Wow. The last week has been crazy. My wife's due date was Thursday, April 7th, so our entire week of the 3rd through the 9th has been hurry up and wait. We've been expecting to go into the hospital every evening starting that Sunday, and had my mother-in-law sleeping over at our house to help ensure that our six-year-old is still on her normal routine should we rush out of the house in the middle of the night. My mother-in-law was here every night, and as the due date was finally upon us, we assumed that it was now or never.
And then Thursday slowly came to a close and we were all left wondering when this little surprise would decide to arrive.
Friday morning I woke up at 2:30am and couldn't get back to sleep. My wife had long since moved to the couch to sleep, as in the latest stages of pregnancy she couldn't find comfortable rest in almost any room in the house. I was lying there awake, staring at the clock as it slowly counted its way from 2:30 to 3:10, and finally I decided to call in to FedEx. The baby hadn't come yet, for sure, but I had the feeling it would be coming very soon, and I knew I would need all the rest I could get. I sent a text to my supervisor, he responded understandingly, and then I up to tell my wife.
Twenty minutes later her water broke and we were on our way to the hospital.
And then it became hurry up and wait again. Contractions were painful, medication helped, and eventually hard labor started at about 3:30pm on Friday. By 4:58pm, little baby Roland was born, purple-skinned and stunted and all, but he soon opened his eyes and moved and responded to his mother and I.
I can't describe the feeling of finally holding your son or daughter in your hands during their very first moments of life. It was remarkable and I don't think it's something I could ever compare to anything else. Which probably proves I'm not as good of a writer as I think I am.
Friday was exhausting, and Saturday was a tumultuous whirlwind of family and friends coming and going from the hospital room at all hours, from late morning to late evening. Between visits we took care of his tests, fed him, changed diapers, and tried to relax ourselves. My wife was a trooper throughout all of it, to say the least. Sunday, 4.10.16, we simply said 'no' to all visitors, got discharged from the hospital a little before 2:00pm, and tried our best to find that old routine of dinner, bedtimes, and prayers with our six-year-old before we started our first full day of parenting a newborn and a kindergartener in our own house.
It's rough and exhausting. The older child doesn't understand why she can't help do everything for the newborn, to the point where he cries after she's in bed and she gets up to check on him. On the one hand it's incredibly adorable that she loves him so much, but on the other hand it's frustrating.
The dual-nature of being a parent, as I've learned. Equal parts joy and frustration.
And now, Monday the 11th, we've found ourselves at the start of a more accurate view of what the next two or three weeks will feel like. I'm finding that, between the diapers and the crying and the picking up from school and the playing and the bedtimes, I will have to schedule writing time and hold myself to it. And any doubts or concerns I may have had about getting back into the writing habit, well, they're mostly out the window by now.
If there is anything that Roland has solidified within me, other than a new appreciation and outlook on the quality of life, it is knowing that I want to write. Not for me anymore, and not only for you as my readers, but for him. I want to show him as he is growing up that it is possible to do what you want alongside doing what you need to do. I want to give him and our daughter the example that with hard work and dedication and perserverance that you can realize your dreams.
Who would have thought that such a small and simple child could open up new facets of my own personality to me.
While Roland was blessed with an uncomplicated and healthy birth, not all children are so lucky. Every year, millions of kids seek help at children's hospitals and care centers around the world, and these hospitals need all of the financial support they can get.
This year, I am playing games for Over 24 Hours in order to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network of Hospitals via a community of driven gamers called Extra-Life. I've already got a good head-start on my goal, but every dollar goes directly to CMN Hospitals of your choice. Click HERE to donate today, view my fundraiser, and read up on exactly what Extra-Life and the CMN does to save and better the lives of children every year.