On Inlaws

2014-07-16

We are rapidly approaching our trip to Tennessee to see my Mom, Sister, Aunts, and other relatives. It’s times like these that I am reminded just how different my and my wife’s family are from one another. I grew up in a household where any objections to a particular action was a gauntlet thrown down for a verbal duel. No only means no when you’ve reiterated it at least five times and after being told at least four different ways your objections could be overcome. This was certainly how wife’s family operates. I think this often means my family is seen as pushy and argumentative. My wife is frequently telling me “do you have to argue everything to death?!”

The fact that I see that as a good and actually enjoyable thing further iterates this the environment I was raised in. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong but it is family. My wife’s family and likely her culture (she’s Norwegian) couldn’t be further from my own. I won’t be as presumptuous as to describe how I think her family is because I wasn’t raised in that environment. It would only be dime store psychiatry for me to do so. I will say only say that based on what I’ve experienced everyone spends an enormous amount of energy trying to anticipate what everybody else really wants but is too modest or shy to say. Reading between the lines isn’t a hobby it is a full time job. I apologize in advance to my wife if I’m completely off base but it is my perception.

This trip is making me nervous. My Mother’s suggestion of buying denim shorts was countered with my explaining how his Michelin Man Vanilla Tootsie Roll legs need more stretchable material. That was promptly foiled by an explanation from my Mom of how we could get them just big enough that his thighs would be OK. That was enough to get the exasperated hand throwing in the air from my wife. After the call I was lectured by my wife about how my Mother never knows when to take no for an answer and how she feels she’ll really have to set some boundaries with my family.

I don’t disparage my wife for feeling this way. I really don’t. I don’t think she’s being unreasonable. I just think she’s different and realize she was raised In a different family environment. Not better, not worse, just different. I don’t think my Mom was being unreasonable or different either. She was just being Mom.

When my wife asked me if I would support her “boundary setting” I responded with a definite yes, That’s my job as her husband. She’s the Mother of my child and my role is to support her whether I understand these “offenses” or not. I trust my wife and her instincts. Could it cause friction with my own family? Yes. But I have confidence in my ability to handle it if it arises. I have confidence in my family also to accept my wife’s parenting style. Above all else I have confidence in my wife that she will always do what she believes in her heart is the absolute right thing to do with our child even if I don’t understand how denim shorts could be such big deal.

5 months and counting.

2014-07-14

I can’t believe my boy is already 5 months. It’s been pretty amazing. Every day he’s becoming more and more like a real person. I still can’t believe he’s really here. Today we discovered his first tooth coming out. He’s fascinated by the dog. Even more so fascinated by her dog toy. When sitting on the floor with me he’ll reach so far out for it that he’ll inevitably face plant into the carpet.

The last 5 months have been one heck of a roller coaster. I think one of the things that have caught me off guard has been my wife’s full force embracing of “attachment parenting”. The underlying concept of attachment parenting, based on my in depth research which included piecing together bits and pieces of things I think my wife might have said while I was fantasizing about winning the lottery, is basically don’t ever ever leave your child for a split second or they will turn into sociopathic killers who light school buses full of nuns, orphans, and puppies on fire before driving it into a tank full of sharks. Ok, that doesn’t make any sense because that would totally put the fire out but you get my inflammatory point. Oh, pun ahoy.

No, really I get the whole attachment parenting thing. Don’t leave your child in a room alone for 23 hours a day under Romanian orphanage conditions. I agree. I do though think it can be taken to extremes. I think if the a baby is not in physical contact for 5 minutes while I use the bathroom, it’s ok. If the baby happens to whine for the last 30 seconds of that bathroom visit he will not be irrevocably harmed. That’s my view though.

My wife sees it somewhat differently. I don’t blame her and I don’t hate her for it. I could be wrong I know. I may not have done my research as thoroughly as her, or at all, but I’m pretty sure my 44 year old male mind has this parenting thing figured out. I don’t have a degree or anything but I have seen a few episodes of Nanny 911 or Super Nanny or Walking Dead or something. I’m not sure but it was very parental oriented or parental guiding or something.

I appreciate my wife’s opposing view. I need her to counterbalance me. I need that loving motherly touch. Something to off set my “a 5 month old can fend for himself” attitude. I need her in my life and I’m pretty sure my child does also. I often go along with my wife’s attachment parenting thing not because I think it is the be all end all of parenting but because the only thing 14 years of marriage has taught me is my wife knows a hell of lot more than I do about some things and I’m pretty sure this is one of those things.

