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When people asked if we were going to find out the sex of our second child, I would answer with “Sarah decided she wants it to be a surprise, which means I have to let it be a surprise too,” or some other blame-it-on-the-wife variation. I acted spiteful, as if the future of civilization depended on her foolish decision to not utilize everything that modern sci-medicine has to offer. I would have loved to have little sound-waves bouncing off the life form within Sarah’s belly, then to be represented in a digital image on the monitor. I wanted to know if the baby would have an inny or an outie, and it should have been my right to find out.

The complete truth, however, was that I was content with the decision. At the end of the day, the mantra was “healthy baby, healthy baby, healthy baby.

Three months ago, Sarah and I went to the hospital to have a baby, via scheduled c-section. It was a surreal experience when compared to the mood of Tyler’s birth. We were relaxed and ready. We filled out paperwork, we joked, we spoke with the nurses. They told us what to expect, when to expect it, and the general plan for the morning. Tyler was asleep at home in the care of his Aunt, while we calmly prepared for the next major chapter of our lives.

Now, this is the part where a person would say that they were freaking the f*** out inside. That they were acting strong for their spouse. That they were in a near panic at the impending financial strains, the journey into the unknown, and everything else in life that comes with having another poop-machine.

But your friendly neighborhood Irrational Dad was content with it all. I’ll admit that my fingernails were all chewed to a mutilated mess, but that could have been for any number of reasons.

Soon, they took my wife away to be prepped for surgery. I took the time to update my Facebook status.

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After I put the mask, gloves, and gown on, they let me in the room. I sat next to Sarah as she lie on the table, and grasped her hand. I asked her if she was ready to have a baby, and she started crying.

“Are you okay?”

“This just isn’t how I wanted to do this. On a surgery table. I just wish I could have tried to have this baby naturally.”

We talked for a few minutes about the circumstances while the doctors finished their prep. I told her to that we will control what we can control, and deal with everything else. I reminded her that we were finally going to meet our new little one in just a few more minutes. We smiled and kissed each other.

The anesthesiologist tapped my shoulder and asked if I wanted to see what the doctors were doing. With Tyler’s birth, I was so petrified at the thought of my wife being bifurcated that I didn’t dare look. Curiosity cured my fear on this day. I looked to see them placing rubber rings, or gaskets, or something in the incision to hold her open. She explained what they were doing, and was a conduit of information for this strange world my brain was processing. Somewhere, I heard someone say something. I’m fairly certain it was our mid-wife.

“Remember, they do not know the sex of the baby.”

A few voices quietly spoke at once.

“They don’t know the sex?”

“It’s a surprise?”

“They didn’t find out?”

Suddenly, I felt proud of Sarah’s decision to not find out. Although I protested, I was a part of the unique few that laugh in the face of modern sci-medicine. I flipped the bird to the ultrasound machine. I stuck it to the medicine man!

The anesthesiologist asked, “Are you ready? They put the last ring (maybe she said gasket) in; just a couple more seconds.”

Just a moment later, I saw my baby’s head. It was time. Right in front of my face was a new life. A beautiful precious little life. An instant later, the body was free and the doctor held my baby up.

The doctor proudly, loudly, and confidently said “Call it, dad.”

My eyes exploded in a flood of tears. I looked to Sarah and told her, “It’s a girl. She’s beautiful.”

“A girl?? We have a girl?”

Sarah cried… a lot.

So did I.

I cut the cord, more as a symbolic gesture than of an actual life saving measure, and held my baby girl. As we waited for mom to recover, I told her about all the people that will love her. I told her about her amazing big brother, and I warned her against “making eyes” at any of her big brother’s friends. We talked for an hour or so, just dad and daughter, about anything I could think of. She didn’t understand a damned thing, of course, and was likely wondering where the nearest boob was for her to suck on. Nonetheless, it was during this time that I discovered that my love didn’t divide between her and Tyler, it multiplied.

