Dear Jackson,

August 29, 2011

And then there were two

Filed under: Uncategorized — aJOHNymous @ 3:01 pm

Dear Kameron,

It’s taken me a long time to start this letter. Sorry about that. In my defense, I’ve spent the last 2.5 weeks on paternity leave from work following your birth, and I simply didn’t have the energy, nor did I have the proper creative juices flowing through my head that would allow me to write this properly. Caring for a newborn, a toddler, and a dog got a bit overwhelming at times. To her credit, your mom seemed to handle it all pretty well for eth most part. Unfortunately, I’m just not the most patient man on Earth. I’m trying to fix that, but it can be difficult at times. But this is all really putting the cart before the horse, so let’s actually take a step back and focus on your entry into this world and the days that followed, in proper order.

***

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 was just another day. We went to work, we came home, we did our typical evening routine, and then we both sat down to relax after Jackson went to bed. It wasn’t long before your mom packed it in and headed to bed herself, so when she did, I popped down to the basement and surfed the internet for a while. My typical evening internet routine involves reading movie blogs, watching movie trailers, reading film blogs and forums, and lurking film forums. Sense a trend here? Before I knew it, it was 11pm and I heard your mom get up and start moving around upstairs. I figured she was just going to the bathroom until I heard her call down to me from the top of the stairs.

She was having contractions, and she had been having them since around 6 that evening, and now they were becoming more frequent. Since I knew we were pretty much prepared for this (your due date was only a few days away), I stayed calm and told her to go back to bed and we’d wait a few hours just make sure it was the real thing. So she went and laid back down and I came to bed and just listened to my iPod for a bit. Eventually, she decided to take a bath to see if that would either stop the contractions or speed them up. I guess it really ramped things up because when she got out, she was confident that this was the real deal, and that you were on your way.

I think it was about 2:30am when we decided we should probably head to the hospital. Your mom called her parents to come and watch Jackson and the dog while we were gone and when they arrived, we took off.

At this point, the contractions were coming hard and fast and every few minutes your mom tensed up and it got difficult for her to speak. That said, the car ride to the hospital was much easier and less stressful than the ride we took over two years ago for your brother’s birth. We knew what was going on this time and we were full prepared, so everything just sort of felt right. Even though the contractions were making your mom uncomfortable, I think she’d probably agree that there was far less stress involved this time around because this everything that was happening was completely normal and to be expected.

When we got to the hospital, we got your mom situated in a room and hooked up to the proper equipment to monitor your heart rate, and then we waited.

And we waited.

And we waited.

Unfortunately for all of us, the contractions began to slow down after several hours. They were still incredibly intense, but just coming at more infrequent intervals. We were faced with a decision whether or not to go back home and wait it out, or to stay at the hospital and wait it out. If we went home, we’d have to go through the whole admitting process all over again when she felt she was ready to come back. With that thought hanging in our heads, we decided to stick it out and see if we couldn’t speed things up ourselves. Your mom remembered that the hot bath she took several hours prior was what really jumpstarted everything in the first place so she went ahead and jumped in the shower in our hospital room and hoped that would help.

It did…sort of.

This is the part that may gross you out, but it’s integral to the story here, so heads up—

The contractions became a bit more frequent and intense, but the biggest problems were that your mom wasn’t dilated enough yet for actual pushing labor, and her water had not yet broken. So we were faced with yet another decision: wait it out or “encourage” labor by manually breaking her water. It’s important to remember here that your mom was still 100% striving for as natural a labor as possible. No epidural, no hardcore pain mends, and no medical intervention—such as manually breaking the water bag. But at this point, we had already been at the hospital for over 9 hours and waiting for her to dilate further was taking an incredibly long time.

After talking it over for a bit, we decided to go ahead and have her doctor manually break the water bag. It wasn’t super-intrusive—save for the long chopstick the doctor would have to use to pop the water bag—and it would allow everything to really start moving along much quicker. Like her doc mentioned earlier, it was simply a way to “encourage” the real labor to begin. If that was the only artificial intervention we would need this time, then it seemed like our best option so we went for it.