His Birth Story

2014-01-29

When I had texted one of my friends that our bundle of joy had arrived one of the things she said was to make sure you write down his birth story because in the days, months, and years to follow you’ll get caught up in the day to day and easily forget the details. There seemed to be so much drama and stress regarding the that day that today I find it hard to believe but if I’ve learned anything in the last 6 days of being a parent it’s listen to those that have gone before you. I’m learning that is one of the golden rules of parenting that are founded in absolute truth. Things like “sleep when the baby sleeps” are fundamentals I wished had followed more devotedly.

The story of my sons birth actually starts the day before. For the entire week leading up to his birth my wife and I had said each day “can you believe this is our last [insert day of the week] as a couple? This time next week we’ll be a family.” We were being induced two weeks early because of blood pressure concerns so we knew the day he would arrive. While it relieved some of the pressure of not knowing when it also added the stress of having a deadline to get everything done we wanted to get done before the baby arrived. My wife and I who are notorious procrastinators joked when 9 months earlier that we would be vacuuming and putting up curtains the night before we gave birth. That “joke” turned out to be more of a prophecy. We were indeed doing last minute shopping and preparation hours before we were supposed to report to the hospital. As a result we only got about 2 1/2 hours of sleep before we started the inducement. So to any readers soon expecting Be sure to get done early!

We showed up at the hospital at 0600 and reported to labor and delivery and and assigned LDR (labor and deliver room) and introduced to the nurses who would be working with us throughout the day. While I was finishing the admission paperwork downstairs my wife commented to the nurse how scared she was and the nurse sat down and gave her a great speech letting her know that today “there is no dignity” and not to be worried about things. That was some of the best advice my wife could have received. She is both Norwegian and very self conscious. I knew the raw truth and ugliness (for lack of a better word) was going to be very hard on her. She primps and meticulously grooms for even the most minor doctors appointments, she refuses to let anyone come inside the house unless it can pass a white glove inspection first, and she’s threatened to destroy my phone if I didn’t delete any unflattering pictures. She’s always thinking of what people will see and say. It’s not a vanity thing though. I think it is a pride and cultural thing. She had told me that her biggest concern about labor was not that she was going to physically be in pain and put through the ringer but that she was probably going to poop on herself during the push stage of labor. THAT was the scary thing for her. Not pushing a child through a very narrow exit, or having major surgery (if we had a c section) but that someone was going to see and smell her poop. God bless that nurse for giving her that advice though. My wife didn’t complain during the entire day about being poked, prodded, or examined by a room full of people.

The original plan from her doctor is that we would induce the labor, give it all day, and if she wasn’t fully dilated or the baby hadn’t fully dropped by around 1900 he would do a c section. When we were first set up one of the nurses said our doctor was an early riser and we would likely see him before 0800-0900 and he would probably break her water then. We knew. By 1100 that wasn’t going to be the case. Closer to 1400 the nurse started preparing for the doctor’s arrival. She laid out gloves and some instruments and commented the doctor liked things a certain way. I jokingly asked if our doctor was a diva and got less joking reply that he wasn’t a diva but did like things a particular way. I immediately got the impression that our doctor wasn’t very well liked by the nurses. Surprising to us since he had always seemed to have a great bedside manner with us and the nurses at his practice seemed to get along with him.

My suspicions about the labor being boring for me were fairly accurate. After pacing the room for the first hour we were there and looking at all the devices and the nurses volunteering to show me what some of the monitors showed I talked for a lot with my wife. Both of us excited and still I disbelief this was actually happening. Once they had administered the drug to start the inducement and her contractions started getting stronger the boredom started creeping in. Now before you wag your finger at me and tell me what an insensitive narcissistic ahole I am let me explain. I mean, yes, I am an insensitive narcissistic ahole but in this case it’s not entirely my fault. My wife is one of those people who, like me, don’t like to be touched, spoken to, or otherwise engaged when in pain. Our breed has a tendency to act like a sick or injured dog when in pain. We want to crawl under the porch and be left alone. When she had a painful contraction I would have liked nothing better than to loving stroke her hair, whisper in ear what a great job she was doing, and look at her with pained loving gazes wishing I could ease her pain. Instead, as is often the case, the most common phrases she threw me were “STOP Talking!” and “don’t touch me!”. I guess if I truly was narcissistic or more thin skinned it would have phased me and I would have pouted being hurt she had rejected my attempts to make her feel better. I would have thrown myself into the chair sobbing petulant tears and gasping “why won’t you let me help you! Can’t you see how empathetic and caring I am?!?!”. Instead I get it. Actually being a little insensitive and programmed the same way I actually appreciate it.

