The Golden Shower

At some point, the conditions will be ripe for a perfect storm of sorts resulting in your child’s first Golden Shower.  Here’s the tale of what happened to my wife and I when our son baptized us into official parenthood.

I began removing the protective gauze from his still raw baby-hood and cleaning up a particularly pasty diaper.  I was so focused on cleaning up the poop paste that I didn’t notice him starting to pee whilst in his birthday suit.  I saw a blur from the corner of my eye, which turned out to be my wife darting towards me.  I didn’t realize what was going until I looked down and saw her hand covering his baby-hood.  She said, “Oh my God, I think he just peed in his mouth.”  I looked up at him and his torso and head were covered in liquid.  In pure astonishment I began to try and mop up the liquid and give him a thorough wipe down.  But, there was just so much that we admitted defeat and decided it was bath time.  So, Mom left to wash her own hands and start drawing up a sink bath, and I was left to attend to the golden saddened child.  While I was trying to consolidate all of the pee-soaked diapers, clothes, and wipes, I began to feel a warm, wet sensation on my own hand.  I looked down and was amazed to see yet another 6″ liquid eruption shooting straight up into the air and then splashing down.  After scrambling to find any absorbent material, I looked up at my wife in awe and just started laughing.

After getting his bath, reapplying the protective gauze, diapering him, getting him dressed, feeding him, and then laying him down we heard the now all too familiar sound of a different type of eruption in diaper.

Heading home, but before you go…one last thing.

After a couple days at the hospital to ensure both Mom and Baby are doing well, you’ll have to venture out into the world as new parents.  The seemingly menial task of just driving home, a task you’ve probably completed a thousand times over, now has a new sense of pressure.  You’re now in charge of protecting this little person that is 2% reliant on you for survival (the other 98% is Mom).  As part of the discharge process, you essentially have to pass your first tests as parents to the nurse’s satisfaction, or else they’ll apparently not let you take the baby home.  So, you begin going over and getting quizzed on feeding, maintenance, and safety.  After passing all quizzes, the nurse will have one final question, “Have you heard of or know what SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is?”  We both stop what we’re doing and look up at the nurse and reply that we have heard about.  But, that’s not good enough for the nurse, she further insists that “You know that if effects some babies and there are no known causes, some babies will just pass away in their sleep.”  We are literally just moments from crossing the safety threshold of the hospital and you’re choosing now to lob this grenade at us?  At least you’ll have a topic to research and study during the sleepless nights to come.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – SIDS

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), there were approximately 3,500 Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths in the United States in 2013, which SIDS accounts for almost half.  Also in United States during 2013, there were 23 lightning fatalities, 2 shark attack fatalities, 4,585 work related fatalities.  But these were all “older” humans and engaged in various activities, not just trying to breath in their sleep.  The hardest part to grasp about SIDS, is the experts don’t know for sure what causes it.  Sure, sleeping positions during the night help, but apparently even when sleeping on their backs, some infants just pass away.  It’s one of those things you’re going to worry about, and possibly lose some sleep over, but the best thing you can do is just know it exists and try as many recommended techniques to prevent it.

Tips to help minimize SIDS

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, the following are the actions my wife and I (mainly my over protected insistence) took to give our little guy the best chances possible.

  • Back sleeping – always lay your baby on their back any time they’re sleeping.
  • Keep the room cool – prevent overheating.
  • Use a sleep sack – will keep your baby warm without using blankets.
  • Don’t use blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, or bumpers in the crib – these all present suffocation hazards for a baby that isn’t mobile.
  • Don’t share your bed – as much as your wife will want to bring the baby into bed, be strong and insist the baby sleep in a basinet or crib.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  So, please do some additional research to find tips or techniques that you’re comfortable with.  And, if you can’t find anything helpful, there’s always laying there at night listening to your baby breath, like I’ve done for several nights.

Please leave your comments, experiences, or any other sound advice you’d like share!

The Trifecta

If you have a son, and he is circumcised, there is a good chance you’ll experience what I call “The Trifecta.” Keep in mind, this naive father had The Naive Father - Ready for Battlezero experience in changing a diaper. So, when you add the stressor of trying to change the gauze bandage, then by Murphy’s Law your first diaper changing experience is doomed. I call my first diaper change The Trifecta because not only was it a pee diaper, not only because it contained pee and poop, but because it contained pee, poop, and a gauze bandage that was stuck to my poor son’s traumatized appendage. The only description of the feeling I can portray at seeing my son’s appendage still attached to the gauze when trying to remove the gauze is pure horror. I say horror because the only thought running through my mind was that I was about to maim my son. After making the humiliating call to the nurse’s station for help changing my son’s diaper, she arrived and shared the solution with how to detach my son’s appendage…a syringe of warm water. As I document this experience and watch a re-run of MacGyver, I’m reminded that if you can’t fix it with duct tape, then try WB-40…life’s other miracle product. I’m not advising you to spray your child down with WD-40, but I as I learned again, if you have a problem of something sticking together, your solution is a simple lubricant. In this case…warm water. Doh!

