Tag Archives: IVF Humor

THE CAVE: Getting lost in the darkness of a failing marriage

“You’ve been married for eleven years?” someone asks me.

“Yeah. Eleven years. It’s a long time. We’ve been together for fifteen.”

What? Did you get married when you were twelve? How old are you? You’ve been married fifteen years? What’s that like?”

I suspect that they anticipate me to tell them that marriage is beautiful and wonderful and that I’m married to my best friend and everyday is a marvelous adventure.

But I don’t.

Instead I tell them the truth.

“What’s it like? It’s, uh… Marriage is like this dark cave. And when you get married you both go into the cave together. You take hands and you step into the darkness. That’s the unknown – this new part of life. You walk next to each other for a while and then one day your hands get sweaty and so you let go of each other but it’s all good because you can still hear them next to you. You’re still talking and you know that they’re there. It’s dark. It’s black. But you know they’re next to you.

And then one day you’ve talked about everything and so you get kind of quiet and you decide that just spending time in one another’s company is enough. And so you just keep walking in the dark, next to each other, in silence. And it’s okay because you know that they’re still there. You can still hear their footsteps.

And then one day you ask them a question. And you get no response. And you realize that they are gone. You realize that you’ve gotten separated. You’ve drifted apart. And you are alone. And somewhere, they are alone as well.

You call out to them. You shout their name and you get no response. And so you go looking for them because you know that they’re there… somewhere. You know that somewhere in this cave they’re wandering around. They’re doing their thing and you’re doing yours.

You call for them and in the distance you hear them. And you keep shouting and you keep calling and you keep walking and you try to get back to them.

And you hope that you find them.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

Some people are walking in the cave and they’re like, ‘I’m done walking in the dark with you.’ And those people turn around and they walk back towards the light. Sometimes they walk back towards the light and out of the cave together. And sometimes they do it alone.

And sometimes that’s okay.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

One day you wake up and you’re thinking, ‘This is not the person that I married. This is not the person that was standing next to me at the altar.’ And, if you’re self-aware enough you may realize that you are also not the same person that was standing at the altar and that your spouse is experiencing you in an entirely new way.

You’ve both changed. You’re both completely different people. And then you wonder if you can keep making it work. Because those other versions could do it… but you’re not sure these new versions are a fit.

How do you put together a puzzle when the pieces keep changing shape?

Now drop kids into the mix. Oh, shit. Things are getting complicated.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

You have a dream of having a career. A specific career. And so you educate yourself in that field. Maybe you go to college. Maybe you go to a tech school. Maybe you read books and watch YouTube videos. However you prepare for it, it is, at its core, a preparation. An education of self.

So then you get that job and then the industry changes – new technologies or practices emerge. So your boss sends you to receive additional training. You learn new ways to process information. You learn new techniques. The career field changes and so you must adjust.

So we apply hours and weeks and sometimes even years and sometimes even decades of preparation to a job (say hello, doctors!) and yet, when we discuss marriage, when we prepare to live with another person full time and make life changing decisions with them… we… do… nothing…

The church that married Jade and I encouraged us to take three 30-minute classes.

90 minutes of training for the task at hand is not enough.

I’ve been married for just over a decade and the training I’ve received on-the-job has not been nearly enough.

But marriage is not like a job. You just get thrown in first day with no idea what you’re doing and nobody encourages serious training. Nobody tells you to re-educate yourselves after five years or ten years. Nobody tells you that your marriage career is going to change and you’re going to have to make it work or get fired. And if you suggest education – if you suggest marriage counseling you get this taboo sense that something is wrong with you.

You know that feeling I’m talking about. That unspoken weirdness that everyone thinks but does not speak. This idea that is perpetrated in our culture that marriage counseling is for the weak and broken and… my personal favorite…

If you have to go to marriage counseling you weren’t meant to be.

Because if you have to ask for help it is because you are stupid. Don’t you know that? Don’t you know that everyone else knows how to do this? Don’t you know that it comes easily and naturally to everyone else? Marriage is simple and straight-forward and if you need advice it is because the pieces do not work together and there is no hope anyways. Don’t you know that? Don’t you know that it’s better to live miserable little lives than it is to seek counsel? Don’t you know that?

What if we applied that logic to other areas of our lives? Son, if you need to ask a question in class, you probably just aren’t smart enough to begin with.

If you need to look at the recipe for how to make chili, you probably weren’t made for chili. Sorry. It’s delicious but you don’t get any. Shoo-shoo, Oliver Twist.

Listen. Seeking education does not make you stupid or wrong. Seeking education makes you self-aware. Education and intellect craft a stronger individual, crafts a stronger family, crafts a stronger culture, crafts a stronger world.

Do not allow the uninformed to inform your thinking.

Do not be engaged and dissuaded by a society that has a 50% failure rate in marriage.

Set your own rules. Live by your own standards.

Education is not a swear word.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

I’m broken.

That’s a fact.

I’ve got a bunch of baggage that I carry around with me everywhere I go. I’ve got baggage about my family. I’ve got baggage about my parents. I’ve got baggage about my faith. I’ve got baggage about my body. I’ve got baggage about my personality. I’ve got baggage about my grades and my IQ and my creative abilities. I’ve got pride issues. I’ve got insecurity issues.

And my wife gets to adopt them.

And I get to adopt all of her bullshit.

And then we have to figure that stuff out together.

We say things we don’t mean. We do things we know we shouldn’t. We raise our voices and we walk away from conversations and sometimes we hurt each other with nothing more than our intent.

Thank GOD people have not heard some of the stuff I’ve said to my wife in the heat of an argument. Shit has come out of my mouth that I think about today and cringe. I have said things to her for no other reason than to hurt her. And that speaks to who I am (or hopefully was) as a person, at my core. At the time I would have said it was her fault. It’s her fault for being a specific way and I was just bringing it all to light and if it hurt her it’s because it was true.

These are the words and thoughts of someone that is selfish and arrogant.

The vows tell us that we’re going to be together through sickness and health, for better or worse but what they don’t tell us is that it’s sometimes going to feel like you’re dragging along a dead marriage, fighting uphill to make it work. They don’t tell you that there will be periods of time – not just days and weeks but entire months – that drag on through the gray drizzle of time and you’ll wonder just what is wrong with your spouse because it’s not you. It’s not you. It’s never you. It’s always them. Making mistakes.

“I’m trying. You’re not.”

“There’s nothing wrong with me.”

Getting married is like a light to all of your shortcomings as a human being. Your spouse will illuminate all the problem areas. It’s painful and it’s terrible and it hurts to look at yourself and see all the flaws. And it’s just so much easier to turn your face to one side and not look at that pile of problems that create you, as a person, and it’s so much easier to deflect blame to the other.

It is so much easier to look at someone’s shortcomings and it is so much easier to nurture resentment for a million little things and a handful of big things.

