February 15, 2008

The Weeklies #23: The Birth Edition

The Weekly Only Thing On My Mind: You've met Owen. Here's how he came to be.

One night, Beth and I were fooling around and...oh...you've probably already guessed that part. Skipping ahead...

Around 5:20 on Sunday morning Beth woke me up. "I'm in labor. My water just broke," she said. I only half-believed her. The previous night, while I was standing in the local Target trying to find a watch with a second-hand before picking up Indian take-out, she called to tell me she thought her water had broken. We went ahead and got Indian because who doesn't love Indian even with an infant trying to make his way into the world? At 5:20 the next morning, Beth, The Girl Who Cried Labor, rolled out the whole water-breaking story again and I wasn't convinced. Of course, ten seconds later I realized that I was surrounded by wet sheets and bundles of towels keeping water at bay, I rethought the situation and realized that she was probably right. So we instituted our patented OSWHTKASN Plan (Oh Shit, We're Having This Kid Any Second Now).

Step 1. Call my parents and get them to come over ASAP.
Step 2. Freak the fuck out.

My parents arrived at our place and, since she was stirring in her room, we visited Mia and said our goodbyes. Then we headed to the hospital. We checked in around 7:00 and were immediately escorted to the labor and delivery room. It was our home for the next eight hours. Aside from the contractions - the pain from which was eventually eliminated with an epidural - and my natural curiosity that caused me to play with all the medial stuff I found in all the drawers, we were bored in five minutes. Luckily, we had iPods and books. Around 3:00 in the afternoon, Beth's doctor pointed out that the contractions were irregular and the pressure inside her uterus was high. Apparently high uterine pressure is bad. She also insightfully guessed that Owen would be nice and big and recommended surgery right away. Thinking about it now, though, she really didn't really recommend anything. She just told us the OR would be ready for us in a half-hour. We got the feeling she was a little more concerned than she was letting on.

My biggest fear about the delivery itself - aside from the whole risk to Beth and the baby which was paramount - was passing out in the OR. I had nothing to worry about then. This time, though, I really had a rough time early on. It had already been a long stressful day and I was worried. But I made it and so did Beth. And when Owen arrived, everything fell into place and all those worries disappeared. Owen was (and is) beautiful. The first thing I noticed when I saw him was how much like Mia he looked. Warming up, getting measured on the table next to me while I sat next to Beth, he looked perfect. I held him while they put Beth back together. I wheeled him out to the waiting room to meet the grandparents while Beth made her way to the recovery room.

Even if you've never spent any time in a hospital, I don't think you'd have a hard time believing that it isn't fun. It was made worse by the fact that both Beth and I had to be there and Mia could not be. I've never been away from her like that. Beth and I both hated it. I miss that kid with every fiber of my being when she's not around.

Monday was the wost. I'll let Beth fill you in on the details should she be so inclined but suffice it to say she was in a massive amount of pain. I have never been in the physical presence of someone in that kind of pain and I never want to be again, especially someone I love. But the day evened out and by Monday night Beth seemed like her normal self. Owen was fantastic, very laid back, making the entire recovery thing that much easier. On Wednesday around 2:00 we were sprung. We came home, got settled, woke Mia up from her nap and started our lives as a four person family. So far, so good. Mia hasn't set fire to the house or stolen our cars for attention. Owen is sleeping and eating like a champ. Beth's still recovering wonderfully and I, well, I'm just doing lots of laundry.

Before we had Mia, my biggest concern was that I wouldn't love her instantly like you hear all other parents saying they did. When she arrived, I knew that wasn't going to be a concern. I loved her instantly and unconditionally at first sight. With Owen, I was even more confused. I mean, I already had all this love for Mia. How would I share that? How would I not have a favorite? Of course, this also turned out to be a silly concern. I loved him immediately, right there, standing in the OR. It hit me like the bullet from a gun and forced tears to my eyes. I can't really put into words the difference between being a father of one and of two. But it's not what I thought - the dad stuff inside me wasn't split into two. Instead, it doubled. And frankly I never knew I had quite this much space inside.

Posted by Chris at February 15, 2008 7:46 AM

Beautiful post, Chris!

Welcome to the world, Owen!