Since I couldn’t help her and she had already told me there would be no music or TV I spent most of the day to myself responding to work emails, posting dilation updates to Facebook, and playing Tower Defense. The only downside is I know the nurses thought I was a gigantic ahole because they would come in to find her curled up in contraction pain, sweating, and almost in tears and I was sitting off to myself working on my iPad. Several of my coworkers actually told me I shouldn’t be replying to emails and should be focused of other things going on today. I didn’t have have the heart to tell them I was giving my wife exactly what she needed. The ability to get through her pain without being annoyed with my attempts to help her.

Once her contractions got to a certain intensity she didn’t have any qualms about requesting the epidural. The thought of having a needle injected directly into your spine can be daunting but I guess compared to the slowly increasing pains of the contractions a little poke isn’t too terrible. Apparently it’s effective because once the medication kicked in my wife said she wanted to kiss whoever invented the epidural.

Around 1300 the doctor came in and broke her water and confirmed she was still around 3-4 cm. The doctor’s prediction was dead on that her water was going to be quarts and not teaspoons because sure enough as soon there was a gushing noise when they broke it. From the time that he broke her water our race against the clock to get her fully dilated and to get the baby to drop was on.

We had inferred from the nurses off hand comments that the doctor may have have been suggesting a c-section by 1900 because it fit his schedule and prevented him from having to be at the hospital late into the night. It was nothing they said directly but when we shared that our preference was for a vaginal delivery they got determined to make at happen. It felt like it was us and the nurses racing together against the doctor’s c-section deadline. We appreciated how hard they worked to fulfill our wishes. They started moving my wife from position to position in order to try and speed up the process. As the hours progressed her contractions and surprisingly her pain increased. When my wife complained about the pain they shared how the epidural works based on gravity and the change in positions may have reduced the full effectiveness of the epidural. They told her all she was really feeling was pressure and that she probably wasn’t actually feeling the pain of the contractions.

My wife was making great progress and dilating almost an additional centimeter per hour. The doctor came back in at around 1830 and saw that she was at 9 cm though the nurses said she was at a full 10 cm. He said he another patient in the next room and would do there -section first then do ours. He felt like despite her dilation the baby wasn’t dropping the way he should. The nurses were excited and even more determined to get the baby to drop. By this time my wife was in a tremendous amount pain. She was lying on her side with trying to bring her knees up to her chest. She was still being told it wasn’t really pain and was just contractions.

About an hour later the nurses were proud to announce she was fully dilated at 10 cm and had her do a practice push. The could feel the baby’s head and he was dropping fast. When the doctor returned though he said she at 9 1/2 and the baby had gone back up. He was recommending an immediate c-section because if the baby had dropped then gone back up there was probably something preventing the baby from dropping. “Or you can give it more time” chimed in one of the nurses. The doctor’s head spun around like it was on a trip wire. “Maybe you should check with the doctor first” the doctor snapped. ” The nurse who was facing us but had her back to the doctor replied “Well you did tell them you could do the c-section or give them more time.” The doctor left the room to talk to the anesthesiologist about the c-section. “You don’t have to do what he says” the nurse told us.

My wife and I looked at each other puzzled and unsure. We were trapped in this struggle between the nurses who wanted to give us the vaginal delivery we had hoped for and the doctor who seemed to be pushing a c-section because it seemed easier for him. We were left alone for a few minutes and we hurriedly talked trying to figure out what the heck we should do. Listen to the nurses who seemed to have our desires at heart or listen to the doctor who had gotten us through when we almost had a miscarriage. We chose reluctantly to follow the doctors advice. Each of us for different reasons. My wife later admitted she was just in so much pay she wanted it to be over. She just couldn’t take it anymore and new the c-section would end her pain within 10-15 minutes. I opted for the doctor’s choice because he had been with us through the entire pregnancy, did not our medical history more fully, and because I knew that 2-20 more hours of delivery didn’t guarantee we wouldn’t still wind up having to have a c-section.

