On The Things You Forget (and Bad Metaphors)

Checking out Nora

Today is Erin’s 36th birthday. Happy birthday, Erin!

What surprised me most about the birth of Nora is how light she’d be. Now, she was born a whole pound heavier than Vivian, but she still feels like a feather in my arms. I don’t remember Vivian ever being this light. I’m too used to carrying the two-year-old Vivian around, and have come to expect my children to be a bit of a weight (Vivian is now up to around 35 lbs).

I was also surprised at how much more difficult it was to change Nora, initially, than it is to change Vivian now. Vivian is used to having her diaper changed, and she and I have gotten into a routine that works well for both of us. Nora, of course, hasn’t, and squirms so. And given the weight issue I already described, I’m very, very afraid about breaking her.

I expect giving Nora her first bath will be a re-revelation as well.

It’s been pretty busy here since getting back. Everybody’s adjusting to the new reality, and there is an inherent conflict to Vivian’s natural exuberance, and our fervent desire that Nora not be disturbed (although, so far, Nora has proven able to sleep through a lot of Vivian’s joyful expressions). And I’m pretty sure that though Vivian remains happy, she’s a little disturbed at how much her world has changed. I expect the next few days will be a bit difficult. Between this and the looming deadline for Baseball Science (I’m most of the way there, fortunately), expect blogging to be light for the next few days.

To close, I just wanted to talk a bit about obstetricians. Twice, now, we’ve had to transfer our care from our local midwife to the hospital’s on-call obstetrician. And that’s a significant adjustment for everybody. We spend the better part of nine months building a relationship with the midwife. We prep with the idea that this person will take us through the delivery. It’s like embarking on a journey together. And then, when a problem is encountered, we’re forced to hand over one of the most personal moments in our lives to a complete stranger. I know these individuals mean well, and they do well, but to our irrational minds it sometimes feels like somebody is coming in to steal the glory.

It’s probably an adjustment for the obstetricians themselves. After all, they come into a charged environment full of stressed people going “who the hell are you?”, and so they have to exude that overwhelming sense of professionalism and confidence that just screams, “don’t worry! I’m a doctor!” That goes a long way in explaining our dealings with doctors at our birth hospital, I think.

Our doctor, who did a wonderful job in bringing Nora into the world this past Sunday, exuded just that overwhelming atmosphere of “trust me!”, as he explained the whole procedure of forceps delivery. Now, note: he has to be accurate, he has to detail the risks, and he has to do it in such a way that we are both informed, and reassured. And he doesn’t really know who we are. So he reaches for these laymen terms, not knowing that we’re writers.

Doctor: Now, the forceps clamp down on your baby’s head like a hockey helmet or a football helmet, right? And just in the way somebody clasps you by your cheeks, you end up turning your head only where they want you to turn your head.

Me (thinking): If he intends to treat our Nora like a football…

Erin (not particularly reassured): What are the risks?

Doctor (sucks in teeth. You can tell he hates telling patients what the risks are, since we always overblow it): Well, there is a small risk of facial bruising. A remote risk of laceration. But you got to know how small the risk is. It’s like using a skill saw: 99 percent of the time nothing bad happens—

Erin (curling up even though she’s in stirrups): NOT A GOOD METAPHOR, DOCTOR!

Doctor: Okay, okay, not a skill saw, then. How about a paring knife?

Me: Still not a good metaphor, doctor.

Later on, he said he recommended it to his niece and nephew. Erin thought that his nephew would be really surprised.

Check out more Nora homecoming photographs on Erin’s Flickr stream

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