It’s been almost 9 months since we first found out that we’re having a baby, and it was time for her to be born towards the beginning of this month. Apparently Megatron didn’t get the memo. In her defense, it does feel like this all happened so fast–and she wasn’t the only one who didn’t feel quite ready!
As I sit here today writing this, watching her sleep in her bassinet, I can still vividly remember Sarah telling me that she was pregnant. It feels like it was only yesterday. Paradoxically, the day-to-day progress of getting to this point was sometimes glacial. (I still can’t quite believe I’m finally getting to write this post–I’m a dad and Sarah is a mom now! We are parents!!!)
There were times when we thought this day would never arrive. This been pronounced in the last couple of weeks, as we’ve been making very regular trips to the doctor’s office and hospital. Everything was perfectly fine and everyone was (and is) healthy. That wasn’t the problem–there was no problem–the issue was that nothing was happening!
A lot of you are probably already knowledgeable about this sort of thing. If not, sometimes babies are late to arrive. It turns out that Hollywood lied to all of us, and not every birth story involves water breaking at the most inopportune and surprising moment followed by a frenzied drive to the hospital. All that Mario Kart practice for nothing!
The conclusion of our pregnancy saga culminated in fitting fashion for us. Little did Megatron realize that we’ve waited years to finally meet her–we could handle a couple more weeks before the rest of our lives began. In the grand scheme of things, that’s nothing.
After trying everything (well, almost everything–we did avoid a cocktail of castor oil and other dubious ingredients), Sarah was scheduled for a 4 a.m. induction of labor at the hospital. Being naive, I thought that was it. That we’d finally meet our beautiful little baby the following day. Maybe even late that night!
Two days later, things weren’t materially different. There are multiple methods of inducing labor, and we were in the final phases of the final option. But like so many changes, progress was made gradually and then suddenly. We went to bed late one night at the hospital expecting a caesarean delivery the following morning…only to wake up at 12:30 am because it was GO TIME!!!
Seven hours of active labor later, we were holding Megatron.
During the days and hours in between, Sarah was incredible. I’ve been amazed by her determination and courage in the last 9+ months and the several years before that, but that time in the hospital and the delivery room was unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. She was strong and resolute and just kept going, giving it her all–even working through the pain.
Sarah has no quit in her. I’d put Sarah’s childbirth performance right up there with Michael Jordan’s famous flu game or Kerri Strug landing a perfect vault to win gold at the 1996 Olympics. This was actually way more impressive, even if it didn’t entail victory over our arch enemies (Russia and Utah).
I’m serious. There’s only so much I’m comfortable writing and there’s only so much many of you are comfortable reading, but holy cow. Childbirth is a miracle and amazing and incredible and so much more. That’s true when you’re discussing it in the abstract. When you have a front row seat to the experience, it’s all of that and then some. I cannot even fathom going through it. I couldn’t.
For my part…I did not pass out!
I’m not being sarcastic or flippant. I once passed out after getting a flu shot, so there were…ahem…some “concerns” going in. This was further reinforced during our hospital orientation: if the partner passes out, they are admitted to the hospital as a matter of policy. This wasn’t even something either of us asked. They told us proactively–and also the times when it was most likely to happen–suggesting it happens enough that it needs to be addressed up front.
Regardless, I managed to clear this low bar. When active labor started, it was like a primal switch in me flipped; not once did getting sick even cross my mind. There was no way that I was about to miss history in the making with Sarah’s Michael Jordan performance.
Then Megatron was handed to us, and it was like another switch flipped in us. This had been a marathon process, but became a sprint at the end. Like a dozen people came out of nowhere and spontaneously materialized in the room. Everything was happening fast, and we didn’t even expect to have her in our arms when she appeared.
Suddenly, time stood still for a moment. It was just the three of us. Our new family.
We were washed over with emotion and our hearts overflowed. We immediately loved her so, so much. I didn’t realize it was possible to feel those feelings so strongly and so swiftly! Seeing her for the first time was the best feeling of our lives–it was truly and fully love at first sight. Megatron is healthy and happy–and we’re absolutely smitten!
