Trying to find time to document an exciting time in life

Some Initial Thoughts

I have always found value in journaling. I think journaling is important for a number of reasons. You get to think through life as it happens, documenting specific details about events in life, recounting the good, the bad, and the ugly about what it is like to live life in this world. Hopefully through thoughtful journaling you learn from your past mistakes and think of ways to better yourself for future interactions, situations, and decisions. I have also found that the seasons in life in which I have the most time to journal, I really don’t have that much to write about. The times in which I feel I desperately need to be journaling are also the times in which I don’t have a minute to spare. I guess that’s just how it works.

Right now would be one of the times that I think it is really important to be journaling. I’m a new dad. Micah is already five weeks old. I feel like I am running either at a million miles an hour, or I’m sitting down in a chair holding my new son so that he will not cry. It’s really either one or the other. Right now he is sleeping right next to me in his little co-sleeper bed. (And he’s SO cute.)

People’s Reactions

I seemingly often write about people’s questions and conversations about things like Micah on my blog, so I might as well keep that going. I guess I should stop being amazed by how everyone seems to respond the same way and ask the same questions. But it still happens all the time.

For instance, Sarah and I went to a couple stores a little while ago. Micah wasn’t really going for sitting in his carseat in the cart, so I picked him up and carried him on my chest as we walked around. Every woman who passed by would say something along the lines of, “AWWWW!!! He’s so TINY! How old is he?” And I would respond, “Oh he’s about three weeks.” “Three weeks! He so cute. Enjoy him while he is this little. They grow up so fast.”

Then people proceed to give me some discouraging fact about how once he’s a little older he’ll be a terror and a hassle. One woman even said, “Enjoy him while he’s that little. I have two grandsons around four years old, and they’re just hell.”

“Ok, I’ll try and keep that in mind.” I said, as I kind of awkwardly smiled, yet probably showed my displeasure with her statement.

Then she smiled and said, “Alright, well, have a good day!”

But this is a common thing. People will comment on how cute or small Micah is and then give a warning about how it is only going to get worse. Thanks, everyone.

Traveling with Micah

Sarah and I traveled to the Omaha, Nebraska area to go visit my extended family. We drove there from Chicago. We really did not know what to expect from little Micah. Would he travel well? He still eats about every hour and a half, and we didn’t know if he’d like sitting in his carseat for such an extended time. But thank goodness babies really seem to like riding in cars. As long as we are moving, Micah seems to have no problem riding along in his carseat (assuming he is also not hungry). So traveling the seven and a half hours was really not a problem at all. (Although, once in the middle of nowhere Illinois we had to stop in the median of the interstate to feed Micah.)

Changing Micah in the car is also harder than one might originally think. As Sarah was changing him once, she was needing something from the front seat, and as I was getting it to give to her Micah let his fountain of youth flow while Sarah was holding him.

Grandmas and Storytelling

I was born in Omaha, Nebraska and most of my family still lives in the area. I rarely get to spend time with my extended family because I live in Chicago, and previously in Indianapolis. It really is a shame, because I do love spending time with them every time I have had the chance. Because Micah is the first new family member in quite awhile, Sarah and I decided it would be a good idea to introduce him to the whole family.

On my mother’s side Micah is the first great-grandson for my grandma. This is special for my grandma, because I was the first-born of my mother, who was also her first-born. This grandma lives very nice independent living facility for retired folks. Sarah, Micah, and I stayed in the guest room on the second floor. It is a very nice facility. Although, I was really hoping that it was nice enough to have walls that silenced Micah’s crying throughout the night every time he needed to be fed. I bet newborn cries are not something that those living in an independent living facility really expect to hear at three in the morning.

It was fun to spend some time with my grandma. It has actually been a few years since I had last seen her. She is definitely getting older, but she still loves telling stories. And to her credit, she really is an amazing storyteller. She has spent much of her older life as a volunteer nurse at the VA hospital. She was originally a nurse in the army and met my grandfather, who was a dentist, at Fort Knox before going to Korea for the Korean war. She loves telling stories about day to day life and the people she runs into. Some of her stories are hilarious. For example, she talked about a time she was volunteering at the Union Pacific Museum when the Prince of Monaco visited. She went on and on about how great he smelled. She just couldn’t get over how great he smelled. As she hugged him, she held him close for a longer than probably comfortable amount of time so that she could smell his wonderfully aromatic neck.

