Wow... just wow. (long post)
As I'm certain just about everyone has heard, there's a new addition to our household. Jared James Meade Turner was born on October 19th at 12:23 by c-section -- at least that's what it says on the little plastic bracelet that serves as my library card in the neonatal unit. The sequence of events is a bit of a blur, but bear with me and we'll see what I can piece back together.
I was at the dojo, wrapping up the kids' practice. They'd all been really good and focused, so I started off in a state of shock. (kidding!) I remember trying to fit all of the wooden tanto back in their holding box, and thinking about the fact that Steph and I were going to the hospital the next morning to be induced. I don't remember hearing the phone ring, but I do remember Jeff bolting onto the mats, saying "Josh, uh, the phone is for you... it's Steph."
I remember looking stupidly at the box of tanto, trying to figure out where to put it down.
I remember Sensei Lau snapping me out of it, and bolting for the phone.
I remember at once feeling really good about the suddenly happy vibe in the dojo, and at the same time thinking, "I can't bow or shake everyone's hand... I have to go."
Jeff drove me to the hospital, but I'm pretty sure that his car's wheels turned sideways and we flew like Doc Brown's Delorean, because I can't remember much of the drive. I remember wishing that I knew what Jeff's favorite vice was, because I want to thank him in a way that he'll genuinely enjoy.
Oddly enough, I beat Steph there by a sizeable margin. We weren't long in the initial observation room before we were whisked off to a birthing room. I remember hugging Bernadette.
Here's where the details get all fuzzy... Steph got herself more or less set up, and we walked for a bit, and tried the whirlpool bath a couple of times. At some point, she started a pitocin drip, and things started getting really rough. Hours and hours went by, bringing ice chips, encouraging her to breathe through contractions, and watching the heart monitors. Bares was golden -- she gets a million brownie points and a recording contract as soon as I have one to give. Somewhere in there, Steph had an epidural, which really took the edge off the pain. I remember trying to get some sleep wherever I could, and finally succeeded sometime after Bares had left for work.
Steph woke me up, sounding terrified. I remember vaulting to my feet and zipping over to the heart rate monitor. I remember my math brain looking at the graphs and thinking the words "inverse correlation" before the rest of my brain woke up and thought "oh shit".
I remember that they installed an internal heart-rate monitor on the baby's head to get a better reading of what was going on, and the moment when we heard the baby in the next room scream out his first breath just as the heart monitor in our room stopped reading anything. It turned out that the sensor had a flaky connection, but the time between when it quit and when it was fixed was really, really bad.
The real news still wasn't great. The little guy was having more and more trouble with the contractions and Steph had stopped dilating just short of the required diameter. I remember being whisked off to the operating theater as they set up for the caesarian, and as I started getting dressed in the scrubs, noticing that there were pockets sewn into the inside and the outside, so it didn't matter if things were inside out... then an interminable wait to be called into the operating room. I remember one a lady and a gentleman laying on the gurneys asking out loud what was taking so long, and realizing that they weren't talking about themselves, they were talking about me.
In the operating theater, I remember noticing that everyone in the room had a job, and deciding that mine was to keep Steph's mind in the right place. Not easy. Once I sat down, things were fast, rough, messy, and efficient. I think a sledgehammer hit me in the chest when I heard the first tiny scream. I cut the cord, clumsily, and one of the doctors had the kind sense to ask "uh, sir, you might want to take a picture..."
It gets even blurrier after that. I remember finding my way to the neonatal unit, choking down the "Hulk smash!" reflex as they took blood, and being asked if I wanted to warm the baby skin to skin. I remember thinking "hoo boy, here come the hormones" followed immediately by "fuck it... have a hormone cocktail!". I got spend an hour with a little conehead's tiny fingers pulling on my chest hair, trying not to cry from being so happy.
I've had a lot of trouble lately trying to sort out life's priorities, and figuring out how to juggle all of the demands that entails. As I write this, I'm suddenly aware that it's now all much simpler. My priorites are mine to sort, and being a good father is non-negotiable. Anything else I do is either in support of that, or on my terms. Anything that tries to get in the way of that, well... Hulk smash.
- by jturner
- in News