NICU

Little Arlo has been alive for 3 days, 13 hours, and 3 minutes. With the exception of his first wet and slimy hour of life, his time has been spent in the neonatal intensive care unit. I know this sounds super serious, but he’s fine. In fact, he’s making strides every few hours, and we get to spend as much time with him as we like. It’s like a halfway house for new families- we see him when we want, but there are restrictions to what he can do until he matures a little more.

The little guy was too impatient to meet everyone and didn’t wait for the steroid doses to strengthen his lungs, so they’re still developing right now. Up until this morning he was connected to a CPAP machine, which forces oxygen into his lungs and keeps them ballooned until they can do it on their own.

*Disclaimer* I am going to explain all the medical stuff how I understand it- Looking this stuff up to make sure it’s accurate for this blog post would make this boring to write, and probably boring to read. If you are a person who needs things to be 100% accurate, please correct me in the comments, I won’t mind. Otherwise, this is all my understanding and perception. Thanks!

Anyway, the CPAP machine came off this morning because he was breathing so well, and now he just has a nasal canula to help him out. It’s smaller and easier to maneuver. The CPAP made him look like he had a big rhino horn sticking out of his face, this new canula just makes him look like he’s an old regretful lifelong smoker.

But what that also means is now we can see his face! And he looks like a cute little monkey! Really, he’s got a head full of thick black hair and a nose that has been smashed down for the last few days from his CPAP. His perma-frown and wrinkles wonderfully support this new moniker. He’s even got soft hair (lanugo) all over his back and shoulders! He looks like a little monkey and he’s my little monkey- mi changito!

El Changito’s first day or two on earth found him pretty placid and sleepy. He didn’t care what was being done to him or when. Now, however, he gets angry and cries out little squeaky roars if you mess with him. He gets his fingers caught in his tubes and he pulls them every which way. He hates the cold wet wipes when we change his diapers (speaking of, he already peed on a nurse). He is getting an intake of breastmilk and making plenty of glorious sticky black poops (meconium). All this output and all this fussiness just means he’s developing the energy, awareness, and lungs to be pissed at his situation.

But it’s gonna last a little longer because as you can guess there is a whole bunch of criteria that needs to be met before he comes home with us. He needs to be able to keep his own temperature, he needs to be on a good feeding schedule, and he needs to be breathing well on his own- those are the main things that he needs to accomplish before going home. Babies hit those marks at all different stages. We were warned that it’s best to assume he will be going home on his due date (June 8), but it is also possible to get out of the halfway house sooner. I, personally, am shooting for what would have been his thirty sixth week of gestation. It’s not an overly ambitious goal from and new overzealous father, it’s just a realistic goal from information I’ve gathered from various nurses.

He’s a happy little buckaroo and he’s most stable when we have our skin to skin time. He is probably on either Kylie’s chest or mine around twelve hours every twenty-four hour period. During that time his stats are great. Sometimes he looks around but mostly he just sleeps and gets stronger. We sing him songs and talk to him and we pet his soft hairy monkey head.

Although this halfway house was never in our plans we are super grateful for it as well as for the staff here- the nurses cannot be thanked enough. I joked with them today as I walked by their station on my way to see Arlo, “Don’t mind me, I’m just that squatter living in room #2 walking through to see his son”. I think I heard one of them mutter to the other, “Great, another brand-new-dad joke.”

One More Thing…

I went home last night to pick up some stuff and say hi to Mazzy. On the table were some ideas Kylie had written down about her birth preferences- just a start though, she was going to finish it in May… Kylie’s brother finished it for her…

Birth Plan

 

Love you all, thanks for reading.

Boy

So… It’s gonna be a boy. Scout! You’re a boy! We found out on Christmas Eve. Kylie had been carrying around a card with the gender written on it in her purse for a month. Right before we went to sleep on Christmas Eve we sat on the side of the bed holding the envelope in our laps- literally. It was in my lap and then I put it in her lap, “No, you open it.” Then it was back in my lap, “No, you open it.” This went on for a while. Butterflies were attacking our stomachs and our future was going to be that much more definite. If it was a girl, I would one day get to be that dad sharpening chainsaws and knives in the living room when her date came to pick her up. If it was a boy I would get to bring up a little mini-me and we’d dress like twinsies until the day he decided to hate me for a while (adolescence).

I honestly don’t remember who opened the envelope. I just remember opening the card at a lightning speed that almost ripped the fold and then… silence. We were stunned. We were speechless. We looked at each other. We didn’t speak for what seemed like two minutes because we knew whatever we said next we would remember for the rest of our lives… Just kidding, I don’t remember what we said next, or what we talked about for then next hour before we fell asleep. We were just happy. We were content. We now knew we had a boy on the way. Boy!

We slept well that night. Images of sugarplums and- no- I actually don’t remember how I slept that night- I assume fine. The next morning we had to tell Kylie’s parents and brother and sister-in-law. They knew we knew and Kylie and I had not given much thought about how to tell them in a fun way. We probably should have built a giant snow penis outside for them to find but we didn’t, and again, we were in the same situation, I looked at Kylie and said, “You tell them,” she returned the look and say, “No, You tell them”. Again, back and forth for a few tosses and finally I couldn’t handle it and announced, “There’s gonna be another swinging dick in the family!” Not the most poetic revelation christmas morning has ever brought, but it got the point across.

If I remember correctly, upon hearing the news everyone cheered and yelled “Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!” My father-in-law and brother-in-law boosted me onto their shoulders and sang the entire song of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” while carrying me around and around the christmas tree. At least that’s how I’m going to remember it from now on.

