With the surgery over, and the only real issue being eye drops for a couple of weeks, life returned to our cocoon version of normal. Some friends threw a shower for Andrea on the following weekend, and I was so grateful. It seems weird to say, but I kind of feel like Andrea got ripped off. An atypical pregnancy, complete with scary PPROM and 10 weeks bed rest. An atypical birth, including C-section, delay in getting to hold him, and two weeks in the NICU. Then the week from hell. Then the surgery. Multiple medical appointments each week. The end of breastfeeding. When did she get to have the FUN part of being a new mom?
The shower was a small milestone to me — it was another step in saying, “Yes, it’s atypical, but we will STILL do normal stuff around it.” It was kind of our new unspoken resolve. » Read the rest
I left off the story at birth + 7 weeks. Jacob was home, things were normalizing, we were starting to think we were in regular parent mode. Then the week from hell started.
The first blow
We had been up to the cottage on the weekend, our first trip home to show off the baby to various extended family members. A chance to hear the oohs and ahhs, a chance to have various members hold him and cuddle him and enjoy the fresh baby smell. On the way home on Sunday, we were in a car accident.
We were in Kanata, bopping along, a little bit of rain coming down. Just enough to make things slick. I was in the centre lane, not pushing it too hard, when someone in front of us suddenly veered left and there right in front of me was a car at a dead stop. I had no warning, they were dead stopped from what looked like someone cutting them off and I didn’t see the brake lights until the person in front of me suddenly shifted over. » Read the rest
There’s a part of me that wants to stop writing this series of blog entries. At this point in the story, Jacob had come home from the NICU, and in a novel or movie, or a Chicken Soup for the Soul version, the story would be finished. Everyone would go on to live happily ever after, cue the credits, no more issues, all sunshine and rainbows. And while we were (and are) happy, sunshine and rainbows is not always the order of the day. The roller coaster had returned to the station, but there were other coasters to come.
The rest of June
Shortly before his release from the hospital, we did the baby announcement e-mail, and we tried to reflect the hope and fun over the nervousness. When Andrea and I got married, we did a PandA theme — “Paul and Andrea = PandA”. The invite was done up like a “show” announcement (we were married in a theatre), we had pandas as our logo and branding, a friend made a panda wedding cake. » Read the rest
Sunday dawned, and Jacob was now turning 2 days old. I drove up to the hospital in the morning, hung out for Rounds, started our normal routine. Hold, change, feed, rest, eat, repeat. Jacob still had the oxygen prongs, feeding tube, and the IV in his head. Every time they reattached it, they had to shave his head a bit — what they call the NICU haircut. The IV had quickly gone to the top of things we hated the look of the most. But we were beginning to cope and adjust. Andrea’s parents were still around, and her sister Becky arrived. She had been away on the delivery day, and so was excited to come see her nephew for the first time.
We were starting to notice the room a bit more now, other people going in and out. We were encouraged to respect other people’s privacy as much as possible, but when they’re having a conversation five feet from you, it’s hard not to overhear. » Read the rest
When I left off my story (Becoming Jacob’s Dad, Part 4: The big day), I had just become his dad, mentally survived his first medical procedure, saw Andrea and him to bed at the hospital, and gone home. So my story has to change now, it isn’t about becomingJacob’s Dad, it is about being Jacob’s dad.
But before I continue with today’s story, I need to digress for a small second. You read the previous blog. You may have read all four of the previous blogs plus the photo digression. There’s something missing from the story. Did you spot it? Did you notice I didn’t talk about something in particular? An obvious experience that I didn’t relate?
The story of Andrea seeing and holding Jacob for the first time. That wasn’t an oversight in my writing. It’s absent because it didn’t happen.
Here was the simple logistics puzzle:
When Jacob was born, we didn’t get to hold him, he had to go directly to the NICU.