I’m putting up the following repost as my entry into the contest ran by blogger Torkona. As a lead in to the birth of his first baby he’s asking people to submit their first child’s birth story. He’ll pick a winner from the bunch and we’ll get to read a great variety of experiences. (Torkona, please do not be fearful. This post below reflects our experience only. Every birth experience is unique!)
This is also a timely post – and a celebration – for Reservoir Mum and myself. Today, we had a twelve week scan on the little fella who is currently building his bones inside Reservoir Mum’s womb. The last time we had an appointment with an ultrasonographer – October last year – we received the terrible news that the baby had died (see this post). I have to admit to attending today’s appointment with a heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach.
But I am happy to report that number four has got a full bill of health and there is currently much rejoicing going on in downtown Reservoir. People have been pushing each other up and down the main drag in their Safeway trolleys; hootin’ and hollerin, and the bottle shops will stay open all night to prevent break-ins. The sun is shining on our little suburb.
Here’s our little fella. I can already feel his warm little cheek against mine. (You can see by the fingerprints all over the pic that it’s getting a fair veiwing.)
Check back for further updates in ‘Wednesday from the Womb’.
Tramua And Reward
The glass I am drinking from only needs to be filled twice to empty an entire bottle of wine and the songs I am listening too (from my self-titled playlist – Reservoir Dad) range in years from 1980 to 1989, and the glare of the computer monitor is so soothing I feel like a freshly hatched chick under a mother hen.
If theatrical is not the word to describe the way I feel then I guess I’ll just have to settle on describing my current state of awareness as lax and stupid and the potential I have to reveal too much of myself, and to express myself in an overly emotional way, is huge, and I hope that by the time I have finished writing this post that I am strong enough to stop myself from posting it to the world wide web without a good night’s sleep and a morning’s reflection.
A few hours ago, after a long enjoyable day at Archie’s birthday party, I was sitting on the couch, watching the present opening through the lens of a video camera and I couldn’t stop myself from remembering various scenes from his birth – five years ago today – and right now, with the kids in bed and the mournful yet uplifting sounds of Guru Josh’s Infinity washing over me, I have a desire, for the first time ever, to send myself back in time to write about it.
Archie appears in the world sporting a cone-head bruised from his posterior birthing position. His skin is purple-ish, and guck-covered, but it is his withdrawn, Elmer Fudd-ish chin that steals my attention, and even though I was fully aware that a baby was coming today I am still so surprised – as well as knackered and exhausted and traumatized from my role as a bit player in this thirty-hour, harrowing labor– that my first stuttering words to the nurse are, ‘Will his chin stay like that?’
It occurs to me, only a second later, that saying something so lame may become my greatest, irreparable mistake, because Archie isn’t breathing, and as the nurses and doctors whisk him away to work on him in the corner of the room I look to Reservoir Mum, who, after lasting an ordeal that would have killed Muhammad Ali, Genghis Kahn and at least one John Farnham comeback concert, is moving her head slowly from side to side, eyes closed, totally at the mercy of yet another doctor, who is trying to stem her relentless hemorrhaging. I can only watch helplessly, and hope – with whatever I have left – that Archie will breath and that Reservoir Mum will not bleed out, and that my lame first words to Archie will be something trivial and funny to talk to them about in the years to come, and not the last horrible thing I ever say to them.
At least a litre of blood has pooled under Reservoir Mum’s bed and there are no sounds coming from the tiny operating table in the corner of the room and a sense of horror is beginning to steal the strength from my legs. As a human often does, I begin to imagine the worst possible tragedy and the room begins to cool and harden, the doctors and nurses become nothing but strangers, officials, incapable of offering comfort or condolence and everything is beginning to blur and fade and I am certain that I am going to lose it, lose everything, but just as the possibility of leaving here without my baby boy and the love of my life drives me to the near side of hysteria, I hear the first tiny squeak of a new life, and as I hold my breath to listen more closely, the doctor managing Reservoir Mum’s hemorrhage says, nonchalantly, ‘There we go,’ and begins removing her bloodied gloves for the bin, and then the squeak becomes a siren and a baby is finally placed upon Reservoir Mum’s chest and when she opens her eyes and looks directly at me, I experience something I’ve never experienced before – complete, authentic relief.
Although I still feel like I’m going to fall I manage to tell the nurse, ‘We might call him, Archie,’ and even though I remain stoic, and restrict a public showing of emotion I know that I am only a familiar bed and some ‘me-time’ away from total meltdown.
As I finish the last drop of wine the need to write begins to wane and I feel I have finally purged myself of one of the most traumatic events of my life and I decide that it’s time to listen to something more uplifting and reflective of today’s successful, joyous party. I settle on Pump Up The Jam by Technotronic, and within seconds, I’m smiling.
I remember the look on Archie’s face when he saw Reservoir Mum’s Giant Cookie Cake, and how he laughed as two little girls, Lucy and Lily, chased him around the Playcentre to claim him as their friend, with a kiss on the cheek. I remember how Lewis screamed in a jealous rage and tried to tear a hole in the mesh of the ball-pit, as Archie ran past with Aiden and Fayez and the twins, and how, for the whole day, he was surrounded by family and friends who were transparent in their desire to hang out with him, because he’s just a great kid, he really is – one of the most thoughtful, loving, considerate, energetic, creative, brilliant kids ever – and I don’t need a bottle of wine or a cool playlist of 80’s classics to know this about him, or to know, that I am the luckiest of the luckiest to be his Dad, and to have this time with him.