Hope was originally due Wednesday April 7, but with my luck I knew she’d be born on a Tuesday, which is not only the day of the week on which most babies are born (or so we were told), but it’s also the day on which Lost airs. So she didn’t get here on the seventh. On Monday (the 12th), The Civee had an appointment during which the doctor found her amniotic fluid was low. The doctor told us to go home, get our bags, grab something to eat and come back to the hospital since The Civee needed to be induced.
Once we got back to the hospital, I saw how strong my wife truly was- she made it more than nine hours without any pain relief. At about 6:15 a.m. we started pushing and about a half hour later, she was born. She was 20 inches long and 7 lbs 15 ounces. She was a little bit noisy at first, but the doctors said she was healthy. Hope scored a pair of nines on her Agpar tests (that’s out of 10, which is virtually unheard of).
Even before she was born, we’ve known a few things about her. We’ve had her name picked out for quite some time. Hope came from a long three-a.m. philoshphical conversation The Civee and I had sometime back around aught-two or aught-three . And Rosemary is a combination of my grandmother’s name along with a shared part of our mothers’ first names.
We’ve also known that she would have a cleft lip and palate. This is a common and correctable situation. Sure, she has a special smile, but it causes her no pain and the surgeries to fix her palate and lip are routine. To be honest, looking at her, I don’t even notice it. The only time it comes up is during feeding. Because her palate is not completely formed, she is unable to create the suction necessary to feed from a bottle. The solution is a special squeezable bottle combined with a great sense of timing. I find myself very involved when it’s time to feed her, starting out with talking to her, squeezing gently once or twice, waiting for a response, and then watching as I start a routine of “one…two…squeeze” and so on. It’s actually kind of fun, and as she gets used to it, she goes a bit faster, making me go even faster.
Sure, it’s only been a bit more than a week. And I’ve changed numerous diapers, been peed on (and worse) and haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep (and all the above applies to The Civee as well). But it’s been a lot of fun hanging out with and getting to know this incredible little person. And we’re really looking forward to growing along with her. And I think I’ve learned the most important lesson of fatherhood: nobody bothers a dude with his baby asleep on his chest.
(If you don’t get the titular line of this post, please go back and re-watch Star Wars Episode IV)