That was another thing about which I had been worried. We’ve done a lot of reading over the last several months, and one frequent ‘warning’ to fathers is that it’s common (and okay!) to not immediately fall in love with or bond with a new baby. That it can take time because men don’t have the same firsthand experience of pregnancy, and thus don’t have the same innate bond.
So that was definitely a fear. That we’d reach the culmination of this years-in-the-making process, and Sarah would be overjoyed to be a new mom and I’d just feel…present. Rationally, I knew this was okay and totally normal, but I was still worried about it. No one wants to be sitting in a corner at the party.
Nevertheless, I’m very glad this wasn’t how either of us felt. It was immense joy, happiness, love, and so many other superlatives. Almost like an out of body experience or being on cloud nine–I can’t fully articulate how it felt, so I should probably just stop trying.
It certainly helped that the nurses, doctors, and staff at the hospital were absolutely amazing. We had a pretty good idea that this would be the case going in, as our doctor’s office has been great and all of the parenting classes we took during pregnancy were excellent. But the actual hospital experience was somehow better than all of that.
Throughout the induction, labor, delivery and recovery they were just the most caring people and consummate professionals. Everyone was incredibly skilled, knowledgeable, attentive, and most of all, compassionate. It was unlike any healthcare experience we have ever had in the best way possible, reinforcing that healthcare workers are heroes.
I mention this both because they’re deserving of praise and because it’s a sharp contrast to our fertility journey. In our pregnancy announcement, we criticized the fertility centers we had used as being emotionally manipulative salesmanship, preying on us at our most vulnerable.
This was the exact opposite of that. In terms of customer service and care, this was like the In-N-Out or Tokyo Disney Resort of hospitals. Now, a comparison to a fast food restaurant or theme park may seem like faint praise for medical professionals…but not when coming from big time burger and Disney fans!
Speaking of the hospital, above is our celebratory meal they provided on the night that Megatron was born. Perhaps it was being awake for almost 24 hours at that point or maybe it was having eaten nothing but cafeteria food for the previous couple of days (and next ones, as well), but that might’ve been the finest meal of our lives.
And yes, even at the hospital, the camera eats first. A blogger’s work is never finished–gotta teach Megatron the family trade early on!
Our team at the hospital also deserves a lot of credit for humoring me. I did a lot of reading over the last several months and wow was all of that pointless! Okay, not totally pointless…but it certainly didn’t prepare me in the way I thought it would. This was actually another thing about which people warned us–that you learn by doing–but I didn’t anticipate the degree to which that would be true.
At the hospital, I had to have set a new world record for ‘dumbest possible questions asked.’ In some cases, I just blurted out something without thinking and was already cringing in my own head as I heard myself finish the question. Other times, my internal monologue second-guessed itself enough to necessitate asking an (also unnecessary) question.
Thankfully, Sarah had no such issues. She was calm and confident even under pressure.
Like her mother, Megatron is amazing.
She’s far and away the cutest baby I’ve ever seen, which is truly a remarkable feat as all other babies look the same–like boring ole babies. (Sorry to all of our friends, family, and anyone reading this who just has a regular baby. Funny how that works!) It’s Megatron by a mile for Baby of the Year. The button nose, the apple cheeks–she’s the best baby!
It’s incredible just to hold her or watch her sleep and see the precious little facial expressions she makes. Our favorite is when she goes from having her eyes closed to a wide-eyed look of discovery and enchantment with her mouth open, in a smile of sorts. We’re also big fans of the little baby brow furrow, which is when Sarah says that Megatron looks just like me. (That does not seem like a compliment? You know what, she’s adorable when furrowing her brow, so I’ll take it!)
I could go on to describe all of the quirks and mannerisms and everything we’ve learned about Megatron, but I’m pretty sure a lot of this could be filed under Normal Baby Stuff. Those of you who are seasoned parents are probably chuckling at a lot of this, which reads like I’m Columbus discovering newborns. But at least there’s a sense of self-awareness?