It is so much easier to judge others.

And it is simple to judge our spouse.

And so you choose.

Those three thirty minute classes didn’t prepare us for cancer at 26. They didn’t prepare us for lay-offs. They didn’t prepare us for invitro-fertilization. They didn’t prepare us for twins. They didn’t prepare us for a miscarriage. They didn’t prepare us for the day-in-day-out minutia of life and they didn’t prepare us for the fact that Jade likes things done a certain way and I like things done a certain way and those ways typically are not the same but are, more often than not, quite opposite.

Those classes didn’t prepare us for anything.

I wish I could say that everyday Jade and I choose to hang onto each other in the darkness of the cave but the reality is that we don’t.

Sometimes we are cold and calculating.

And sometimes we are terrible.

And cruel.

But we try.

We choose.

We choose to continue to stumble blindly through the dark, seeking each other.

And sometimes we choose to talk about walking back into the light. Sometimes we talk about what a divorce looks like.

And sometimes we have fun together and we find each other and we remember why we do this. We remember why the search is worth it.

We remember that we love each other and that our family is amazing and that we’re very lucky and it is only our own selfish shortcomings that are destroying us and we realize that if we can choose to be better people, we can choose to be the best for each other.

And when our spouse shines a light on our problem areas – our selfishness, our arrogance, our pride – we can choose to get angry that someone noticed our darkness… or we can thank them for being close enough to us to point out our flaws. And then we fix them together.

“But, man…” I conclude. “Marriage is really hard.”

The guy across the table looks at me. I notice he doesn’t have a ring on his hand. I wonder if he’s thinking about proposing.

“But it’s also amazing. Marriage is beautiful and wonderful and I’m married to my best friend and everyday is a marvelous adventure.”

 

***Like what you hear? Subscribe for updates . New material every Wednesday.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

BABY BRYCE BIRTH… and other anecdotes

IMG_6918

Last night we made a large celebratory pasta dinner who’s sauce consisted of equal parts cheese, half and half, butter and bacon.  It was a gut bomb straight from Heaven; white clouds to white plate.  For desert we made pudding parfaits that are one part vanilla, one part chocolate, one part pie crust crumble and one part whip cream.  It was a meal that was easily, easily worthy of a Thanksgiving feast or some kind of last supper for a Death Row inmate (depending on how positive or negative you wanted to be with the analogy).

We tuck the children in and say their prayers and then curl up really close to them and say, “Okay, listen… Listen… tomorrow… the baby (and we point to Jade’s tummy) is going to be out here…” and then I point to Rory’s tummy because he’s lying down and I sort of just mean that he will be able to hold the baby but he takes it to mean that the baby will somehow transplant inside of his body and so he grabs the bottom of his shirt and yanks down and jerks his knees up and fearfully shouts, “NO!” and I say, “Uh, no – sorry.  Sorry.  Just, uhm… here… in your lap… and I pretend to set something on top of him.

We say, “Tomorrow the baby will be here.  When you wake up, Mommy and Daddy will be gone – we’ll be with the doctor – but Grandma will be here and you’ll eat breakfast with her and then you’ll come and see us with the baby, okay?  Okay?” and they both mumble noises of approval that sound something like, “Baaaay-beeee…”

We kiss them goodnight and turn on their pony music box and Quinn throws herself out of bed, screaming suddenly and incoherently and I walk out, closing the door behind me while saying, “Okay… I love you too… good… night…”

Hours later I’m sitting on the couch in my living room, knowing that I should be in bed since we’re scheduled to be checked in at the hospital at 8:00am but… I’m not tired.  I’m so excited!  My nerves are all on high alert.  The Baby is going to be here tomorrow!  I say, “Can you believe the baby is going to be here tomorrow?” and Jade touches her stomach and says, “No!  But I’m so excited I don’t think I can sleep!”

11:00 rolls around and we force ourselves to lie down, staring at the ceiling, staring at each other, staring at the belly, asking each other questions, talking about how bittersweet it is.  I reach out and touch The Baby and it shifts and moves and I say, “This is it.  Tomorrow The Bump will be gone,” and we share a quiet moment, both of us being equal parts happy and sad.  Jade says, “It’s kind of sad,” and I grunt in agreement and say, “It’s kind of happy.”

I say, “I’m so excited!  I can’t sleep!  I couldn’t sleep even if I wanted to!” but Jade reaches over and shuts off the light and moments later… I’m asleep… and then an alarm is blasting an obnoxious melody in my ear and I open my eyes and squint and try to curl back into bed but then remember that today we’re having a baby!  I throw my covers back, hop out of bed and throw on all of my clothes that I’ve laid out last night as though today were the first day of school and I were in second grade.  Bugle Boy jeans?  Check . Body Glove shirt?  Check.  Incredibly incredible Mario Brothers knapsack?  Check and check.

I make coffee and throw a few loose items into a bag, eat a slice of toast with the kids – who are awake after all – bid them all fare thee well and the two of us are out the door and on our way to the hospital and then when we get there, already a couple minutes late even though it’s only a mile up the road from our house, Jade realizes she’s forgotten her purse and hence her wallet and hence all of her hospital and insurance identification so we drive all the way back home where I find my son looming over my record player doing who-knows-what to the needle and I say to my mother-in-law, “He can play with that sort of but… just… let him push the button but nothing else,” and she says, “Okie-dokie!” and Rory says, “I’m playing music!” and he hits the start button and Peter, Paul and Mary’s Best of album begins to play and I hear someone sing, “Lemon tree is very pretty / and the lemon flower is sweet / but the fruit of the poor lemon / is impossible to eat” and then I’m out the door and back in the car and back at the hospital and we’re all checked in.

IMG_6929

They ask Jade to put on a gown and remove all her jewelry, necklace, wedding ring, belly button ring, etc. etc. and so she does.  They wrap belts around her that monitor the baby and attach her to machines that read out waves and numbers that look like they’re trying to detect seismographic activity instead of the minute movements of an infant.

photo 2

ABOVE:  JADE MODESTLY REMOVING HER BELLY BUTTON RING / PRETENDING TO BE INVISIBLE.

A nurse enters to give an IV and Jade says, “May I have a Novocaine shot first?” and the nurse says, “For the IV?” and Jade says, “Yes,” and the nurse says, “Uh… no.”  Her left hand gets stuck without incident.  Meanwhile, her right hand squeezes the life out of my thumb, threatening to snap the bone right in half like a pit bull with a chicken leg.

photo 1

Jade says, “Can I still get up to pee?” and the nurse says, “Yes.  If you need to, you may go to the bathroom and unload.”  I swear to you this is what she said.  “Unload”.  I felt like this elderly Latina woman was suddenly channeling her inner New Jersey frat boy.  Jade gets up to pee and, while she’s in the bathroom, our nurse, again, a woman of Hispanic descent, says to me, “Do you have any questions?” and I say, “Actually, yes… I do,” and she stares at me and blinks a few times and smiles.  I say, “I’ve started to learn to speak Spanish,” and she says, “Oh!  That’s wonderful!” in her softly poetic ethnic way, her consonants all softer and more flowery than I could ever hope to make them with my angular American tongue.