So at about noon, we pulled the trigger. It took all of 5 seconds for her doc to do what she needed to do, and then the dam broke, as I so eloquently put it in a status update on Facebook.

And then we began waiting again. After a few more hours of waiting and checking the dilation progress, nurses began prepping the room with all of the necessary birthing and delivery equipment. Slowly, but surely, we were getting closer to the moment of truth.

At about 5:30 or so, the room was good to go, and your mom’s doctor basically gave us the ‘go for launch’ signal. A little bit after 6pm, your mom started the actual push labor process. I started out standing next to her and holding a leg as she pushed through the contractions, but after a few uncomfortable minutes, I think one of the nurses realized it would probably be a better idea if I was off to the side and just watched. I definitely belt more comfortable as an observer than I did when I was attempting to help. Thankfully, the nurses were all really helpful and definitely kept the mood calm and under control during the labor. I stood up by your mom’s head and kept one hand on my camera and another holding the side of the bed in a sort of death grip. I was asked if I wanted to come down and see you as you began making your entrance, but I declined. I’m not a super squeamish person; I just preferred not to look. No big deal.

It seemed like the actual labor was over pretty quickly. I think it was only about 30-45 minutes into it when one of the nurses told me to get my camera ready. I turned it on just in time to get an over the shoulder [of your mom] shot of you making your entry into the world. Officially, you were born at 6:53pm, about 15 hours after we had arrived at the hospital.

As you arrived, I felt my eyes get a bit misty, but I was able to hold back tears, unlike when your older brother was born. I think it was because the stress was almost nonexistent for your birth. As they held you up, they announced your gender and asked your mom if she wanted to cut the cord. She politely deferred the responsibility to me and I was able to cut the cord with one hand and keep filming with the other. It was quite a moment to be the person who actually gave you your independence on this planet. I didn’t see it that way at the time, but I do now. At the time, it was just really great that I was able to actually do make that cut, rather than how they had me do it for your brother.

Anyway, after you were literally severed from your mom, they immediately put you in her arms and began cleaning you off. It was that moment that I realized our three (and ½ if you include Dyson) had now become four. Jackson was no longer an only child, and he would likely never remember what it was like to be one, either. Your mom and I had now done something neither of our parents had done or would ever be able to do. Two only children had just produced a second child. We now had sons, children and multiple car seats. So many new plurals had just been introduced into our once singular-dominated vocabulary. And then the final ‘holy shit’ word hit me: brothers. It’s kind of a weird way to look at it, but that’s what went through my head as I saw you lying there in your mom’s arms.

Thankfully, you didn’t go too long without a name as we had come to a decision the day before. The nurses asked if we had a name picked out and your mom replied, “This is Kameron.” I’ll go on record here and say we had one hell of a time coming up with a boy’s name that we both liked, while we settled on a girl’s name pretty quickly. I’m not sure why that is, but we had a hell of time settling on your brother’s name as well. Anyway, had you been a girl, we would have named Keira Grace. I still think it’s a really nice name, but I digress.

The next hour or so involved cleaning you up, sucking out all the fluid from your lungs and running the usual tests to make sure there were no issues to be concerned about. I tried to record a fair amount of it because I think you’ll get a kick out of watching it one day. In my peripheral, I could just barely make out the scene of your mom getting tended to by her doctor and nurses. I was trying not to look too closely because my peripheral view was catching a lot of red as well as a giant hook. I just sort of help my position over you as you were taken care of and tried to pretend that the horror movie behind my back wasn’t happening.

And then within an hour or so of your birth, you were wrapped up, dressed up, and attempting to nurse from your mother. Our experience with your birth was the polar opposite of the one we had when your brother was born. It was so much easier and less stressful. Everything went according to plan. It was such a refreshing change of pace from the first time. It was just more relieving than anything else.

We spent the first night trying to get you to nurse. Well, that’s your mom spent it. I was on the couch, half in and out of sleep due to exhaustion. I have no idea how your mom was able to handle it all. If I was tired, I can’t imagine how she must’ve been feeling. I went home the next morning to change clothes and let the dog out. Unlike my first trip home after your brother was born, I didn’t turn into a weeping mess while eating a sandwich. I simply made sure everything was ready for your arrival and headed back to the hospital.

