Roommate

Guess what? Arlo is out of the NICU. We are out of the hospital. We are home! And all of a sudden Kylie and I have a new roommate.

He broke his way out of the halfway house on Mother’s Day. It was the best gift he could give his mama- he made my gift of a plant look like a dead tree branch. His last hurdle was passing a “carseat test”. It’s recommended for all newborns that have been born before thirty-seven weeks gestation. The “test” involved him having to hang out strapped in his carseat for ninety minutes without his stats dropping below certain levels for too long. Kylie went for a walk during it as she was stressed beyond belief (he had failed the day before). I decided to stay in the room with him and read.

I didn’t read a lick though. I stared at his monitor and watched three different waves and four different numbers go up and down and dip and rise. Ninety minutes. Ninety minutes of stress. Ninety minutes of me coming up with impromptu superstitions… Oh! his stats just went up- I have to keep my left leg crossed over my right- Oh shit! Oxygen level dropped- take another sip of Le Croix- OOooo! Back up now- Okay, a sip of Le Croix every time oxygen saturation dips to 87- Everythings working, don’t move… Big DROP- Fuck! Sing- sing- sing to him- Let’s swim to the moon… Okay, back up, super stable, don’t move a muscle. I did this for ninety minutes. I’ve never come so close to literally pissing my pants. But his stats didn’t dip for too long, and he passed.

Immediately we packed our stuff and headed home. We pulled into our driveway and realized we had to unpack two weeks worth of hospital accumulation. We brought him in first and we looked at each other, “So…. what do we do? I mean, where do we put him?” We had had over two weeks of unofficial baby training in the hospital- but at the hospital there were specific and defined places to put him- like a bassinet- and besides, in the hospital his mobility was limited to the length of his wires and tubes. But we were home now, and this kid was wireless. If I wanted, I could have set him on top of the refrigerator and there wouldn’t have been a nurse around to bat an eye. But I knew if I did something like that for a cheap chuckle, Kylie probably would have taken a bat to my eye.

It’s funny though, we had bought or been given a handful of baby holder things- but suddenly I was too afraid to put him in one because I didn’t know if they were safe for a premie. I mean, it seemed a carseat barely was! So we decided we would look at all the safety precautions for premies for each specific apparatus that we had for him before we set him in anything. So at that moment, with a car to unpack and a life to get started, we put a blanket on the floor, and Arlo on the blanket, and that’s where he hung out his first hour at home.

Since then, we have been figuring it out, and we have figured out one thing for sure… He runs the show- he’s a pretty loud and selfish roommate whom I would probably call an asshole if he wasn’t so damn cute.  He doesn’t care to wait for his hospital feed schedule anymore- he wants it when he wants it and knows he’s gonna get it. I feel like all I do is wash his dishes and wipe his ass. I even cook his meals! If warming a bottle of breastmilk can be considered cooking (I guess Kylie actually makes his meals). And to top it all off, his favorite time to poop is anytime I’m holding him. But he does seem to be quite the happy little camper though- so far he almost never cries (I will regret writing that line I’m sure)- although he did cry out at me last night when I decided to relieve my bladder before relieving his hunger pangs- my bad buddy.

We’ve had only one major surprise with him since bringing him home- he’s a terribly loud sleeper! Different sounds all night! Seriously. Here is a visual list of what I imagine is actually in his little sleep rocker at night…

 

Sometimes I hear a cute little Mogwai…

 

mogwai

 

And sometimes an insatiable Gremlin…

 

gremlin cue

 

There’s always a baby hippo snort or two…

 

hippo

 

But those change to Ferris Bueller’s deafening dummy snores…

 

sleep dummy

 

And then to just some heavy grampa breathing…

 

grandpa

 

But there are always many toots sprinkled in- actually, Kylie calls them toots because she thinks it’s cuter that way, but this little guy gets the Fat Bastard award because he really is on that level with his “toots”…

 

Fat Bastard

 

And when he’s not tooting up a storm, I hear his hands moving around and imagine this guy laying there…

 

moor der

 

But whatever sounds I hear coming from where he sleeps, and every time I check on him, he always looks like this…

 

dreamer

Welcome home Arlo Ray

Sensitivity

We are fourteen weeks pregnant tomorrow. It’s really happening. Scout is the size of a kiwi, hopefully not as furry. The second trimester began last week so I decided to open up one of the books we have about pregnancy and brush up on what to expect in the next few months. It’s supposed to be a much “easier” trimester than the first- meaning nausea and fatigue should subside and Scout will start looking more like a little bump in the belly.