I say, “Yes, uh, thank you.  So, you speak Spanish?” and she says, “A little,” and I suppose that she’s just being coy because English is quite clearly and obviously not her primary language and so I say, “Uh, yeah, great!  So, I’m wondering about this word somos,” and then I stop and she looks at me and says, “Somos?” and I say, “Yeah.  Like nosotros somos.  I think it means like, “We are” but I’m not exactly sure when to use it,” and she says, “Sumo?” and I say, “No.  Somos,” and she says, “The only sumo I know is the one in Japan… I’m Japanese,” and I swear to you right now that I have never felt like a bigger, whiter, boxed off, Classic American Redneck, Racist, Psychopath in all of my entire life.

I say, “Konichiwa!” and quickly fall through a crack in the floor where I shrivel up and quietly die.

IMG_6938

Jade comes out and the Japanese woman leaves and I put on my scrubs and a second nurse comes in and says, “Oh, good, you have your scrubs on,” and I say, “Yeah.  I’m supposed to be completely naked under here, right?” and she says, “Uh…. no….” and I sort of awkwardly feel around my body and go, “Oh-kay…” and while I’m not actually naked, I enjoy watching the look of sympathy spread across her face as she tries to imagine what it’s like to be someone as stupid as me.

IMG_6947

IMG_6949

ABOVE:  HAIR NET

The doctor is an hour late but when she finally shows up things move faster than a greased up toddler on a Slip ‘n’ Slide.  They wheel us to the O.R. and ask me to sit in the recovery room and wait for my wife to receive her epidural.  Across the hall and through the high set glass windows I can hear various chattering voices and Jade laughing.  Twenty minutes later a middle-aged-but-going-into-later-aged nurse invites me in and my heart starts pumping a little bit faster and I turn on the camera in my hand and hit record, just planning on paying almost no attention to it and sort of just blindly spiraling and pointing it wherever I’m looking.

IMG_6955

Jade is laid out flat on a surgical table, her arms splayed out in a crucified position, an oxygen mask placed over her mouth.  I sit down next to her and pull down my paper filtration mask and giver her a kiss and say, “Are you okay?” and she says, “Yes,” and I say, “How do you feel?” and she says, “I puked,” and I casually wipe my mouth and smile and say, “But you’re good?” and she says, “Yes.  They got the epidural on the first try.”

She mentions this because the last time we were here they assigned a student to give it to her who thought the rule was Three Strikes and You’re Out.

IMG_6967

I shift the camera around and take note of my surrounds; it’s the same room we were in almost three years ago.  Nothing has changed.  The anesthesiologist behind me, warmer with nursery helpers to my left, a giant blue curtain separating Jade’s face from Jade’s guts.

Burning.  The smell hits my nose like a tire thrown at the sun.  I crinkle my nostrils and say, “You smell that?” and Jade says, “Yeah,” and then, “What is that?  Is that burning?” and the anesthesiologist bends down and says, “That’s you.  They’re cauterizing the wound as they cut,” and Jade says, “Oooooohhhhhhh…..”

Next is the most intense slurping noise you’ve ever heard; imagine a vacuum cleaner shoved into a barrel of tomato soup and fired on.  Jade gets tugged and jerked around and says, “What’s that?  Is that a… a vaccuum?” and the anesthesiologist says, “It’s your blood,” and Jade says, “Ooooooohhhhhhh….”

I hear a noise that sounds like a cry; no, I hear A Cry and I stand up and I peak over the stupid curtain separating my processed, domestic brain from human experience and look over it and there is my daughter, covered in gray slime the texture of half dried paint.  I sit down and lean my face into Jade’s ear and I say, “Bryce Allison.  It’s Bryce Allison!” and she says, “It’s a girl?” and her eyes begin to fill with tears and I say, “Yeah!  Yes!” and then the doctor lifts Bryce over the curtain and says, “Mommy, here’s your baby,” and Jade gasps and says, “Ooooooohhhhhh….” and then the doctor says, “It’s a girl!” and then the baby is gone and Jade squeezes my hand.

IMG_6959

Bryce appears around the curtain, gets placed in the warmer and I follow a nurse over.  The Nursery Staff tests her, checks her, cleans her and lets me cut the long nub that remains of the umbilical cord.  I say, “I didn’t get to do that with my other two children,” and I look at the child’s hair and I point at it and I say, “What color do you think that is?” and the Older Nurse says, “I would say that’s a reddish color,” and The Man Nurse says, “Yeah… some kind of red or strawberry blonde,” and I turn around and say, “She has red hair!” and Jade says, “Oooooohhhhhh….” and then pukes into a basket.  The Older Nurse says, “It’s natural.  That happens when they shove everything back in.”

Bryce is perfect and healthy and, as far as I can tell, completely flawless.  I reach out and touch her skin and it’s soft like velvet covered in butter.  The anesthesiologist takes our first photos together and then I sit in the recovery room until they wheel in Jade on a gurney while carrying Baby Bryce.  She can’t move her legs at all.  I reach out and touch her and she says, “You absolutely must stop that because it’s freaking me out in the biggest way possible,” and I say, “Can you feel this?” and she says, “Are you touching me right now?” and I say, “Yes.  I’m pinching your toe,” and she says, “Stop.”

IMG_6998

I pick up the baby and sit down and begin sending out all of The Messages to friends and family.  “Baby is here, perfectly healthy!!!!!!!” and then my phone begins to smoke and then simply explode thanks to the enormous intake of text messages flowing into it.

Pop-fizzzzzzz.

I put my phone down and stare into Bryce’s eyes and say, “Who do you look like…” and just depending on which way I hold her, she looks like Quinn… and then Rory… and then both of them… a perfect little mixture of the two.  I look at Jade, who is staring at her toes and straining her focus and I say, “Ten days.  In ten days she won’t look anything like this,” and Jade goes to put her hands on her belly and then says, “AH!…. Oh yeah…. it’s gone…. I forgot.”  Her belly is flat.

IMG_7014

The Japanese nurse lifts up Jade’s gown and says, “I need to examine the staples,” and Jade looks at her stomach, where the bump used to be and pokes her belly, which now has the consistency of a sandwich bag filled with jello.  She pokes it again and it joggles and jostles and gyrates and Jade says, “EW!” and The Japanese nurse laughs and Jade pokes it again and again and again and then places her hand on it and does The Chunk Shuffle.

