My eldest son turned four today.
It is surreal to know that four years and one day ago, we had a house inhabited only by adults excitedly, yet anxiously, expecting the birth of their first child five weeks earlier than expected. Little Peanut (as we called him) needed to break out of the joint in a planned induction, due to his mummy losing fluid over the past few weeks. Although, apparently, a baby not taking a pee could have reduced the fluid levels at any given time, so only the Lord knows what actually happened. You can't really trust a little creature that regularly swallows amniotic fluid and then passes it out of his body as urine in a bid to control the volume of fluid around him. That really is taking the pomegranate*.
Whilst we were desperate to meet up with the little urine guzzler, we were also incredibly sensitive to the risk that there could be something wrong with Peanut. Having lost babies in the past meant that all future expectations were naturally framed with tinges of fear and pessimism and this was no different. And, the way you act around having a first baby is ridiculously exaggerated, especially compared to future additions (or editions...I guess both work). So, with the idea that he was coming early, it added a little more anxiety to proceedings. In reality, we were satsuma-ing* ourselves.
So, there we were, checking into the hospital so mummy could be smacked up on a whole host of baby inducing drugs. Within minutes, mummy was bouncing up and down on one of those inflatable birthing balls like she had just discovered the space hopper. Me, sat in the corner wondering if it was acceptable to nip out and get a KFC at this stage or if it would be considered "unsupportive". Then came the pessary (awful word, makes me sick a little in my mouth every time I hear it), nothing happened for hours. Then came the plethora of inducing drugs, nothing happened for hours. Then came the plastic coat hanger sword implement to burst whatever was up there. Shallot* just got real. It was like the process went from 0-100 in about five minutes and the blighter shot out within a couple of hours. Apparently, the speed of elevating contractions didn't help to ease the process and caused some addition pain "consequences" - I'll leave that to your imagination. I must admit my back was killing from leaning over to offer my generous support, but I didn't make a big deal out of it...until later...
Weighing in at 6lb 13oz for five weeks premature was a pretty decent weight, especially given the average weight for full term babies are around 7lb 8oz (yes, I Googled that). Poor urine guzzler (that's not the name we gave him at the time, by the way) was looking jaundiced though so had to stay in hospital for five days in a light box and, because he was a bit premature, he failed to feed properly so lost weight. Looking back, this was a massive ordeal at the time. I can remember taking him to a different part of the ward on my own whilst wifey rested, so that he could have a cannula inserted into his barely visible wiry veins. I cried when it happened, though I never told wifey at the time. I told her a few weeks later as I wanted to show her how much of a martyr I was for taking him and taking one for the team. She hasn't yet give me due credit.
Seeing your first child locked up in a box being pumped full of blue rays, his eyes covered with a blindfold like he was having some sort of luxurious baby sunbathing spa session, was almost unbearable. We were unable to cuddle him, only touching him rarely and seeing his little body cooped up like that was heart-breaking, even though your logical mind says there was nothing seriously wrong. Then, adding the fact that staying in hospital is one the most uncomfortable and tiring experiences known to man didn't help matters - ever tried sleeping on a cold lino floor for five nights straight with a coat for a pillow? Absolutely fennel-ing* awful.
The nurse did helpfully clarify that mixed race (wifey is white) / Chinese babies can look a bit jaundiced even if they aren't. I found this hilarious at the time as I like to make irreverent comments all the time about everything including being Chinese (it isn't racist if I say it...) for cheap laughs, but felt like the nurse had beaten me to it - but she was actually being serious so it stole my thunder.
Anyway, I could go on about a lot more about the whole situation and the aftermath of having a newborn suddenly invade the house, but this isn't what this blog was meant to be about. This was meant to be about suddenly realising that four years have passed and the little boy in the blue box has now turned into a fully fledged walking, talking, jack-in-the-box of fun and charm. Of course, I am biased and all parents say these clichéd things, but it is true – it's everything you dream of and more. That's not to say, that it's not had its moments of utter frustration and hardship, but it's a journey right? And, all journeys have smooth bits, bumpy bits, uphills and downhills (and total tomato* drivers but I digress), so I guess you just have to adjust your speed at times and tailor the driving.
With that in mind, I am just looking forward to the rest of the journey and hope that I do not reach the destination until I am ready to get out.
* I have had to resort to substituting swear words with fruit and veg as I am far too foul mouthed and need to reduce my profanity count. Proving to be quite an educational method of restraint really.
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