Monday, September 28, 2009

Mom's First Birthday

Yesterday was Allison's birthday, her first as a mother. Benjamin is a thoughtful little fellow, he got Allison a card and a gift. Allison had a nice day. I watched Ben for the morning so she could sleep in, then I made her pancakes for breakfast when she got up. At night we had a Publix cake with Strawberry & Banana filling and she got lots of nice gifts, but as the Facebook comments say, she got her best gift 12 days early when Benjamin was born. He was a gift for both of us, the best gift we'll ever get, but hey, if you want to try to top it I'm all for trying, so I still want gifts for Christmas, Columbus Day too. It's not usually a gift giving holiday, but since we don't get off from work for Columbus Day anymore, we should at least get gifts, right? Just putting it out there, if anyone can make that happen, let's talk.
In other news, Benjamin met his Great Grandmother yesterday too. I picked her up at the train station in downtown Orlando and they had a great time hanging out together. Ben mostly slept, but when he was awake, he didn't cry. That's as good as a hug & kiss right there.
I was talking to our friend Tanya over the weekend. Well, when I say talking I mean chatting. I hardly talk to anyone anymore. Talking on the phone has been replaced with TXTing and chatting, but I still say 'talking to' when referring to those conversations. Anyway, Tanya spent the better part of the pregnancy rubbing Allison's tummy and she said something really interesting to me. She said "Now you know how much your parents love you, you can't understand it until you have a child of your own."

That thought hadn't occurred to me, but it blew my mind when she said it. We all know that our parents love us, but could they really love us as much as we love our kids? Well, yes. They can. This is what everyone was talking about. The new level of love that we've never felt before. So when I wasn't allowed to go on a date with my dreamgirl to see Pretty Woman because it was rated R and I was only 14 years old, it wasn't because my parents hated me, it was because they loved me and didn't think I was old enough to see a movie about a hooker. It all makes sense now. ;)
The last thing I'll talk about is my renewed rage issues. If Ben is crying, I want to find the reason that he is crying and destroy it. My first reaction every time he cries is FEED HIM! I am getting better now, but the first week was BAD. If he cried for 15 seconds I would get mad at Allison. I mean REALLY MAD. I'd get in her face and say "What are you waiting for? He's crying cause he's hungry. Feed him!" If it didnt happen fast enough, you know at the 30 second mark, I'd say, "That's it, give me a GD bottle of formula for him. This isn't happening quick enough."

During the past week, I realized that he isn't always hungry when he cries. Sometimes he has a dirty diaper or he is crying because he was disturbed from his nap. Sometimes, but not often he just wants to cry. So a public apology to Allison for getting mad at her. I'd tell you it won't happen again, but that would be a lie. I already know it will happen again. I'm a new dad. I have to learn all this stuff.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Week 1 of Parenthood - Shark Week

I've been a father for one week and so far, so good. Benjamin has been great and Allison has done a fantastic job as a mom. She's been getting up with him in the middle of the night, while I sleep through the crying.

True story, he was in our room for 2 nights on the UV Lamp screaming his little head out and I slept right through it. I actually heard him crying this morning. I woke up, I was so proud of myself...until I looked over and saw Allison was not in bed next to me, but she had already fed him, changed him and was putting him back to bed. Trust me though, when I'm awake, I really do help her...honestly!

Let me tell you a few things I've noticed about Ben so far.
  1. When he is trying to decide if he wants to cry or not, it's the cutest thing in the world.
  2. I love holding him and letting him fall asleep on me.
  3. He does Shark Attack when he is hungry or wants his pacifier. It's so funny, he thrashes his head back and forth. I hope to get it on video at some point.
  4. He poops and pees a lot when it's funny. You know, when I have his dirty diaper off before I get a chance to put the new one on. Good stuff Ben. I especially like when you get some on your dad.
  5. He loves being in the car. He loves it so much that he falls asleep before we turn off of our block. (car seat tidbit, the nurse at the hospital that checks the car seat installation said that it was the best install she'd ever seen! That's right. 11 months at Babies R Us finally paid off.)
That's all I have for now. Gonna get to bed to make sure I get my 6 hours of shut eye. ;)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On the 8th day

In Judaism, on the 8th day of life, there is a ceremony called a Brit Milah. What's Brit Milah? Not much, what's Brit Milah with you? Ha Ha..Well the Brit, in dummy terms is a religious circumcision.