That is one example, but this time she seemed more reminiscent of the the past. She is the youngest of 11 children, and she grew up in North Carolina. She still carries some of that classic North Carolina racism throughout her stories. But even though it is quite uncomfortable to hear, it is a part of her story. But this visit she told Sarah and I stories about growing up around a prayer warrior named “Aunt Annie” from her childhood. She was one of those people that when you asked her to pray, you know she would and you know God would listen. She told us two stories about her older brothers who lived and fought during World War II. Stories like these are priceless. It was so wonderful sitting with my grandma, as she held my newborn son, and hearing her tell the story about why my Great Uncle Ernest always whistles. My grandmother tells stories in a meandering, twisting and turning kind of way. She might get sidetracked here and there, but every detail is interesting and descriptively told. And, she always finds her way back to what she was talking about initially.

This is just one of my two Grandmothers. My other Grandmother is still alive as well, and she is definitely still kicking. She’s almost 94 years old and is also still a great storyteller. This is especially true as she recounts stories about her husband, who died about a year before I was born. Although she is in her nineties, my Grandmother is reconciled with her age. She is okay with where she is in life. To listen to her story and how she has made friends at this point in life is quieting. I don’t really know of another way of saying it. When I listen to her, I simply feel that I should be quiet and listen. And she has a good humor still. She joked about the election and said that I don’t have to wonder whether or not she is liberal, I can simply tell by her age.

I love my grandmothers. I am saddened that I don’t get to sit at their feet more often just to listen to their recounting of life experiences. Sometimes their opinions are strong, and I don’t have to agree with everything they say, but I love just sitting and listening to them. They have a lot to say, and I think the stories of their generation aren’t heard very much anymore. Hearing their stories are better than reading a book.

Family

I love visiting my family. It really is a shame that I rarely get to see my family. When I see movies or shows which depict families that get to spend time with each other frequently I am a bit jealous. Granted, these days I can keep up with my family pretty well due to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We all keep up with each other’s public lives and it brings a sense of connectedness, but we really don’t get to be a part of each other’s lives. And I really feel that is kind of a shame.

It was great to visit with the new member of the family, though. And after spending a weekend with my family it really just showed Sarah and I how loved Micah is, and he’ll really never know. Everyone in our family got to hold him and love on him. My grandmothers were so happy just to hold him.

These are just snippets of things that I have been thinking about, and this is basically a journal entry more than anything else.

On Being a Dad

On Being a Dad

“Are you getting any sleep?”

That is the question that seemingly every person I come in contact with asks. What do you think? We have a newborn at home who eats every two hours.

No, no. I get it. I probably look like a walking zombie. It’s fine. I am just always amazed how everyone always asks the same questions at different stages of life. It’s quite remarkable, really. When I was engaged, people always asked when the date of marriage was. Then the second question they asked is where we were going for our honeymoon. When I was married and in a different location from my wife for about a year everyone said, “Oh! That must be SO hard! How do you do it?”

People are all the same. They ask all the same questions.

In other news, Micah is here. I am a dad. And it is amazing.

It’s interesting. I had months to ponder and think about what he was going to look like. Will he have hair? (Yes). Will he have my fingers? (Yes). Will he have chubby cheeks and thighs? (YES!). All the initial questions are answered in just a few seconds after birth.

(Side note: I really didn’t know whether or not I’d be interested in seeing anything of the labor. You know, like the blood and stuff. In my mind I thought everything was going to look like a civil war battlefield. Moans and screams, blood and organs. I thought it would be a bustling place of chaos with nurses rushing around awaiting the birth of Micah. In reality, however, everything was quite calm. The midwife came in with her Starbucks and was quite relaxed and nonchalant. “Let’s have this baby!” I held one of Sarah’s legs and felt like I was an intimate part of the delivery process. I wasn’t grossed out. I wasn’t overwhelmed. It just felt natural. I felt like this is the way things should be. Sarah was doing a phenomenal job, and Micah came in under 25 minutes.)

The weird thing, though, is even though I had a newborn son – a beautiful and precious baby – and I could see that he had my fingers and toes, he had Sarah’s hair, he had a cute little nose, I really didn’t know who this little guy was. I mean, I didn’t know what his personality was like. Does he have a personality? Who is he? All I know is that he is mine. He is my son. I love him to death.

One thing I realize is how blessed Sarah and I are. Sarah had a perfect pregnancy. Literally no issues at all. She had the normal morning sickness at first, had a great second trimester, and was a bit uncomfortable towards the end. She worked full-time throughout her entire pregnancy. (Sarah is amazing and a tremendously hard worker). We also had the perfect labor and delivery. Her water broke at 2:30 am (I had been asleep for like 15 minutes…) and she started keeping track of her contractions that followed right afterwards. She relaxed, took a shower, ate a bunch of food, and laid down for a while before we called the midwife and told her that Micah was coming. We stayed and relaxed at home (I couldn’t sleep, so I just played Madden 13 until it was time to go…) until about 7:15am. We got to the hospital at 7:45am and got a room soon thereafter.

