Saturday, April 28, 2012

In the Blink of an Eye

It has been one week since my daughter was born.  It is funny how much can change in the blink of an eye.  I can’t even begin to fully describe it but my life has forever changed.  Yeah that is a pretty “no duh” statement but I needed to say it.  Why?  Well while Mary Beth was pregnant everyone kept telling me that my life was about to change.  Every single one of my friends who has children has told me numerous times that it changes you and turns your world upside down.  The thing was I completely believed them.  Not believing them wasn’t the issue.  The fact of the matter is that you can kind of get it, you can prepare for it in different ways but you don’t ever fully get it until that little bundle of joy actually arrives. 

 On Tuesday I went to work out for the first time since Sophia arrived.  I got on the treadmill and as I was running thought to myself, “The last time I was here Sophia wasn’t born yet.  Wow!  I know it has only been 4 days since the last time I was here but it feels like a lifetime ago.”  All of a sudden my world pre-Sophia began to feel like a very distant memory.  A smile came to my face.  Everything in my life leading up to this point had been wonderful but from here on out I knew I never wanted to go back.  I never wanted to know what life was like without Sophia in it again.  It is crazy how quickly that feeling sets in. 

 God has molded me in very different ways throughout every part of my life.  In my childhood he showed me His great love through the presence of my family.  In High School he started re-building self-confidence in me I had somehow lost along the way and brought me to an encounter with my faith that started the journey I’m on today.  In college he affirmed my manhood and brought a lot of healing to my life through the amazing brotherhood I had with my household and gave me a deep and abiding love for His Church. In my first years of teaching He showed me how to grow in patience, trust, and instilled deeper virtue within me.   Through my years in graduate school God showed me true abandonment to divine providence.  He stripped me of my desire and need to always be in control and showed me how to rely on nothing except for Him.  It was in this moment of finally relinquishing control that He brought Mary Beth into my life.  Through our time of engagement and first year back to teaching in Wichita God continued to prepare me for this moment as He showed me how to love even when it was difficult.  He showed me what it means to truly enter into the covenant of marriage.  Throughout our first year of marriage God showered us with many graces and taught us how to love one another more profoundly and work on our relationship.  I firmly believe that every one of those moments and times in my life have been moments of grace to prepare me to be a father.  I am not fully aware of the ways God is going to continue to shape and mold me throughout this experience of being a father but I have a feeling it will be full of joy, excitement, happiness, heartache, pain, and sheer bliss.  I am excited to see where life takes our little family from here.

Last night Sophia slept soundly on my lap and as Mary Beth slept next to me on the couch as we watched Harry Potter.  It was a very surreal moment for me as I thought to myself that a week ago I didn’t even know what Sophia looked like.  I sat there thinking that within a couple years or even sooner she will be too big to sleep on my lap.  However the most amazing yet difficult thing to swallow is that I am responsible for her eternal soul! Not only that, God used me and my wife to help bring this new eternal soul into being.  This to me is so humbling and awesome that I don’t know if my mind will ever be able to fully wrap itself around it. 

I am in love with my little girl.  I am in love with my wife.  I am in love with my life.  The last week has been hard in the sense that I no longer have my old routine and don’t think I’ll ever get it back.  I am going to have to start figuring out a new routine and even that will be one that has to be much more flexible than the old one cause as I’ve already learned in the last week, kids are unpredictable!  However anything worth it in this life is hard and if this is what hard is then I will take it any day of the week! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Along Came Sophia

Sophia Rose arrived a few days “late” but she is here. Here is the story of how she joined us:

All last week Mary Beth subbed at Carroll. My students kept bugging me throughout the week and wondering when we were going to have this baby. I spent all week leaving behind lesson plans “just in case” and updating them daily. As I would do it I kept thinking to myself, “I bet anything this baby doesn’t show up until the 27th or 28th of April. I think she will be two weeks late.”

On Thursday (April 19th) Mary Beth was officially 4 days “overdue” and we headed to a doctor’s appointment. The doctor told her everything was healthy and fine but she wanted to do an ultra sound and bio-physical profile of the baby on Monday the 23rd if she hadn’t had the baby by then. After the appointment I took her to the chiropractor to get adjusted and then Chic-fil-a to get herself some dinner. We then headed back for me to get my car from work and head to Knights for the evening. On the way back from the doctor’s I jokingly said to Mary Beth, “If Sophia decides she wants to come out soon she needs to wait until Saturday cause I do not want a 4/20 baby!” We both laughed and figured she would not be coming this next weekend.

That evening I went to Knights and she had her sisterhood bible study at the house. The Knights were all talking about a BBQ and washers tournament on Sunday and asked if I would be there. I told them that if there was no baby yet I would be and figured the earliest Sophia would arrive was Monday. When I got home the girls from the bible study started to disperse and Mary Beth and I started to get ready for bed. She then says to me, “Now that you told Sophia she couldn’t come tomorrow she totally is.” To which I replied, “What makes you think that?” “Well, I’ve been getting some very light Braxton hicks contractions.” I just laughed and thought well if that is the case, here we go.

