Example

I have been pretty open about our journey that led to our first child Daniel. It was a bumpy road with a lot of twists, turns and scares…but at the end of the day we came home with our awesome little boy.

I think it is only natural around your first turns about two (which happened October 5th) that people start asking about number two. In a way, I guess that is actually flattering as you liked the first enough to think that we should have a second. If you said you didn’t want us to have one…that would be a sign!

Jenn and I started out our marriage with the plan to have two. We had both always wanted that. After the process began trying to get number one, we got the shocking realization that because of some issues for both of us, our actual chance of having kids was 3% on the optimistic side. Even still we decided to make a run at it again over the past year or more…and we came up empty. We made the decision to stop trying a couple of weeks ago.

It is ok though.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying. We even tried to step in artificially numerous times and that didn’t work either. Adding to that…we were getting this weird feeling that we might be intervening too much and trying to sort of play God forcing the issue. It didn’t stop us but we were starting to see it as a sign, so after a lot of trying and 5 failed attempts at getting it done medically…we were just done.

The weird part about this entire thing is that this decision was much harder to make after having Daniel than before. When we didn’t already have him, the decision was easy. Try everything possible until we had exhausted every possibility. There was no decision to make. We wanted a family and that was it. Now that we have Daniel, the real question became how far do we want to take this? Jenn and I both looked at each other and realized that the stress and uncertainty was weighing on us too heavily. There was a large part of each of us that kept trying and pushing because we thought the other one wanted to. After a long talk, we realized we were both tired and it was time.

Are we disappointed? Yes. Are we upset? Yes. Are we mad, devastated or ready to keep pushing at all costs? No. I think we have just come to grips that we are a one child family and we are really grateful for the gifts we do have in our life currently.

I know there is that “you never know…just when you stop trying!” that people love to allude to. The funny part is that we have said that to people in the past and we have actually seen that theory play out in real life several times. Jenn and I used to joke that we really just needed to relax and go down to Panama City, get hammered and we would come back pregnant! The high schoolers on spring break make it look so easy! Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple for us. There isn’t the “just when you stop” scenario for a multitude of reasons that I don’t really care to go into at this time. When you add in the really bad complications during the pregnancy with Daniel and the fact that we almost lost Jenn in the process of the delivery, this is more than likely a blessing in disguise. Jenn and I are just ready to get into the new house and get settled.

Daniel

Moving Forward

So enough of the sad stuff…

It has really been a great 2 years with Daniel. Jenn and I both feel that we were just meant to be this kid’s parents…we just aren’t sure why at this time. He has brought more joy into our lives than we could have possibly imagined. He literally keeps us laughing on a daily basis and he is always smiling. There isn’t a day that goes by that his laughter doesn’t just make everything alright around us. Even through selling our house, moving him into my parents basement then moving him again this week into the new house…he has taken all of the changes in stride and without issue. My parents spoiling the hell out of him for 3 solid months probably helped. The first two weeks in the new house is going to be detox!

Making this decision has not been easy but it is also a relief. The weight and stress that has been on us through the entire process is finally gone. We can start planning for the future and relax knowing we have our family. We are also going to try to make sure we don’t completing ruin D by making him the center of the entire universe! We have a great family and that is something to be very proud of. There was a time that we didn’t think having kids would even be possible and we would have given anything to even have one. That wasn’t that long ago and it is not forgotten.

It is really hard not to be happy. Even as I write this, I am looking at that picture in the pumpkin patch with a smile on my face thinking about how lucky and blessed we really are. So no #2…but a killer #1.

Example

Wow…Monday got here quickly. The weekend just seem to fly by and now we were in crunch time to get everything ready to leave that evening to start the inducing process.

  • The bags were packed.
  • The dogs were taken care of.
  • We knew what time we had to be there.

I was trying my best to get some things sewed up with work as I was taking a week off starting the next day. Jenn and I also decided to go ahead and take a look at the Kids R Kids down the street from our house as that is going to be the daycare he ends up going to in January. It was a busy day…but that was a good thing as sitting around staring at each other waiting to leave would have dragged on for what seemed forever.