P.S. We need pictures. ;)

Posted by: Anna at February 15, 2008 7:55 AM

Congrats again.

Posted by: william at February 15, 2008 8:09 AM

Beautiful post. Can't wait to see the pictures, though I know you're super swamped and etc., etc., etc.

Also, my dad goes through the drawers at the doctor and the hospital, too. heh

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at February 15, 2008 8:10 AM

yup, after pains (when your womb is contracting back down) are PANTS.

They get worse with each subsequent labour as your womb gets more and more efficient and I hate 'em worse than labour as by then you're definitely tired, no matter how long or short the labour was, and the adreniline and endorphines have defintely worn off. Have I mentioned I have five kids?!

Definitely loads of sympathy to Beth.

Posted by: mamacrow at February 15, 2008 8:11 AM

It was so great to read this today as I am walking out the door to attend the birth of my baby brother's first child!
Big hugs and love to you all in the Cactus-Fish house. :)

Posted by: tulip at February 15, 2008 8:12 AM

Very moving post. Sounds like things were very rough on Beth indeed. Good to read all is better now.

Posted by: mikkie at February 15, 2008 8:14 AM

Your words make my heart and uterus ache. I am so happy for you. Pictures, please.

Posted by: Gwen at February 15, 2008 8:19 AM

You made me tear up too...I just KNEW that double dad stuff would fall into place the second you met your son. I'm so glad it did. Congrats again, and have fun with the laundry pile-up! Oh, and quick recovery wishes for Beth as well.

Posted by: Tera at February 15, 2008 8:19 AM

What a beautiful post. That sucks how hard it all was on Beth, but I'm so happy that everyone's home now and doing well. Congratulations to you and your family!

Posted by: Cassie at February 15, 2008 8:27 AM


Posted by: jodi at February 15, 2008 8:28 AM

Great post; I always like to hear the father's side of things. My husband's story of my labor and delivery are so totally different, since he was actually aware. Plus, the way he sees loving a child is different too so this was a great insight for me as well.

Glad things are working out for you all!

Posted by: claire at February 15, 2008 8:31 AM

Chris, this is beautifully written.
Thanks for sharing this with us...and for bringing tears to my eyes while I sit at my desk on a Friday morning!
Parenthood has been on my mind an awful lot lately, and you just took away a big chunk of my fears. Thank you for that.
Congratulations to you all.

Posted by: Caitlin at February 15, 2008 8:32 AM

Beth is a trooper. Hurrah for all of you and have a wonderful weekend, the first as a family of four.

Posted by: ann adams at February 15, 2008 8:32 AM

I have been keeping up - Congratulations! So, glad that everyone is happy and healthy and home.

Posted by: DebbieDoesLife at February 15, 2008 8:32 AM

...and now I'm crying thank you very much...

wonderful story- wonderful BETH- wonderful family

Posted by: jolie at February 15, 2008 8:33 AM

OH, I just love you guys to pieces. We so rarely get to hear the dad's point of view of the birthing process, so this is just fabulous. I totally started crying when you described that immediate love for your boy. I worry, too, how I will ever love another kid like I love my Thomas - you've described it perfectly.

Posted by: Sam at February 15, 2008 8:33 AM

OMG, your post had me in tears about 1/3 of the way through. I hope you're able to save posts like this for Mia and Owen. Every word exudes the all encompassing love you have for your children.

Congratualtions again!

Posted by: Michelle at February 15, 2008 8:33 AM

Chris, congrats to you, Beth, and Mia. I love reading about your family exploits and I know that the addition of Owen will only make the reading that much better. Just like he's making your family that much better.

Thanks for sharing...

Posted by: jen at February 15, 2008 8:35 AM

I swear, you are THE BEST father. Your kids (and Beth) are so lucky.

And, laundry? You DOUBLE rock!

Posted by: Alissa at February 15, 2008 8:35 AM

A beautiful tribute to your beautiful family.

Posted by: Shelly at February 15, 2008 8:39 AM

A beautiful tribute to your beautiful family.

Posted by: Shelly at February 15, 2008 8:40 AM


The most amazing thing to me after the birth of my youngest was that my older all of the sudden seemed... so BIG. So kidlike. Like every last trace of baby was gone from her - everything about her seemed more grown up once I held the little baby in my arms. It was the weirdest thing ever.