As they rolled her out to prepare her for the c-section I couldn’t help feel like we had caved and tossed out what we really wanted (vaginal delivery) because we were somehow bullied into it by the doctor whose real agenda was to get home at a decent hour. They got me into surgical scrubs so I could be in the delivery room. I was already angry at myself for caving and angry at the doctor for pushing his own agenda. The took me outside the operating room and sat me at the end of a long dead end hallway in a solitary chair. It looked like a scene from a movie.

I don’t think I ever felt so alone and helpless as I did waiting for them to call me into the operating room. At least in the delivery room I had been able to see everything being done to my wife and distract myself with the gadgets, wires, lights, and beeps. I watched the doctors and nurses at the other end of the hallway scrubbing up and going in and out of the operating room. But I sat alone at the end of the hallway with only my thoughts and worries. My very dangerous thoughts. I was already angry with myself for caving and agreeing to the c-section, angry for the doctor for all the months he had feigned care, angry at the nurses for putting my wife and I in a position to have to choose between them and the doctor, angry that after 11 hours of labor we were still having a c-section, angry that this wasn’t turning out the way I had pictured it. Just plain angry.

In my head I ran through what would I would do if something happened to my wife or my child because of the doctor’s own self interest. He probably gets paid more for c-sections I thought. I know myself and I know when I get scared or I think someone I love is in danger it only comes out as anger. There is a line in Wuthering Heights that says (paraphrasing) that nothing makes a man more cruel than fear. If something happened to them I was imagining unleashing a scene that would make Quentin Tarantino queasy. There wouldn’t be a soul left alive. They would all pay if she or the baby were hurt so they could get a bigger paycheck. When I get in this kind of funky mood I turn off all my other emotions. I become utterly cold and stoic. It’s a quiet cold type of withdrawn rage. I assure you it’s all posturing. I’ve never been violent with people. There’s just something about the thought of it and that shutting off all my emotions that calms me when I’m frightened. It’s like I stop being human. If I’m not human I can’t be scared. I’m sure that makes me sound nuts and no one understands it. I hardly do myself.

They finally called me and when I enter they’ve just begun the procedure. I intentionally avoid looking at the bottom of my wife and what they’re doing. I join her behind the curtain they have draped over her neck. My heart broke for her when I see the fear and sadness in her eyes. She’s scared without question but I recognize the other look in her eyes. She feels like she’s let me down. We didn’t want a c-section and it’s totally my fault is what I read. My heart aches because despite all logic and despite all of this being almost completely beyond her control. Logically she knows that too but there are times when I see a 7 year old girl in my wife’s soul so desperately trying to do the right thing and being crushed when she can’t. I stroke her hair as if to say I know you tried. I wasn’t disappointed about the c-section and I certainly wasn’t disappointed in her.

We made small talk while they were doing the work behind the curtain and she shared how relieved she was that she wasn’t in pain anymore. While we were talking we heard a momentary cry and our eyes locked as the corner our mouths curled up into a smile and almost in unison we said “Was that……?”. Just a moment later we heard a longer continuous cry and and she said “That’s your son.” It was indeed my son. I watched as they vigorously rubbed the baby down and tested its reflexes. My wife kept telling me to go to him but I couldn’t leave her. I just couldn’t. We had been worked so hard and so long together to get to this point that I just couldn’t turn my back on her as they were trying to put her organs back in place. I wanted to savior this moment with her. I was ecstatic that I had a son. Ecstatic that he appeared to be healthy. But before I had a son I had a wife and I just couldn’t abandon her to run off with my new playmate.

I did though eventually take a few steps and get handed my bright and shining boy. I took him over to her and held him up to her head. She smiled with tears in her eyes and said “hey little one.” His eyes popped open. He knew her voice and wanted his mother. They told us they had to take baby to the other room while they finished closing my wife up. My wife again told me to go with him and that he shouldn’t be alone but I didn’t want to leave her. I felt awful leaving her there but she insisted. “He needs to have someone there that loves him. Don’t worry about me.” Reluctantly I conceded.

In the other room I started the process of learning who my son is. Measurements, more tests, etc. which was apparently 45 minutes but only felt like a few seconds. Soon my wife joined us and we wept as she held him for the first time. So begins our road as parents.

A couple of things to note. Our son was faced wrong side up in the uterus. The umbilical cord was also wrapped around his neck. We would never have been able to do a vaginal delivery safely. The doctor was right. I can only thank God that we listened to him when he said he felt something was preventing the baby from dropping. The pain my wife was in was not pressure nor gravity interfering with her epidural. The epidural had come out when we were changing positions to speed up the dilation. My wife had gone through hours of unnecessary pain because the nurses had refused to believe her.

