Allow me to officially welcome to the world, my son, Nathaniel Tae-Joon Kim. He was born six weeks ago, on May 19, at 12:48pm. It’s been an exciting, harrowing, and EXHAUSTING 6 weeks, and a literal whirlwind of activity and non-sleep.
Nathan was born weighing in at 7lbs, 1.6oz and 19.5inches. My wife, Susan, had a relatively uneventful pregnancy, but the labor and birth was quite difficult and necessitated the need for a vacuum extraction (that’s when they attach a suction cup to the child’s head, pull vacuum, and “assist” the mother by pulling when she pushes). He also had meconium, or pooped in the uterus and potentially ingested it before birth, so when he came out he needed to be suctioned to remove all of that. Needless to say, the poor guy had a rather harrowing entry into this universe, but he’s a trooper and he made it through all of that just fine. Mom got a bit of a rough treatment by Nathan’s passage so we had to stay in the hospital for the a few days afterwards.
The first night back home was crazy. I think I know what the Navy SEALs go through during their training on Hell Week. If the CIA want a more effective but completely legal way to torture someone, they should have that person take care of a fussy baby. Did I mention Nathan is a screamer? He’s gotta be the most demanding, uncompromising, and impatient boss I’ve had the pleasure of waiting on hand and foot, and he can melt your heart like blowtorch on butter one minute and make you want to pull your hair out the next.
I took a couple of weeks off from work after Nathan’s birth and during that time, Susan and I have had a shared existence where days and money mean nothing and the only thing that matters is hours or half hours of sleep and milliliters of breastmilk. But strangely enough, we didn’t mind. As much as we exchanged looks of OH MY GOD with each other, we exchanged more looks of WOW at the fact that there is this squirmy, screaming, and cooing little mini-Kieun, and that we’re parents.
Those of you who’re already veteran parents are probably nodding your heads thinking “mm-hmm, been there, done that, and this is only the beginning”. If you’re expecting, you’re probably thinking “crap, reverse course, full hard to starboard, iceberg ahead!!!” And if you’re single, you may be thinking “yeah, that’s why I’m single”.
It’s funny, the stages you go through as you become a parent. First there is “hmm, do i want to be a parent?”. There there is “holy crap I’m gonna be a parent”. Next is “oh shit, I’m a parent”, and finally “wow, I’m a parent”. I think Susan and I still fluctuate back and forth between the the 3rd and 4th stages – mostly depending on whether Nathan is fussy or well behaving. When Nathan goes on a hissy fit at 3am, we for sure have our “oh shit, what have I gotten myself into!?” moments.
The first week back Nathan spent a night at the hospital because he had jaundice and needed to get some phototherapy to allow UV rays to breakdown the bilirubin in his system (red blood cell waste products). He did just fine and eventually his bilirubin levels went down as he started to gain weight. But then he started to throw up more often than not and we discovered he had a condition called pyloric stenosis which required some minimally invasive surgery. He passed through with flying colors and let me tell you that those were some stressful and anxious experiences that really made me reflect on how my life has changed now. To steal a line from Stan the Man, “with great love comes great responsibilities.” Amen to that, and I’ll go into what happened in a later posting.
Today, Nate my Mate is a healthy, happy, pooping and screaming machine. We still get no more than 3-4 hours of sleep a night and we scramble whenever he has his epic screaming fits. I turn into a human camel lugging around bags and strollers and other baby paraphernalia anytime we even go out to the corner store for half an hour, and my wife’s days and nights revolve around feeding and breastmilk. And of course we have all developed and incredible fascination with poop and pee (a topic I’ll go into in yet another later post). And we couldn’t be happier.