Posted by: sarah at February 15, 2008 8:42 AM

Thanks for sharing Chris- this makes me even MORE excited (and even a bit less anxious) about my impending arrival the first week of July...

Posted by: Stephanie at February 15, 2008 8:43 AM

Beautifully written.

Posted by: Sarah at February 15, 2008 8:44 AM

Tears sprung up in my eyes. What a beautifully written post.
The two women in your life are truly amazing, and now you have a son and you will find him equally amazing and just as painful when you are forced to be away from him.
Ah, beginnings! Beautiful things!
Hugs to all!!!

Posted by: Maribeth at February 15, 2008 8:46 AM

You put tears in my eyes!
Beautiful post
Pol x

Posted by: Pol at February 15, 2008 8:46 AM

What a beautiful post! So glad to hear everyone's home and doing well!

Posted by: Judy at February 15, 2008 8:53 AM


Now quit it with all the smooshy talk. You are making me want another baby!

Seriously? Awesome post. I am so very happy for all four (!!) of you!

Posted by: Jen at February 15, 2008 8:55 AM

Congratulations on the birth of your son. Best wishes for a speedy recovery for your wife, and the lessening of the laundry pile. How do people dirty so many clothes so fast? Being a parent is a weird learning experience for all of us. There are no instruction manuals. Friends and family might give us their experiences, but until you live it you can't fathom what happens.

Being a Mom is magical. Being a Dad brings out the best a man can be.


Posted by: Phil at February 15, 2008 8:56 AM

lovely post! So glad to hear everyone is doing well!

Posted by: Tara at February 15, 2008 8:56 AM

Yep, love doubles instantly. I had the same concerns too but they totally disappeared the minute Sam (#2) was out... Amazing eh? That you can so much unconditional love.

Hope everyone continues to do well. My friend and I were both due on the same day with our first kids and we both had babies over 9lbs. She had a C-section and I didn't. Both painful recoveries for many reasons -- I hope Beth feels better soon! It's never fun to see anyone you love in pain.

Posted by: Holly at February 15, 2008 9:05 AM

Fatherhood of more than one (and the feelings you're describing) is alot like the way people describe A&M. "From the outside you can't understand it...and from the inside you can't describe it". You just don't know what it's like...until you do. And now you know. Welcome to the club, my friend. You're one hell of a dad.

Posted by: a "9 lb. Club" Beaverhausen at February 15, 2008 9:09 AM

Beautiful post, Chris. Heartiest congratulations. Can't wait to see more pictures.

Posted by: Liz at February 15, 2008 9:11 AM

Yay! At long last the birth story! Congrats Chris! Enjoy your million dollar family - cause that's how much it'll cost ya (kidding). Congrats again.

Posted by: Mom On The Run at February 15, 2008 9:13 AM

So did you make it out to vote in Tuesday's primary ? Ha. I'm glad Owen made it safetly into the world and I wish Beth a speedy recovery.

Posted by: Heather at February 15, 2008 9:13 AM

Great post! Congrats to all and Happy Belated Valentine's Day.

Posted by: Susan at February 15, 2008 9:20 AM

Pretty transcendent stuff. They should bottle that feeling and sell it.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at February 15, 2008 9:22 AM

Thanks for sharing the story of Owen's birth!!

I think we forget the "unused" capacity of our brains - no? And all those worries that all of us soon to be or now parents of two or more will/have find/found that it is amazing how the human brain works & expand to fit everything we need it to! I am so glad everything worked out and I hope Beth recovers quickly!

Posted by: Christina at February 15, 2008 9:32 AM

What a wonderful post. Congratulations to you, Beth, Mia and Welcome Owen!

Posted by: suze at February 15, 2008 9:37 AM

What an amazing story, beautifully told. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings as you went through Beth's labor and Owen's birth, Chris. And again, congratulations!

Posted by: cynical at February 15, 2008 9:37 AM

I'm very happy to hear that the Cactus-Fish Four are doing well. That's so sweet, that Owen looked like Mia when he first came out. That'll be a fun fact to tell both of them.

Hope you're all getting enough rest and looking forward to more pictures whenever you get the time.