So what’s the point of this very long post? There really isn’t one. I just wanted to do what I could now to record the experience while it was still fresh in my mind. My father still recalls the details of the night I was born. I hope this post will be a reminder to me of one very long day in 2014.

And the winner is…..

2014-01-25

Me. I’m the winner. Thursday night at 2117 I won a whole new life. My son was born. After 10 years of trying, after 6 failed IUI cycles, after 2 IVF cycles, after tens of thousands of dollars in fertility treatments, after a miscarriage, after a truly surprising pregnancy, after a very close call with losing the baby, after a very difficult pregnancy, after a last minute panic to get everything done, after surreal excitement, after a long induced labor with drama, conflict, and a difficult choice my son was born. Healthy. My wife delivered. Healthy.

I won something that for decades had alluded me. I won something I had at times lost hope in achieving. I won a new life. I won. From that moment at 2117 two nights ago my life became ultimately different. The number one thing I’ve been told my fathers is that “Everything changes.” Vague, cryptic, ambiguous but how true. I saw the changing tide coming in even before my son’s birth. When my coworkers through a surprise baby shower for me (a dude) all I could think of afterwards was how much of a grinch I’ve been through the years and now I want to share and contribute to everyone else’s joy so they could feel what I did when a room full of people shouted surprise. I found myself watching YouTube videos about fetal development and being genuinely excited about picking out a jogging stroller. I found myself oohing and ahhing over super hero onesies at the store. I was in full blown metamorphosis shifting from dude to dad the same way my son was growing from a clump of cells to a full blown human.

Just like I don’t think my son is ready to go out and get a job today neither do I think I’m fully ready to be a dad. I’m still learning. I hope I learn my dad skills with the same or faster pace than my son will learn how to be a baby. I’ve changed three dirty poopy diapers in the last 36 hours. That brings my grand lifetime total of dirty diapers changed to 3. What I’ve learned is this. No amount of YouTube videos, books, or TV shows will substitute actually doing the real thing. There will be mistakes and foul ups. I guess the important thing is to learn from those mistakes.

Fear and Hope.

2013-10-23

A lot has happened since I’ve last blogged. A few days after my last post my wife called me at work sobbing that it was happening again. She was bleeding. We were maybe 7-8 weeks into our pregnancy. It was only 1-2 weeks further than we had got in our last pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage. To say my heart dropped would be an understatement. I ran out of my office trying to get to my wife as quickly as I could. Her coworker was taking her to the doctor’s office and I was going to meet her there. I knew by her cries this wasn’t spotting. This was the sobbing I heard when we had the miscarriage last time. The bleeding was heavy.

As I drove away from the office my mind and my heart were reliving the devastation of our last miscarriage. After years of trying to get pregnant, after enduring a miscarriage, after exhausting our resources on treatments, after miraculously getting pregnant on our own, it was ending….again. It was like my worst nightmares had come true. The skies were darkening and the hopeful sunrise gave way to thunderous squall. I openly sobbed on my way to the doctors office. I begged and pleaded for mercy. I tried bargaining and pleading. I made promises I knew I probably couldn’t keep. I muttered between snotty sobs again and again “please”. Whatever the cost I would pay. If I had nothing to offer I just begged Him to give my wife the strength to endure the heartache that seemed inevitable.

When I got to the doctor’s office I practically knocked in their frosted sliding window at reception. The nurse saw me and said I could go right back. Not good I thought. As I went through the door out of reception I heard my wife’s voice say “I’m right here.” I think any other woman I might have taken that for a good sign but my wife has an English “stiff upper lip” streak in her when she’s around other people. She would have made a terrific English queen if she wasn’t Norwegian. She was talking with the receptionist and I as I faced her my lip was quivering and my eyes welling up and as if in slow motion she said “It’s OK.”

My shoulders slumped as I let out an audible gasp. The color ran out of my face. I could barely mutter “I’m going….” As I pointed back to the waiting room so she could wrap up with the nurse. As I slumped down in the waiting room chair I started crying again. I couldn’t believe it. From the time we found out we were pregnant again both of us had fully felt like the other shoe was going to drop at any moment. I was as much in shock that everything might be ok as I was that she was bleeding again. When she came out we went out to the parking lot and hugged. She looked at me, all smiles, and me showing every bit of the emotional wringer I had been through.