I was flipping around in the book and I ended up in the section for expectant fathers. It’s basically a section written for “dads to be” who are idiots and morons and lack common sense or compassion. I’ve looked at a few similar sections in different books and they all seem to assume that the typical male is a gleaming example of incompetence when it comes to relationships and pregnancy. I can’t say I disagree with that.

One paragraph really stuck out to me though. It was in the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy book. There is a small section that let’s the father know what he can do after the delivery of the baby…

Once your partner is allowed to eat and drink normally, bring her something from her favorite bakery or shop. It’ll make her feel special.

Are you fucking serious? It’ll make her feel special. Are there men out there who would not think of doing something nice for the woman that just gave birth to their child? Do they really need a prompt? The fact that the Mayo Clinic had to write an explanation of why one would bring her something from her favorite bakery or shop is what astounds me. My anger is not even towards the Mayo Clinic for writing this, but at the fact that there are so many men out there who need this written out for them!

Funny though, reading that made me look at myself in the sensitivity mirror… I’m guilty too. I’ve learned a lot in the last few months about what is okay and not okay to say. I actually had to learn it- super simple stuff too, but important…

  1. The little bump that is starting to form in the belly is called a bump- not a pooch. Don’t call it a pooch. Write that down.
  2. Just because Kylie is eating for two doesn’t mean it’s okay to point it out if she is. We made tacos the other night and I mentioned how she never built a taco so high before. We don’t talk about big tacos in this family anymore.
  3. If Kylie gets emotional about something it’s not okay to point it out, or laugh because it’s cute, or outwardly blame the pregnancy for it. Just empathize with the emotion at hand.
  4. If Kylie says she feels and looks bloated, she is not looking for someone to agree with her.
  5. It’s not okay to have Kylie help me lift a heavy truck topper off my truck anymore.
  6. Don’t comment on how hangry she may be. Just… don’t. Not even with a sparkling smile.
  7. Whenever I say or do something insensitive, go to Kylie’s favorite bakery or shop and buy her something… It will make her feel special.

 

 

Cliché

Scout!

What’s going on in there little thing? You are eleven weeks, three days today. Congratulations, you are the size of a fig. Your great grand-nana loved figs. She had a tree in her back yard in Chula Vista. I used to watch her pick them off the tree and eat them- I thought it was disgusting- I think I just don’t like seedy things. Anyhoo, she died over a year ago. I would have loved for you to meet her- mostly because I would have loved to watch her scare the shit out of you. She was an absolutely loving grandmother, but she also like to yell at us as kids. “IF YOU KIDS DON’T LISTEN TO ME I’M GOING TO BEAT YOUR BRAINS IN!!” On occasion she followed it up with, “IF YOU HAVE ANY!”  We, as children, would scream, scatter, and run away. The adults in the room would laugh out loud. As an adult, I got to watch her yell at my younger cousins- I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. Her husband, on the other hand, your great grandpa, was the polar opposite. He would sit quietly in his chair and just observe everything. Every once in a while he’d quip a joke out and everyone would laugh. He died about six years ago while your mama and I were living in a shitty apartment in Flagstaff.

You have one great grandparent left right now- Red. Red is your grandpa Jared’s dad who lives in New York. You’d like him- I had the pleasure of meeting him this year in June. He’s quite the character with stories galore. He reminded me a lot of your late great grandpa Harvey from West Virginia. In fact, both of them had messed up a couple of their own fingers by the time I came around. Your great grandpa Red mangled a couple of his with a chainsaw (they are still there though). Your great grandpa Harvey lost one at the knuckle while working at a sawmill. He used to draw a face on it and move it around to entertain us.

But let’s stop talking about your late Greats. Let’s talk about your balls! Or your vagina! That’s right, I went there. By now you are forming one or the other- and quite honestly, I don’t care which! As long as you are healthy- I know, how cliché of me. But it’s true. I will let you know right now, if you are a girl I’m going to try like hell to raise you like a tomboy- and if you are a boy I’m going to try like hell to raise you into the most sensitive and caring man I can. And if you end up being gay, I’ll be absolutely happy and supportive with that too.