The Japanese Nurse giggles and giggles and then suddenly and without warning, reaches out herself and touches Jade’s tummy and wiggles it and giggles again.  She says, “You are funny.  You are a funny patient.  What is the baby’s name?” and Jade says, “Bryce Allison,” and I say, “Jade, are we spelling that B-R-Y-C-E?” and she says, “I think so, yeah,” and I say, “And are we spelling Allison A-L-I-S-O-N or A-L-L-I-S-O-N or with two Ls and two Ss or one L and two Ss or…” and she says, “I don’t really know,” and I say, “We don’t even know how to spell our kid’s name… we are so unprepared… I can’t believe they’re giving her to us!”

IMG_7102

Back in the room we stare at the baby and… you imagine those first few hours to be very frenetic and chaotic and full of emotions, ranging from panic to adoration but it’s truly more euphoric than that.  Everything is very quiet and calm and serene and surreal; a soft but lucid dream that you’re sure is about to end at any moment so you just look and listen and try to soak in as much as you can before it vanishes.

She opens her eyes and looks at me and I’m sure I look like a blurry ogre and not just because her vision is still developing but because in real life I actually look like a blurry ogre.

IMG_7110

I call Jade’s mom and I say, “Alright, we’re here; we’re ready; you can come down,” and I here her say, “Ooooohhhhh…” and then the phone clicks off and the three of us are alone again.  A few moments later my phone rings and June says, “We’re here!  We’re here!  I just parked!” and I tell her I’ll meet her at the front doors.  I bounce out of the hospital room and make my way through an overly lit labyrinthine maze of salmon colored walls decorated in pictures of flowers, butterflies and topless women feeding children.

I break into the late afternoon sun and the warmth feels good on my skin after being in various cold and sterile rooms all day.  In the distance, on the third floor, I see a mop of red hair bouncing along above a guardrail, running with such force that the two blonde children she has in tow are dangling behind her, feet in the air, their little bodies billowing in the breeze like surrender flags.  I watch as she furiously punches the elevator call button and I take off running.  I hit the stairs, leaping up them two at a time, two at a time, two at a time, then around a bend and up another half flight, and then I’m on the second floor and I crush my thumb into the call button and then casually position myself in the doorway so that, in my head, I resemble some iconic image of James Dean.

I hear the elevator descending and then bing and the doors slide open and both my kids are standing there, blank faced until they see my boots, my jeans, my shirt, my yellow hat and their eyes blow up like bombs and they say, “DAAAAAD-DDEEEE!” and I run inside the elevator and say, “Hey, there!” and I give them both hugs and say, “Are you ready to see BABY?” (being ever so careful to use a very generic noun and to stay away from he / she since June still doesn’t know and wants to find out in person).  Quinn says, “YEAH!” and Rory says, “Errrr….” and then there’s a bing and the doors open again and we’re on the ground level, walking in the sunshine, four wide; Quinn, June, Rory, me, each of us holding the hand on either side of us.

IMG_7040

We enter the hospital and get in another elevator and go to the third floor and I turn to June and I say, “Are you so very excited right now?” and she says, “I am so very excited right now, Johnny!” and outside the door I lift up the children and squirt anti-bacterial lotion into their hands and I use a little much because I know just how dirty they are and Quinn starts rubbing it and lathering it all the way up to her shoulder like she’s about to perform surgery and I have to help her clean it off and now they both smell like an emergency room.

I kneel down and gather them both close to me and I say, “Okay, I love you both so much.  Thank you for being so good.  Are you ready to go see The Baby?!” and Quinn says, “YEAH!” and Rory is still rubbing his hands together, trying to get clean.

I open the door and the kids walk in first and I hear Jade say, “Who is heee-yeeer?” and then, a moment later, “Oh!  Look who it is!” and when I walk around the corner, she is filming them entering the room to meet their sister for the first time.  Watching the video back later it’s easy to see that Quinn is cautiously optimistic, standing on her tip-toes to see just what the heck her mom has and then slowly creeping around the bed, slithering and sliding, she stands next to the bed and says, “That’s a baby,” and Jade says, “Yes!  That is a baby!” and Quinn says, “That’s Baby Sawyer,” (her new baby cousin) and Jade says, “Noooooo, that’s not Sawyer,” and Quinn says, “That’s…. Baby Beckett!” (our friend’s new baby) and Jade says, “Nooooo, that’s not Baby Becket!” and I say, “Rory, do you want to come see The Baby?” (still being sensitive to use gender neutral nouns; it / the) and he, at the end of the bed, poking various medical buttons marked only as “DO NOT PUSH” and “NEVER PUSH” and “MAKE SURE TO NEVER TOUCH THIS BUTTON”.  I say, “Roar, do you want to come see The Baby?” and he says, “No,” and I say, “Okay… do you want to come stand by Daddy?” and he says, “No,” and then I say, “Do you want Daddy to hold you?” and I bend down to pick him up but he lashes backwards and cries, “NO!” and I say, “It’s okay – it’s okay.  You don’t have to.”

Jade says, “Do you want to introduce them?” and I say, “June, do you want to come around and see?” and I say, “Quinn… this is… your new baby sister,” and June puts her hands over her mouth and says, “She’s a girl!  You have a sister!” and Quinn says, “Sisss-terrr,” and Rory says, “Where is iPhone?”

IMG_7050

I lift Quinn onto the bed and say, “Do you want to kiss the baby?” and she leans down and kisses her on the forehead and says, “AH-HAAA!” like the craziest mayor to ever run for election, skipping through the park, kissing strange infants, “AHHH-HAAA!!!”  June sits down on the bed and Rory sits in a chair on the other side of the room and so I sit down next to him and say, “Do you want to sit in Daddy’s lap?” and he stares at his toes and in a tiny voice says, “No,” and I say, “Do you want Daddy to sit in the chair with you?” and in the same tiny, rejected voice he says, “No,” and so I say, “Do you want to play with Daddy’s iPhone?” and he lights up like a firecracker and stands on the chair and points at the table and says, “Uh, yeah!  Yeah!  iPhone right there!  I show you.  I show you.  Right there!” and so I grab the gadget and sit down and watch my son push a collection of digital media through strange alien worlds and, ten feet away, I watch my daughter stare at her new sister sitting in this strange alien world.

I lean over to Rory and whisper in his ear, “I love you.  I missed you,” and he says, “I love you,” and I say, “Will you come sit with me?” and he stands up and crawls out of his chair and up into mine and there he stays for the next two hours while we try to navigate the dark and murky waters that is Introducing-Siblings-WIthout-Causing-Dismissive-and-Rejected-Feelings-Amongst-the-Two-Older-Ones.