So here I am, preparing to raise a girl in the most perfect way possible. I have to find a balance between naive and someone that boys say “has daddy issues”. And I wonder… will I be that dad? The one who is conveniently cleaning his guns when his daughter brings a boy home? The dad that gives the uncomfortably strong handshake to her prom date and talks about respect? Will I be the “you are out of your MIND if you think you’re going out dressed up like that, now get your hind end upstairs and put some clothes on” dad?

Check, check, and check.

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In seven days, a new life will be brought into the world. The little tyrant in Sarah’s belly has been pushing and prodding around, rearranging organs, desperate to make more room in there. Version 2.0 has taken Sarah’s belly button, and turned it inside out. There simply is just no room left in there.

On the morning of February 8, a C-section will be performed on my wife. Our care provider doesn’t support natural birth after a previous C-section (VBAC), so instead of searching out a different hospital and a different midwife, we’ve opted to “play ball,” as they say.

We’ve also decided that we are not going to find out the sex of the baby until his or her arrival. Rather, Sarah has decided, and I’ve opted to “play ball”. Many of our friends, family, and loved ones have made guesses, accusations, and threats of what the sex of Version 2.0 will be. I’ve decided to make a contest out of it.

For the next seven days, I will be collecting comments here (don’t let me down, dear readers. Stop lurking, and post a comment!) of what you believe the sex of Version 2.0 to be. You have a 50/50 chance, so let’s add a couple modifiers. Along with the sex of the baby, you may also guess weight, length, and even take a stab at a name. There is a chance that my dear wife – who simply cannot keep a secret (seriously, don’t trust her with nuke codes. The terrorists would have them in no time) – may have let slip a couple names we are thinking of to her sisters. If that’s the case, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GUESS THE NAME!!!

Your only assistance will be a picture – above – of Sarah’s belly, one week before delivery (taken Monday, January 31, 2001 @ 10:31p EST). Also, you can reference Tyler’s stats as well (10 pounds, 2 ounces and 22 inches long at birth).

The winner gets…. wait for it… bragging rights!!! Seriously folks, I have to start paying for diapers again. You think I can afford to spend my money frivolously on a gift to send to you for making a guess? If you win, go play the lotto.

And… GO!

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Baby picture of Tyler

“I fully believe that he is destined for great things.” – Dr. Michelle, about Tyler.

Sarah had an appointment with her lady-doctor last week. It had something to do with lady things. I don’t know what it was because I promptly jammed my fingers into my ears and shouted “Lalalalalalala, I can’t hear you,” when Sarah told me about the appointment. It has something to do with an annual checkup. I don’t know, because women and their “business” confuses me. Unbeknownst to me, I ended up having a short work day on the day of the appointment. When I called, Sarah said that her and Tyler were having a picnic lunch outside the doctor’s office before heading in. Since I was only a couple miles away, I decided to come by and surprise them.

And that is how it came to be that I went to the appointment with Sarah.

Her doctor also happens to be our nurse midwife. She was with us during our 50+ hours of labor. She guarded the door from the nurses so that Sarah and I could get some rest during the marathon of labor that Tyler put us through. She really was our advocate during the whole process. And she would have murdered Sarah if Tyler wasn’t with her at the appointment on this day. That ruled out me taking Tyler home, so my being there to occupy Tyler during the appointment was the most practical option.

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way…

In my eyes, Tyler’s birth was a scary, tiring, and draining experience. I say “scary” only because I’ve never been a dad before. I’m sure all (or most) men can relate. All said,it was a fairly positive experience that left us with a large, healthy, beautiful baby boy. When Sarah and I share our story with others, we discuss the hell we felt like we were going through, but keep it light-hearted, because of the end result. Sure, things didn’t go as planned. Yes, it all ended with a cesarean birth. But, it all ended with a birth. I’m well aware of all the elements in play that led to the birth. Tyler never “dropped” to start labor. He was, for a very short period, in distress. We induced. Tyler never got into a birthing position. We practiced our relaxation techniques. They upped the meds to keep labor going. Sarah’s body began giving up. Tyler was in distress for another short period. Sarah went in for a c-section. It’s a boy. The end.