Your Grandma also stopped by to meet you and brought Jackson along as well. Up until you were born, he’d been pointing to your mom’s stomach and saying, “baby”, but now, we actually had an actual baby to show him. I think he was a bit confused at first but eventually I think he started to figure it out. He was saying hi, waving, and then he even gave you a few hugs and kisses and for good measure. It was pretty interesting to watch as he really took all this in and tried to process what it meant. You guys are brothers now. It still trips me out just to say that out loud. You’re both so lucky and you have no idea. I truly hope that you both grow up with a healthy love for one another. It would kill me if you grew up hating each other and fighting all of the time. Brotherly quarrels aren’t anything to worry about. It’s the possibility that you two could grow up disliking each other that scares the hell out of me. You’ll never realize just how lucky you are to have each other. Take it from me, an only child who always wish he had a sibling: love each other as brothers. Please.

I can see that I’m starting to get a bit preachy again so let’s move on…

We were able to leave the hospital about a day and half later and spend the rest of the weekend at home with only a few friends and family showing up to meet you, which was nice because were all still exhausted. The first few nights were the worst, mostly for your mom. Trying to get you to adhere to a normal sleep at night schedule is not easy. Almost a month later, we’re still having quite a few issues. That said, it doesn’t seem as bad with you as it was for Jackson. Likely because you were on time, and he was six weeks early.

I have to be honest with you here. The two weeks your mom and I had off work were extremely stressful and long. While we were extremely excited to bring you home and insert you into our daily lives, we were still a bit unprepared for the amount of work it would be to look after an energetic toddler, a rambunctious golden retriever, and a newborn baby. Lack of sleep simply compounded our issues. We tried to get out of the house as much as possible, but it was quite difficult to manage everyone’s eating and sleeping schedules to allow us enough time to get out of the house for a bit. We did spend a few days outside of the house, but it still got really claustrophobic at times. It doesn’t help that I’m not exactly the most patient person in the world. I’m trying my best, but every day brings with it new difficulties.

I think Jackson started to get a little jealous when he realized he was no longer the center of attention. Dyson started to act out too after we’d brought Jackson home two years ago, so this was sort of the same thing, but not really. Your brother started to misbehave a bit more than usual in order to try and get attention so that only added to my growing impatience. I understand why he suddenly pours milk all over the floor, but that’s no excuse to continue doing it. It can be tough. Dyson tends to act out in similar ways in order to get attention. He’ll grab shoes from eth bedroom and then hide behind the couch and just lick them continuously. It’s pretty disgusting. I’ve been trying to take him on walks every night, but I know he’s still a bit jealous and feels neglected. On the plus side, he seems to enjoy you for the most part. He does the same thing with you that he did with Jackson, and that involves a lot of licking. Sorry, Kameron. I guess you guys taste just as good as shoes.

Honestly, I was ready to go back to work after a few days. I hate to say that, but like I mentioned earlier; it just got so claustrophobic and my patience wore thin pretty quickly. It was great to get to spend more time with you guys, but I do appreciate my routine. There really isn’t too much to say about the rest of those days off. One funny incident did involve poop, though. You crapped on your brother in the bathtub, and then you crapped some more on your mom as she carried you to the bedroom in a towel. Nice job, buddy.

So this is where we are today and where we’re likely to be at for several months to come. We have a rambunctious toddler who craves attention, a newborn baby who does nothing but eat, sleep, and poop, and a dog that licks shoes and eats his own fur. This is our life now. Sometimes I still don’t believe it. I have kids. It still blows my mind when I see it written down or when I say it out loud.

One month later and I’m still trying to digest it all.

Welcome to Earth, Kameron. I’ll do my best to make sure you have a great time here.

Love,
Dad

July 6, 2011

Has it really been two years already?