She was on bed rest for four weeks. The only thing scarier than the next four weeks was that drive to the doctor’s office. I haven’t kept all those promises I made on the way to the doctor’s office but He’s kept those promises to me. It turns out that the umbilical cord was on the exact opposite side of where the bleeding was. The baby didn’t even notice, the blood clot left by the bleeding has all but disappeared. Its amazing how things work out.

Our Beating Gummi Bear

2013-06-26

It was spectacular. I have seen the Grand Canyon, the Mona Lisa, the tropical waters of Okinawa, the mountains of Norway, the canals of Copenhagen, the medieval churches of Riga, and so many other sights. None can hold a candle to the beauty and miracle I saw today.

Today I saw my child for the first time. He was a blur on the ultra sound screen. His silhouette barely the outline of a Gummi bear. His heart beating ever so rapidly. Working so hard to grow.it is one thing to see a line on a pregnancy test, it’s another to see a dark fluid filled sac, but it is a different planet on which you see the vague outline of baby whose arm and leg buds are starting to sprout and know that is part of you and your wife. There is a euphoria and a reality in see that thin transparent skin and seeing the heart pound furiously. That heartbeat makes it so real.

That heartbeat also makes it terrifying. We never saw our last child who left us after only 6 weeks. This time we’ve seen her. We know that it’s real. We know it is trying to grow. I don’t know if I could bare losing this one. I know I would have too. I know somewhere deep down I would make it through but it’s a thought so terrifying I can barely speak it. I don’t want to focus on the negative though.

The image of that itty bitty life and that itty bitty heart pounding away is something I will never in my life forget.

My Father’s Legacy

2013-06-22

We are 230 days and counting. It’s amazing how quickly the time is passing by. A little anxiety here trying to speculate all the things we need to do. Everything from converting the guest bedroom to a nursery, buying all the needed cribs, strollers, etc. I was thinking about working on a to-do list today but got suckered into watching Battlestar Galactica today. Yes, I’m a nerd. No apologies here. My wife’s morning sickness is still going strong but she’s learning better how to eat around it. She’s now eating whenever she’s not feeling sick just so she can keep something down. Her big cravings now are beef (of course well done) and carbs. The only off key cravings she’s had so far were yesterday when she wanted Indian samosas so bad she was ready to run to the nearest Indian restaurant.

This week I’ve been mulling over the question, what kind of father will I be? I have such mixed feelings about this. Will I be Cliff Huxtable, Ward Cleaver, or Darth Vader? I don’t know. I look at my father and grandfather and I’m a little concerned. Both were alcoholics, as am I. I don’t mean the kind of raging abusive alcoholic father they often show on TV. I mean the scared insecure need a constant buzz to interact with people and the world alcoholics. Rarely falling down drunk but perpetually having to finish off a beer before leaving the house and avoiding any social functions without alcohol. Not mean or intentionally abusive. I just mean neglectful in that fearful self absorbed way. My father to this day is as two dimensional as Ward Cleaver. Everything is fine, we don’t talk about bad things, or any real emotions. We never confront, ever. Then there is the narcism. Year before last I to,d him “Dad, we had a miscarriage.” His response? “I’m sorry. That’s terrible. Did you hear my new answering machine message? It’s really funny.”

I’m just trying to be open here and put my thoughts into words. I don’t hate either of them. I love them and all their faults. I truly believe they were both the best fathers they knew how to be. In my heart of hearts I truly believe that if they knew better or if they weren’t so scared of the world they would have they would have done the things other fathers do. They’re only human. They did (and do) the best they know how.

I gave up my resentment of my father and his failings many years ago. I had a lot of rage towards him because I felt he didn’t care enough about me to teach me to be a real man. He didn’t teach me to how to have freinds, talk to girls, be confident, play sports or (what i though all real men do) work on cars. That’s a big deal to a 19 year old boy who is in the Marines to cover his own fear and inadequacy. When I was 22 (still in the Marines in Japan) I got sober. With that came the shocking realization that my father was indeed actually only human. With it, the knowledge that in his own alcoholic, narcissistic, inadequate, and fearful way he tried his best to be a father. He may not have been the father I wanted him to be but he was the only father he could be. Today, I love him despite his failings because I recognize them for what they are. They are proof of his mortality and humanity. They make him beautiful.