The First Moments

The first emotion/feeling right after the time GT literally popped out, was disconcerting. I hadn’t yet seen my son’s face and here was the Gorton’s fisherman palming my son’s head. Not only was his head being palmed, but this person decked out in doctor’s rain slicker apparel was wrenching on his head trying to remove an electrode. Because, unbeknownst to me, at some point an electrode was apparently screwed into his head. Once the electrode was out the feeling changed to bewilderment because all I could focus on was his head. There had been mention of the cone head from natural birth. But again, the birthing class fails to prepare you for staring down at what can only be describe as something that Sigourney Weaver fought in space. Next he’s swooped up by the nurses and given a thorough look over. Seemingly only minutes after he was born, I was being called over to the nurses where they were getting GT cleaned up. It was time to cut the cord. This was also the first time I had actually seen him in his entirety. So, with tears in my eyes I grabbed the scissors being handed to me and did the deed. It was only after I cut the cord, that my cutting was only ceremonious in nature because he had already been detached from Mom. Glancing up at my wife, I realized the sneaky nurses had called me over to get the naive father out of the way, so the rest of the bat crew could get Mom cleaned up. Once GT checked out he was bundled up and given to mom and the bat crew faded from the room.

The Main Event

For almost a month, yes a month, before the big B-day, the MTB was starting to have mild contractions. They were mild enough and had no regular timing that there was no need to head to the hospital, but it did start raising the level excitement. It was a great reminder that our son was nearly ready to join us. We started a walking regimen, started eating spicy foods to try and get the contractions on a regular schedule. After several weeks, he started to make his intentions known a little more seriously. Finally, after about another week of the MTB being completely miserable the contractions began to get closer and closer. I had gone to bed and the contractions were about 15-20 minutes apart, the same they had been all day. I woke up the next morning, asked the MTB how she was doing and she said they were about 5-6 minutes apart. I said, “What, for how long?” Her response, “Oh, for a couple of hours now?” “Why the hell didn’t you wake me up?” “I figured this was your last chance to sleep.” So, we went for one last walk, just to make sure they stayed consistent because we had heard horror stories of people going to the hospital and being sent home. To my delight and the MTB’s discomfort they started getting closer together the more she walked. When they were an even 5 minutes apart we grabbed the keys and headed to the hospital.

The week before on the local news, it was reported that a new record had been set for the number of births in a single week. So much so, that every hospital was “booked” to capacity and they had to send really pissed off MTBs to secondary hospital to deliver. While on our way to the hospital we were joking that thank goodness the record was set last week. We should have known better than to joke about the cosmos. We arrive at the hospital, get checked in, and they set us up in the triage room to check the heart rates, contraction strengths, their timing, and blood pressure. After checking everything out, the nurse said the contractions weren’t strong enough or close enough together to admit her. But, her blood pressure was elevated, so they kept her hooked up a little longer to monitor it. So, after another 30 minutes or so the blood pressure continued to stay elevated and crept up a little higher. I personally think she was trying to win the baby pool at work and was holding her breath to keep it elevated. She’s yet to admit it and I haven’t seen any proceeds, so I have no proof. Turns out it was a moot point, because Pregnancy water breakingafter being in the triage room for about 1.5 hours, the water finally broke. That sealed the deal, she was getting admitted and we’d soon be parents. Remember the cosmos though, turns out we were in the midst of another record breaking week for child births because there were no vacant rooms available. Thankfully, since the water broke they couldn’t send us to another hospital. So, we just hung out the triage room for several hours until a room was made available.

Once we got into the room, time seemed to slow down and things felt more relaxed. We had made it, the baby was coming, not much more to do than just wait it out. Eventually, things progressed enough where it was time for the MTB’s epidural. Remember the birthing class? The epidural procedure was briefly discussed with a few graphics in a notebook, but there were no videos. The MTB never saw the needle, but the naive father did. Having seen the needle and knowing they were about to jab it into her spinal area, I personally would have opted for the monkey bars. But, that’s why men don’t deliver babies. After the epidural, things got even more relaxed. So much so, that we both took naps. It’s kind of funny remembering back to the sleepless nights, that now on the day of and only hours before the main event, we’re both taking naps. The nurses would come and go, checking the monitors for heart rates, contraction strengths and timing.

In the early evening, they started dialing back the epidural so the MTB could start feeling the contractions and know when to push. Once she was ready to start pushing time sped up again, the nurse looked at me and said, “Grab a leg.” Eh…wait a minute, this was not discussed in birthing class nor is it part of the birthing plan. So, whilst holding one of my wife’s bare legs in the air I began the diligent role of counting out loud as taught in class. Up until this point, I had figured that the counting portion of the FTB’s training was equivalent to a trivial task you give a child that’s in the way. “You’re going to handle the counting, it’s one of the most important tasks during the delivery, now you stand here and just starting counting and throw in an occasional phantom breath.” “Duh, okay doc!” I can tell you however, though the counting may or may not do anything for the MTB, it sure as hell keeps the FTB calm, especially when he’s called to pinch hit in this case. So pay attention in class, if not for the MTB’s benefit, then for your own.Doctor's rain slicker

After probably the 50th round of counting and breathing, counting and breathing, the nurse finally said, “There’s the head.” It was like a bat signal was sent up, because all of a sudden, boom, there were ten nurses, equipment seemingly is coming out of the walls, my wife has apparently been laying on a Transformer because a button is pushed and half the bed disappears, stadium lighting is turned on, and the Gorton’s fisherman arrives and presents herself as the doctor. At this point, time feels like it is moving at the speed of light. To my wife’s credit, there was no taking my name in vain, no crushing of body parts, the only thing she really said during the pushing was after the Gorton’s fisherman told her, “Okay, there he is, just one more push!” Her response without missing a beat, “Don’t tell me it’s just one more push, you’ve said that the last ten pushes!” After a couple more pushes, I was apparently so focused on keeping the counts steady, that I recognized hearing a pop sound, but when the wife shrieked in surprise I must have let up on her leg, because she nearly kicked me across the room. After regaining my footing, the doctor announced GT’s arrival and we had become parents.