Filed under: 1 year-old - 2 years-old — aJOHNymous @ 2:18 pm

We just put you to bed about an hour ago and now I’m lying in bed trying to figure out a way to properly start this letter. I was hoping to start it sooner, but work got in the way. Stupid work. Anyway, it’s hard to believe that in just about two hours, you’ll officially be two years old. I try to look back on that night and it’s already a bit hazy. I have to rely more and more on the information that I put in my very first letter to you. It’s not that I’m intentionally trying to forget, it’s more like life has really been pretty fast lately and I haven’t really had as much time to focus on memory construction. Regardless, you’re two now and I think you had a pretty nice birthday.

I can’t really speak to most of the day (I worked from home and you went to work with your mom) but I was told you joyfully received a balloon and a cupcake at some point during the day. I was able to meet up with you, your mom, and her parents for dinner, though, so that was nice. Afterward we took you out to get some ice cream and then we got you ready for bed. It was a pretty low-key birthday, but that’s only because your mom has another bash set up for you this Saturday. A fair amount of friends and family will be stopping over to enjoy a taco bar and celebrate your second year of pants-shitting. It should be a pretty good time. Spoiler alert: you’re getting a huge swing set for the backyard.

Today also marks the last big holiday for you as an only child. You’re less than a month away from becoming something your mom and I will never get to experience: you’re going to be a big brother to a little brother or sister. No more spoiled only child treatment for you, buddy. You’re going to have to learn to share pretty quickly. I imagine it’ll be quite difficult for you to get used to the fact that you’re no longer the center of attention, but I really hope you come around sooner rather than later. That’s really my biggest concern; that you’ll get jealous and act out. The terrible two have arrived and I’m seriously frightened of what that could potentially mean for us. But that’s another bridge we’ll have to cross when we get there. For now, we’re still preparing for the impending arrival.

I should also mention that your mom had her last ultrasound today and everything is looking great. The baby is in the proper position and he/she is measuring and weighing pretty much right on target. To put it a bit simpler: we’re at a go for launch. Yikes. This is actually happening. It probably won’t fully hit me until I’m standing in the delivery room and I hear that familiar first cry of life. And that thought is what stifles my fear and makes me smile.

And just so I can have this on record—we’re nearly settled on names. We definitely have the girl’s name picked out and we’re almost in agreement on a boy’s name. We want to avoid having another child born and living with the name Baby Poppe for the first few days of his/her life (sorry about that, Jackson). I have to admit that I think we learned a lot from you and these last two years have been quite eye-opening. Not to say you’re a pain in the ass or anything, it just seems like we’re so much better prepared for your sibling to arrive than we were for you. We know what works and what doesn’t now so we should be able to handle issues a bit easier than with you. But like I already mentioned, that’s going to take a bit of help from you as well. You’re going to need to realize that the new baby means less time with your mom, and more time with me. I have little doubt that it’ll be difficult for you, but we’ll handle it. I think it’ll probably help you and I get closer. We’ve already had to put you back in a pack & play at night because we were all so desperate for sleep. You just weren’t ready for a big boy bed yet. But you know what? That’s a lesson we can use to better gauge when you’re sibling is ready to make that transition so in a way, it all works out in the long run.

So with all of that said, I just want to wish you a happy second birthday, son. It’s been a wonderful two years so far and I look forward to watching you grow up. I find that it’s happening at a much quicker pace now, and that does sadden me a bit. But soon enough we’ll be able to do all the fun stuff that I’ve been dreaming of doing with my son since before you were even born. It’s all uphill from here, kid. Just wait until we watch Star Wars together for the first time. Maybe we’ll do that for your fourth or fifth birthday. We’ll see.

Happy birthday, Jackson. I love you, son.

Love,
Dad

PS – I just realized that this could be my last letter to you before your sibling arrives. If so, then I hope this letter proves a fitting conclusion to Part 1 of this epic tome of letters to my children. As I lie here in bed, I can’t help but wonder when I’ll start Part 2 and how I’ll open that first letter. Luck for you, all you have to do is turn the page to find out. But as of this moment, as these words leave my mind, flow throw my fingers, and arrive on the glowing screen in front of me, the next page has not yet been written. I just see a blinking cursor and a lot of empty white space to fill…

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.