Today is the day. Today everything changes, and you can’t tell me that it doesn’t. Kara would tell you that things changed 9 months ago, but I haven’t had to deal with quite as many bodily changes as she has. Okay, or any. Yes, today is our daughter’s birthday and she is 0. Today we welcome her to this messed up, yet beautiful world. As the snow falls peacefully outside, in purity and beauty, it stands in absolute contrast to the scene of a delivery room and our lives as we know it. I’ve been told by a number of my reliable sources that days will now be marked by madness and messes, accompanied by sleepless nights.
I’ll confess right now—I’m still baby dumb. I don’t know the first thing about what to do with a baby. Never handled them, never wiped their private areas, never played with them. And even despite taking an infant care class, I feel no more prepared to care for this little girl. Poor thing! The only thing I remember is wipe her front to back! Kara, on the other hand, is like the book, Baby Wise. She’s had sisters, nieces, dolls, you name it. Despite what you might have been told, I didn’t own any dolls. She’s a pro, and I’m hoping she’s going to show me a few things, because Lord knows I’m not going to be showing her anything!
Taking a 7-hour birthing class a couple Saturdays ago was . . . What shall we say . . . Eye opening? Intense? Slightly disturbing? Embarrassing? Yes. I am, admittedly, the biggest wuss and least manly of all men ever to have children. I don’t do medicine, I don’t do pain, and I don’t do medical illustrations. I do pasty whiteness and passing out instead. We were asked to introduce ourselves in the beginning and to tell everyone what we were hoping to get out of the class. I was last to speak, “I’m Joel and I’m completely terrified. I’m hoping to learn some tactics that will help me stay upright throughout the course of the day. And to hopefully not vomit.” Everyone laughed, but I was serious. Four birth videos and a bonus feature on the risks of medications later, I’m a lean, mean, birth-coaching machine. I can count breaths, I understand birthing positions (that was a scarring revelation), and I can do some ah-hees with the best of them. But lets face it. I’m still probably going to lose it. Just please don’t show me the placenta, and don’t make me cut the cord. Nasty!
Am I ready for this? Nope. Not close. No need to even ask. Am I excited? Well, that’s a tough question. It’s tough to be excited about knowing that you’re not going to be sleeping and that time is going to be taken away from your already busy schedule. But the tough part is that I don’t know exactly what I’m trading all of these things in for.
It’s just weird, and that’s the best way I can describe it. It’s bizarre that our daughter has existed all along, though it hasn’t seemed fully real. We’ve felt her do somersaults, seen her extremities stretch Kara’s stomach and felt the rhythm of her hiccups, but we’ve not seen her eyes and ears, felt her smooth skin or heard the sound of her cry. Today is the day that we get to experience her in a new way—to hear, feel and see her in fullness. I can’t help but see the parallels between an unseen God, whom we know is working in everything we do, but yet we don’t physically see His face. For as Paul says, now we know in part. . . but later we shall see face to face. What an amazing thing we’re blessed to experience. I’m confident that my excitement will grow times a thousand when I see her and hold her in my arms. That is if I can figure out how to hold her.
As it turns out, I think people love babies. Kara and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our friends and family the last couple of months. I think you all are as excited as we are! Thank you for holding our hands through what has been the craziest experience we’ve ever had. Yes, more crazy than planning a wedding, our first day of school, or our first detention, or anything else. We’ll take your well wishes because we’re going to need ‘em! 🙂
Kara and I’s solace in all of this has been this, and it’s as profound as it is dumb: everyone was born. I totally made that up, but it makes me feel better and if everyone else can do it, so can we. Lets do this thing!
Joel! Your post today was candid and lighthearted and yet, profoundly touching and deep. Being a mom twice, your questionings and your pre-birth experiences tugged at a sweet string in my heart. I cherished and truly enjoyed my pregnancy and everything that came right after birth. And it is crazy, tiring and mind boggling as you are predicting, but also incredibly magic, sweet and… human! Breastfeeding brings a woman to the core of her humanity (it’s the most basic function of nature!)
My best wishes for you and Kara. I am sure you’ll be amazing parents. Even before your daughter was born you already gave her the gift of your amazing writing and photographs, documenting every step of the way. This will become a priceless possession for her years down the road. And it says a lot about the kind of nurturing parents you’ll be. It’s awesome!!! I am very happy for you.
And let me tell you: they don’t break as easily as you might think. And you’ll figure out really fast what to do. In no time you’ll be able to tell if the crying is hunger, tiredness, pain or just plain fuss. It is in our DNA!
Best of luck today, Joel and Kara! Will be praying for you guys and can’t wait to see images of the new life!!!
Thank you Joel for sharing this. It’s totally eye opening and slightly hallarious to see a mans perspective on everything. I am so excited for you two I know in my heart of hearts what amazing parents you’re going to be and have already been. Good luck in there today and cut the cord I think you might regret it if you don’t. Seems like it’s important :). Also great pics of Kara she looks amazing!! And I love your nursery perhaps Kara should look at being an interior decorator she can come to my house any day that is one of the most beautiful rooms ever!!
Have a wonderful 0 birthday with your daughter today and I look forward to many updates and pictures to come. Congratulations again!