Do I wish my own father had been more involved with me, more confident, less fearful of new things and people? Yes. But not as much for my sake as his. I think of the decades of life he’s missed out on because of his fear, alcoholism, and inadequacies. He’s missed out on the richness and fullness of life. I tried to share that with him. I tried to give him insight into my world and my inner peace. The year before last his drinking got worse and I convinced him to go to 90 AA meetings with me in 90 days. We did. Two days after that I went to a meeting I knew he would be attending. He was there. Drunk. Drunk at an AA meeting. He’s only human. As an alcoholic myself I understand him better than he knows. I don’t resent him for it. I pity him. I pity him because I desperately wanted to show him there’s another way of life. A wanted to give a piece of my serenity. He just wasn’t ready.

So based on my family history what kind of father will I be? A perfect father? No. A “better” father? I don’t know. Like my father and my father’s father I will only be the best father I know how to be, I only hope that one day my son or daughter looks at me and knows that despite all my own personal failings I really did try.

Planning on my long run tomorrow. After my botched long run last week I will be taking my training plan more seriously and alternating extending my distance and cutting back my distance on my long runs each week. Tomorrow will be a cut back long run. I ran a short three miles yesterday just so I can still feel that all this slower longer distance running isn’t mucking up my speed. It went well and I was within a minute of my 3 mile PR which is excellent since I run on a very hilly course meaning my next organized 5k should result in a new PR because organized runs are often on flatter courses. The problem is there is a lack of organized 5k’s here over the summer because it gets so hot. I’m still keeping my eyes open.

Kicking my wife in defense

2013-06-21

We are officially in week 7 of our pregnancy and heading into week 8. My wife’s morning sickness is definitely getting stronger. It’s transitioned from mild nausea and rare vomiting to continual nausea and more frequent vomiting. We are keeping her on the BRAT plan. Or something like that. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. Simple and bland. The cravings have started. For her it’s all about burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, and potatoes. Sounds like my little baby likes carbs and proteins. She hasn’t had any totally bizarre craving yet (but its early).

Last night I kicked my wife. Hard. It wasn’t my fault though. It was a black dog trying to eat my baby. The baby that’s still in my wife you ask? Yes. It was a dream. I dreamed I was walking down the sidewalk with our new baby swaddled in my arms when a black dog came up, bared its teeth, and lunged at the baby in my arms. My father-to-be instincts kicked in and I tried to kick it as hard as I could. No one’s going to hurt my baby.

Of course my valiant defense of my baby in my head resulted in a scream from my wife’s I kicked her pretty hard in the shin. Her scream woke me up just enough to say matter of factly “sorry, for kicking you but a dog was trying to bite our baby.” Then promptly fell back asleep immediately.

Luckily my wife realizes I would never kick her intentionally. She let it go (phew). It’s astounding to me that this little thing in my wife’s tummy (tummy sounds cuter than uterus) has already managed to work it’s way into my head and my subconscious. Already my thoughts and focus are so geared towards this new life that I can’t escape it even in my sleep. Equally amazing is how enraged and desperate I was to protect it, him, her, the baby. It’s really is astounding.

On a running note a friend of mine sent me some other half marathon training plans that are based on distances and duration based runs. Thank goodness. I’ll be starting it next week. I’ve got one of those color run 5k’s coming up at the end of this month. I hardly count it as a real race though since 1. It’s not timed and 2. There are a large contingent of my coworkers who are participating. All but 1 or 2 are not regular runners so I think it’ll be more fun based than competition based. It will still be a lot of fun.

Go Spurs Go.

My Bouncing Black Bag

2013-06-14

Oh joy, oh joy! God has blessed my wife and with a black sack. A black sack high in my wife’s uterus. A black sack high in my wife’s uterus with a white line around it! Yeah!!!

I don’t mean that sarcastically. I’m completely serious. We went for our first sonogram this week. We were both thrilled with the results. I had a very long post all about the visit written while I was in the waiting room but somebody doesn’t have wifi in their office so unfortunately I lost the whole thing.

My wife went back to the exam room first and I got called in afterwards. She promised she would call me if they did a sonogram. When I came into the room it was darkened, my wife was on the exam table, the nurse and the doctor smiled as I entered. “Welcome” the doctor said. My suave response? “Welcome.” Yeah, apparently I was nervous.

