So it all broke loose on Saturday, July 7, 2007. A day and possibly a child that will live in infamy. We stroll into the hospital around 8:30 in the morning, nervous and thinking we knew what to expect. Around 10am I realized I was nervous for good reason and was way wrong about what to expect. From that time on, we'll just say that some stuff happened, and then around 4:45pm, Max arrived. I will leave it at "some stuff" for now because I think Nicole would prefer it that way. 2 life lessons from the "some stuff"... 1. epidurals are freaking awesome and 2. man am I glad I'm not a woman. I have a new found respect for Nicole after that day. She's such a beautifully tough woman. Basically, what we thought was going to be an induction turned out to be just a straight up child birth. They didn't give Nicole any of the putosin or whatever it is that starts labor. It was all on her and Max. A couple of cool notables from the actual birth and moments after: Before the epidural, seconds before Nicole's obviously painful contractions, Max's heart rate would race, as if he were worried about Nicole and her contractions. Then after she got the epidural, he could have pretty much cared less when her contractions were. His heart rate was steady from then on out. It really was like he got stressed out for Nicole, but once things were good on her end, they were good to him too. Another notable, Max only cried after he came out for one reason... he didn't like a certain nurse touching him. He didn't cry when he received a vitamin K shot in his leg or a heel prick to test his blood. It was pretty amazing. I cried during his shot and heel prick, but not him. The moral of the two stories; however, is that Max is equal parts lover and fighter.
He's been a good baby up to this point. Well... let me revise that... he's been a good baby up until about 2 days ago. Now, I think he has his days and nights confused, and has become too stubborn to admit he might be wrong. He sleeps all day (like 2 or 3 hours between feedings) but when night rolls around, he is either eating, crying or playing, but never sleeping. So like I said earlier... Nicole and I are adjusting. And by adjusting, I mean hanging on by a thread until he figures it out. I've never been more tired in my life. Lack of sleep + stress that I'm going to break him = basket case. But it really helps that we have family out helping us. Nicole's sister Jessica is out from Florida. She's been with us from the get go. She's been doing incredibly well at keeping Nicole entertained and keeping us both well fed. I'll be eternally grateful to her for her sacrifice. She's busier than anybody else I know, and for her to put a week or more on hold for Nicole and me is unbelievable. (Thanks Jess!). And also with us is my mom. This was a no brainer, I knew she would be her if we needed her. She's supposed to be playing the roll of the "been there and done that" lady. When Nicole and I have no clue what to do, she's there to do something that usually works. But she's also giving us crazy amounts of confidence, and that is irreplaceable. (Thanks Mom!). And basically, with all this help, Nicole and I are still both at a moments notice from either falling asleep or crying. But I know this is the hard time, we knew it going in. But, from what I hear/force myself to believe, things will be all puffy clouds and lollipops once these next 6 weeks are up. I know I'm right on this one.
So Nicole and I have been trying to figure out exactly which one of us he looks like most. At first, he didn't look like either one of us. He actually looked more like my dad than anybody. Kind of odd, but kind of funny to see your father figure for 30 years in baby form before your eyes. But something about Max will change everyday now. He looks a little different every time I see him. His nose is different than it was when he came out. His forehead is a little different now. I think his legs are bigger than mine are now (so luckily for him, he got Nicole's legs and not my skinny chicken ones).
There's no doubt things in my life have changed, some for the better, some I could have probably done without. For instance:
Could have done without:
- Being peed on already. It was day 4 into his life and my hand and jeans became the first of many casualties.
- Now that I've been baptized into the number 1, I live in fear of the day the "dirt" part of dirty diaper comes flying my way. It's going to happen I'm sure, but when?
- The constant fear that one of my dumber decisions in life might tragically alter Maddox's life forever. For instance, when is it too early to teach him how to play catch with a real baseball? I'm ready today if he is. Just give me the nod Max.
- Having to eventually have the "sex talk" with him. I'm sure this is on his list as well. But I'm already dreading it.
- Seeing Nicole in pain during the delivery was NOT fun. Granted, it did ease my comfort level knowing that it was her and not me in pain, but still, it's no fun seeing that.
Couldn't do without:
- Watching him make different faces. Honestly one of the funniest things I've ever seen. He goes from what I will call "The Elvis", to a near bright white smile, to a frown, to surprised, to pouty bottom lipped with a surprised forehead Max, to the shifty eyed suspect in a thriller movie, to playing dead... all within like a few minutes. Easily one of the best moments of my life.
- Having the instantaneous ability to ground people. Before I couldn't because I wasn't a parent, but now that I am, I now have the ability to ground people. If it's not a supernatural trait, it has to be very close. I've already grounded Jessica a few times, just to try and harness the power. I've got it down now though, so Nicole will probably be next on my list. I'll let you know if and when it happens.
- I now have somebody new to share A&M football with. Especially with it right around the corner. Max and I will enjoy several games together this season. Obviously, should he show an affinity for UT football or even, dare I say, Texas Tech football... I guess I will be forced to disown him. But that is a long way away. He'll choose correctly, I know it. I believe in him.
- Games I get to play with him that he doesn't realize he's playing. I can pretty much make him dance or do anything I want. I'm sure it will be a wedge between us in his teenage years, mostly because I will video tape us playing and I will show it to his girlfriends. The latest game is a little something I call "Max Cat". I'll leave it at that. He really doesn't like it now, but it's very entertaining to me, and will be very entertaining to his future girlfriends.
- Couldn't live without Max. Don't know what I did before he came. He's my boy now and I am unbelievably proud of him already. He hasn't really done anything yet, but he's mine. I see parts of me and Nicole in him already, and I also see things that are already distinctively him, and it is the best feeling in the world.
To everybody that has prayed and stressed over Nicole and Maddox the last few months, I am truly grateful. For me, it's humbling moments in life like this one where God's hand becomes all too visible. He has blessed me immeasurably this week with a healthy wife and a healthy son. I hope I never take this blessing for granted.