It was the first Brit I'd ever been to and boy oh boy was this different than a Christening. The Rabbi came to the house and did the ceremony in the living room. The speaking part of it was really entertaining and quiet lovely. The cutting part of it was like the movie Saw.

We put on a lotion to numb the area about an hour before, then the rabbi added another solution to numb the area as he started. He assured us that Benjamin wouldn't feel a thing. Ben cried, but he was really a good boy. It was nothing more than when he cries when you change his diaper and shock him with a cold wipe.

Anyway, it all went well. Benjamin is a week old today. He is almost back to his original birth weight and his cheeks look like they are starting to plump up. The blog posts will be shorter and may be further apart, I'm pretty busy these days. I'll try to keep you guys entertained. ;)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Welcome Benjamin Anthony

Benjamin Anthony was born Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 4:33:AM. He was 7lbs 7oz and 20 1/4 inches long. Those are the facts, here is the story:

It's Go Time

We were sitting on the couch Monday night, it was around 8:05, Allison says "I think I just had a contraction" I said "OK" About 30 minutes later, Allison says she thinks she had another one. The time passed and as we got closer to 9 o'clock, so did the uncertainty of whether these were contractions or not. By 9:04, Allison was sure they were contractions. They were 7 minutes apart, but not painful yet.

We tried to remember our birthing class. They told us when it's time, you'll know. So we kept that in mind and since they weren't painful and Allison could still carry on a conversation through them, we were just tossing the idea back and forth that today could be the day. After 3 contractions 7 minutes apart, the contractions jumped to 5 minutes apart and it's about 9:20-9:25 at this point.

We get off the couch and go upstairs. If we need to go to the hospital tonight, we need to get washed, dressed and grab our bags, that were thankfully already 90% packed. We were upstairs for about 30 minutes and the contractions were coming like clockwork every 5 minutes. Ready or not, I think it's time. We decided to get our stuff together and hit the road.

Allison was ready before me. She was sitting on the bed saying "C'mon, get the stuff together. We gotta go" So I rushed to the office where our bags were stored. The video camera was charging so it was on the floor along with our digital camera. I took everything piled on the floor and threw it into the suitcase. One of the things that went into the bag was the list of what else needs to go in the bag. The 10% of stuff that couldn't be packed before hand. What's on the list? There's no time!!! Go on without it!!! Just grab stuff, maybe it was on the list.

I got dressed. I tried on 3 pairs of jeans until I found the ones that were most comfortable, then I ran around the house looking for my sneakers. This must be why Allison and my mother always told me to keep things in their spot, so you'll know where they are when you need them. Well, I think I finally see the light. I spent a good 2 minutes looking for them. My hands were shaking and I had a nervous reaction that I had to tend too before we could leave.

After we decided to go to the hospital, it took 20 minutes to get out of the house. 20 minutes! Now for the drive:
The Drive
We got into the car and I told myself to calm down. Allison and Baby C were going to need me, so pull it together punk. We called Mark from the car to ask him to tend to Molly in the morning. I think immediately as we left the complex Allison had a really strong contraction, then they started coming every 3 minutes.

I usually drive at or close to the speed limit. I had the CRV at 85 MPH a few times on the drive. Allison yelled at me to slow down, but I couldn't help it. When she made sounds of pain, my foot automatically hit the gas. I was like Maverick on the drive to the hospital. Allison would warn me of an approaching car, but I already had him in my sites. Bogey, 2 o'clock, black Pathfinder. Another bogey approaching on my 6, prepare afterburners in 3..2..1...I was in the zone! The danger zone.

