes of birth when Kathleen’s heart rate was dropping and the doctor did what he had to do to save her life and get her out into the world. The end result is a left arm that has no mobility as the nerves too it were damaged or in a worst case scenario severed but she is able to grip things in her hand so there is hope she may recover some if not all function in her arm. Were greeted by a physiotherapist that gives us a series of exercises to perform on her once a day, the reason being to keep her young muscles working while the nerves work on developing and regenerating.

Just in case that wasn’t enough they give our little girl a blood test called a Billy Rubin which indicates to them the presence of jaundice which would also explain the yellowish color in her eyes and mouth. I’ve heard the word jaundice before and know it’s some sort of liver aliment that turns the patient yellow but short of that I know nothing, it can’t kill her can it? Again the doctors give us the worst-case scenario of liver failure due to her premature arrival but assure us that with preemies this is normal. Her young liver may or may not be ready for full-time processing duty but given a little time she’ll probably come around. I wanted to ask what happens if it doesn’t but was more afraid of the blunt answer I’d hear so I kept quite. Here we think we have this perfect little girl she sleeps lots doesn’t cry a lot is pretty lethargic while awake which we find out is all bad. Already we’re having problems and we haven’t even left the building yet, are we really ready for this?

In order to remedy the jaundice the pediatrician has ordered light therapies, which were told, is painless and can happen in JoAnn’s room so she can stay close by and still breast feed her as needed. It’s just a rolling stand with a light unit holding four blue fluorescent lights that is positioned directly over her crib, Katie is given time on her back and tummy at regular intervals like cooking a roast in an oven. They cover her eyes with gauze than place a headband on her head to hold the gauze in place, they also take off her diaper and fashion a sterile mask on her bottom like a string bikini. They place a clear plastic lid on the clear plastic crib she’s in and ta -da you’ve got the blue light special “shake and bake baby”. She only cries a little and before you know it she’s fast asleep in the warmth of her little cocoon her arms over her head enjoying the rays as if she were laying on a beach in Hawaii.

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Kathleen is two days old and she’s got a seemingly endless staff of doctors and nurses looking in on her and two overwhelmed concerned new parents that were not prepared for this sort of start to her life. I think JoAnn and I both saw us having a healthy child and in two days heading home to our new life together much like the couple in the next bed did earlier that day but fate had something else on it’s mind for us. Our first test as parents was upon us and neither of us studied this chapter “your newborn with health problems”.

On top of this I have nurses casually asking me about JoAnn’s mental state as they notice she’s pretty emotional which I agree she is. Is she freaked out? “Yes”, is she emotional? “Yes”, is she upset? “Yes”, by all accounts the staff was just doing their job but after thirteen years I think I know my wife. After four days in the hospital leading up to the birth with an IV every four hours day or night plus stuck on the same ward unable to leave she was already going a little stir crazy. She just needed to be at home where she was in control of her own life. Being as JoAnn is usually the one organizing other’s lives when she’s at work she was not wholly used to the idea of having little to no say in what she could do or where she could do it. It bothered me to see her this wound up and I set out to try to relive her tension. If they wouldn’t let her go home I’d bring our home to her.

Hospital food being what it is we’d been bringing in take out every night and after six days of this we both needed a change so I went out picked up some supplies and went home and made her some of our favorite foods, BBQ chops and grilled veggies and packed them up with our own cutlery and dishes and brought the whole works to the hospital for a picnic. My somewhat romantic gesture had it’s intended effect and it brought JoAnn’s mood up to a point where through all the stress of the situation we faced I could see she was still the same happy girl I married eight years earlier and I knew once we were home she’d be fine. Apparently my gesture did not go un-noticed as it was all the talk around the nurse’s station and I think I inadvertently put a lot of pressure on all the other husbands visiting their wives.

The next morning after a pretty good night with spirits up we had the wind knocked out of us again when the pediatrician visited Kathleen and told us her Billy Rubin number from that morning’s test was actually higher than when they first diagnosed the jaundice. He had one look at the light set up and told the nurse it was all wrong as the clear lid all but counter acts the effect of the light thus rendering the past twenty-four hours of treatment useless. The nurse that originally set up the light was there and our feelings were very easy to read, we were quite upset that our daughter had been getting worse right in front of us because someone didn’t know how to administer the light therapy properly. I made no bones about how mad I was and JoAnn tried to calm me down while she became very emotional, we were both out of control we just manifested it in different ways. It’s about now another nurse asks me about JoAnn’s emotional state and I tell her it’s not her but me you better worry about because I was ready to hurt someone.

