9-Nov-08 (Birth eve)
The day just before delivery is a day all couples should cherish, because as obvious as it may seem, being together as a couple alone would change forever, in many good ways of course.
Both Ade and myself had a pretty good day like many other Sundays we had before, going to IKEA to buy some last minute baby stuff, hanging out at the cafe, looking at kids running about, we even chanced upon Maureen and her husband and ended up having lunch together. That night, i was nervous as hell. Ade was calm as the wavelets in the koi pond downstairs. She said "its like packing the travel bags and going for a holiday".
10-Nov-08 to 14-Nov-08 (Hospital leg)
I probably will not describe in chronology the birth story, because Ade has probably done that, and it will be included in a separate post. So i will zoom straight to the birth of the child.
At the end of a really difficult 12 hours, it felt very strange to be hearing the sound of our baby coming from 4 meters away as he was getting cleaned up. We have always communicated with him through the tummy walls without ever getting much of a response. This time round, you hear cries being projected from his lungs, probably one of the most striking reminder that life is kicking, and a completely independent human being has been created from you and your loved one.
The contrast of feelings on this day was extremely overwhelming. Being in the birthing room from the first second to the last put me through the lowest and the highest of moments. Seeing Ade in such pain, desperation and vulnerability gritting her teeth in such prolonged periods of agony made me feel like crying, and almost a second later, seeing the baby out safely hit me with a tsunami of emotions at the other end of the scale. That extreme emotional polarity was impossible to describe. I came out of it feeling the goodness of a hundred feel-good movies, with the body in total exhaustion. Dads-to-be, if you wanna try this, bring muscle rub, if your child delivers at thomson medical center, the petrol kiosk next door sells 'counterpain analgesic balm' which really works. Having said this, I do really recommend going through the entire experience with your wife. If you are afraid that this experience might put you off sex for good, believe me, the only thing it does is that it will only make you love her more.
That night, the baby was wheeled into the single bedded room the first time. It was amazing, we were going cuckoo about him, getting real whacked about how we fumbled while calling him "our son". It was so strange to suddenly have an offspring, calling someone your child really takes getting used to. After numerous attempts saying things like "move IT there, change ITs diapers", we finally gave up "IT" and got used to "Our Son". Quite funny really.
I think it was great having a single bedded room. The first 100 hours of your time with your baby is a 100 hours you'll never have again once missed, because he changes almost every 5 hours between the time of birth and end of the hospital stay. Everytime the nurse brings him in, he looks different i.e. his head starts remoulding back to shape, theres a new smell, his hair fluffs up a bit more, he gets less crinkled, his eyes expand, the puffiness decreases, he looks around for the first time, he starts making wierd expressions. These things i feel, should never ever be missed, and though we got one of the older single-bedded rooms, there was nothing like going through these first moments in complete privacy with your wife. That slight difference in price between the single/double bedded wards does not measure up to this at all, if you should be able to afford it.
21-Nov-08 to 23-Nov-08 (Home leg)
As im writing this now, things have settled in quite a bit. We have gotten used to the confinement nanny's ways. Also, after a whole day of nervously orienting ourselves, we have started allowing normality to seep in. If i had to draw a chart of chaos/calm, before birth it was a mid range chaos, when you first hit home, there will be surge in the graph towards high chaos (emotionally, logistically), then it will slope down gently to a calm which is lower than that during pregnancy, because finally, the headcount of 3 in the family has become a concrete notion. I would encourage most dads to be as empathizing as possible, because that does help in arriving at the 'nomality state', that we ourselves are still trying really hard adjusting ourselves to. Its not easy, we fumble a bit, but childbirth is certainly the most rewarding experience i've ever had.