Posted by: Fraulein N at February 15, 2008 9:40 AM

Its like the Grinch...your heart just grows and grows! Welcome Home Owen! He reminded me instantly of when Mia was born too! Great photos.

My grandson turned 3 on the 11th...So it is a good month and a good week to be born! : ) Happiest of times Chris! Fantastic and you always seem to make me cry!

Posted by: Gypsy at February 15, 2008 9:46 AM

biggest congrats to you and the fam. i too had a c-section and the pain is intense. i remember the morphine drip fondly. anyway, hope shes feeling well soon. congrats again!

Posted by: madmom at February 15, 2008 9:47 AM

yet another reader in tears..

Thanks for sharing such special moments with us! This post has made my day!

Posted by: Courtney at February 15, 2008 9:50 AM

See, you should trust the InternetWebOSphere when we speak of an expanding family and to chill the fuck out. We are wise, grasshopper.

But now so are you. ;)

Posted by: Pammer at February 15, 2008 9:50 AM

You, Beth, Mia and Owen are awesome. Happy family-ing!

Posted by: GreenCanary at February 15, 2008 9:57 AM

Congratulations Chris! And thank you for all the details! I am so excited to "share" this journey with you. Blogging is just the best. :)

Posted by: alfredsmom at February 15, 2008 9:57 AM


So sorry for the difficulty Beth had but am glad to know everyone is home and doing well. You have such a beautiful family.

Posted by: kalisah at February 15, 2008 10:09 AM

I'm so glad things are going well so far. How much time do you get to take off?

Posted by: coolchick at February 15, 2008 10:20 AM

"But it's not what I thought - the dad stuff inside me wasn't split into two. Instead, it doubled. And frankly I never knew I had quite this much space inside."

I love that line, it's so perfect. I always wondered the same thing...how could I divide my love between more than one child? You nailed that answer!

Posted by: Lisa at February 15, 2008 10:30 AM

it really is amazing what happens to your heart when you become a parent for the second time. you worry about how you will love another child as much as your first...but it just happens. from the moment he (in your case and in mine) is born!

Posted by: ali at February 15, 2008 10:38 AM

I remember that feeling SO clearly, Chris. I remember being pregnant with Rachel when Leah was two, and talking to a girlfriend who has 2 boys. I remember saying that I love Leah so totally and completely, how would there be any love left over for another baby? And she told me (wise woman that she is) that your heart is like an accordion file folder, it will stretch to hold as many children as you have. We laughed at the prosaicness (is that a word?) of the analogy, but you know, it describes it perfectly. My heart expanded to fit Rachel in with the same overwhelming love that I felt for Leah. I think that all parents have that same worry when another baby comes along, and we all find out that we had nothing to worry about.

Enjoy your family, and I wish Beth a speedy recovery.

Posted by: alison at February 15, 2008 10:40 AM

Wonderful post Chris. Congratulations again to you all.

I feel for Beth....both of my boys were 9 pounds and more and I had C-sections both time. I hope her recovery is going well.

Posted by: kali at February 15, 2008 10:46 AM

I've been reading both you and Beth for awhile, commenting over on her site and lurking here.
But I wanted to say that this post brought tears to my eyes.
You have some lucky kids. :)

Posted by: Kate at February 15, 2008 10:53 AM

Congratulations again! I'm so glad that you are all doing well. My family will be expanding to 4 in just 6 short weeks and even though I've been reassured by many, it is hard to believe that you can have just as much love for a second child as you have for the first.

Now I've got to go find a kleenex before my boss comes in and sees me crying!

Posted by: dee at February 15, 2008 11:02 AM

Great, you made me cry!

Congrats!!! And Owen is a perfect name. I love it!

Posted by: Nadine at February 15, 2008 11:27 AM

Damn you, with making the tears!

Excellent description, sir. Excellent.

Posted by: Brad at February 15, 2008 11:58 AM

Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones talking, but your post was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations on your beautiful new baby boy.

Posted by: Jennie at February 15, 2008 12:08 PM

Beautiful, just beautiful.

Make me cry why don't you. :)

Have a great weekend....the first as a family of four.