It’s not to say I take postpartum depression lightly in fact Kathleen’s name sakes older brother, my great-uncle experienced it to the maximum degree in the 1940’s when his wife smothered their new-born then committed suicide but I didn’t feel we were anywhere close to this ourselves. I just needed to get JoAnn home where she could be surrounded by her own things and make plans for herself and where she could sleep in our own bed, if they didn’t release her today I didn’t know what she’d do but I knew she was at her breaking point, any reasonable person would be. The nurse who set up the light felt terrible and quite honestly she did what she thought was right, I just wish the doctor hadn’t waited a full day before checking that his orders were being carried out correctly.

After a few hours of moping around the room and counseling one another looking at our little girl again under the lights (correctly set up this time) I left for a walk to find a coffee. I took a long walk and tried to figure out what I could do to help JoAnn through another night in the hospital. I felt as if I let her down blowing up in the nursery in front of a group of nursing students and though I felt vindicated to do so I was ashamed. I wasn’t there to help her I forced her to try to calm me when truly she was the one under more stress having just given birth, a new mom with a sick child and stuck in the hospital herself. I came and went as I pleased, spent every night at home and truly failed in my role as support to her. It just proves to me that women are a lot stronger than men ever give them credit for.

When I finally return in a few hours still pretty down on myself I find the JoAnn of old happy and up beat packing her bag as Kathleen’s Billy Rubin numbers are headed down dramatically they decided to let them go home, maybe it was my threat that scared them but no matter they were both being released. That is provided Katie passes her child seat stress test, which my little girl does with out so much as a peep as she’s ready to go home to.

So now we find ourselves in new territory as we say goodbye to the nurses that took care of them the past eight days and the second roommate she’s had in a week and we walk off the ward as a family for the first time. I’ve come and gone so often out of the hospital I forget this is the first time in a week JoAnn has gone down this elevator and actually left the building. At long last we were all finally going home, a moment I’ve been waiting for but still can’t believe is finally here. We could hardly contain our joy as we left the hospital and strapped Katie into the car for the very first time for her first ever car ride. We knew the coming days, weeks, months and years were to be full of firsts but this was the first of all firsts us leaving as a family as we set out to begin this new chapter in our lives.

What’s the Story?

06/02 /2015

Volume #216

You know those calls you get from time to time that you really don’t want but inevitably they always ring. I’m not just talking about telemarketers during dinnertime but rather that calls that bring the bad news that someone you know has died. Last Friday it was actually a text from my sister-in-law Ann letting us know her dad Harold had passed. Not entirely a surprise as he’s been in the hospital and this was the weekend they as a family were going to need to make some hard choices about his future since he wasn’t making any progress. He took the pressure off their shoulders and made it easy which is I guess the role of a father or parent, taking the pressure off their kids and he did this right up till the end. The second you get this sort of news you immediately reflect back to the last time you saw the dearly departed. For me I was lucky enough to spend a bit of time with Harold and his wife Alma last summer at my mom’s 80’s birthday open house. I certainly didn’t get to have any deep discussion but it was sure nice getting a bit caught up and I was ever so glad that he got a chance to meet all my girls.

 

Back in the 90’s when I was in my first home in Niagara Falls I saw an awful lot of Harold, usually cake or presents were involved. His grandchildren are also my niece and nephew and we were always on the same guest list for any family function my brother and sister-in-law put on. I can honestly say I had the great privilege to learn a lot from him. I was at the very beginning of my handyman life and he was closing in on about 50 years into his so he had lots wisdom to share. Both my brother and I listened and learned and I know we’re both better off in our ability twenty years on from his suggestions.