Sarah progressed pretty quickly. Her midwife commented on how much Sarah was smiling and was in a good mood. But if you know Sarah, you know that she’s wanted this baby for like, well, ever. This was the greatest day of Sarah’s life. She was finally going to have a baby! I will say, I was pretty pumped as well.

Sarah is a trooper, though. She was going to take a relaxing bath at the hospital to help her through her contractions, but by the time the tub had been filled up with the appropriate temperature of water she was 8cm dilated. If she was going to get an epidural, now was the time before it would be too late. Although Sarah had been doing tremendously through her contractions (she really hadn’t made much more than a wimper) she didn’t know how bad they might get, so she played it safe and got the epidural. (The midwife said she could have done it without, judging by how well she had been doing). Sarah got the epidural, which was somewhat of a process in and of itself. The midwife came and said she was going to grab some lunch and when she came back it’d be time to have the baby.

The midwife was right. By the time she came back, Sarah was ready to have the baby. The midwife took off her jewelry, and put on some gloves and it was off to the races. But everything was so calm. Everything felt very natural. The midwife carried on a nice casual conversation in between contractions. During the contractions she was overflowing with positive compliments of Sarah and her ability to push Micah into this world. It was quite amazing. Sarah was clearly so happy. I couldn’t believe how well she was doing. Afterwards I told her how proud of her I was. It was so cool to be with her.

The midwife told me to tell Sarah what I saw. “I see LOTS of hair!” I told her. Then, within minutes Micah made his entrance into this world. He gurgled a bit. But soon came the cry that I had longed to hear for months and months. I cut the umbilical cord and then they quickly gave Micah over to Sarah to hold. And those are probably some of the most precious moments I have ever experienced in my life. To see Sarah’s face as she looked at Micah for the first time. I took pictures, and I’ll get around to posting them sometime soon, but I was tearing up for sure. (I am now…)

But everything went well. Basically, it went perfectly well. He weighed in at 7 lb 10 oz and had no issues. His heart was beating strong, his lungs sounded great. There he was. His first diaper on, his feet stamped for record, and then he was given to me.

Amazing. Others have explained this feeling as floating through the hospital room. I understood what they meant. It’s pretty surreal. It’s like you don’t know what to feel. It’s an emotion that doesn’t have a name. It’s an emotion that in 26 years of life I’d never felt before.

I’m a dad.

So yes, I have friends who have had miscarriages. I have friends that have lost their newborns. Horribly sad stories. Sarah and I do not take all this for granted. We are extremely thankful for this wonderful child and that all has gone so smoothly up to this point.

And Micah is a wonderful child. He sleeps well. He’s incredibly cute. He learned to breast feed very well, and he eats a lot. He only cries when he needs to eat or has gas. He is wonderful. And we are very thankful.

On the way home from the hospital I asked Sarah to pray for Micah and to thank God for everything. There is just so much to be thankful for. It took basically the whole 35 minute trip back to our apartment to thank God for all the blessings he’s given us with Micah. We have a wonderful support network. We have wonderful family members and friends who love us and are nearly as excited as we are for Micah.

Micah is now 11 days old. Sarah and I are still learning who this little guy is. We do know that he loves to sleep on his stomach. And he seems to really only like to sleep when someone is holding him. This can be hard in the middle of the night because you’re not supposed to sleep with the baby. Sarah has always talked about not sleeping with baby in the bed. But he just wouldn’t sleep on his own. Sarah decided to get a baby bed that goes in our bed so that we could comfort him when he starts to cry while we are in bed. It has it’s own little mattress and it has little side rails to keep pillows and things from coming into his area and suffocating or smothering him.

He also only likes sleeping on his stomach. This is like the number one thing they tell you at the hospital and at doctor visits. “Make sure that he sleeps on his back as opposed to on his stomach.” That was no problem for Sarah. I’ve heard nothing but the importance of such things from Sarah for years because she did a report on sleeping positions and SIDS when she was in college.

But Micah won’t sleep on his back. Now what?

Sarah was a bit distraught about this at first. But after asking on Facebook, we realized that we are not the first parents to have this issue arise. Nearly everyone’s response has been, “Oh yeah! We had the same thing. We just let him/her sleep on her stomach.”

So college papers and other convictions have been thrown out the window, and we just cautiously allow Micah to sleep on his stomach in his co-sleeper bed in our bed. So much for education.

I had been warned about little boys who when changing their diaper like to turn on the “fountain of youth.” (That’s what my friends and I have dubbed these occurrences). It has happened to me twice so far (but it hasn’t happened to Sarah. What gives, Micah?) When it happened I totally wasn’t prepared for it.

“WHOAH, WHOAH, WHOOOOAAAH!” I yelled the first time it happened.