Now I totally get why new parents share so many photos and stories about their kids. The urge to capture every facial expression and fleeting moment is real. Pretty soon I’m going to have to pull a Michael Scott and buy a second phone.
As strong as that pull to share any and everything might be, we’re going to be careful with what we post online. We started this blog back in the nascent years of social media and, even then, didn’t fully know what we were getting ourselves into. Knowing what we know now and have experienced since, there are things we’d do differently if we could go back in time and do it all over again. But you can’t unring that bell.
Regardless of that, Sarah and I were and are willing participants in having an online presence, and a newborn cannot consent to that. As such, we want to be conscientious about her privacy and judicious about what we share. That means not writing anything that teenage Megatron would be mortified to read. I remember being embarrassed when my mom told certain stories about when I was a newborn…and she was just telling them to close friends, not publishing them for thousands of people on the internet!
This doesn’t mean we’re not going to share anything at all, and Megatron will cease to exist on the blog after this post. To the contrary, there will be a lot of fun stories and moments we’ll capture and convey. It’ll just be done with discretion and prudence, aimed at preserving her privacy and avoiding any exploitation.
Anyway, just getting out ahead of this because there have already been questions about why we’re naming our daughter Megatron, which obviously we are not. As awesome as that would’ve been and as much as I pushed for it (she would’ve been the envy of her elementary school classmates!), we ended up choosing a very traditional name.
Likewise, you might want to see close-up baby photos or wonder why we’re only showing the side of her face. No, it’s not because she resembles a Batman villain. It’s because she should have control of her likeness. (And there’s a lot of emerging technology that’s already scary–just imagine where that’ll be in a decade. Even Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t share photos of his kids faces online; let that sink in for a second!)
We’re home now, tired and exhausted and with full hearts. Of course, we’re also trying to find our footing as new parents. Once again, Sarah has been amazing, mastering the midnight…and 1:12 am…and 1:47 am…and…cluster feeds, along with literally everything else. Sarah’s mom has also been a godsend, showing us the ropes and helping out with everything.
It’s impossible to overstate how excited and overjoyed we are, but you probably get the idea.
I want to wrap things up by sharing a couple of photos, the first of which is from almost 15 years ago:
I took this family photo of us when I was first getting into photography, a little over a year before we got married. Yossarian the Cat was around 2 years old and Walter E. Dogsney was almost 1 year old. As it turned out, I was/am awful at portraiture, so the lighting and backdrops I bought have been pretty much unused since.
Nevertheless, we wanted the family photo with the boys as youngsters as something to hang beside another photo with the four of us and their future sibling in a few years.
We had no idea it would take almost 15 years for the companion family photo. Megatron was absolutely, 100% worth the wait.
I may not be much of a portrait photographer, but out of all the photos I’ve ever taken, these are two of my favorites. Even the most epic EPCOT sunset or late-night landscape can even begin to hold a candle to these.
Finally, thank you all so much for your kind words of wisdom, support and opening your arms and hearts to our growing family over the last several months. We’re humbled by the joy and happiness you’ve shared for and with us, and incredibly thankful for all of you wonderful readers. It really means a lot to us–more than you can probably imagine!
As we’ve mentioned in other pregnancy posts, you all part of the DTB family and we greatly appreciate your support and readership. That’s been true over the last decade-plus, but especially during the last several months. We truly and deeply thank the entire DBT family from the bottom of our hearts. Megatron is going to be so loved.
Any thoughts you have in response to our update on the birth of Baby (Girl) Bricker? Anything else you’re interested in reading about with regard to Megatron, pregnancy and/or babies in the parks, etc? (Again, we don’t know how much we’re going to feel comfortable putting ourselves and our child out there, so we’d greatly appreciate you granting us grace and patience as we find our footing and prepare to be parents!) Hearing your feedback is always appreciated, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!