Version 2

Alma and Harold Barnes August 2014

These moments in life always leave you with the feeling you wish you’d said more, or visited more often. I was ever so pleased that I do have a great photo from that day last August of both Harold and his wife. I don’t know if it was the last one taken of them together but they both look great on this day and I’m glad to have it. I always hate when I realize later I missed a photo opportunity. At that same party last summer I never found the time to get a photo with a few old friends, which I regret. Even last week when JoAnn’s Dad took off back east after a couple of weeks here in BC did I realize I never got a photo of both him and his wife with all the girls. It’s not just about the photo book I create each Christmas for family but rather I’m trying to keep an ongoing record of the girls with their extended family. Right now these photos may mean very little to them but an inconvenience in having to smile but in a few decades one of these photos might mean the world to them when the people in the photo are no longer reachable at the end of a phone. I think of photos of myself with my dad and I have two from when I’m still a boy and we’re holding fish up at the cottage. I have one of my two brothers and I all being sworn into the union with dad in a suit as proud as proud can be. The only photo I have of myself with both my parents is on my wedding day, twenty years ago this summer. I had thirteen more years after that event to grab another photo with them both but I never did. I still remember when my parents left my house to head for the airport after Thanksgiving 2007. My dad shook my hand as he left which was a bit out of character for him and I watched from the front porch as they backed out of our driveway and waved as they drove out of view. I had no way of knowing that was the last time I’d ever see my dad alive. I don’t think I took one photo of either of them during that last visit together. Regret I didn’t call for a photo just before he left?….maybe just a little. Yet here I just let JoAnn’s dad do the exact same thing seven years later, you’d think I’d learn. The moral here is to always take that photo when you have the chance. It doesn’t really matter at all if they protest at the suggestion of a photo, just do yourself a favour and make it happen. You have no idea how much you’ll miss the photo you didn’t take for years and regret is something that can actually be avoided.

S&J Wedding

Our wedding August 16th 1995 and the last photo I took with both my parents.

I think the other important factor with photos is to take the time to put names on the back or at the very least a date. My wish would be for a story of what’s going on because again years from now someone who cares about you is going to come across old photos and they’ll have no idea why you took it or why it was important enough to capture that moment. Last summer I was going through a shoebox of old photo’s from my late grandmother at my mom’s. It was interesting to see my grandparents as a couple my age or younger, out on the town with friends. I recall my grandmother telling me stories about these days every summer up at the cottage but do you think I recall any of those stores now? I know my grandfather was a bit of a pool and card shark and they called him Hap in those days, short for Happy since he always had such a happy disposition. Something I totally understand as I rarely ever saw him upset. My grandmother told me about the other couples they rolled with back in those days…The Bozo’s I believe was one of them. That name sort of did stick with me. Now here I was years later looking at this great photo from the late forties or early fifties of my grandparents all dressed up, drinks in hand, lots of pigment in their hair unlike the white hairs I knew them as growing up. Everyone looking right at the camera, obviously a bit drunk and I had no idea what year it was or who the other couples were. I can imagine this is the photo that goes with the half story I still recall being told as a boy but that was over three decades ago.   When my grandmother had gotten this photo developed if she had scratched “Dance Club on James Street Hamilton with the Bozo’s New Years 1948” I’d be able to fill in the rest. If I knew who else was in the photo I can guarantee their ancestors would also love to see this photo. It’s bad enough that all our personal memories are lost when we die if we didn’t take the time to share them but it’s almost worse to leave a photo with no back-story for someone to wonder about. Not everyone wants to be Sherlock and try to solve the mystery you left behind.

My grandparents are the centre couple at the table.

 

It took Facebook and a chance meeting with a guy named Trevor in Northern Ireland dropping by the page I created for my ancestral home in Tipperary to answer the nagging question of who was in a photo I’d had hanging in my living room for decades. I knew it was a family member since it came from my mother’s house but anyone who knew who this couple in the photo from the turn of the last century might be was already gone themselves. Mom just knew it had to be important since it was in with her grandmother’s photos from when they immigrated to Canada. Trevor told me his great-great grandparents names, which were in turn the same as mine. It turned out his great grand mother was my great grandfathers sister. When I shared this photo with him (which had been taken in Belfast, Trevor’s home town) he was able to immediately confirm this couple was his great grandparents. For over two decades I’ve been looking at that photo and finally I was able to put names to the faces. Really would it have been so hard to do that at any time during the 100 odd  years since this photo was taken for someone who recognized them to put that on the back?

Eleanor Nina Trant and her husband Rev. Richard Herbert Nash

My Great grandfathers older sister Eleanor Nina Trant with her husband 1870?

 

I guess the real moral of the story here is to be sure to give your photos a back story and some depth otherwise it’s just a cool old photo of someone you never met that you may or may not be related to doing something interesting. A few months ago JoAnn took the extraordinary steps to fly east to go through my mom’s home with my sister-in-law just to photograph and document the stories to go along with all the artifacts she’s collected in her life. God forbid anything should happen but mom is turning 81 this year and it’s best to capture these details when the only person who knows the story is still fully cognizant and most importantly still with us. We just want to make sure that when the time comes to downsize the house or when putting her affairs in order that anything that my folks picked up at an auction sale is not given the same status as an actual family heirloom. Pieces connected to the family help tell the story and give a tangible connection to the past for ancestors in the future. It’s sort of a time machine in a way. It’s interesting to hold something you know some one else in your family purchased a hundred years ago. When we took a handful of postcards my family brought with them in 1909 back to Ireland it was fascinating to find those locations now. It took three trips to Ireland and seven years before I could actually piece together the complete story these postcards told. All taken from different vantage points on the coast of the town of Tramore they last lived in, all the postcards were pointing towards the same high bluff coastline where their last home “Seaville” stood. The fact it was no longer there made tracking it much harder but if anyone had taken the time to explain on the back of any one of a dozen postcards what they looked at I would have known right away.

