Friday, September 11, 2009

the baby bunker

in the baby bunker
time stands still
you sleep when you can
eat small quick meals
go out only for supplies
spend a lot of time in bed
and even more time hovering over the changing table
3 to 5 loads of laundry per day
try to keep things all tidy and put away
nothing going on in the outside world matters
when you're in the bunker
the endless chatter of that world grinds to a halt
it's been silenced
the only sound you hear is the sweet delicate coo
of your little baby
who depends on you for everything
they are utterly helpless
the bunker is designed to make them stronger
every second they sleep
every time they eat
there is no panic button
like in the hospital
with a well-trained nurse on call to come rushing to your side
at the slightest hint of trouble
you're on your own now
with the precious life of your fragile child resting in your hands
it's a huge responsibility

yesterday Miette slept on my chest for 2 hours
while Jayme got some much needed rest
i felt the beating of her little heart
watched her breathe in and out
and make soft noises
ten minutes seemed like a day (in the good way)
an hour felt like a week
i hadn't felt this relaxed in ages
i had made it down to her pace
baby don't care about what bills need to be paid
or who is calling on the phone
baby don't care about the traffic or taxes
or hustling for a dime
she takes in the air
then lets it out
over and over again
she sleeps
sleeps some more
it would be so fascinating to know what images float around
in her newborn mind
our precious little one Miette Sophia Nourallah
so peaceful
so content
she hasn't cried once since we got home
she seems happy just to be here
we're happy too
i can't think of anything i'd rather do than spend these days
like this

Monday, September 07, 2009

our spacious hearts

around 1am on Friday morning
Jayme tapped me on the shoulder and said
"honey, i'm having contractions..."
i was sleeping oh so peacefully
not exactly renowned for being the world's fastest wake-up-on-the-spot guy
i said "ok..."
and promptly fell back to sleep
a few minutes later tap tap again
"i think this baby is coming NOW."
i was up in a flash this time
i ran and got my phone
so i could use the stopwatch function
to time the contraction intervals
i was in the daddy zone now
they were only 3 minutes apart
i got her a large glass of water
we timed for another 15 minutes
they didn't go away
Jayme said "it's time to call the doctor"
we quickly woke G up
who groggily rolled onto the floor in a ball
"is it time for cereal now?"
he thought it was already morning
our tired little prophet had predicted all of this yesterday when he proclaimed
"i think my sister is coming tomorrow!!"
he was right
we left the house around 2am
raced around the corner to drop G off at a friend's house
they were all waiting at the door for us
a drunk driver edged down the street and came within inches
of side-swiping a parked car
on Knox-Henderson it was a traffic zoo
all the club and bar goers making their way home
or to after parties
we almost got hit at the stop sign on Henderson as we tried
to merge with traffic
Jayme actually let out a startled yelp as they swerved in front of us

finding the drop-off point at Baylor was easy
within minutes they had us in a private room
nurses shuttling in and out
performing various nursely duties
one stood a computer and asked a million and one questions
"what is your name?"
"have you used intravenous drugs during this pregnancy?"
"do you have H.I.V.?"
"who's your favorite Beatle?"
as the 101 questions rolled i noticed Jayme's contractions were
becoming increasingly intense
and painful
i'm very observant you know
the first tip was that she was beginning to have problems speaking
and was gripping the sides of the bed and scrunching up her face
in agony
everyone else seemed perfectly calm though
until one nurse went below and came up with "she's at 9 centimeters!!"
at that moment all hell broke loose
they started scrambling around like the keystone cops
they whisked the bed down the hall and through some swinging doors
a nurse asked me to wait in the corridor
i stood there in my scrubs and paper hat
after a few minutes they told me i could come in
Jayme was sitting up on the operating table in obvious excruciating pain
while 4 or 5 of them wrangled with her
they were trying to administer the epidural
Jayme was cussing now
it was actually the mild garden variety type of bad language
i was impressed
i'd heard far worse from her at home
i was surprised that she was being so polite considering
the fact she was basically having a baby without anesthesia
then someone instructed "dad to be - please get in close and help hold her up!"
i was now an active participant?
no class? no training? they trusted ME?
i thought i was here to whisper sweet things in her ears
while suspiciously gruesome things went on south of the border
the next few minutes unfolded quickly
they plopped her down
and started shooting the drugs in
they threw up a big blue tent
so that we couldn't see anything down below
i sat on a low stool near her head
and tried desperately to say things that would help her not focus
on the intense pain and agony she was in
things like "picture yourself in a field on a beautiful sunny day
holding your baby..."
the baby was coming in like a DC9
i thought briefly that Kamikaze Nourallah had a nice ring to it...
now there was a slight trace of panic emitting from the people in blue
we had planned a C-section for various medical reasons i won't go in to
but Jayme just about had this baby the other way
with no pain relief!!!

at 3:54am our daughter was born
she cried very little when they set her in the bassinet
i saw her immediately
she was so small and dainty
grey eyes wide open and looking all around
newborns usually look like a space alien/great grandparent combo
but not this one
she was beautiful
a full head of dark wavy hair
very alert
she looked right at me studiously
my face peering down at her was one of the first things she saw

the first few moments of a child's life
are awe inspiring
there's nothing quite like it
they are so pure
so fragile
so beautiful
as i sat and held my daughter in my arms for the first time
i felt an immense wave of tranquility wash over me
the world stopped
nothing else mattered but this little baby
there was no fear of anything
just love and joy
to think that i once thought there wasn't any room left in my heart
to love another as much as my wife and son
is laughable now
oh how wrong i was
so wrong
our ability to love is infinite
it's pretty cool, isn't it?