If you can help it though, please don’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, or a bully, or a football player, or in a fraternity or sorority… This will be a longer and more defined list some day, but this is all I can come up with right now on the fly. Actually, if you follow this list of don’ts then you should have a good foundation for being a good person.

Okay, I am about finished with my cappuccino, so I will bid you adieu. I hope you are warm and well inside your mama’s belly. I might put a stethoscope to your world tonight even though the internet says that it is pointless this early in the pregnancy. I wish I could come in and hang out with you for a bit but you’d probably freak me the fuck out with your creepy underdevelopedness at this stage- so I am perfectly happy to wait till June. Hugs and kisses little one.

Flutterbug

Is there a force in the universe that makes a man tell dad jokes as soon as he is an expectant father? I swear there is and I cannot escape it. I used to be a funny guy- well, to me. But recently I find myself shaking my head at myself when I attempt a joke. Really guy, did you just say that? I should slap you upside the head. 

Take yesterday for example, we were just wrapping up our first visit with the OB

GYN. We all had a great conversation, well, I mostly sat there and listened to her ask Kylie questions and Kylie ask her questions. Really I just felt I was a bit of an inconvenience as the nurse had to go find a chair for me to sit on. But then when she asked us if we had any more questions at the end of the session I decided to display my wit, “I’ve been suffering from Couvade syndrome and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for me.” Kylie laughed. Our Obstetrician nervously laughed, probably only because we were both laughing and she didn’t want to be left out. Then she asked, “What’s, what is that?” As with any other joke that becomes unfunny when you have explain it, this one unraveled quickly. I explained what it was and she said she didn’t know there was a name for that condition. Awkward!

We also had our first ultrasound done yesterday and it’s absolutely true- we saw it with our own eyes- Kylie has a little mexican inside her! And that thing was moving around like a jumping bean! And we saw the heart beat holy shit! It was a little flutter bug! We got to see it in 3-d, which quite frankly looks a little freaky to me but Ky thinks it is cute. I’d post a picture but it looks pretty much like the one I drew in the last post. They were also able to give us a more refined due date- June 8th!

They gave us tons of pamphlets and magazines and options for chromosomal blood testing and a big book that had some way too graphic pictures of childbirth. Seriously, it was a photo of a guy holding up his squatted partner by the armpits, then you gaze down and there is head sticking out of her vajay- it didn’t look like either of them were having any fun. Anyway, it’s a lot sift through. It’s a lot to talk about also- there are certain windows when some tests are better, some can’t be done for a while, and they are all optional. It seems to me that all these tests should just be included, but we have to decide whether or not to get them done. And even if we do they are not one hundred percent conclusive- there is a risk of false positives and false negative that then get confirmed with more tests that could still be false positive/false negative. I don’t know what we will decide to do, but you won’t hear about anymore of that here. I am just surprised by all the little but huge decisions we have to make before Scout even scoots its way out.

So that was our visit- a very positive one. So far, so good, and that was the only news we wanted to hear.

First…

It seems awkward to me to begin this blog about my (future) kid and not mention what led up to this- well, besides- you know. I am married to this amazing woman holding on to me in this picture. This was our wedding day, about 2 1/2 months ago. Before you do the math let me do it for you- the fetus (eww, gross word) is 6 weeks, 4 days old (according to my handy dandy app). So, no, she was not pregnant in this photo- not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In short, as you can tell by our bare feet and my cuffed pants, it wasn’t the typical wedding. There were six attendees (us included) and it was twelve miles into a twenty-six mile hike in the wilderness of Montana- Oh- and the bride didn’t know about it.

The bride, let’s call her “Kylie” from here on out, didn’t know a thing. I proposed to her about a mile before this photo was taken. She said yes. I said yay!

Then I said, “We can get married out here if you want to- right now! I have rings for both of us, your brother got ordained, and your sister in law has a dress for you in her backpack!” This caught her a little off guard to say the least, but after a few moments, she happily agreed. So, in front of her parents, brother, sister in law, and our dogs, on that rock, in that lake, in the middle of The Beartooth Wilderness, we got married. And the green grass grows all around and around, and the green grass grows all around.