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Fatherhood: The Resurrection: Part II

When Sophie was gestating (I *heart* gerunds), I kept a fairly rigorous blog on the whole becoming a father process. I was a complete nut about it and thought, somehow, others would be as interested in the inner-workings as I was. In hindsight, the whole thing was clearly more for me which is, I think, as it should be.

Things are officially changing again. Kira is now 20 weeks along with our second child, heretofore referred to as “Seed2″ (sic) and today we saw the pictures. (Note new banner text on this page. It is so very 2001: A Space Odyssey.)

Some background. If you’ll recall, the last time we did this whole baby thing, it was a pretty traditional birth. Kira got herself knocked up, we went to class, we did the homework, we scheduled the birth, induced, and Sophie exploded from between Kira’s legs like a live turkey in hot oil. That’s the Cliff’s Notes version, anyway. Short story shorter: we had a doc in a hospital.

This time, we’re going water birth. What does that mean, you ask? Excellent question. I don’t know much, but what I hear is that they give birth in a bathtub and the baby comes out smooth and happy and doesn’t cry. That’s what it says on the brochure anyway. Thing is, I remember the last birth. Don’t get me wrong because I’m all about the whole earth birth process, but there was a whole bunch of thrashing and tossing about, not to mention the gallons of *mess* involved. Doing this in a tub… isn’t there some danger of drowning?

Clearly, I have a lot of research to do before I weigh in on this one way or another. Which, of course, will do me no good whatsoever since Kira’s already made up her mind and last I checked, I’m not so pregnant, myself.

We’re doing this whole thing up at OHSU. That’s the Oregon Health Sciences University high up on Markham hill here in Portland. Imagine Hogwart’s, but a hospital that houses thousands of doctors, nurses, students, and sick people with all their cars all pouring off of a hill. It’s not entirely dissimilar from the Cistine Chapel on the head of a pin, though the Cistine Chapel is smaller. We’ve been there once so far and when we finally made to the actual office, it was great. There was some walking, tunneling, shimmying, and sneaking to do it, but we made it.

Today, we had to start on one end of the campus with the Ultrasound people. They put us on this super cool, super new Phillips(TM) Sono-Wonder 9000 with this perfectly clear high resolution display and many wires and buttons. It also had a trackball, which I see as an homage to devices gone by: heart-warming, that.

They lubed Kira up with the warm jelly and started the procedure. And there it was. Seed2.

I’ve been having a hard time, honestly, getting my head around having a second child. I’m an only child, you see? I was pretty used to having my folks all to myself and since they didn’t have a whole lot of choice either, they had me to hang with. The relationship we’ve established over the years has come to be very powerful and important to me, and I’d always imagined that I’d be able to establish the same with my only child.

Kira has a sister.

Sitting there, looking at that screen, brought the whole thing back to me. The late nights, the logistics, the money, the diapers, it was all so crystal clear at that moment. The first time I caught Sophie standing up in her crib. The first time she smiled. The first time I got to take her to a movie.

I remember talking about kids with my boss. He has four. He told me that I’d be surprised when the second one comes around because I’d find that I wouldn’t have to split my love between them; somehow, somewhere, more love appears.

All these moments with Sophie, they were gifts, every one of them. And today, I caught up with them all while looking at that screen, at Seed2, and somehow, somewhere, love appeared.

The technician was fantastic. She showed us the face, the legs and arms, the little hands opening and closing. For what they could see, the baby is in fine shape. Spine is closed, brain is closed, lip is non-cleft, the world is all put together. With as much “Grey’s Anatomy” we’ve been watching, we’ve been starting to wonder how these little things get put together in one piece; word has it, they come together more often than they don’t.

We didn’t want to know the sex. I’ve been telling people that it’s because the whole experience of telling the world that “It’s a Girl!” was so spiritual the first time around. Then, we were in that room and it all changed. I wanted to know. I wanted to know something awful. I tried to talk about it out loud, my change of heart, but I got the smackdown from Kira. So be it.

After the ultrasound, they have one of the doctors from the high-risk baby unit come in and debrief us. We had Dr. Trosos, a nice generically foreign guy who tells us that the baby is fine. With all they could see, there were no problems. That by the time we get back to the midwife, his comments would be in the computer and that we could review the detail with her. Again, so be it.

We hike back to the midwife. She’s nice, new to us, but charming. She introduced us to a cool new pharmacy with naturopathic pharmacists. I didn’t know they made those.

There’s the midwife, reading through the results from Dr. Trosos. “This is fine with that. This is aligned with this correctly. The baby is developing this and that fine, and all of this is aligned with her this.”

Catch that? I’ll repeat the salient point: “… all of this is aligned with her this.” Then she says, “Oh, so you’re having a little girl!”

Yeah, the midwife read that part out loud and confirmed it. Kira remained calm. I was, oh, boiling over inside that fate was on my side with this one. Kira says, “Well, we didn’t want to know that.” Then, the back-peddling began. The poor midwife was dancing. “Oh, I’ve never seen this before, I’m sure he didn’t mean it, back-peddle, back-peddle, back-peddle, it’s probably wrong.”

And there’s room for that, too, of course. Before you get all hung up on the fact that it must be a girl, like I am, there’s a good chance that the good foreign Dr. Trosos did not actually know the gender. After all, he didn’t see the whole ultrasound. The only way he would have known is if the tech actually told him, right? And according to her, she doesn’t remember gender up to five minutes after the session. And you know, the doctor could have been referring to Kira.

So, could it have happened? Could she have walked out, handed the file to the Doc and said, “So, this is for a little baby girl in exam room two.” I like to think there’s room in this reality.

There it is. There you have it. That’s the story. I’m sure there will be more in the coming weeks. That, and I’ll have to get some good Sophie updates here before too long. She’s three, and a
ll she really wants me to do any more is check her poop before she flushes it.

So be it.