 

In this digital age when we all have a camera in our pockets at all times it’s easy to just shoot and shoot but never really capture anything. I know I myself have close to fifty thousand photos on my hard drive taken mostly in the past decade. My parents used to shoot one 12 exposure roll a year, on a big year maybe they’d used a 24 exposure and we’d see two Christmas turkeys and a bunch of fish. It’s just so easy to capture every moment but in a hundred years without a bit of context you’ll have just left tens of thousands of questions instead of the dozens I’ve inherited and those took years to solve. Just think of your great-great grandchildren trying to figure why you took so many photos of a cat. Take the time right now to write Fluffies name on the back along with the year. Tell a story in a coupe words why Fluffy was so important. Believe me your ancestor’s are going to thank you and that story will actually be just as valuable, even more so then the photos you leave behind.

This is it…I think

08/22/2003

Volume #8

(A quick note, I’ve skipped over Volume #7 which chronicles the four days of waiting which explains how this post begins)

I wake on Saturday morning and instead of springing from the bed I hit snooze…a couple of times, I have coffee and I walk the dog. What’s the real hurry anyway it’s been three days so far with nothing happening why would I believe yet again this is the day. This is something I’d never read or seen in any video the fact that once the membranes rupture and release the flood they are containing that it can be days before a baby is born. I was always under the impression as false as it may have been that once the water breaks your having a baby, oh how little I know.

I catch the train like I’m going to work and already knowing what they have on the menu I buy some breakfast for JoAnn and I at the hospital coffee shop and report to the third floor room 3338 where I find her resting after a bad night of cramps. They give her the anti biotic drip and their idea of breakfast then they load her into a wheelchair to take the familiar trip downstairs to labor and delivery. We’ve made this trip so often now with so many nurses it’s not daunting at all it’s more routine and our potential excitement is dampened by the disappointment this trip has brought us the past three days. We get bed two which is the first time we’ve had this cubicle in all our trips to the examination room and we set up playing cards and like the past couple days I can’t buy a winning hand. When Dr. Wong finally does come in to examine her there is no surprise till he announces she’s two and a half centimetres dilated and we are all smiles like we just won a free ice cream. We figure another dose of prostin gel and we’ll carry on playing cards upstairs when the doctor tells the nurse to put JoAnn in delivery room 7 and ready the oxytocin drip we’re going to have a baby today.

It’s taken four days to get here but finally we made it into a delivery room and today at some point were going to have a baby…or at least that’s what they’re telling us, I’ll believe it when I can hold it in my arms. They hook up all the baby monitors and pulse monitors to JoAnn and ready the oxytocin drip all the while we’re having fun playing cards (me losing) not really very nervous at all. The first three days of waiting have loosened us up to a point we may actually enjoy this at least neither of us is stressing about it anymore.

Our nurse starts the drip about eleven AM and in no time at all JoAnn is experiencing labor pains. We keep playing cards for a while till she can’t concentrate any longer then she just rocks back and forth in the rocker she’s in like a maniac. They give her nitrogen gas to suck on to help ease the pain but as it turns out it’s really just something to do to focus on because apparently it did nothing for the pain. Me I’ve got my foot on the rocker trying to keep her from flipping the chair she’s pushing back and forth so hard, she doesn’t really want me to hold her hand or touch her for that matter and the happy look she brought into this room is fast being replaced by one of real panic. The contractions can be seen as a spike on the monitor but I can tell when she’s having one by just how hard she’s pushing off in the chair.

Were only an hour and a half into this when she decides she’d like to have the blood work done to have her prepped for an epidural. Not long after that our nurse Maryanne helps get JoAnn onto the delivery bed and the marathon of sweat has begun we’re almost there, the finish line is in site. In all the years we’ve been together and all the activities we’ve done I’ve never seen JoAnn work up such a sweat she was burning up and I took it upon myself to keep getting cool wet washcloths to put on her forehead or the back of her neck. Down the hall from one of the other delivery rooms we can hear a blood-curdling scream and thou we just look at each other I know she’s thinking the same thing I am, is that where we’re headed? She wants that epidural when they check and see she’s over eight centimetres it’s too late she’s told; we’re going to do this commando style now.