I watch Quinn sit on the bed, staring at the baby which her Grandmother is holding and for just a moment I have a very Out-of-Body-Out-of-Time experience wherein I see three generations of women spread out before me and I see June as a young mother, holding a newborn Jade in some country hospital nearly 30 years ago and then I see an older woman holding a newborn June in someplace a little more dimly lit and then I see Quinn and she’s very old and she’s sitting on the edge of a bed with her daughter holding a new baby and I realize that this is just my turn at this cycle that happens over and over and over to each of us.  This is me standing at the very top of the slide, looking around at the world around me, everyone small, my perspective so much more dynamic than it is on the ground.

Quinn as a grandmother… me as a great grandfather… I think about the day wherein Rory and Quinn and Bryce are three old people, Jade and I both gone, the three of them sharing a long and healthy history together that’s seven decades deep and here I am, witnessing the very first day that they meet one of their most intimate friends.  Quinn, up close and personal and Rory, impassionately disconnected but it’s all the same.  It’s all The Moment.  It’s The Day.  The First Day that stretches out into the next 70 or 80 years.

IMG_7066

When the children leave a few hours later, Quinn kisses the baby on the feet and on the head and Rory says, “Bye, Mommy!” and they both walk out of the door with their Grandmother.  I turn to Jade and say, “Did we do that right?” and she shrugs and says, “I hope so,” and then a friend brings us burgers and then we Skype with my mother, which basically just entails me pointing the camera at a sleeping Bryce while we talk off screen.

IMG_7107

Nurses come and go and start shifts and end shifts and the world is moving around us, the sun soaring through the sky, the shadows lengthening out on the floor and then vanishing completely while I just hold my new daughter and stare at her and say, “I love you so much, Little Bryce Cake, Little Brucey, Little Bruce,” and the instant bond that I feel to this little human that so much resembles a bag of soggy potatoes is completely astounding.

photo

In the hallway I can hear other babies crying, other newborns, other people who’s journeys are beginning here and now; a small club of individuals who all enter into the world on October 7th together but will probably never meet.  I see men walking up and down the hallways talking to their mothers and fathers on the phone and giving them The Details (height / weight / sex) with huge smiles on their faces.  I see a few couples slowly meandering the white halls, the woman with a hand in the center of her back, still expecting, her husband pulling along her IV post and I want to run up to them and say, “This is it!  This is it!  I just had one!  I just had another one!  They’re so awesome!  Good luck!  Congratulations!  High Five!  Up high!  Down low!  Too slow!”

The sun dips behind the horizon and our room goes dark and, like a mole or possum or vampire, the baby wakes up to feed.  Midnight… 12:30…. 1:30… 2:30… the baby won’t sleep.  She eats, she nods off, she wakes up.  She doesn’t cry so much as she just gurgles and coos and bleats like a sheep… 3:30 and she’s still awake.

IMG_7121

4:30 rolls around and I’m holding her in one arm and staring at the pages of a book in the other, trying not to nod off and drop her on the floor when my words from the previous night come back to haunt me, looming in the air over my head, laughing at me.  I speak them out loud to Jade, “I’m so excited right now,” and she says, “Me too,” and I say, “I don’t think I could sleep… even if I wanted to…”

IMG_7139

The following two days are filled with friends and family and dirty diapers but are, for the most part, uneventful.  When we arrived back home today, my neighbor, an older gentleman from Cuba (or maybe Tokyo?) is standing in front of my house and a smile spreads across his face when he sees us.  “Boy or girl?!” he shouts in his thick accent and I shout back, “GIRL!” and he claps his hands together and says, “OH!  YES!”  I point at the sky, a blanket of gray rain clouds, a light drizzle misting down upon us and say, “Great weather for your first day outside, huh?” and, while I love rain, I meant it more in the “It’s so dreary,” type of way but he just claps his hands together joyfully and says, “YES!  RAIN!  It is a celebration of life!” and I smile, having never thought about it like that before.

I shake his hand and turn around and walk into my house, baby in hand, where the rest of my life waits.

photo

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rory and Quinn: 5 Months

twins, 1st year, progression, growing up, chalkboard wallThe two of you are five months old now….Quinn, you’re actually five months and 2 minutes old, if you want to get technical, having stormed into the cold delivery room just moments before your younger (but much larger) brother.

People say time is relative but I’d say time is funny….and family is relative.  Five months seems like a quick drop in the bucket, sand in an hourglass, a quick fart in the diaper of life, but it seems like years ago that Jade was pregnant and the two of you were hiding shyly inside her fleshy incubator.

I walked past our television earlier today and saw the first family photo we ever had taken – a young and handsome doctor that wasn’t very good at giving epidurals had snapped it on our digital camera in the delivery room moments after they’d handed both of you to me.  I sat with one of you in each arm and Jade laid stretched out on the table, her arms tied down like a death row inmate and click.  The photo is ours forever.  It just seems like a long time ago.

I put you into your cribs at night and you’re too tall to lay sideways anymore.  In fact, you’re both so big that we have you sleeping in your own cribs now.  We’d put you both in the same crib, on separate sides, and you’d fuss a little and then slowly go to sleep………and then you’d slowly start crawling towards one another and, once you found your sibling, you would start punching and kicking them.  Then the screaming would start.  Game over.

We separated you a few weeks ago and I think it’s fair to say that all four of us are sleeping better now.  Mostly you’ll each wake up only once or twice in the night and often times one of you will actually just sleep straight through.

You’ve both begun to mumble quite a bit but Rory is definitely taking the lead on vocality.  We have a little baby monitor that sits in your room and while we go to sleep we listen to you mumble in the dim light.  “mmmrrr…..scwaahhhh……sshhhmmmeeee….we-we!”  It’s pretty funny…..but at the same time sort of creepy because it sounds like a demon.  You also do this really low growl that sends shivers up my spine.  We’ll be changing your diaper and you’ll look right at us and in a raspy wheeze go, “hhhhrrrrrr habba-habba.  Grrrrr rabba-rabba”.  It really does sound like you’re trying to cast a spell on us.

You’re both sitting up now (sort of) but I’ve gotta say that I think Quinn might be galloping into the lead with stability.  Maybe it’s because she’s lighter?  Rory, you’re like a little cinder block with a face and Quinn is like a feather with a gummy smile.

One of my favorite things to do lately is to face the two of you towards one another and watch you play.  You reach out and touch each other’s toes.  You chew on each other’s fingers.  You steal each other’s toys.  You both cry.  It’s loads of fun.

We’re heading back to South Dakota in about two weeks for your first 4th of July and ALSO your first plane ride.  I’m really excited about the plane ride and I don’t really know why.  Everyone has said that traveling with babies is a terrible, terrible experience but I believe in you!!  You’re going to do just fine.  We’re going to get on the plane and people will love you!  You’ll steal the show – just like a thief at a comedy club!

