Archive for July, 2008

Welcome to the Planet

// July 20th, 2008 // No Comments » // Other

3:43 a.m. Monday morning June 30, 2008, I witnessed the arrival of my two new baby girls. Karis Carolyn Alexander was the first born that morning, and 23 minutes later her sister Aralyn (Ary) Jeri Alexander was tugged out of her comfortable, familiar surroundings onto terra firma. Welcome to the family, girls! Welcome to the planet!

The hours of labor passed quickly for me as we stayed up through the night counting to ten what must have been 3,000 times. Amy and I remained awake into the next day for a total of forty waking hours, twelve of which were labor. Though time flew for me, (perhaps because I was literally counting it) I am most certain that time was not flying for my wife Amy, but I was astonished at her cool resolve through the process, and even the ability to, at times, laugh (maybe this had something to do with the epidural she received just after we got to the hospital 6cm dilated, and less to do with the fact I was swapping climbing stories with the doctor as he was pulling on the babies with forceps).

Time to cut the cord, suction the nose and mouth, breathe for the first time, feel a touch directly on the skin. Wiped down, pushed around, poked and prodded, bruised and battered, flipped and flopped thankfully not dropped, under the lights naked and bare under the gaze of a dozen who stare. Quick to analyze every move, every spot, every groove; who is she like, what will she be.. it’s a tough day for them, a tough day for me. Welcome to the planet.

The brightest moment by far was to see them rest in their mama’s arms for the first time as she swung her head back and forth trying to get a good look at each baby just for a moment brief enough to let her pony tail catch up and hit her in the cheek and then swing again to see the other child in the other arm. Welcome to your loving mom’s embrace.

The learning curve rises like that of a climb the likes of Everest. Reading books, getting advice, talking to docs, consultants, nurses, family, friends, it goes on and I think there is no way to know it all, and then suddenly I am reminded that just loving them is most important of all. We felt so loved with visits from family and friends, our Pastor and an outpouring of gifts. Our family has been blessed, and we know we are loved. Welcome to the planet.

Spending just two days in the hospital, we were able to take the girls from Denver back to our home in Avon, Colorado at just over 8,000 feet. This one hundred mile drive I have made numerous times in every condition imaginable, such as the blinding snowstorms on Vail pass at midnight, but none could compare to the stress of this drive with my new cargo. Contending with the July 4th holiday traffic, hail storms, road construction and 18 wheelers, I found it hard to keep from teaching my girls those special words in my vocabulary we hope young girls will never hear. Being sure not to go over 65 mph (something new to me) I would yell “how can people drive like that! Stupid trucker! Hey idiot – slow down!” I thought I did well until we were stopped at 10,500′ just at the entrance to the Eisenhower tunnel for what seemed like an eternity. Usually not bad, but today I did the unusual maneuver typically reserved for those with California or Texas plates, I drove past all the cars, patiently waiting their turn to merge left, all the way to the front of the line and assumed the “Pole Position” for the change of the light. “Let me through, these girls are barely okay at 5,000′, they are just little preemies, their little lungs can’t handle this altitude!!!” They made it through of course thanks to Dad’s pushy driving. Finally, I was put over the top when we pulled over for gas and a feeding in Silverthorne and the car failed to start. “Noooo! Please!!! This is just their first day in the real world!! My sister-in-law, Jill saved our day by giving us a “jump.” After what seemed like years, we finally made it home.

Even through all of this I am still thankful, for all I can think of are the babies around the world born into poverty, where a mom might feed her child roots, dirt, or grass just to keep them quiet through the night in hope of food tomorrow. Welcome to this home girls.

Now three weeks old and doing well, I see it is my life that has changed. Lack of sleep, loads of stress, moments of peace, all laced with wonder, doubt, and introspection. I might be losing sleep, losing hair, losing patience, but at least I am gaining weight! What happened to the long bike rides and the days out in the mountains? Hurry up girls, there is a lot for us to go do, but please stay young forever and don’t grow up to soon.