Our Joy: Jake Emmett Baumstark

Post date: Sep 27, 2012 1:09:47 AM

Most of those reading (all three or so of you...) have heard bits and pieces of the last few days. I've finally gotten a chance to sit and collect my thoughts on paper (well, electrons and magnetic dots on a Google-owned hard disk somewhere). I want to remember this when I'm old and gray. Those of you interested in the gory details read on.

Last Friday -- September 21, 2012, the final day of summer -- my wife, Tiffany, and I went to the perinatologist for her last-trimester weekly checkup. We're about 3 weeks shy of the official October 11 due date. She'd been on light bed rest that week since her blood pressure was misbehaving. Well, her blood pressure was still misbehaving and the perinatologist, Dr. Mann, basically said "I don't think you're leaving here without a baby." We were ecstatic, surprised, and not a little anxious, despite having our bags in the car for "just in case". So down to the Labor & Delivery wing we go, where Tiff gets hooked up to all kinds of monitors and IVs and machines that go "PING!" and we waited for a couple of hours for the on-call OB/GYN, Dr. Schapiro, to see her.

It didn't take Dr. Schapiro long. When she found out Tiff had a headache and some blurry vision, her words were "that scares me". After a little further discussion, it was decided to perform a C-section to reduce the risk of stroke. This even got us bumped to the front of the C-section queue, so things started happening fast at that point: usher Tiff out for prep, usher me into scrubs, and then to the operating room a few minutes later. Somewhere in there I managed to call both my parents, my sister, and my in-laws.

I'm all nerves, so from my point-of-view chaos ensues. Everyone was telling me to take pictures! Which I did, of course, even when they said "he's half-out, take a picture!". (That last one, in retrospect, was pretty creepy.) I think my first words to Tiff, after seeing little Jake, were "he's got HAIR!". Mostly I was worried about Tiff, so I gravitated to her to make sure she was okay. Eventually one of the anesthesiologists grabbed my camera and started taking pictures for me (especially ones involving me, Tiff, and/or the baby).

After he was born, they gave me a choice of going with the baby or staying with Tiff. As much as I wanted to spend time with my new son, I elected to stay with Tiffany. I was still very worried about her. Eventually we ended up back in the recovery area, where we finally got to properly meet our new son.

He, of course, is the most gorgeous, precious, beautiful thing on the planet. Scientific, peer-reviewed, bias-free fact.

At birth he was 6 pounds, 15 ounces and 19-3/4 inches long. He was born at 6:29 pm. Gestationally, he was 37 weeks along. I'm nervous about that, but so far all signs are that he is in excellent health.

We stayed in the "monitor Tiffany closely" room that night, keeping an eye on her BP, which, blessedly, started coming down almost immediately. Not much sleep that night, which, it will surprise no one, was simply the first of many little-sleep nights to come. The next day we moved to a normal room (Piedmont 262, for the detail-oriented folks in the audience).

It's at this point I should mention a major plot point, until now un-revealed. Our trip to the hospital on the day Jake was born began with us visiting Piedmont room 264 (next door to what would later be our room)...where Tiffany's sister Sheri was staying, having given birth to a darling boy of her own just one day prior. The OB who would later in the day deliver our son even visited their room while we were there.

Think on that for a moment. Two cousins, born a day apart, in the same hospital, and their families in adjacent rooms. Joy was boundless. Grandparents on both sides are over-the-moon; these are the first grandchildren on either side. My folks hit the road as soon as they knew the C-section was to happen. Tiffany's parents are local, so they were here as quickly as possible.

One day I'm an uncle for the first time, the next, a father.

So we spent most of five days in the hospital, recovering with Jake, learning from him, learning how to nurse, how to change diapers, how to swaddle, how to survive on 2 hours of sleep (max) at a time, how to appreciate the awesomeness of getting 5 minutes to shave. I actually lost a couple of pounds, even though I ate quite well. :) The biggest challenge though, and one that is still ongoing, is nursing. If anyone told us it would be this difficult, I apparently wasn't listening. Things are finally starting to work, but it's been a hard slog and we're still not where we need to be...but we're close. My parents have been staying with us this week and have been amazing: taking care of our cats, cooking and cleaning, and just generally keeping us going.

Needless to say, we're smitten with little Jake.