Six days into his life:
Elsa Dorothy was born just short of August 12. While there may be a resemblance to her older brother as a newborn (excepting her olive skin and absence of the trademark Rule 7-head) her arrival was all together different. Planning on a multi-day marathon session similar to Kedzie's labor, Nicole skillfully managed a Wednesday of on-again/off-again contractions, resting, eating, preparing. The storm mounted through the evening, until it took a dramatic turn after she felt a pop deep down inside. Looking back, I wish my response had been something, anything other than: "Are you sure you didn't just pee?" With intense contractions lining up on top of each other, we somehow coordinated our late-night babysitter for Kedzie, our midwives on call, and the 3-mile drive to the hospital. "Love," she told me through gritted teeth, "the bumps are really, really awful."
After wrangling a wheelchair at the emergency room and cajoling a hospital employee to help Nicole get to Labor and Delivery, I raced to park the car and make it up to the fourth floor. Armed with her ancient wisdom and sensitive intuition, Kirstin, our sister-in-law and midwife, had made it to the hospital in time to prepare a room and the nursing staff. Six minutes after arriving on the ward, with one intense push, Nicole delivered Elsa into the arms of her aunt. I am still speechless.
The past 10 days have been similarly intense. It is, as they say, different with two. Gone are the hours of sitting beside my bride staring into the eyes of a newborn as she nurses. Instead, we are tag-team wrestlers bouncing between a toddler and his new partner. More than time management, though, we are learning how to love our children fully and freely. It is not a question of having enough love, it is only a process of learning how to express it. It is a good lesson to be learning.
Things will change, I'm sure, when I return to work at the end of the month. But, for now, and I'm trying really, really hard to live right now, these are the greatest days of my life. I am grateful.