You. Are. Awesome. I am so in love with you.
You’re brothers were cute, but you take the cake. Honestly, going through newborn pictures of other kids on Facebook recently had kinda freaked me out with the renewed realization that all newborns are ugly. It’s an unfortunate reality. However fortunately, newborns make up for their ugliness with endearing tricks, such as crying all night long, stealing wives from their husbands, and pooping in their pants (and occasionally shirts, hair and even mouth), not to mention the uncanny ability to hold their urine for possibly days before letting fly all over my new shirt with a stream that could extinguish dante’s inferno. It’s these activities and behaviors which convince parents to continue caring for the screaming and defecating piles of protoplasm until they eventually become actual human beings.
I’ll pick up the story with vomiting. Not yours (which you’ve already done), but mine.
In the evangelical mission headquarters in N’Djamena, I started to get fevers the day before our flight left back to the US to have you. I took Coartem… and vomited it. I took Fansidar… and vomited it. I went to a four-hour Adventist Health International meeting, which I had to chair, and didn’t vomit. Then I went back to our room at the mission, took Malarone… and vomited it.
Your mother let me know her utter disappointment in me after she discovered my evil plan to time my illness to coincide with travel on an airplane. She also called in a nurse who happened to be on vacation in N’Djamena to come and start IV quinine on me in the middle of the night. The next day, I got my second dose of IV quinine about 20 minutes before arriving at the airport.
But we made it back. I preached two days after getting back (and made Mom very angry again when I stopped my quinine early so I’d be able to preach), then we took off for a great ten days in Massachusetts with your aunt, uncle and cousins. We were waiting every day for your arrival, staying close to Baystate Medical Center, where we wanted you to be delivered. With all the preterm contractions your mother had in Tchad (or at least that was her reason given for staying home and making me round on maternity), we were sure you’d be coming early.
After ten days of nothing doing in the Berkshires, we rented a condo in Palmer for another ten days, now closer to Baystate. We spent those ten days being graciously and generously fed by old friends in the area from work, church and other connections. It was wonderful. But we were getting really anxious for your arrival! We had both been getting baby-antsy (and more specifically, girl-antsy) for months now!
So we finally went for broke. We got a room at the Sheraton in downtown Springfield, right next to the hospital. And it was a NICE room. In fact, your mother was just commenting on how comfortable the bed was, our very first night in this comfortable bed, more comfortable than any bed we had ever lain in before, when she started having contractions. Roughly 1am.
I dropped your brothers off with some friends on the off chance things would progress. At 2:30am, your mother soiled the sheets of room 817 (bed on the right, should you be unlucky enough to find yourself there) with a gush of amniotic fluid. (And I would really recommend that you wear your shoes in that room, just to be on the safe side.)
So we went to the hospital and got into a bed at 3:40am. At 4am, you were born. It was weird. I’ve watched the birth of two of my children already. This started very detached. Just another kid. Just another delivery where your mother makes me sit silently in the corner of the room, not allowed to make eye contact with her. Not dissimilar to Saturday nights.
I first caught a glimpse of the top of your head and was impressed with how non-wrinkly it was. And your head wasn’t coned like a newborn. And then your face came out. Chubby cheeked and perfect. Most beautiful baby ever. At least the most beautiful baby since June 25, 2011.
20 inches, 7lb 15.5oz of pure goodness.
Then I did something very un-Olen-like. I went out shopping for you. I went and bought you stuff. Stuff you didn’t need, but I wanted to get you. It was awesome.
This evening, I realized that you were just lying by yourself in your crib. That wasn’t right. You’re way too cute for that. So I picked you up and carried you for as long as I could, until I had to take your brothers to the hotel. Your cheeks are so unbelievably soft and nuzzly. I don’t want them to change.
We had planned a trip to Hawaii. Carrying you around and looking at your face, I realized that I don’t care where we go on vacation this year. I won’t even notice. I’ll be looking at you.