We made it from the Turnpike to the 408. Once we hit the 408, the contractions changed again. They increased in intensity and were now 2 minutes apart. I thought to myself, they didn't cover this in birthing class and please please don't have this baby on the highway.

We hit a few lights on Orange Ave, but we got to the hospital. Google Maps said it should take 35 minutes, we estimated it would take 30, we made it in 25. I'm happy with that. Valet parking was closed for the night, so I pulled up to the doors and a gentleman met us with a wheelchair and took Allison to triage.

Winnie Palmer Hospital is a gorgeous place. Marble bathrooms, waterfall in the entrance, beautiful glass dome waiting area and then you have Triage. I will start off by saying the admin and nursing staff were very helpful, but what a dump this place is. If you are looking for the armpit of Winnie Palmer Hospital, look no further. It looks like a doctor's office waiting room with beat up chairs and the delightful scent of urine.

Allison had pre-registered during our tour of WP, so she signed in, got her vitals checked and was told to sit and wait. I'll also say up front, Allison is a tough chick. She fights through pain and illness better than anyone I know. If I get a slight sniffle, I'm under covers laying out, looking to take off 2 days from work. She's a champ. We are waiting for Allison to be examined in a Triage room and her contractions are getting more intense and she is visibly in pain.

This was the worst part of the birthing process. Allison was in pain, lots of pain, and there was nothing I could do about it. I rubbed her back, let her squeeze my hand, but that was all I could do and it didn't help. We got called into a room where we answered about 100 medical questions, then they took her to be examined. She was at 6 CM and she was being admitted. We spent about an hour in Triage, then we got a room in delivery.

To The Delivery Room
They wheeled Allison (on her bed) into the elevator and up to the 2nd floor. We met our nursing staff, then Allison's hero. I don't remember their names, but they administered her epidural and then rode off into the sunset. But as they rode off, I swear I heard "Wherever there is injustice, you will find us. Wherever there is suffering, we'll be there. Wherever liberty is threatened, you will find..The Three Anesthesiologists"

Ok, back to the story. Our nurse Erica was awesome. She was very warm and friendly. She would talk to us like a friend and not a nurse, but knew when to turn on her nurse talk. Throughout the delivery process, there were 6 or 7 nurses in and out of our room. I don't remember their names, but they were all wonderful.

After Allison got her epidural, they hooked up the fetal heart monitor and contraction seismograph machine. I don't think that's the real name, but that's what I'll call it for now. They couldn't believe how the contractions just kept coming. Strong contractions one minute apart without any drugs to induce her. They said it looked like she was on Pitocin, but they know she wasn't. I was watching the printout on the seismograph machine and Allison was just sitting there, all smiles and resting for the job ahead.

Although Winnie Palmer looks like a 5 start hotel, it's still a hospital. So what's the best way to be seen by a doctor or a nurse while in a hospital? That's right, just fall asleep. Shortly before 2 AM Allison fell asleep and about 2 minutes after that the nurse came in to check her. She was 10cm dilated. The nurse left to call the doctor and said once the doctor arrives, she could start pushing.

Push it Real Good
That's right, I went there. The doctor came in that's when the fun started. Allison's doctor is Dr Snow. Dr. Snow has 4 partners. 3 of which Allison met and liked. The 4th partner, that Allison had never met was now here to deliver the baby. Her name was Dr Thatcher. I love Dr Thatcher. She did such an excellent job taking care of Allison and Benjamin. Granted I have nothing to compare it to since this is my first child, but I have to say, I thought she was just excellent.

A lot went down in that delivery room, I'll talk about some of it here, but some of it is best left between a husband, a wife and the delivery room walls. I don't think I've been a parent long enough to tell you all about the joys of parenthood, but I am qualified to tell you that delivery is such an exciting and rewarding experience. I recommend it to everyone.