There’s little for me to do now and no one has really prepped me for what to do, JoAnn bites down so hard on the nitrogen mask I think she’s going to chew through it and the only thing she thinks to say to me is that she stinks, in this situation her own body odour is what’s worrying her. The smells in the delivery room are very unusual to my nose between her and the fluid that’s pouring out of her with great regularity, I feel the humidity of the room rising and the coldness we noticed when we first got here seems to have been replaced by a humid sweet odour.

Just over three hours after the oxytocin was started we’re ready to start pushing and it strikes me as odd as I always thought there would be a doctor present during the delivery, it’s still just Maryanne and us. Soon enough Dr. Wong does join us but we keep pushing through the contractions taking two new breaths and holding till the contraction passes whether the doctor and nurse are paying attention or not. I know this is all real routine to them but we’re new at this and a little help would be welcomed, at least show a little interest in what’s going on at the bed and not at her chart. They position JoAnn on her side facing me and now it becomes my job to hold her one leg in the air out of the way while she pushes, she’s huffing on the nitrogen like a junkie when they tell her to stop using it as it won’t help now…no kidding.

It doesn’t seem like very long before Ziggy is crowning and I see my boy has a full head of dark hair like his dad, she pushes and pushing each time gaining ground but we seem to have hit a wall when Dr. Wong makes a decision…episiotomy. The E word is something JoAnn feared from the start she even asked about it in the class we took and she held out hope it would never happen to her but here we are and it was the only way, push and tear or the doctor makes a nice clean cut. I could tell she was worried and I reassured her as best I could but at this point she just wanted him out do it, do it now. There was an awful lot of blood, more than I ever imagined and even with the cut made he wouldn’t come out he was stuck, “Houston we have a problem”.

Everything happened so fast but after the last contraction when the baby didn’t come I knew something was happening and they weren’t telling us. The next contraction hits and she’s pushing like never before but he’s still stuck, I hear the nurse make a call on the phone “Code blue” or something like that as Dr. Wong’s face turns white and I think he’s trying to pull the babies head off. The baby’s heart rate is dropping while he’s pulling when the head doctor on duty and a couple more nurses run into the room and pull JoAnn’s legs dam near behind her ears while other nurses push on her stomach it’s an all out effort to get this kid out now and I just watch in awe not really sure what’s happening at all. Finally is a last gush that hits me in the face he’s out and the Pediatrician cuts the cord and steals him away to look over this premature kid who if I’m not mistaken did not come equipped with little boy hardware.

From where they’re working on him I hear nothing, no cries no screaming, nothing at all, it’s the longest ten seconds of my life till I finally hear those lungs fill with air and cry a welcome to the world. To my astonishment and amazement I was correct in noticing my little boy was in fact a little girl Ziggy and with that Kathleen Annika was born weighing in at seven pounds and nineteen inches long with blue eyes and a full head of dark hair. I had a daughter and I was so thrilled and happy I couldn’t help but cry when telling JoAnn, I never really thought it was possible as I was always hoping for a girl and now my wish had come true. I did the ceremonial cutting of the cord or what was left of it, in the emergency of the moment they cut all but the last four inches already; no matter it was a thrill just the same.


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The after math of birth they never show you in the video’s and I think the reason why is no one would ever procreate. I was already reeling from the birth and the fact my little boy was actually a girl and now there is the aftermath to contend with, the birth of the placenta went much easier than Kathleen’s entry. I was shocked at the amount of blood and fluid flowing out of JoAnn but a lot of that was a result of the episiotomies.

I brought the now neatly wrapped little Kathleen over to meet her mommy and we all shared a quite moment staring at one another, I was basically speechless as I always wanted a daughter but never ever felt it was in the cards with my families history of boys the past century so I never really verbalized it for fear of jinxing our chances. I’d read that a lot of men have a new found respect for their wives after seeing them give birth and I’d count myself in that group as at this point in my life I’ve never been more impressed with what she’s just gone through for us all. The overwhelming love I feel for her at this moment and for this new little girl cannot be described as I am humbled and in awe. I know there will be no arguments as to who’s doing the cooking or cleaning in the near future. Welcome to the world my new little girl you may now commence to steal my heart…second thought you already have. It’s finally happened, I’m a father.


 

 

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