By this time next month we fully anticipate seeing some shining ivories.  We suspect that Rory may be beginning his teething campaign as of yesterday and Quinn I’m sure is not far behind.  I’m trying to spend as much time with you as I can and enjoy every minute because I’m sure that in six months I’m going to look back at a photo of the four of us sitting on the floor, me half supporting Quinn and Jade trying to soothe Rory’s sore gums and I’ll think to myself – that wasn’t that long ago but you’ve changed so much…

4 Months

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rory and Quinn: 4 Months

“Little boys should never have to go to sleep because every morning they wake up one day older”.  That’s not an exact quote but it’s definitely an exact paraphrase of something someone said.  And it’s true.  In fact, it’s usually one of my final thoughts before placing each of you into your crib.  I look at you now, today, and realize that you’re much bigger than the day I first met you.  You’ve both grown and changed and…..”matured” isn’t the right word but I’ll use it anyway.  Your faces are filling out and your limbs are getting stronger.  You both smile more and more and you laugh constantly.

This month you’ve both taken a serious notice of one another – uh-oh, it’s 12:54am at the time of this writing and I’m suddenly hearing little noises percolating from the bedroom…….it’s Rory, up for his midnight feeding.  Hello there, little buddy.  When you were born you used to grunt while you slept and while you ate. Now, about three days ago you started to “talk” during any time you weren’t sleeping or eating..  Actually, I suppose it isn’t very fair that I put quotes around that word.  If tonality says anything at all, you both have a mouthful to say to anyone that will listen.  You screech, mumble, warble and sing, sometimes to me, sometimes to your mom, sometimes to your sibling and sometimes to yourself.  I walked into the bedroom a few afternoons ago after getting out of the shower and found you, Rory, lying in your crib on your side, humming like an infant mogwai.

For reference of what a mogwai is, please google search the term, “mogwai”.  Sidenote: Quinn, you sort of resemble a mogwai.  Trust me, it’s okay and is a heck of a lot better than resembling a golem.

I love listening to the two of you make sounds.  Rory, your noises are more like songs and coos while Quinn’s, yours are more in the vein of laughs and screeches.  If you are upset you put your fists down at your side and go, “eeeeEEEEEE!!!!”  When you do this I shake you a little and you laugh, haha.

We also recently purchased you each your very own Johnny / Jenny Jump Up.  We plop you down in this swing that hangs from the door frame and watch you bounce…truth be told there’s not a HUGE amount of jumping that’s happening…..YET…..but I’m sure it will begin shortly.  Currently you both mostly just hang there and stare at one another, swinging around and gently pushing yourselves in one direction or the next.

I’m really enjoying watching you grow but, as usual, it holds a side of bitterness to it.  You’re both rolling over, making noises and beginning to grab things with your hands – you’re turning into toddlers!!  Today we gave you both your first taste of mushy rice cereal and you LOVED IT!…..just kidding.  Quinn, you began to lap it up like a dog but I’m not totally certain you a.) enjoyed it or b.) knew what you were doing.  Rory, you just started to cry.  Perhaps you’d enjoy it more if we splashed a little soy sauce on it?

I’ve started working nights and this last week with the two of you has been fanTASTIC!!  I am so happy to be blessed with additional time to spend with my kidlets during the day.  Working the standard 9-5, I missed you so and was feeling cheated out of a more time-dynamic relationship.  Now the flood gates are open and we get to spend nearly the entire day together before I go to work at 6:30.  It’s GREAT!!

That said, I do enjoy the weekends when I stay up late all alone, trying to remain on my night schedule, when I hear one of your mews from the back room and I rescue you from the dark, bring you into the light and feeding your hungry bellies.  It’s phenomenal having you both around but it’s also nice to get some one on one time as well.  I truly cherish our time together and am always more and more excited to see the people you are becoming.  Will you hate onions?  Will you like rock ‘n’ roll?  What will your favorite color be?  You’re here in our arms but there are so many unanswered questions.  Don’t worry, though, we’ll discover it all together.

3 Months

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Months

Rory and Quinn.

Looking at our monthly photos amazes me.  It’s incredible to see how you’ve grown so much in just the last 30 days.  Where you were once so easily carried around with one arm you are suddenly requiring the constant assistance of two.  Watching you grow and change has been an amazing treat but it also saddens me in a strange way.  Part of me looks forward to the days when you will crawl and walk and talk but another part of me just wants you to stay as you are – as our cooing babies.  You are wonderful little people and everyday I find myself loving you more and more.

I suppose that since I can’t control time nor the human growth element (yet…) I should just embrace your amazing process and run with it.  Just promise me that you’ll never be too cool to give me hi-fives.

Earlier this month your mom and I decided to embark on a well deserved vacation up to San Francisco to visit some good friends of ours.  Were we expecting the trip to be different than what we were used to, traveling alone or with dogs?  Yes.  Was it different?  DEFINITELY.  Was it more difficult?  Sometimes.  Was it more fun?  Sometimes!  There’s something strangely exhilarating about changing a babies diaper in the front seat of your car in a light drizzle at a gas station in a town you’ve never been to.  There’s something romantic about waking up at 3am in a strange hotel and watching Mtv with your family.  There’s something illuminating about buying beer then realizing that you don’t have a bottle opener and getting on YouTube to find a “How-To-Open-A-Beer-With-Your-Keys” video.

Rory, you fuss less and less as the days go on and Quinn, your eyes get bigger and bigger.  Rory, you’ve begun to thrash your arms and legs around, swiping at little objects and slapping me in the face while I sleep.  Quinn, you’ve begun to roll over, mostly onto your side and ALMOST onto your stomach.  Rory, you don’t even try to roll; you prefer laying face down and, from one deranged mouth-breather to another, that’s okay with me.  Quinn, you laughed for the first time when your mom was giving you a bath a few weeks ago.  The sound of your coos makes us smile; you’re becoming quite a noisy baby and will “talk” with us if we ask you questions.  Your big gummy smile cracks me up.  Rory, you drool…a LOT.  Honestly, I’m not even so fearful of you smothering yourself in your blankets as I am of you drowning while you sleep.  We put bibs on you in the middle of the day just so you don’t get your shirts soppy wet.  Quinn, you’ve begun waking up at 6:30am pretty consistently.  You are not hungry.  You are not wet.  You just want to play.  You cry until someone sits you up, at which point you look at us, smile, laugh and then start to coo.  I don’t even care that it’s 6:30.  Rory, you sleep all night….you actually sleep all night and most of the day.  The other day you slept 10 1/2 hours.  You are a true professional and you take your rest very seriously.

Everyday I leave to go to work and everyday I think about you all day long.  It’s tough to be away from you for such stretches…..maybe I should tape a picture of myself to the ceiling above your crib?  Maybe I should get you a live webcam?  When I come home and pick you up, it is clear that you recognize me and laugh.  You both do it and those two moments are the absolute highlight of my day.  We’ve got more family coming to town soon – Your Aunt Theresa, who you haven’t met yet and your Grandma June is coming back for her second visit and I think they’ll both be pleasantly surprised at how big you’ve gotten and at how much Rory drools.