“What we have is a baby in the uterus” says the doctor with a long pause. “IS THAT GOOD?!?!?! For Pete’s sake is that good?! Please tell me!” thinks I. I’m just a little gun shy after years of hearing stories of my wife’s online friends who’ve had atopic pregnancies or incompetent cervixes. Luckily everything is just perfect. My baby is a little black sack about a half inch long. It even has a little white line around it which the doctor said was a good thing. I’ll take his word for it. We couldn’t be happier. Both of us were completely ecstatic. I was so excited that even as a middle aged man I read an entire issue of FitPregnancy from cover to cover. I’m pretty excited if you can’t tell. So all is right with the world.

On a running note things are just as good. This morning I ditched the timed running and decided to just do 3 miles to see if I’m getting as slow as I feel when I do a time based run. I’m not. To the contrary, I was within 30 seconds of my 5k PR. That’s amazing for several reasons. One, I run a very very hilly course from my home. I know if I were to get out on a flat course I could bust that old PR right in the teeth. Two, it didn’t feel even remotely close to being that close to my PR. Yes, I felt like I was pushing but not anywhere close to the effort I thought I would have to expend to get that close to my PR.

An awesome run and a baby in my wife’s uterus. Does life get any better?

What do I know about being a dad?

2013-06-10

My wife knows everything. No, I mean like seriously everything. She is a walking Wikipedia. It sounds so weird to call her a walking Wikipedia instead of a walking encyclopedia. Oh, how times have changed. My wife is one of those people who spends close to two hours researching online so she can buy the perfect nail clippers. Seriously, she like knows everything.

I on the other hand know absolutely nothing. Nothing about babies or pregnancy or infants. I barely know enough about conception to get the job done. FMLA, NLRA, Title 7, health care reform, FLSA, horror movies, and a slew of video games? I’m your man. Anything baby related, I know less than nothing. If you are reading this, you probably already know more than me.

The other night at dinner I was expressing my concern (a toned down word that really means abject terror) about not knowing all the things I need to know, and she told me to ask away. Here’s a small sample of the questions I bombarded her with;

How do I change a diaper? Because I’ve never actually done that.
How long before you can get the baby to start using the sign language stuff? Because I’ve seen YouTube videos of that and it looks pretty amazing.
How long before I can take the baby running with me? In the stroller, I don’t expect an infant to keep my pace (even though I am a penguin).
Will I kill the baby if I don’t hold it the right way? Because people at work freak out about supporting the head when they pass around their babies.
How long before it screams “I hate you! You’re ruining my life!”? Because I’m actually looking forward to that.
If the puppy we got last year brought me within a bark of having a psychotic snap because I couldn’t sleep, what are you going to do to insure everyone’s safety when the baby is screaming for months?
How long will it be before you start running again after the baby is born?
Does this mean I can’t go to Vegas every year “for business”? Because work says I have to. Really.
Which one of us is going to be the cool parent and which is going to be the Mom? Because I’m thinking you’re the Mom.
When will he start to talk?
How many times a night will he wake up?
If you wear ear plugs now because of my snoring how will you manage sleeping without ear plugs?
Do you still spray the bottle on your arm to see if its too hot?
How do you warm up the milk? Is it like the movies wear you put it in how water on the stove?
How long before we can have another baby?
What do we have to do make our kid go viral on YouTube? Like giggle or sneeze or come back from the dentist or what?
Will the baby really put a piece of pizza in my PS3 because thats what they do on the TV shows?
How can I keep my PS3 safe?

So you can see I really don’t know anything at all about this whole parenthood, fatherhood, baby daddy thing. I know less than nothing. But hey, at least I admit it. I know some of you are likely to say that I’ll figure it out and I totally get that. I’m just hoping to figure it out pre-pizza-PS3 incident.

Of course now that I think about it a pizza jammed in the PS3 could actually lead to a PS4. Hmmm….maybe this baby thing will work out after all.

We are both excited for our first doctor appointment tomorrow. Early? Yes. But with the miscarriage and my wife’s PCOS we are high risk so we were able to get in early. There’s a potential they may do a sonogram and another potential we might be able to see the baby’s heartbeat. I’ve already been warned by my infertility buddy (see older post) that it might not be there yet and not to freak out if isn’t.

On a running note I’ve had it with the time based running. I went out again this morning and again I felt slow as molasses. More importantly than feeling like molasses I ran like molasses. Sweet, but slow and syrupy. I’m going to have to find a new half marathon training program based on distance and not time. Is it really 5 more days until my next long run? Ugh.