March 12th, 2005
|12:00 am - This Blog Fails To Rage, Instead Goes Gently Into That Good Night|
Goodnight noises everywhere.
March 28th, 2004
|09:54 pm - 8 Pounds and 4 Ounces of "Now What?"|
You may have heard that childbirth is a miracle. I am here to tell you that is not. Just about any two fools you'd care to name can produce a child, and I have proof that this is so: A father I met whose son was born minutes before mine told me that his son would be named "Jedi." ("Because he gonna be a warrior!")
Moreover, childbirth is in many ways more terrifying than it is miraculous. There is blood and pain such as I have never seen or experienced, and I wasn't the one having my insides torn apart. The umbilical cord, which I had been accustomed to thinking of as a pleasantly pink accordioned flesh tube, is actually a freakish solid gray tether wrapped candy-cane style with another cord of a luridly organic yellow.
Brand-new babies do not look like the smiling pink cherubs you see on television, either. At the moment he came out, my son's face was contorted with rage or pain or both, and his soft little head had been squeezed straight back into a cone shape, so much so that I have to admit that, dripping with goo and blood as he was, my very first thought was that he looked like something out of Alien. (Please understand that I was very tired and confused and had spent the last several hours listening to my beloved wife going through extraodinary pain that I had played a part in causing.)
The next few minutes after he popped out are a blur. The doctor was very busy for a few minutes, doing some things involving suction and... I dunno, other stuff, and then I was directed to do things such as cutting a cord and taking pictures and I'm pretty sure I got to hold him for a second there, and I know I'm supposed to tell you that it was the most beautiful thing in the world but frankly I was just incredibly terrified that I would somehow hurt him. And then I was directed to wheel him off to the nursery, where they poked and prodded and made sure that he wasn't defective.
I could only stand there while they took tiny blood samples and temperatures and blood pressures, feeling like the second most idiotic person on the earth (only outclassed in idiocy by the man who was going to name his son Jedi), trying to make it feel real by repeating to myself that "I have a son. This is my son. I have a son. This is my son."
And then I found out what it means to be a father when the pediatrician told me that my boy had a "rough heart murmur" and at that moment my own heart exploded. There are no words for what I felt. My vision swam and I heard nothing but the rush of blood to my head and I am certain that the entire world would have ended right then if my hearing hadn't returned enough for me to hear that it's relatively normal for newborns, whose bodies are still figuring this whole blood and oxygen thing out. Or something. I've probably got my facts wrong. I don't know, I was on the verge of passing out. The part about him probably being okay was really the only thing that mattered right then.
Yes, his heart is just fine. Now that I know that his is, mine is as well. He makes me want to be a better person. He makes me want the world to be a better place.
Brendan George Rapp, welcome to the world. I'm awfully glad you're here.