TWO MONTHS

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Interview with The Fusionist

Make sure you go check out The Fusionist to see us gab a bit about cancer, careers and fun with IVF.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Two Months

Happy two month Birthday, Rory James and Quinn Marie!  I guess what they say is true – time really does fly when you’re mad with sleep deprivation and tottering on the edge of delirium!  WEEE!!

Rory, you fell asleep in my arms a few nights ago while I was watching a Roseanne marathon on Netflix.  (Netflix is something that will have probably come and gone by the time you’re old enough to understand….Roseanne is forever).  I took you into our bedroom to lay you in your crib and noticed how strangely big you’d gotten all of a sudden.  It seems you’ve almost doubled in size and the box of “old” baby clothes that we just packed away seems to attest to that.  In some regards it’s sad – seeing you growing up so quickly and watching as certain aspects of your “newbornness” get piled away but it’s also very exciting and amazing.  You’ve become less fussy over the past few weeks (Praise God!  Thank you, Jesus!  Shalom and peace be with you!!) and you’ve actually begun to smile, seemingly under your own will.  You see, previously you’d only lift one side of your lip up into the air ala Elvis but I think you were mostly in the throws of a milk enduced bender.  You’re getting heavier and heavier as well.  Your last doctor’s appointment weighed you in at an astounding 12lbs 7oz and 24.6″.  You, my friend, are a meatball, deep fat fried and covered in cheese.  Don’t worry though, I hear you grow into it at around 14.

Quinn, gentle Quinn.  At 10lbs and 22″, you sit silently on the couch, lying in wait for your perfect opportunity.  You lure your victims in with your large doughy eyes and cunning smile.  You paralyze your grandparents and our friends with your Gerber Baby face and then, when their defenses are down, you strike.  With the wail of a wild banshee and the redness of a cherry tomato, you scream as though you were being drawn and quartered.  It is a rarity for The Fireball to ignite but when it does, everyone should be warned to stand back and, in the event that they are caught in the line of fire, stop, drop & roll.  You’ve recently become much more alert, holding your head up for minutes at a time while gazing at the world around you.  People stop us on the street to say, “Look at that baby!  She just has so many facial expressions!” and then they see that we’re each carrying a child and they say, “You have two!” but Rory is usually asleep, his fists clenched, dreaming about punching something.

Our nights were getting better and our sleep was getting longer and then….we don’t really know what the heck happened.  Suddenly you decided to move back to three feedings a night and refuse to shut your eyes once you’d woken up.  Sometimes it’s frustrating because I feel like you don’t understand how truly delicious sleep can be and I have no way to tell you yet but let me just say this….If I have to be up with two people screaming at me to shovel food down their gullets, I’m glad it’s you two.

ONE MONTH

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Month

Roe and Q,

Happy one month birthday!

Before you were born everyone told us, “Time will fly by all too fast so you better enjoy them while they’re little” and for once, all the unsolicited advice was correct.  I can’t BELIEVE you’ve been here for a month already – that’s the entire lifespan of a fruit fly!!  Regardless of how brief the last thirty days have seemed, they have packed a serious punch, like a dwarven version of Mike Tyson.  Now, not to sound like a decrepit old woman already but it really does seem like only yesterday that I was still massively pregnant and begging you to evacuate the premises……..

I’ll be honest, this has been a pretty intense month with you so far.  At everyone’s (unwanted) suggestions, we were bracing ourselves for the worst ( The Antichrist) but thankfully you’re not even close to as difficult as we were expecting (you’re only about as bad as The Pope) but it’s still FULL THROTTLE.  Sleeping is certainly not the thirteen straight hours we were used to but we’re still functioning with the every 3 hour feeding schedule you’ve so politely mapped out for us and are THRILLED that you’re on any kind of a consistent schedule at all.  The first night we had you home with us was insane; it was like The Three Stooges Have a Baby.  We were clueless idiots bumbling around with you all night while you were up for 6 hours straight tag teaming us.  After the first night spent inside Dante’s Inferno we were definitely bleary-eyed, sleep deprived and wondering what exactly we had signed up for.  Top to bottom, feeding you has been the most challenging part for us as you both are very thirsty Schrute babies (Dwight K) but everyday is getting better, easier and less painful for my poor mammaries.  John’s nipples seem to be doing fine; he claims to have taken an intensive 12 hour internet boot camp on milk-tating dads.

Both your Grandmas left two weeks ago so we are now fully on our own with you and it was pretty scary at first.  When you cried we felt like chimps trying to disengage an A-Bomb, slapping at random buttons hoping it would shut off.  The first couple days at home with you alone by myself (while your dad was at work) were pretty hard but the more I get to know your separate little personalities and bends, the easier it gets.

Rory, at this point in your life:  you love sleeping on your stomach (much to my and the AMA’s discomfort), hate having your diaper changed, want to be fed the moment you open your eyes, snore while you sleep, grunt while you eat, constantly want to be snuggled and look just like your dad.  I wouldn’t go so far as to outright call you a fussy baby but you’re definitely tipping the scale in that direction.  Hey…speaking of scales……you are a seriously stout little man at 10 lbs 6 oz and 22″ long.  Coincidentally, you are the exact dimensions as an Irish lager and hold the same physical attributes: tall and pale.  Your dad and I frequently refer to you as Meatloaf, Cinder Block or Ham Steak and play Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who gets to lug you around in the Moby wrap.  Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE to carry you with us but in our own self interest and the safety of our lower backs we have to trade you off from time to time and take mandatory 15 minute breaks.

Quinn, at this stage you are our calm baby.  You like to sit in your little lamb chair and just look around, smile while you sleep, love to have baths and are mesmerized by lights.  You are awake much more frequently but are very self content – although when you do get mad you scream very loud and kind of sound like a dying bobcat.  You are also getting much bigger in your own right at 8lbs 11oz and 20.5″ long but do not pack the heavy punch that Rory does, as a little lady you are much more dainty…ironically, you have more chins than a Chinese phone book.  The bigger you get the more you look like me (although at a whopping 9lbs 8oz you still don’t weigh as much as I did at birth) and you definitely have my/your Grandpa Wade’s eyes and eyelashes.  Right now our nicknames for you are Quinnie Pig, The Pig, Bobcat and Voldemort….because sometimes, when you’re swaddled and have a hood on you do sort of resemble The Dark Lord from Harry Potter Book 1 (also known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerors Stone OR as it is referred to in England, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone). Yes, we are nerds, you’ll have to live with it.  The other day while you were taking a nap next to me on the couch you woke up, looked right at me, smiled and put your hand on my face.  I don’t think it gets much better than that.