But there was some significance to “another swinging dick in the family”. Kylie’s brother (let’s call him “Lee”) and sister-in-law (let’s call her “Alli”) are- Yes I know! It’s hard to believe that the fictitious names I chose could be in the same family in real life –Kylie -Lee -Alli. They rhyme! I know! Gimme a break, I don’t write this, it writes itself.

Anyway, Lee and Alli are pregnant too! And they are having a boy also! And these boys are due within a day of each other! ONE FUCKING DAY! These guys are gonna be like instant brothers or brother cousins or cousin brothers- they’re gonna be close- I mean close to each others hearts and I mean close like local- like less than five miles away.

It all seems relatively crazy. Kylie and I have talked with Lee and Alli on multiple occasions over the last year or two about how cool it would be to have kids around the same time so they can grow up together and be best friends and how we could babysit for one another and this and that and blah blah blah (we really did talk a lot about it). But as far as we knew they were just pipe dreams. Who knew pipe dreams could be serendipitous! (I urge you not to check my usage of “serendipitous”, just go with it, it sounds good)

But that’s all I have to say today. Two new boys in the family in June! It doesn’t even matter who is due first (we are). In fact, that is probably the least important thing to think about now (but we are due one day before them). And when we tell people the good fortune of having cousins due a day apart, we don’t even mention who is due first- although I usually lean in with a wink, give a nudge, and whisper, “We’re due a day ahead.”

😉

 

Case

I lost two small pocket knives in the span of a week. One was confiscated at the airport because they thought I would use it to make tiny stabs in people on the airplane. The other knife fell out of my pocket somewhere in between home and work. Neither had any sentimental value to me, they were just small tools I liked to carry around to assist me with little jobs that require a little knife. Mind you, I’m not the guy that likes to carry around a big knife to show off how much of a man I am- quite the opposite actually- those kinds of guys like to make fun of me and my little knife.

So I needed a new knife. Sure, a custom made one by a local craftsman would have been nice, but considering my track record with the last two I decided I should opt for a cheaper mass produced knife. So off to Cabela’s I went. Whenever I go to Cabela’s I always expect there to be a camouflaged man at the door to stop me and say, “Hey, you aren’t a hunter, maybe you should go to REI instead”. But, he wasn’t there, and I walked right in.

Cabela’s had a great selection of knives! (I swear they are not sponsoring me). They had everything from Rambo knives to machetes to small pocket sizes that fit my personality. As I was looking in the knife cases Gary approached me and told me about a real deal, three knives for $10. I let him lead me that way but I didn’t have great expectations on quality- they ended up being a random camouflaged set of three that had the Cabela’s logo on them. I imagined the blade getting dented as soon as I tried to cut a piece of tape. I thanked Gary and told him I would keep looking.

As I looked over the knives on the wall I realized I wasn’t buying a knife just for me, but a knife that one day I could give to Scout. I remember my dad gave me a knife when I was a kid, just a simple no frills folding pocket knife with a yellowish handle. It was small and had a timeless look to it, unlike all the fancy springy and edgy designed ones out there today. I think I carried it around for a year or two before I lost it. You didn’t think I still had it did you?

My eyes finally rested on a small orange and silver folding knife with a small oval logo on it that read Case. This was the one, I thought, this is the one I’m going to give Scout one day. It had the classic look that reminded me of the one my dad gave me. Gary told me it was forty dollars and when I told him I wanted it he shot me a look that said, I just showed you three knives for ten dollars but you’re gonna get this little one for forty dollars instead? I immediately shot him back a more pronounced look that said, Keep your thoughts to yourself Gary and just sell me the damn knife.

Admittedly, I wasn’t planning on spending forty dollars for a pocket knife. It was a bit more than I had planned- but for a family heirloom? That’s pretty cheap if you ask me. (I used this same justification when I bought my truck- I told Kylie, “Just imagine, one day our first born will drive this”- that was way before Scout was in the picture.) As Gary boxed up the family heirloom he told me I could save twenty dollars just by signing up for a Cabela’s credit card. I told him I didn’t need another credit card. Gary insisted that I did, and it would only take a couple of minutes. A couple of minutes? I’ve got that kind of time…

Twenty-five minutes later I was finally walking out the door with our new knife, some paperwork, a credit card, and a ball cap that read Cabela’s Club. During that twenty-five minutes of frustration, I had a lot of time to think. My mind wandered to the movie Pulp Fiction. Specifically the scene where Christopher Walken’s character is describing to the kid how he hid the watch up his ass for years, just so he could give it to him when he got home…

captainkoonsThe way your dad looked at it, this watch was your birthright. He’d be damned if any slopes gonna put their greasy yellow hands on his boy’s birthright, so he hid it, in the one place he knew he could hide something: his ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable piece of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you. 

Suddenly this pocket knife didn’t feel too significant as an heirloom. The only story I had to tell Scout was about my twenty-five minute wait to save twenty dollars. I guess I can dramatize it and tell Scout, “But it was a long twenty-five minutes”. I can also tell Scout how pushy over-the-hill Gary was. Not too exciting though.

I suppose I could hide the knife up my ass just for a good ol’ family heirloom story, but I don’t know who I’d be hiding it from. It would probably be a good idea to do so though, because most likely I will lose the knife before Scout is even born- that’s what Kylie thinks- and she’s usually right about that type of stuff.

As a matter of fact, yesterday we were tearing apart some boxes in the garage. I was working on a particularly difficult one and Kylie asked me if I needed a knife. I looked up and in her outstretched hand rested my new orange pocket knife. “Where did you get that?” I asked. She smiled with a twinkle in her eye, “I found it on the floor”.