After everything was done and we had some dinner, we waited for clearance to head to the hospital. Around 8:30pm, we got the go ahead to get our room at 9:00pm. We packed up the remaining items in the car, put the dogs up and headed out. As we were leaving the entrance to our neighborhood with the empty car seat in the back, I looked at my wife and said, “You realize that will not be empty the next time you get in this car.” A tear came to her eye with a smile…and we were off to complete our family.

The Inducing Process

In all reality, the inducing process really kind of sucks. I wish there was a happier way to say it, but you end up hanging out in the hospital a lot and my wife was put through a laundry list of things just to force her body to do something it wasn’t really ready for yet.

We got our room at Northside in Dunwoody (the baby factory, they deliver more babies in a year than any other hospital in the country) and tried to settle in. First up on the list was a medicine for Jenn that gets her body ready to have a baby and have contractions. This medicine was going to settle in over night so she could then get the Pitocin which would actually start the contractions. Side effect of the overnight med…contractions and cramps. This started the fun 18 hour process for my wife. Not only was she really nervous about the upcoming day (understandably so), but now we are using meds to start the process.

Jenn got as much sleep as she could over the course of the night while hooked up to all of the monitors and with the cramps going. At 6:00am, the nurses came in prepping everything to start the Pitocin at 7am. By 7:30am, contractions were in full swing already. Here we go…no turning back now!

Apparently…unknown to us before this time…the contractions from inducing are actually more painful than those that you get naturally. There is some technical reason behind this that they tried to explain to us that involves how the chemicals hit your brain and what chemicals are actually formed during the process. The short story, it was going to hurt but that didn’t really matter too much as we had already decided that Jenn was going to get an epidural. The pain should have been minimal thanks to the aid of the drugs…or so we thought.

What started then was the longest day of both of our lives. My lucky wife does not react well with epidurals and by that I mean they don’t work. Throughout the entire day, she was in nothing but pain as numerous doctors and anesthesiologists came in to try to figure out what the hell was going on. The only relief she could get was about an hour at a time with a kicker they would put into her IV stream that was another pain med. Other than that…the epidural wasn’t doing anything. Half way through the day, they even tried to redo it (that wasn’t pleasant) and that didn’t even help. She was going to have to try to work with the periods of relief until Daniel finally came.

Get Ready To Push…

About 11:30pm that evening, our midwife came in and told us Jenn was ready to push! Finally! After this long process we are ready to have Daniel! I say we…but I am really just there for Jenn to break my hand at this point.

We started the pushing process. Jenn was doing great and getting the hang of it quickly, but then things started to go wrong. The midwife asked the nurse to take Jenn’s temperature and it had peaked up to over 102 degrees. To make matters worse, Daniel’s heart rate was now floating around the 185 bpm range. The mid wife called the doctor immediately. It was time for an emergency c-section before things got much worse…and quickly. The midwife looked at Jenn and said, “This breaks my heart that we have come this far, but we have to get him out now.”

We have to get him out now…

The entire process of getting ready for the c-section and getting her in the surgery room was incredibly fast. Once they made the decision to go forward with it for the health her and Daniel, she was under the knife in under 15 minutes (12:15am). They allowed me to come and sit by her head as they started the process. At 12:32am, Daniel Merrill Sutton made his first entrance into the world. I looked over the curtain and saw my son for the first time. About 30 seconds later, he cried and my wife got to hear him.

Everyone always seems to talk about this emotion moment where everyone shares a good cry once the time comes that your baby is born. We didn’t have that but that is ok. Once they had Daniel out, all eyes were back on Jenn as they tried to get her closed up…but that wasn’t going to be easy. One of the symptoms of Preeclamsia is that your platelet numbers come down. This means your blood doesn’t clot. The doctors and our midwife were now struggling to get my wife to stop bleeding so they could finish the process. I also now had to leave her and go with Daniel as they finished the process of cleaning him to get him ready to go to the room. I brought Daniel to Jenn so she could hold him for a second before we took off.