When Benjamin was born, he was moving his arms and legs, but wasn't crying. We asked the doctor, why he wasn't crying. she said it was normal, nothing to worry about. They continued their work, clamped the umbilical cord and ask me to cut it. I took the sheers and cut it. It's a lot harder to cut than you'd think. I liken it to cutting squid when on a fishing boat. It was tough and thick. Anyway, I cut it and they took him over to measure, weigh and give meds. Then he finally started crying. It was the best sound I've ever heard.

Hearing him cry and having the nurses tell me that he looked perfect set my water works going. I took about 40 pictures in a 2 minute time period. Then I remembered Allison was still there. I went over and asked how she was, and told her she did a great job, that I loved her and was proud of her. Then it was back to the baby and it's been about Baby C ever since.

Friday, September 11, 2009

37 Week Checkup & September 11th

On Thursday Allison had her weekly doctor appointment. Things are progressing nicely. The doctor said "I think you have a big baby there." I'm not sure why, but that made me pretty excited.

Allison's due date is the 26th, but I predict Allison will have the baby sometime next week. My prediction, which is a date range, is from the 15th - 20th. I notice some subtle changes to Allison's appearance and although I have no idea if they mean anything at all, I think there must be a reason for the changes. The reason? Well, it has to be because she is ready to have the baby. Right?

Either way, I'm getting very excited and I know Baby C is only weeks away. The latest he will be born is September 29th/30th. Allison is already scheduled to be induced on the 29th if she doesn't go into labor and deliver naturally before then. I'll keep you guys posted.

Today is September 11th. We all know what happened that morning 8 years ago. It was a sad day, a reminder that the world isn't the safe & happy place it's made out to be on sitcoms. Lots of families were torn apart. Parents, children, friends, co-workers gone forever. For those of us not directly impacted by the loss of a loved one, it was still a very intense day and it should have helped put a little perspective into your life. I know it did for me.

On September 10th I thought I was the biggest jerk and that I'd ruined my life forever. Yes, this story involves a girl. This is going to sound rotten, but I was trying to steal a girl away from her long distance boyfriend. I was making great strides. We used to talk about reality TV. We were filling out an application and sending in a tape together to be on The Amazing Race. We were sure we'd be selected for the show and would win.

One reality show she was into that I wasn't was Making The Band. For some reason, she said the song Liquid Dreams by O-Town (Making the Band Season 1) reminded her of me. Every time she heard the song, she thought of me. O-Town was scheduled to play Hammerstein Ballroom on September 11th. I got tickets for us to go. I thought it would be a clever/sneaky way to get a date. When I spoke to her about it on September 10th things went horribly wrong. I, for some reason, told her to go to hell. She said something similar and that was that.

I was really upset. This was my dream girl and I screwed it up. How could life get any worse? Well, I wake up late the next day, which was not unusual back then, I'm driving into work and I hear radio coverage on Z100 about a plane crash. I rush to work and into the building to see what's going on. I couldn't believe the news. Both towers, then the Pentagon, then rumors that 5 other planes were taken over, then the towers collapse. This can't be real can it?

It made me realize just how insignificant the events of the previous day were and instead of feeling sorry for myself, I should feel happy to be alive and to enjoy life. It can be snatched up in an instant and it's too precious to sit around feeling sorry for yourself. I called the girl and apologized for the day before. I asked if she had been able to reach her boyfriend and family. She had. I told her I was happy for her and wished her luck. It was the last time we spoke.

Every September 11th, I feel bad for those who lost. I remember that sinking feeling in my gut that I felt when the towers fell, but I also feel the goodness of people who volunteered at ground zero, the people who donated blood, food & other supplies and the feeling of patriotism that lasted about 2 years after. I'm happy to be alive and healthy. I have a wonderful wife, a baby boy on the way and I'm surrounded by great family and friends. I have nothing to complain about. Tonight your thoughts should be with the families of 9/11 but also think about the good in your own life.