Has parenting been everything we were hoping it would be?  YES and more.  Has it been as difficult as we were anticipating?  NO thank goodness.  Can we imagine a life without you?  NO…but maybe an evening…We both are so incredibly blessed to have you.  Two years ago when your dad got cancer we thought it was the absolute worst thing that could ever happen to us and we were afraid that we’d never be able to have children.  Two years later, it was directly BECAUSE of that terrible and wonderful diagnoses that we ended up having twins.  Because of cancer, you are here.  Everyone tells us that God can take muddy circumstances and turn them into something gold.  Now, with absolute certainty, we can both say that every sleepless night, dirty diaper and  high frequency scream was worth every moment of chemotherapy.

We’re excited to meet you and talk to you when you’re finally old enough to read this…and for the day that you do: remember to just sit back and relax.  Right now you’re in the other room sobbing because you’ve dropped your pacifier.  Remember, things only get easier.

-mom and dad.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Birth

Okie, dokie, artichokie, like an old man driving on a Sunday afternoon, this post has been slow in coming.  I’ve LITERALLY sat down roughly 20 times to jot down my thoughts and keep getting distracted by different things (as a new mother, I think you know what I mean…….yeah, facebook).  Se la vi.

Two things I promised myself I wouldn’t do in this post:  1.)  I will NOT be giving you the nitty gritty details about my birth story.  I will NOT tell you about delivering a placenta via c-section or about trying to poop after said operation.  I will NOT tell you about staples in my abdomen or having a catheter.  The second thing I refuse to do on this blog is 2.) Make lists.

Going into the hospital we didn’t really know what to expect.  Not only were we not privy to the sexes of our children but we had no idea how the process was going to shake down.  To help my fellow woman and pregnant post-op men avoid the shallow but perilous pitfalls that I stumbled into, I’ve created a list…and I’m calling it, “THREE THINGS I WISH I WOULD HAVE KNOWN AHEAD OF TIME”.  You, fellow reader, are currently “ahead of time”.  You, friend of friends, can apply these rules to your future experience.

1. THE NOOB

Let’s say you need an epideral.  Would you come over to my house and ask me to do it for you?  No.  Why?  Because I’m not a doctor or professional anathesiologist.  I lack the training and knowledge.  When you go to a hospital, you hope that these people will be assigned to you.  Not so.  You should SPECIFICALLY ask to have all students, residents, nurses in training, etc. excused from the room OR, at the very least, ask to have the syringe removed from their desperate and shakey hands.  They can watch, but they mustn’t touch.  After receiving the lovely epidural twice, the “professional” (ie professional student) decided he couldn’t quite find the magic spot and handed the NEEDLE back over to the REAL DOCTOR.  Why, why, WHY, was there a nubian sticking objects into me without my knowledge??  This rule can be applied to IV placement.  If you’re not good at IVs, you shouldn’t give them.  If you have to “fish around” you should maybe consider a job at the wharfs.  My body is not your ocean.  I am not your class activity.  You do not pay me tuition.  Goodbye.

2. THE BOOB

Lactation consultants must die; they should literally drown in a vat of warm breast milk.  If they come uninvited into your room like a pack of grace hungry Jehovah Witnesses, simply wave around some garlic and crucifixes as if trying to ward off a vampire – they’re about the same sort of soulless monsters.  They grab at your boobs and nipples without permission like a football playing rapist.  They bring you machines and new ideas they want to try out.  “Try tickling the babies’ cheek.  Try tickling his foot.  Try cranking her elbow.  Try hanging him upside down and swatting at him with a bamboo shoot.  Nothing?  Hmm, maybe tomorrow….”  At one point a 200 year old woman who we dubbed Mother Earth entered the scene and tried explaining to us what we should be listening for; how we would know if the baby was eating vs. just suckling.  She says, “If the baby is eating, it will sound like this -” and she began to make suckle-suckle-gulp-gulp-suckle-suckle noises that sounded like someone trying out for the World’s Sloppiest Soup Eating competition.  “If the baby is merely suckling at your teet, it will sound like this -” now imagine an angry guinea pig trying to drink from his hanging bottle but the guinea pig has no teeth and the bottle is made from wet meat.  John, in classic John fashion, straight facedly asks, “Could I hear the first sound once again?  How did it go?”  Suckle-suckle-gulp-gulp-suckle-suckle.  I try not to laugh and John rests back in his chair, folding his arms.  He says, “I see”.

3.  THE NOOD*

Have you ever had that dream where you’re standing completely naked in front of a group of strangers?  They’re all poking you and prodding you and you feel sort of insecure but for some reason you can’t get out of their gaze?  Well, the fine folks at Kaiser Permenente can make that dream a reality.  You will be wheeled unceremoniously into a frigid cold room.  Your “clothes” (paper robe with twist tie) will be ripped off in one swift motion and you will be left standing there with nothing but your contact lenses to hide behind.  It’s not that bad if you come from a stripper background but for me, it was a little uncomfortable.  I’m so modest, you know, I wear chastity belts to my gyno appointments.  Anyway, prepare to run the gauntlet in your birthday suit.

*I know I didn’t spell that right (nude) but I really, really wanted it to look like the other two headings.

NOW, without further ado, allow me to take you on a visual journey of our trip into the ‘hood (parenthood).

Above, the view from our room; the top floor of a parking structure.  While this may seem trite, it’s certainly a better view than the room below us had; a brick wall.

Our anniversary is March, 26.  0326.  It’s not QUITE right but it’s still sort of cool.  Did anyone watch LOST?

This is where the doctor’s wash their hands before cutting people open and after making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

One last family photo while we’re still just an “us”.  The doctor’s asked “What are you having?” and we said, “We don’t know!”

And then there was Quinn!  I can’t even explain how amazing it was to hear the doctor call out that we had a little girl.  We had a girl……a sweet little footie pajama wearing girl of our very own.  The doctor’s asked, “What is her name?” and we said, “We don’t know!”  As you can tell by the giant cubist painting, Quinn is just as modest as I am.

This face is going to be my undoing EVERY TIME.

Quinn was followed quickly by our little man, Rory.  One look at him and I knew we had ourselves a little mini-John.

Getting to hold my babies’ for the very first time!  HEAVEN.  There were so many times in the last couple years that I feared this moment may never happen for me – such an incredible moment of God’s faithfulnes and blessings.

Later on in the recovery room Quinn and I had a discussion about the day’s events – clearly her face is saying she’s not so sure about this place.

We were disappointed to learn that they no longer do the standard hospital mugshot baby photos so we decided to do them ourselves.  Below are John and I’s circa the 80’s.  It’s crazy how much Rory looks like John!

And thus concludes our greatest journey right on the coattails of an even greater one.  Please be sure to come back for regular updates and adventures; thank you for playing and do come again.

John and Jade.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,