Posted by: Phoenix at February 15, 2008 12:19 PM

You know, that was my biggest worry/fear when we considered having our second child. I loved our first child with such intensity and gave her so much time, love, and affection. I seemed to give my all for her, and she lapped it up happily. So how on earth could I have enought love, time, and affection for more than one child? I worried that I wouldn't love my second child as much, because seriously, how could you possibly love two things with such an intensity that the sheer thought of it knocks me in the chest like a tidal wave.

Then my second daughter arrived. And you are right, my love doubled. Isn't it amazing how our entire concept of love can be changed in a split second?

Posted by: Jen at February 15, 2008 12:32 PM

That is so sweet. yY husband worries that when we have a second child that he won't love it as much as the Dictator since he feels he is "already full". I think that is sweet, but keep trying to tell him he can love 2 without dividing the love.

Posted by: SleepyNita at February 15, 2008 12:32 PM

Dude, I just love you, man. I'm all with the misties over here.

Posted by: Mr Lady at February 15, 2008 12:36 PM

I know what you mean about having two. However, my mind cannot being to fathom how I will feel with a third. I have a feeling I will be just an emotional water balloon on the verge of popping. I'll probably spring a leak every five minutes - damn, I'm just gonna be so namby-pamby.

Posted by: mr. big dubya at February 15, 2008 12:55 PM

"Beth and I were fooling around..." I guess it's just not that kind of weblog ;-)
That was really, fantastically beautiful though, Chris. I'm sniffling a bit from the last paragraph. Congratulations again. You and Beth are such awesome parents :)

Posted by: Heather at February 15, 2008 1:11 PM

Beautiful words, my friend. I like to think that perhaps my father felt the same way, 51 years ago, when I, his #2 daughter, arrived. And I know that he didn't confuse me with any of the other children in the nursery. He was able to spot me immediately, such was his love.

Well, also because I was the only white kid in the nursery.

Posted by: bhd at February 15, 2008 1:34 PM

Amazing, isn't it? The love you feel?

I forgot to tell you that my first grandchild will be born sometime in June. And his name is Owen.

Wonderful, huh?

Posted by: Susan at February 15, 2008 1:54 PM

What a lovely post!! I love the end bit.
Congrats again

Posted by: Jenty at February 15, 2008 1:55 PM

What a beautiful birth story, told from daddy's point of view! I'm so happy for the 4 of you! Congratulations again :)

Posted by: Mary at February 15, 2008 2:04 PM

What a perfect post...I'm forwarding it to my husband right now.

Posted by: Isabel at February 15, 2008 2:10 PM

Told you so! Told you so! Welcome to the realms of the dual-kidded. Great, isn't it? Has your son and heir peed on you yet during a nappy change? Watch out - as soon as that equipment is exposed to the air, anything in range is fair game!

Posted by: Loth at February 15, 2008 2:48 PM

Okay...so when is the book coming out? You know, the one for potentially future fathers who are scared shitless (mostly about passing out during delivrey)...or...I mean...MIGHT be scared...if they should find themselves in such a situation?

Hmmm? Just curious.

Posted by: David at February 15, 2008 3:19 PM

I've been lurking around for a bit, and I must say I really enjoy your writing.

All the best to you and your family!

Posted by: Mike at February 15, 2008 4:13 PM

*wiping eyes from unexpected weepiness*

I wish all men were like you...

Posted by: jessica at February 15, 2008 4:59 PM

Fabulous post. You had a non-crier gal tearing up. So happy for you all and glad to hear that things are going so well. Love hearing about babies that sleep easily.

Posted by: Diane at February 15, 2008 5:20 PM

Yet another well-written, wonderful post. Congrats on the final arrival of your new addition to the family!

Posted by: ironic1 at February 15, 2008 6:29 PM

De-lurking after a few months to thank you for a truly beautiful post and to congratulate you and Beth on your new son (and well-adjusted daughter!). :)

When you have some time (ha ha I know), I'm dying to know how you create those images with two or more photos. But that can wait. :)

So are you still freaking out now in any way, or is it all okay in your brain??? :)

Posted by: Cynthia at February 15, 2008 6:54 PM

VERY nice post, Chris... touching. Congratulations to all of you!

My sadness at not being the one to successfully guess the birth day and time was washed away by my excitement over your choice for his name. My first born (oldest twin) is Owen! He is an absolute gem and I simply can't imagine life w/o him. I know your Owen will bring more joy, happiness and fulfillment to your life than you ever imagined.