Sarah was shocked, “What!? What happened?!”

“He just peed… EVERYWHERE!”

Now I must admit, it was pretty impressive how far that little fire hose of his shot. My guess was a good six or so feet.

Of course some of it got on me. But it wasn’t the first time he got me. The day before he had a loose fitting diaper that allowed for a steady stream to get me all over (somehow) both sides of my pants. I had been christened by my son. I felt I was officially a dad. Welcome to the club, so to speak.

Micah was born into a family in which his father happens to love NFL football. More specifically, Cowboys football. And Peyton Manning football. The Sunday before Micah was born, Peyton Manning had made his return to the NFL with the Denver Broncos. He played like the Peyton of old, picking apart the Steeler defense. It was great to watch. So much fun.

Micah was born on a Monday afternoon. That meant that he got to watch Monday Night Football with me. Not only that, Peyton Manning was playing against the Atlanta Falcons. Yay! I explained who Peyton Manning was and told him that he was the best quarterback ever to play the game. Then, in the first quarter Peyton Manning threw three picks in like a matter of five minutes. It was pretty embarrassing. I told Micah, “Micah, now that is NOT good football. I’m sorry.”

But the thing about Micah being born this season is that there is always a Thursday night game, too. So we never go more than 72 hours without NFL. It’s been pretty great. But he usually goes to bed early with mom, so he doesn’t get to see the whole thing anyway. So he missed the most ridiculous call in NFL history on Monday night. At least I’ll be able to say when they show that clip forever and ever from now until eternity that he was just one week old when that happened. 🙂

Well, being a parent is pretty cool. It’s a privilege. It carries with it a lot of responsibility. But I’m loving it thus far. Looking forward to the journey, for sure. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to write about in the future. But as for now, I’ll just enjoy the moments when he is this small. I probably should be editing some of his pictures.

Are you still in there, Micah???

My wife looks very pregnant. Not in a bad way. Just the way you look when you’re 40 weeks pregnant. And that’s where she’s at. Today is the official due date of little Micah. However, he really shows no signs of being interested in being a part of this world. Although I might understand the sentiment, Sarah and I feel that he should come now. He’s been in there long enough.

Honestly, I was a little worried that he’d come yesterday, on September 11th. I know it was 11 years ago, but you know…who wants their birthday to be on an anniversary of a horrible tragedy? It was also weird to think that the 20 year anniversary would be his 9th birthday. But he did not come. So, I guess there’s that.

Hard to believe it’s been 40 weeks though. I’ve been on call for the potential text or call from Sarah telling me she’s in labor for about three weeks now. Every text I would get in week 37 I would think, “OH! Sarah’s in labor!”

Nope. Just a text from Sarah asking what I wanted for dinner.

So I’ve been on call so long now, that when I get a text I anticipate it to be something unimportant, as usual. As we get closer and closer to when Micah will be born I’m starting to lose the sense of imminancy that I felt for these past few weeks. Is this really going to happen or not? Is Sarah really pregnant? Is Micah really still in there?

Sarah assures me that he is definitely in there.

I don’t know. I’ve never really experienced something like this before. I mean, nothing in my life right now is different than what it has been like for really the past eight or so years. Perhaps more specifically, in the last two years of being married. Nothing really has been this life altering. But the birth of my first born child will be. There’s really no way around it. My life will be completely different. Today I can lounge about, read a book for a while, check Facebook, play Madden, go to class, hang out downtown. It doesn’t matter. But once the baby comes, that is no longer true. Everything will really revolve around him.

People’s reactions and questions are funny. Over and over people keep asking me when they see me around, “You a dad yet?” or “Has the baby come yet?” — but if they see me, that most likely means that my baby has not come. But I understand. Who knows how committed I am to coming to class? And who knows if the baby came last Friday or something? I can forgive people for that.

What is really strange is when people ask Sarah, “Has the baby come?!” Or, “No baby yet?!” or “Are you still pregnant?”

Either Sarah and I have the most incredibly unobservant friends in the world, or people just don’t know how to respond when they see Sarah is still ridiculously pregnant.

After a woman asked Sarah the other day, “Are you still pregnant!?” Sarah acted offended and said, “Uhh! NO!!”

The woman only could respond with a blank stare.

Sarah is beginning to think that she’s eventually just going to have to be induced. That’s not too uncommon for 1st time pregnancies. It’s unfortunate for a number of reasons, but mostly because Sarah really wants Micah to come ASAP. However, even if Sarah gets induced, it may very well happen very soon. So, at the very least, within the next week and a half we will be seeing Micah in this world.

Supposedly. I’m beginning to have a hard time believing it.

Nevertheless, COME ON, MICAH!