The next hour and a half was a long one. I was trying to enjoy the process of cleaning Daniel up and getting his vitals, but all I could really think about was Jenn still laying on the table. Luckily, D was a really healthy 7 pounds 1 oz at 20.5 inches long (great job buddy for being 3 weeks early!), so now all attention was on getting the glue that holds my family together sewed back up. Finally, after what seemed like forever, they rolled Jenn down to post op and I had everyone happy, healthy and tired in the same room.

First Picture of Daniel

The most stressful day of my life was now over. Our son was born, my wife was taken care of. All of the crap of the past no longer mattered. The constant trips to the infertility doctor, the miscarriage from earlier this year, the entire birth process…none of that mattered as I enjoyed taking pictures of my new son with my smiling wife laying in the bed next to him. At that moment, everything was calm and we had our miracle baby.

Everyone Has A Different Road To Take

When we finally got up to our room (around 4am), I got a free 5 minutes to sit down and think as the nurses had Daniel and my wife passed out.

Everyone’s road to this moment is different. Some people seem to get pregnant just by looking at each other and others go through a really hard time to this point. During the labor process, some are able to just pop them out while others have more difficulty.

The reality…

None of that matters. It is no longer about the hardships you went through to get to this point. You are now a parent holding what you have worked so hard for. In one split moment, you are now ready to lay everything on the line for someone that you have only known for a brief moment. As a person who has never really believed in “love at first sight”…I can tell you that is exactly what happens.

Your thoughts shift from the past to the future as I started to think about roads we will take from this point forward…not the roads that got us here. Everything changes and the future is looked at completely differently than in the past.

The only reason I really share the events leading up to this, the birth and the pregnancy process that we went through is to share our story. There are those that will have it easier and those that will have it harder. That is just the way life goes. This is the road that lead us to this day and it is the road we had to take. When I held my son for the first time, none of that was on my mind. All I could think about was the adventures we would be taking as both of ours lives continued to move forward.

Daniel was here…my wife was starting her recovery…and we were a family. It was the best day of my life to this point even given the stresses. My first real picture taken of Daniel after the birth is above that I posted to Facebook with my iPhone. The second…oh the irony! The life as “The Clueless Dad” begins…

Daniel Merrill – 7 lbs 1 oz – 20.5 inches – born at 37 weeks on 10/5/11 @ 12:32am

Daniel Easy Button

 

Example

As we started getting closer to that pivotal point in the pregnancy when Daniel could come at any day, you start to take a look around the house and say…”what else do we need?”

At this point, Jenn had her baby shower and relatives had sent gifts and cards congratulating us on the little man that was about to enter our house so our house already looked like Babies ‘R Us had setup shop in every room. However, there were some items we need to get checked off the registry, so we figured the weekend before we hit 36 weeks (that next Tuesday) would be a great time to get that done. We headed to the store with gift cards in hand ready to tackle the list. All we were really missing were some little must have items (bottles, pumping accessories, etc.), so the process was pretty painless. After two stores, we were done and I got Jenn home to rest.

That following Monday, we had another followup with the OB to see how things were going with the pregnancy and to start getting ready for when Daniel was wanting to make his appearance.

The Monday OB Visit (9/26/11)

Ironically, I had a panic situation with work and I was not able to make it to this appointment…it was also the only appointment I didn’t make through the process as I have the ability to work from home (that was a blessing through all of this for sure!). So…I had to run to North Carolina.

Half way up there, I get a call from Jenn.

Her blood pressure was through the roof and they were going to start blood and urine tests to see what was going on. For now, they pulled her from work and told her to go straight home and lay down. After a 24 hour urine test..we should know what is going on. Needless to say, this was a surprise. Up until this point, everything had been going smoothly (or as smoothly as a pregnancy can) and now I have a worried wife, but a healthy baby.

After the 24 hour urine test, we headed back to the doctor’s office on Thursday.