Right?

While at the appointment with Sarah, we eventually began talking about Tyler’s birth. It turns out that things were a little more serious than all that. We know that we exhausted all other options before agreeing to the c-section. There was a period during the labor that I physically pushed, at the advice of our midwife, on Sarah’s belly from the side, to help get Tyler in a better birthing position. So, we left with a clear conscience that we made the right (and quite emotional) decision in abandoning our hopes for a natural birth.

Dr. Michelle told us that, if things would have progressed any differently, and we had a natural birth, things likely would have been dire. She told us that she would have had mere milliseconds… because the cord was wrapped around his neck three times. That “dot dot dot” above, between “milliseconds” and “because”, that was the pause that contained a million unspoken words, thoughts, and emotions.

I felt the lump expand in my throat in that short pause. Although we felt that everything was going wrong and against us, we had no idea how lucky we were, and are. We knew the cord was wrapped three times because the surgeon said so as he pulled Tyler out of Sarah’s midsection. We just never really gave it much thought, especially considering what was taking place. We were four seconds away from meeting our son!

“That’s why I fully believe he is destined for great things. There’s something very special about him,” she said.

It’s impossible for me to express the emotions that swirled. I squeezed Tyler in my arms, thinking how differently things could have ended up. I’ve got a little tyrant of a son, who eats sand, smears food on his face, and deliberately farts when we take his diaper off (yes, he really does).

And I would be an empty shell of a man if I didn’t have him. Fatherhood is the single, greatest achievement I never knew I wanted.

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The picture above is of Tyler yawning. I figured it was appropriate for this post, even though Sarah and I are the ones doing the yawning.

My son isn’t doing such a hot job of realizing that nighttime is for sleeping and daytime is for being awake. He likes to sleep during the day, and scream during the night.

We were finally discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon, after 6 days there. Sarah kinda went downhill on Monday afternoon, into Tuesday. Nothing to get worried about, but she was having lots of intense pain as a result of the C-Section. I actually caught a glimpse of the surgery. After Tyler was “born” I went to the other side of the room with him and our midwife, Michelle. I looked back to Sarah a few times and would say things like, “He’s got your cheeks”, or, “He’s beautiful”.

Well, the last time I looked over, I turned a little too far to the right and caught a glimpse of her midsection. It’s something you never, never, never want to see happening to someone you love. The word “C-Section” is thrown around too casually now. A very close friend hit the nail on the head by saying “It is MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY”.

Anyway, the couple days following the surgery were very, very painful for Sarah. The Percocet only took the edge off the pain, but it was still there. You top that all with the fact that it was a very less-than-ideal weekend, and you have a girl that was just emotionally spent. She just wanted to give up, and that was hard to watch.

We had high hopes of walking out of the hospital yesterday, but she was in too much pain. Sarah ended up being wheeled down in a wheelchair. She could barely walk up the stairs in the house. If she sat down for more than 5 minutes, she couldn’t stand back up. It quite literally took her 10 minutes to get off the couch yesterday. It’s very horrible. We know that everything that happened was completely necessary, but that doesn’t make the recovery any easier.

So, last night was our first night at home with Tyler. My goodness. I don’t know how often he was up. I was so tired, that it was too depressing to look at the clock… so I didn’t. Finally, at 5am, I grabbed him, came downstairs, and closed all the doors between Sarah and us. I wanted Sarah to get at least some sleep. I ended up in the computer room. I looked at Tyler and told him that he was just going to have to cry it out. He had just been fed and changed, so now he needed to sleep. I just sat there and held him for about 20 minutes of screaming. No tears, just screaming. And he had no interest, at all, in the pacifier. Then… he just fell asleep. After another 20 minutes, I figured he was out for a while. I went into the living room, lied down on the couch with Tyler on my chest, and fell asleep for 2 hours. It was a glorious 2 hours. Sarah finally came down, very happy to have gotten 3 hours of sleep.

And guess what? We get to do it all again, because he is screaming his head off even as I finish this last sentence…

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