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Posts Tagged ‘Fatherhood’

“Those first days I felt so helpless.”

I knew right away that my daughter wasn’t like normal babies, she seemed weaker, less alert, less capable. These feelings made me want to help her all the more and increased my feelings of helplessness. What the hell could I do for her?

She was put under an oxygen tent immediately after being born. Her mother wasn’t able to hold her for more than a minute before the nurses whisked her away to her plastic tent. My daughter was in the hospital for two weeks before the doctors told us it was ok for her to come home. Every day was an exercise in super-human patients; Isabelle would take one step forward and one step back, then another step back, and another.

I was at work when they finally told us we could take her home. I didn’t believe it, neither did her mother. We had been waiting so long for her to come home but we didn’t want her to leave too soon. In the hospital she was surrounded by machines that told us exactly what was going on with her heart, nurses were on hand twenty-four-seven, doctors came by in scheduled intervals to check on her; she was in the best of care. What hope did we have of offering her that kind of care at home?

 

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“…Isabelle was born right on time, in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter”

Now winter in San Diego isn’t a real winter so get the images of cold, storm filled nights out of your head. When my fiance told me her water had broke I rolled over in bed and asked if it could wait till morning. Then I asked her to double check and repeated the late hour. She just stared at me till I got up.

The pregnancy was fairly routine, more checkups than a normal pregnancy would have: the doctors wanted to keep an eye on my daughters heart. Lots of reading up on Down Syndrome and what to expect, lots of meeting with my daughters Cardiologist learning what to expect. A lot of talking and expecting, and expecting.

When we  got to the hospital they had to induce labor. What followed was 18 hours of increasingly painful contractions for my fiance. Or at least they seemed to be from my point of view; not much was happening so I kind of nodded off in the middle a bit (never gonna live that one down.) But I was wide awake for the big part. Isabelle’s heart rate started to dip so things became very hectic very quickly.

The doctor attached a giant suction cup to Isabelle’s head and told us that my fiance had about four big pushes before they were going to do a c section. She did it in one. I was terrified. I was frantic, I didn’t know what to do, what to think, what to …expect.

Isabelle was born right on time, in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter. She took my breath away and then she was rushed to the NICU.

Her heart was weak, it had holes in it and couldn’t properly oxygenate her blood so the nurses took her down to the NICU(Natal Intensive Care Unit) and put her under an oxygen tent. I followed along, never letting her out of my sight. I thought to myself that this is what I’m supposed to do, I’m supposed to keep watch on her.

Those first days I felt so helpless.

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It’s been so long since I’ve written anything. My writing chops have become stale, worm-eaten and moldy. Time to dust them off and write something, anything.

So:
The last two years have been uneventfully eventful; by which I mean a lot has happened in my life, a lot of changes, but nothing spectacular or particularly special. I have become a father and then a fiance and someday soon I will be a husband. To be sure that is not the normal route, but it’s not that unusual either. We talked about our relationship when we found out a little one was on the way, we wanted to make sure we were on the same page, we weren’t going to stay together just for the sake of the child. I mean how back-ass-wards would that have been? If we didn’t have any other reason to stay together than a child how horrible an example would we have set for my daughter? Especially as neither one of us mince words or is of a sparkling disposition. So we stuck together, intent on seeing where our relationship was going to go. Then the big news hit us, our daughter was probably going to be born with down syndrome and she would definitely be born with a heart defect that would require open heart surgery before her first birthday.

Yikes. Ouch. Ugh.

Time to bear down and prepare myself for a long life of disappointment, for all my expectations falling short and the fun of having children sucked out parenting. Big breath fella, man up, suck it up and soldier on, she’s still going to be your child, you’ll do what you have to.

Isabelle was born right on time, in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter. 

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