Welcoming 0.9 into this crazy world

0.9 reached two months old Friday, and to say life has changed would be the understatement of the decade. He isn’t the reason I’ve been horrible about posting on this blog. The blog I actually get paid for is to blame for that, and all is well on that front now. But no matter how many friends, friends of friends, relatives, or random numb nuts tell you what a dramatic change your life undergoes when you welcome a baby into the household, you have to experience it yourself to truly grasp it.

0.9 about to leave the hospital

The obvious moment you never forget is the moment when you hold your child for the first time. But I have a few other moments that really stuck out for me, and that I think about constantly.

0.9 decided it would be a good idea to spend his time in the womb with his head opposite where it needed to be and grabbing his feet, so unfortunately, we had to go the C-section route. It’s hard to find good things about surgery, but the only good thing about C-sections is that the unpredictability is removed as far as timing.

On that note, the first moment I’ll never forget is getting into the car at 5:45 a.m. on a Sunday to drive to the hospital for the delivery. Even though the moment was in the works for, oh, about nine months, the enormity of it struck me when we were physically leaving to actually go and do this.

The second unforgettable moment for me was the few minutes I spent standing outside of the operating room, in scrubs, while they prepped Mrs. 9 for the operation. It’s the only time the father is alone in the process, and I couldn’t have been standing out there for much more than five minutes, but it seriously felt like an hour-and-a-half. My nerves were at an all-time high at that point.

The procedure was very quick, and not that I would have looked anyway, but mother and father are behind a curtain so we can’t see what’s going on. Suddenly, I heard a cry that sounded more like a yelp, and one of the nurses handed me a baby — our baby. This is everyone’s big moment for a reason. There is no way to describe this moment that can possibly do it justice, so I’m not even going to try.

Moment No. 4 came shortly thereafter, when Mrs. 9 went to recovery, and I stayed with 0.9. He started crying and, when I tried to comfort him, he grabbed onto my finger and held on tightly, for what seemed like hours but was probably only minutes. It almost felt like someone was trying to send me a message: You have a son now.

Moments No. 5 and 6 were very similar. I stayed at home the night before Mrs. 9 and 0.9 were discharged, mostly to keep the cats company, as they had been alone for most of the past three days, but also to try to get one last good night of sleep. So moment No. 5 was when I got in the car that morning and realized I was driving to go pick up our child, and moment No. 6 was when I pulled the car up to the front of the hospital after we were discharged, and we strapped 0.9 into the car seat for the very first time.

I am running about two months behind, but now that I’m no longer flying solo at work, I will hopefully have time to begin writing regularly again, and 0.9 is a constant source of topics, as he keeps us entertained every day, Stay tuned.

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I don’t think I got a 4.0 in my classes for 0.9

In addition to soaking in advice from friends and family on our upcoming addition, my wife and I have taken three classes, covering the actual birth process, infant care, and breast feeding. I’ve definitely learned a lot, but there were also a few things that made me chuckle.

I would not be shocked if 0.9 does this

The birthing class included a few documentary-style videos of actual births. God bless the women who agreed to participate, because, while most males are smart enough to not even try to act like we know what women are going through while giving birth, I wouldn’t want a camera anywhere near me if I were going through about 10% of the discomfort involved.

The instructor tried to show a balanced selection of videos, including natural childbirth, giving birth with medication, and the dreaded C-section, and she also showed both relatively easy and very difficult births. Yet one of the participants in the class felt that the videos were skewed toward persuading mothers-to-be to choose the medication. So the instructor picked one more video of a natural childbirth to show the class.

This video was sort of laughable. There was nothing physically remarkable about the subject — she wasn’t particularly young or old, and didn’t seem to be either athletic (yes, pregnant women gain weight, duh, but they still keep some of their muscle tone), or non-athletic. Yet, when she began to deliver, her baby came out in exactly three pushes.

Seriously? Three pushes? She should have headed straight for the nearest casino, because luck like that is beyond crazy. I turned to my wife and told her she got a maximum of five pushes, and then I was heading to the bar. She did not appreciate that. I don’t know why.

When we took the infant care class, we got some advice that I’ve also heard from my friends who recently became parents: Use the last few weeks before the due date to get all of the sleep you can get. I don’t agree with this.

Everyone’s body is different, but I have found that my body does not have the ability to bank sleep. On the rare occasion when I have a Saturday or Sunday with nothing going on and the cats leave me the hell alone and let me sleep until 1 or 2 in the afternoon, I definitely feel more refreshed, but it only makes a difference for about a half-day. It’s not like a good, 15-hour slumber powers me up for the week. The effects are very short-term.

So, my philosophy runs completely counter to all of the advice. I am taking these last few weeks to get in as much fun as I can, because I know that when 0.9 becomes a reality, opportunities to go out drinking, play softball, go to Yankees games, and things of that sort will be nonexistent for quite some time, and limited thereafter. In the words of the great Warren Zevon, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” And after my wife reads this blog, I may be getting some sleep pretty soon!

Our last class covered breast feeding, and one of the mothers-to-be cracked me up. She asked more questions than everyone else combined, which was fine, because they were actually good, relevant questions, and not, “Can I give my baby jet fuel if I want to make sure he doesn’t sleep too long?”

What made me laugh was that every single one of her questions was aimed at helping her achieve one goal: having her husband feed the baby. It was comical. This woman seemed like she could not wait to hand her husband their baby and a bottle, and head out on the town.

Again, as a male who likes to avoid getting shoes thrown at him, I will not try to pretend I know anything about how much work breast-feeding is, or how draining it is for mothers, but I have a feeling her husband is in for an interesting ride. I hope he was paying attention.

We are one day closer to the arrival of 0.9. Wow.