After years of planning and hoping and preparing and learning and worrying and just getting on with life, I became a Daddy in March. It came as a bit of a shock, in spite of the eight months of watching the ultrasounds and taking classes and helping Cheryl as the little pod grew. We had just moved to a bigger place, still had dozens of boxes left to unpack before the weekend’s baby shower, and I had only been asleep for a few hours when Cheryl woke me up with the news: Hospital, now!
Three weeks early. Twenty-two days early, to be exact. All the books say that the range of 38-42 weeks is “normal”, so he was only eight days ahead of the curve and (thank goodness) beyond the stage of preemie health concerns. 2600 grams (5.732 lbs.) of joy, and a healthy Mommy as well. Woohoo! Of course, that also meant we were tossed out of the hospital about 40 hours after birth, thanks to our wonderful US healthcare system.
The staff and facilities at Hoag Hospital were excellent, but the whole experience was marred by the rush out of the hospital and then a corresponding rush back to the hospital three days later after a test for jaundice turned up in the critical range. We really weren’t prepared for that one; I am still peeved that the test wasn’t automatically scheduled for day 4 (instead of waiting for our pediatrician to see him on day 5). However, a night in the ICU tanning bed, with extra feeding to help evacuate the bilirubin, was enough to get him back to a safe zone and he was good to go home again.
Twenty-two days early doesn’t sound like much, but it is huge. Most of our friends went long for their first baby, so I had this schedule in the back of my mind of all the things that I was going to finish by April so that I could take a long, relaxing break into parenthood. Bzzt! The Anaheim IETF meeting was being held the following week, just twelve miles from my house, and my fellow HTTP standard editors had planned a whole week of editing httpbis at or near my place. Bzzt! We had delayed buying a bunch of baby things until after the shower. Bzzt! We had all these classes on what to expect in terms of sensing the arrival and onset of labor. Bzzt!
None of those plans truly mattered, in the grand scheme of things, but it taught me a quick lesson about my limitations as a working Daddy. At least some of my planning worked out, such as saving my vacation time so that I could spend the better part of six weeks at home. He is almost at two months now and still has to eat every three hours. I usually take the night shift and catch up with email while he sleeps on my shoulder. This weekend I discovered that I can actually type this way, with Liam sliding down a bit to warm his legs on my laptop, though I have to watch out when his little feet brush over the multitouch trackpad.
I’ll be catching up on the backblog soon. Now, if I can just get him to sleep long enough to edit a specification …
BTW, Liam is his nickname.