At about 3a.m. I wake up to go to the bathroom and she tells me, “Sophia is totally coming today.” I say, “Are you having contractions?” “Yeah, light ones about every 7 minutes since about a half hour ago” she says. “Well either way here we go I guess.” We proceeded to both sleep on and off and toss and turn for the next hour until my alarm went off for me to get up and go to the gym. She said she was still comfortable and I was good to head to the gym and go to work and she would let me know if things got worse and wanted me at home. I headed out about 4:40a.m. to go to muscle pump class and run on the treadmill. After I got done with my workout I called home to check on Mary Beth. She said contractions had gone down to every 10 minutes instead of every 7 and had gone back to sleep.

I got to school and told our assistant principle that I was on call and might have to suddenly leave during the day and he told me no problem. I didn’t think I would make it past 4th period but ended up making it through the whole day. I called to check in on Mary Beth three or four times throughout the day and every time she said she was doing fine and not much progression had occurred. When the school day ended I called to see if it was ok for me to go to mass before I came home but at that point she was ready for me to come home. I quickly packed up my stuff and headed back to the house. I found her a little more uncomfortable. Her contractions were a little more painful than earlier in the day and were at 6 minutes apart.

We decided to head to the grocery store to pick up some snacks and have her walk around some. We also called our doctor so we could just stop into her office and have her check Mary Beth to see if we were close to Hospital admittance time. We met her at the hospital since she was already there after another delivery. She told us Mary Beth was dilated to a 2 and told us we could either be admitted or head home for a while. We told her we would just go home and labor a while longer. On the way home we went through the Chick-fil-a drive thru, got some dinner and headed home. We were at home from about 6:30p.m. until around midnight working through contractions. It was fairly relaxed as we watched TV. and Mary Beth drew a warm bath and sat in it with a glass of wine and working through contractions. I simply did my best to keep her relaxed and give her encouragement. At around 11:00 her contractions were between 2.5 and 3 minutes apart lasting about 45-50 seconds each. I decided we should start thinking about moving to the hospital. By 11:30 we were still at home and her contractions had gone back down to being 5 minutes apart. I decided to let her labor at home for another 30 minutes. At midnight, though, I decided it was time to head to the hospital even though her contractions were not any closer together but they seemed to be causing her more pain than the others had up to that point.

We arrived at the Hospital around 12:30. By 1:00a.m. she was hooked up to the external monitor. Her contractions were at about 5 minutes apart and she was now dilated between a 5 and a 6. After they got all the readings they wanted from the monitor they checked us into our labor and delivery room and we began our very long stay at the hospital. She spent the first 40 minutes laboring in the hospital tub followed by 20 minutes back on the monitor. This pattern followed the rest of the night, 40 minutes laboring throughout the room wandering freely and 20 minutes back on the monitor. At around 3:00 a.m. the nurse checked her again and she had dilated to an 8. At that point I figured we would for sure have a baby by 5:00 or 6:00a.m. When 5:00a.m. rolled around she was still at an 8. At this point Mary Beth began to get frustrated and seemed to be experiencing pain even more intensely. She began to look discouraged and defeated. I continued to encourage her but was amazed by the strength and poise of my wife. Even in the midst of her discouragement and frustration she did not ask for drugs and continued to try and relax herself and tell herself that her body was meant to do this.

At around 6:45 a.m. I noticed Mary Beth had not had a contraction for about 20 minutes. I did not think this was a good sign since she had consistently been having contractions every 5 minutes all night. I paged our doctor and nurse since at that point they had both stepped out of the room. It took them about 10 minutes to come back and still at that point no contractions for 30 minutes. We laid Mary Beth on the bed so the doctor could check her again. Right before she went in to check her Mary Beth finally had another contraction. Once the contraction was over she checked her and she was fully dilated but her bag of waters had not broken. At that point she asked Mary Beth if she just want her to go in and break the bag of waters for her. We agreed and at about 7:30 she had her bag of waters broken. Thankfully she did cause things finally sped up somewhat after that. Finally at around 7:50 she started pushing. She pushed for two hours!

At 9:52a.m. Sophia Rose arrived into the world. She is a big, beautiful healthy girl. She weighed 8 lbs 4 oz and was 20 inches long. They immediately put her on Mary Beth so Sophia could get some skin to skin contact with mommy for the first hour of life. I cannot even put into words what I felt the moment my daughter was born. It was the most amazing feeling in the world. I am in complete and total awe at the miracle of life. I am completely and totally in love with my little girl. I honestly never knew I could love someone that much and that quickly. In addition to this I am even more in love with my wife. Her strength amazes me. She labored for 31 hours and did it without any drugs. There were moments I wanted to throw in the towel for her and ask for drugs but remained strong and encouraging for her. She never once asked for them and was a soldier through the whole thing. She is recovering well. I am excited to begin the journey of parenthood. I am in awe of God’s love and humbled by the fact that I am able to cooperate with him in bringing a new soul into this world. I never imagined I would be this blessed or love this much.