Thursday, December 25, 2014

So I'm a Dad....

It's been quite a December to say the least....

Today, Christmas Day, I sit here reflecting on the month so far and what may come.   It all started the afternoon of Sunday November 30th and evolved from there.

We were expecting our first child, a daughter, on January 5th.  Our pregnancy hadn't been easy with my wife feeling the effects of pregnancy from being tired early on through to high blood pressure in the later stages.  My wife had been on bed rest since early October and we were on regular visits to the Ottawa Hospital's General Campus Obstetrical team for observation. The Obstetrical team was top notch, many of the staff physicians are also professors at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine.

That Sunday November 30th was a beautiful fall day in Ottawa.  My Mother-in-Law and I had ventured to Lansdowne Park to see the Christmas Market and tour around the grounds to review the renovations that had been undertaken in the previous years.  That afternoon we went home to help my wife take her blood pressure.  This is where things got interesting.

With her blood pressure through the roof after multiple tests over a period of fifteen minutes we set off for the hospital.  Fast forward to later that evening, my wife was resting in birthing unit carefully being attended to by a nurse.  The nurse carefully reviewed the extensive monitoring equipment minute by minute with a Fellow (a doctor working towards full certification in maternal-fetal health medicine) checking in periodically.

Things got a little scary when our daughter's pulse started to dip a bit on a couple of occasions.  My wife and the team of nurses plus the teaching fellow would turn her over too and fro until the pulse rate came back up. After about the third occasion the Fellow said we needed to move forward.

At this stage I was in shock.  It hadn't registered yet.  It was only the previous week at the regular Doctor's appointment that we were thinking of scheduling the delivery for late December.  I was going to graduate from the YMCA's OSEB Program with my business, Suddcorp Solutions, and then move forward with having a daughter before Christmas.  Apparently my daughter had other plans.

I was suited in scrubs and introduced to some guy named Dr. Lawrence Oppenheimer who said he was going to do the surgery.  At this point, it could have been Santa Claus himself doing the surgery, I didn't care I was just concerned about my daughter and wife's health.  Turns out Dr. Oppenheimer is the head of the Maternal-Fetal department at the Ottawa Hospital along with being a Full Professor at the University of Ottawa.

On  December 1st, Theodora was born!  A cute bundle of joy who let it be known to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Doctors she was not happy at being poked and prodded in the Operating Room (OR).   Soon after though she was bundled and carefully handed to me.  We sat together with Mom for a long 15 minutes eyeing each other silently as the Doctors continued to finish up.

Soon after I was invited by one of the nurses to take Theodora on her first ever trip, to meet Nurse Emily at the NICU where Theodora would be welcomed, comforted with a heating lamp and allowed to rest. I returned to our room and greeted first time Grandma, my wife's mother and got changed out of the scrubs.  My wife soon returned to rest and be tended to by the kind nursing staff of the Ottawa Hospital's Birthing Unit for the rest of the evening.

This past month our daughter has passed every possible test with flying colours.  She stabilized her blood sugar and body temperature, eats regularly (yes, sometimes sleepy), has decent hearing and is gaining weight.  After two family Doctor visits she has impressed her with both her cuteness and the ability to fill her diaper while being examined.

She even has the knack for timing.  In the womb I tried putting my ear up against my wife's belly to try and listen to what it was like in there.  About 5 seconds later I got a swift kick in the ear.   Later on the Ultrasound appointments more kicks and punches were dealt to the stenographer's probe.  Outside the womb, 4 a.m. feedings seem to be quite eventful.  After a diaper change, drink and burps Theodora is ready to party!  She wants to be held by either mommy or daddy in their bed, no crib time for her until she falls asleep!

It has been quite the month of feedings, burps and diaper changes.  I never thought I would be so excited to see a full diaper. She has gained weight, is awake a little more and is gradually filling out.

In the future I look forward to many adventures.  Whether it be to the local library for storytime with the librarian and to choose a few favourites to take home, to the Experimental Farm to see the cows or on adventure through the walking paths throughout the Ottawa area.  I'm looking forward to many firsts whether it be walking, riding the bus and meeting aunts and uncles from Toronto or Vancouver.

It sure has been quite the month of December, but I wouldn't trade it for anything as we celebrate our first Christmas as a family.

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