Give my best to Beth. You don't know me... but I'm super tight w/ the one and only Greeblemonkey who led me your direction. She said to tell you that!

Posted by: anne at February 15, 2008 7:07 PM

Wonderful, Chris. Thinking of you and Beth and Mia and Owen. Lovely writing. It made my heart sing.

Posted by: Sharri at February 15, 2008 7:39 PM

Awesome. You deserve some sort of award given the fact that you did not, on the spot, DIE a thousand deaths that your wife's amniotic fluid was IN your bed and NEAR you. Really, you do.

Of course, you'll get that award after your wife is properly awarded for birthing a beautiful, HUGE baby. AND for having a C-section. I think diamonds are in order. Yes, diamondS.

Posted by: AMomTwoBoys at February 15, 2008 9:44 PM

I'm glad you wrote that last paragraph. That's my little unspoken fear about this second pregnancy... it's hard to imagine being able to love this second child as much as my Little Button, and I have guilt because I can't quite picture it. Reading that was encouraging. Thanks.

Posted by: Amy at February 15, 2008 11:16 PM

Awww... you made me all teary! Congratulations again. You are so obviously a fantastic dad. Thanks for that little bit of insight into how Daddy's mind works - I've had 2 c-sections, too, and I really don't have a good sense of how it all was for my husband (I was a little busy). Now, maybe I have a better idea.

Posted by: Latte Mommy at February 15, 2008 11:31 PM

So sweet and beautiful! As a mother of 4 I know exactly what you mean about your love swelling to epic levels. It's really unexplainable...But when it happens to you it's so overwhelmingly fabulous! I am so happy for all of you Chris.

Congrats...and I am wishing you all many many years of fabulous!!!

Posted by: Tammy at February 16, 2008 12:37 AM

I think that's the most surprising thing I learned with my children - that the love would grow exponentially with each one of them (and I have 4!).

Posted by: Jules at February 16, 2008 8:32 AM

Congrats, Chris, Beth and Mia!

Welcome Owen!

Posted by: molly at February 16, 2008 10:01 AM

That was a perfect Rude Cactus birth story. You made me laugh and made me cry.

Oh, and Bryan totally riffles through all the drawers every time we go to the doctor's office too.

Congrats again. I look forward to getting to know Owen through your blog(s) as I have Mia.

Posted by: Aimee Greeblemonkey at February 16, 2008 11:22 AM

What a beautiful post. Congratulations, again.

Posted by: Susan at February 16, 2008 1:15 PM

Your last paragraph nails it, being a parent of two or more. Beautiful.

Congratulations, again.

Posted by: ewe_are_here at February 16, 2008 4:35 PM

Oh my. My nose is all tingly which means I'm about to.... cry.

You jerk!

Posted by: Peggy at February 17, 2008 1:17 PM

I used that "love doubled" line on a friend a few years back when he faced the same fears. It worked on him too. And the best part is it's TRUE! Awesome, yes?

Posted by: Amy at February 20, 2008 12:12 AM

Awesome. This gave me the warm fuzzies times ten.

Posted by: Tink at February 20, 2008 12:11 PM

Oh boy, this made me weepy!! So lovely. Hope all of you are well.

Posted by: Tamara Straight Poop at February 21, 2008 12:11 AM

Don't look but your love for your family is showing! This is a great post, and it is so nice to see it from a dad's perspective. My Hubby felt similarly when I gave birth to our son.

Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: RC at February 26, 2008 5:34 PM

What a beautiful story - congratulations to you and Beth, and to Mia, too! You definitely explain well that feeling one has when they meet a new baby, and don't know HOW they are going to love someone as much as their first child. Somehow, you just do! It is like, your heart grows by double, and all that love you had for the first one remains and somehow doubles for that second child. The mothers and fathers who have a dozen kids must have GINORMOUS hearts! :-)

Congratulations again, and I am so happy for you both. You make a GORGEOUS family!

Posted by: Katie at March 3, 2008 3:00 AM

It's known that money makes us free. But how to act when somebody doesn't have cash? The one way only is to receive the business loans or bank loan.

Posted by: NielsenMARGARITA30 at April 7, 2010 3:12 PM