One day Baby C will learn about this is school. And like my parents were able to tell me about the moon landing and JFK's assassination, we will be able to talk to Baby C about September 11th.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

36 Weeks checkup

On Thursday afternoon Allison had her weekly doctor appointment. Her measurements were good. The nurse said it looked like Allison's belly dropped a lot in the past week, but I don't really see it. I think she looks the same as last week.

Allison got a sonogram to check on Baby C's position. He is currently in a heads down position, but he hasn't engaged yet. Still 3 weeks to go until her due date, plenty of time for him to drop in there, but I'm glad his head is in the right direction.

Here are the sonogram pix. They are hard to make out, when you look at them, he is in the bottom right corner, looking up at the top left corner. It took me a while to find him until I figured that out. I was looking at his profile in reverse and for about 30 seconds, I thought to sonogram tech was out of her mind.

Look at the arrow in the middle of this picture. To the left is Baby C's hand, below and to the right is a profile view of his mouth and nose.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's been a long time...

'...I shouldn't have left you, without a strong rhyme to step to...'

It's only been a week, but that's the longest I've gone between posts. I can't explain why I haven't posted. There's lots going on, but not too much going that I'm too busy to write. Anyway, I'm here now, so let's get to it. (If you don't recognize the lyric in the first line, watch the clip at the end for some old school hip-hop from 1987)

Baby C is just 24 days away. The doctor already said he will induce Allison at 1 week past her due date, so at the very latest, he is 31 days away. We are getting really close and very excited. Allison has weekly DR appointments now, Baby C's room is ready, the car seat bases are installed, the stroller is we wait.

Allison has had a good pregnancy so far, but I think she's done. I think she's ready to give birth. She's at the point where she's getting up 2 to 3 times a night, sometimes falling back to sleep, sometimes not. Her feet are swollen every evening. Sometimes they are really, REALLY swollen. My favorite joke when they get like that? "Holy cow! Did your foot get stung by a bee?" I do what I can to help her. The occasional massage, I have been preparing and cleaning up dinner and trying not to annoy her. I'm excellent at being annoying, so that is the toughest part for me.

I was telling Mark about Allison's feet the other day and I found the perfect description. I will assume you've all see The Nutty Professor, the version with Eddie Murphy. Do you remember when he went to the club as Buddy Love and he had to leave quickly because he started to transform back to Sherman Klump? Well picture the scene in the Viper, when his foot busts through his shoe and his great big foot floors the gas pedal...well, that's pretty close to Allison's feet.

Picture a white womans foot with pink nail polish in a CR-V not a Viper and you are pretty close. She's been a trooper though and I'm proud of her.

Sherman, Sherman, Sherman!!

I have been feeling/acting weird lately. I don't know if I've been looking forward to Baby C's arrival for so long and been so distracted/excited preparing and writing the blog, that I haven't taken the proper time to realize I'm having a baby. Now that it's so close, and I realize he'll be here in a month or less, the nerves are hitting me and I'm starting to close in and shut down a bit. Usually when I'm nervous I get a little shy, but there is also a physical side effect, that has not shown up yet. Maybe it is nerves or maybe it isn't.

My other thought is possibly, subconsciously, I am trying to get the last bit of play out of my system. I won't have much time to download music, play video games or exercise once Baby C is born, so I'm cramming as much as I can in now. I joined a running group and have been playing MLB Power Pro as much as I can. Often leaving Allison alone on the couch, checking on her every 15 minutes or so, but still leaving her alone. WHOA, whoa, whoa...slow down, before you attack me, I've been taking great care of Allison for 8 months. This is a recent development that has been happening for about a week, I realize something strange is happening, I just don't know why. I'm guessing nerves, not sure what else it could be.

I'm off to bed now. Tomorrow will be a long day full of doctor appointments, work and running.


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