At some point during the last nine months I must have blinked. Somewhere along the way I looked away for a moment, just a moment, and when I turned back my family had grown. On Saturday, December 30th, 2017, we welcomed Theodore Cay Farnsworth into our ranks.
It’s funny, really. For months we have been mentally preparing our selves for this moment. Psyching each other up for the inevitable landslide into parenthood we would soon be facing. Heather has built herself a veritable library of all literature maternal, studying dos and donts, while I’d grown quietly anxious and numb with what I can only describe as denial (or naivety?) to the cold truth about to greet us. True to form, as with most things in my life, being thrown overboard with no clear sight of either shore or bottom is the best and only way, in my opinion, to learn.
One thing neither of us could have foreseen was Heather needing an emergency c-section. One moment everything is going fine, then our midwife dawns a grim and serious look. She’s quiet for a moment and leaves the room to go consult with the MD on call. When she returns, MD in tow, they proceed to attempt every intervention I can think of (I’ll spare you the messy details). Before I know it they’re handing me a stack of scrubs and wheeling her out of the room. I’m suddenly left alone, staring at a pool of my wifes blood in the middle of the floor. My thoughts at this point: will I see my wife again? Will my child live? What the ever loving fuck just happened?
Eventually the midwife returns to bring me to the OR. Heather’s been prepped and the operation is already under way. There’s a uncomfortably calm murmur of voices and movement in the room. Beneath all of this I can hear quiet clinking of metal tools, the occasional “snip”, the sound of wet things being moved around, things you expect to hear in a movie. Never in real life.
After what seemed like hours I heard “It’s out!”. I’m too terrified to move. Eventually I feel the midwife’s hand on my shoulder. She’s urging me to go and announce the sex.
Needless to say, both Mother and Son made it through that night just fine. Due to the surgery we had to spend five days in the post natal wing of the hospital. In hind sight, this was a blessing in disguise. We had experts at our beck and call at all hours of the day or night, ready and willing to help with any difficulties or questions we may have had.
We were discharged a day early due to an impending blizzard. I’ll never forget the walk through the building to the lobby; I couldn’t shake this feeling of being an outside observer of my self. Nothing seemed real. I was excited, yes, but reality still had yet to set in. While we waited by the front door for Heather’s mom to pull the car around, an older pair of women walked up, all but in tears over Theo, offering to take our photo. I remember the giant revolving door wasn’t doing a very good job of keeping the cold out.
We did make it home. Theo’s now nine days old and eating more than I ever thought something so small could. Slowly and surely we’re falling in to a new normal. Sleep is had when able, no questions or complaints. Felix, our cat, is surprisingly nonplussed by the whole ordeal, though he does find crying to be a fascinating thing to observe. From a distance, that is.
Now, while mother and son nap on the couch, and the cat is fast asleep in the baby bouncer next to me (don’t ask), I’m remembering all the times my parents insisted that I’d understand them one day, when I “had kids of my own”. All I have to say is, you know what? They were right.