If you have read the previous four entries in this series, you read about my wife and I getting pregnant (Becoming Jacob’s Dad, Part 1: The early days) and our normal everyday optimism. You then heard about the PPROM experience (Becoming Jacob’s Dad, Part 2: The worst day of my life) and ten weeks of bed rest for my wife (Becoming Jacob’s Dad, Part 3: Ten week countdown). Finally, in the last entry, you got to hear about the best day of my life (Becoming Jacob’s Dad, Part 4: The big day) which unrolled in a very different way than expected or even hoped.
And in the entries you saw some photos. Which are a bit unique.
What I mean is that Jacob spent at least the last two weeks pinned behind Andrea’s pelvic bone, and then went through a difficult birth violent enough to break his clavicle. In the photos, he’s swollen on one side of his face, so much so that his face is obviously asymmetrical in a potentially worrisome way, he’s redder than usual in some places, particularly his left side.
He looks, for want of a better description, like you would if you were in a car accident and your face and head were the primary points of blunt force trauma. Later, there were photos with monitor leads, nose prongs for oxygen, medical stuff. These are not the normal photos people share on Facebook when they have a new baby. These aren’t even really the photos people share with their family in limited distribution.
And I didn’t share them at the time. Not because I was “ashamed” in any way, I think Jacob is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life, including his first day. But if you were in an accident, and all swollen, would you take pics and share them on FB? Probably not. And so I wondered, and still do, if I have the right to show such photos of Jacob. Or maybe that’s not even the correct phraseology — maybe I’m just asking myself if Jacob would share them if he could? Or would he wait for more flattering ones to follow?
But some part of why I am writing this series of entries is because I want people to know what we went through, what I went through as the Dad, in case they go through it too. To know what it’s like to see your brand new baby look like he just went through a car crash, and to love him all the more for his struggle. To see the videos where the nurse is bathing him and to realize, hey, his face and swelling are not going down quickly, and to hear the nurse very calmly say she doesn’t know if that will go down on its own, ask CHEO later. And later, perhaps, to see the difference of a few days as the swelling does indeed go down.
But, through it all, to document that I didn’t even have the “normalcy” of posting photos because some people might find them too stark, too raw.
So I decided to include the photos with the blogs, and although I do so with a very large “look at your own risk” caveat, I want people to understand that it’s part of the journey, enough to warrant an entry just by itself.