Thursday’s Surprise

Guess what? You have Preeclampsia. My first thought…what the hell is Preeclampsia?! Apparently, is a medical condition in which hypertension arises in  (pregnancy-induced hypertension) in association with significant amounts of protein in the urine (thanks wikipedia). While it isn’t harmful to my wife or the baby at that point in time, it does start to get dangerous as time goes on…and quickly.

So guess what guys? We are going to do an ultrasound tomorrow to see how the baby is doing. If he is ready to go…you are probably going to have a baby next week. Surprise! (the only cure for Preeclampsia is birth)

Friday’s Bigger Surprise

We headed into the doctor’s office Friday ready to see how our little guy was doing. In the ultrasound, everything looked great. Lungs were there…heart was beating away…he even estimated out to 6 lbs 11 oz which is really good for being over 3 weeks early. The doctors decided he was ready to go.

Daniel 36 Week Ultrasound

Our bigger surprise? When she came back into the room, she had already scheduled for us to go in Monday night to start the process of inducing my wife. Congratulations…you are having a baby next Tuesday.

The whole experience kind of set us back for a second. That soon? Yep…according to the doctors, he will be at exactly 37 weeks at that point, so they do not want to wait any later. After you sign these papers, you will be ready to go. Enjoy your weekend!

As we were leaving the doctors office a little bit stunned, the first thing that came to mind was…”babe, I guess it is a good thing we got all of that shopping done already!” We had a short laugh and then reality started setting in. We are going to be parents early next week come hell or high water.

During the entire pregnancy process, you are always looking towards that period of time where the unknown could strike at any moment. You need to have your bags packed, affairs in order and then wait. The baby doesn’t come on your schedule, but whenever he feels like it. You are on pins and needles wondering, “will this be the day?”. Not for us…we just made the appointment! It wasn’t exactly how we envisioned this whole process going down, but I guess that doesn’t really matter because we hare doing the right, healthy thing for her and Daniel. The end result will be the same. Holding our son for the first time.

So here it comes…the big day.

Example

Last night was a big moment for me. For the first time ever, I felt my son move.

Let’s back up this story a little bit…

We are at 32 weeks in this glorious process they call pregnancy (I don’t know if my wife is calling it glorious at this point in the August heat and humidity of GA!). Daniel has been moving like crazy up until this point. Jenn has been blessed/cursed with an extremely active little boy in there.

The ironic thing about this whole situation is that I have been watching him move for weeks…but have never actually felt him do it until last night. The little joker has been playing hide and go seek for weeks every time I put my hand on my wife’s stomach. I literally was picturing him tucking down and hiding every time I went to feel (funny how we give adult reasoning to unborn babies…I guess that is just how our minds work).

It actually got so bad at one point in time that Jenn was on a contraction machine and he was kicking it up and down. His heartrate was bouncing around 155 bpm and he has having a great time as you could plainly see. As soon as I would put my hand on her stomach, his heart rate would drop to the low 130’s and he would stop moving. As soon as I took it back off…it was practicing for a career in place kicking again. I found it hilarious but I think it was starting to bother my wife as she was feeling him and I wasn’t. She really wanted to share that experience and he wasn’t having it.

Last night, she looked at me and said, “Look…he shifted.” She was right…her stomach was completely lopsided. I put my hand on her stomach and 30 seconds later…he adjusted for bedtime. Finally, I had felt my son move for the first time.

It is a surreal moment. I wasn’t really sure how I would react, but my overall feeling was calm. On the outside, it is weird. There is a human inside my wife rolling around and it makes you think back to the scene in aliens that no one can forget. But…after the movie scenes pass through your mind and you remember that you are in fact not in a sci-fi thriller…you come to a gripping realization…

He is coming.

I am sure that everyone has a different reaction when this moment arises. I thought I had come to the reality that I had a son making into this world soon, but until you actually hive five him (or pat him on the butt…I wasn’t really sure)…that connection hasn’t truly started…at least for me. I was excited before…but now I am really stoked. My interactions with my son have begun and this is only the first chapter in a long journey.

The next weeks are going to blow by quickly, but I will always remember that first moment that my son and I connected. It is a cool experience.