Just the Four of Us

There are crazy times in life. Times that go by so fast, you barely remember what happened. All you know is that it happened.

As a new parent, your life gets flipped up-side-down. Our son gave us some unexpected challenges as new parents. We went through a roller-coaster of exhaustion, stress, worry, and doubt. He's three years old now, and I don't believe I could have asked for a better son. He surprises me and challenges me more than I could have imagined. He is strong, fast, and smart; yet he is still empathetic. His name is William, and he fits his name better than any other William I have met.

Last Friday (2010-11-26), our second child decided to toss our plans out the window and do things her way. She was going to be delivered via C-section December 1st (a week before her official due date). Instead, she decided to go ahead and do things the old-fashioned way with a nearly emergent, all-natural delivery. It took roughly 100 minutes from when my wife told me she might be having contractions to the first time I saw my daughter.

It's worth mentioning that we were (and still are, as I write this) in the process of buying our house in Olathe, KS. We were graciously given the chance to move into our new house as our Rapid City, SD house is still in the final stages of purchase. And, it just so happened that I had rented a trailer, and hired a moving helper earlier that day. I had just finished moving all of our furniture, and most of our stuff to the new house when my wife told me we might be headed to the hospital. I was dirty, tired, and sore, and my day hadn't even started.

Around 6:15, our moving helper left our new house, and my wife said she wasn't feeling great, and she might need to call the doctor. I left her to make the call while I got a fast-food dinner for my son and myself. We called my wife's relatives in town to see if they could look after our son while we were in the hospital.

We were on our way to meet them half-way around 6:45. About a mile out, my wife tells me we can't make the side-trip, and we better go directly to the hospital. We call the relatives to have them meet us at the hospital instead.

About 15-20 minutes later, we arrive at the hospital, and I wheel my wife into the emergency room. I go back to park the car properly, and get my son to take him up to the lobby while we wait for the relatives to show up to pick him up for the night. We probably waited about 10-15 minutes before a nurse tells me I better get into the room, and she'll have to watch our son.

Right around 7:30, I get to the room with Shannon and about 8 other nurses in a room that is not built for a normal delivery. Shannon didn't have an epidural or an I.V. From my experience with our son (when she had all the pain control and extra fluids), I was worried something was wrong. But, the monitor showed a fetal heartbeat, and none of the nurses seemed to be panicking (except for the fact that the on-call O.B. hadn't been seen recently). All I can do is hold my wife's hand.

7:44. We have a baby girl!

We were never 100% sure about a name. We seemed to be jumping back and forth between several "classic" names and some family names. A few weeks earlier, I suggested a name out of left field, and looked up the origin: the Greek word for life. I'm half Greek, it's an old name, and the name goes well with one of Shannon's family names. Her name is Zoe. And she brought new life to ours in a dramatic way. She's already challenging authority as much as any newborn can.

Our son had enough problems with jaundice that he required a return trip to the hospital to bring his bilirubin levels down. They began monitoring Zoe's bilirubin, and since she had a slow start feeding, she required some time on a bili-bed. She didn't like the bed at all. She figured out very quickly that if she acted hungry, we would take her off the bed to feed her (the next best way to clearing out bilirubin). She increased her intake quick enough that her jaundice went away without a lot of time with the lights. Once again showing us that she's going to figure out a way around our plans.

I'm a proud, tired father. I wanted to write all this down since I'll probably forget some of the details very soon (as my caffeine-addled mind starts to recover). I'll also have a couple pictures on this post as soon as I get a few pictures off our camera.