January 28, 2007

Another Reason to Love Wisdom

Posted in fatherhood, literature at 9:31 pm by Jerry

While Becky was pregnant I kept on wondering (and mentioning to others), “What personality has entered my home?” And now that Emma is slowly unfolding her personality I’ve been trying to sharpen my listening skills. I so badly want to know who she is.

It is a wise father that knows his own child. – William Shakespeare

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January 23, 2007

Coaching My Champ

Posted in family, fatherhood, marriage at 12:16 pm by Jerry

So we wouldn’t forget, Becky and I both decided to write about our time at the hospital when our family of two became a family of three.

We arrived at the hospital at 1:30 p.m. We found out she was dilated at 5-6 cm. The resident doctor asked if Becky wanted the epidural, and Becky said softly, “Yes.” I followed immediately after with a prominent “YES,” revealing my need to protect my love from pain. The doctor saw that our message was clear and said that there was a line up for the epidurals, but it wouldn’t be long.

I got the odd chuckle from doctors and nurses when they saw that I always had my pocket watch in hand, timing contractions, how far they were apart, and how many there were in the last hour. But they didn’t seem to mind when I had all the information about Becky’s record of contractions over the last hour, afternoon, day, or the last couple of days.

At 4pm I began to worry how long it would take for Becky to get her epidural. She could be dilating faster than the epidural line was moving and I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it! So I went to find the nurses to communicate my concerns. I know they caught the urgency in my voice but I don’t know if that was the reason they bumped Becky up in the line. Either way I was glad to see that they finally took us up to the delivery room for Becky’s epidural at 5 p.m.

But then, as some of you may have read in Becky’s post, we waited up to an hour everytime (4 times!) after postponements of the epidural. Becky’s first nurse (who stayed the most with Becky) said, “You are, undeniably, the best patient I’ve ever had… and I’m talking about the best out of my good patients.” Becky was awesome. She was an athelete while she worked through her contractions, dilating up to 7 cm.

Finally, the epidural was in, which was another pain hurdle for Becky. The aneasthesiologist was pretty impressed with her too. Not long after, Becky said, “Oooo, this feels nice.” Then we joked about her becoming addicted, or at least — highly recommending the drug to others. With the pain gone, we waited and watched as the moniter revealed a declining blood pressure number.

After her water was broke by another resident doctor, Becky was also given some natural hormones to help things along. Eventually, she was fully dilated at 10 cm but still waiting for the baby to move down from a “-1 position”. While we waited, we enjoyed listening to music and watching the monitor spit out rolls of paper revealing a record of her contractions.

At 5:20 a.m. our doctor, with the resident doctor, were prepared to help Becky with her delivery. I so badly wanted to cry while Becky was experiencing the pain of getting Emma out into the world. But she needed a strong, stable partner. She needed a familiar, secure voice beside her. I found this out fast after about the third time of running back and forth from the sink to cool off the damp cloth to wipe her face and forehead. She started pushing early (due to an early contraction) and I was a second or two late for the count. She said, with a sound of desparation in her voice, “You’re not counting!” I never missed a beat after that.

Aside from Becky’s pushing and my counting, crazy Becky found a moment or two to provide a source of comic relief for everyone in the room by commenting on the need to hear that she had been making MORE progress than “a little,” and asked to put the baby back in her pre-labor position. That’s my wife. No wonder why I fell in love with her.

Somewhere in the middle of Becky’s 80 minute labor we also shared an “I love you” between one of the contractions/pushing that reminded us both of the “us” that has been there since two years ago. I kept running my fingers through her hair (the way she likes) and reminded her of how strong she is. Then our doctor grabbed my attention, pointing out that my baby’s head was showing!

I could actually see the great progress Becky was making with her pushes and consoled her with this knowledge through the following contractions. For the last bit Becky was told to make short pushes so she wouldn’t hurt herself more than she needed to. Our talented doctor was truly on top of things. She quickly moved the umbilical cord that was wrapped around the baby’s neck and gently held/helped the baby while Becky pushed our child out.

“IT’S A GIRL!” said our doctor. We were so happy. Becky said, “I wanted a girl!” Then we went on and on about how beautiful she was while tears fell from our eyes. The resident doctor asked if I’d like to do the ceremonial cutting of the umbilical cord. I confidently said, “Yes” and after, the baby was wisked away to be washed by the nurse and checked by our doctor. It wasn’t long and our baby girl, our Emma, was in our arms stealing our hearts.

Becky and I are so happy. This experience of bringing Emma into the world has brought her and I even closer together than we were before.

January 20, 2007

EMMA and BECKY

Posted in family, fatherhood, marriage at 12:28 pm by Jerry

On January 18th, 2007 my daughter arrived into this world of ours and stole two hearts in the process. Becky and I are smitten, and more. Where did all these emotions come from?

I never knew I could feel all these feelings. I’m so happy. I’m so in love with our daughter Emmalee Anne, our Emma. How did she do this to me? Food, sleep – they seem trivial compared to having Emma sleep on my chest. Sometimes, when I think about how much I love her, I wanna just cry because I’m so happy to have her in my life.

Just look at those two. They have such a great relationship. And I know they will keep getting closer while Emma grows into a young woman. Becky’s eyes reveal so much motherly love for Emma.

My poor, lovely Becky. She’s so tired and sore from the hard, hard labor, too. I was there, helping Becky count through the pushes, tapping her legs as a quick non-verbal reminder that her legs need to be relaxed while she pushes her lower back against the bed and cradles her torso around the uterus to push hard — and push hard she did! Becky was an athelete, a champ! 1 hour and 20 minutes of working harder than she’s ever worked in her life. I’m so proud of her. And I’m so proud of Emma. I feel like the proudest Daddy/Husband on the planet.

January 14, 2007

Biblical Mandate: Wife Must Give Head

Posted in church, culture, marriage, philosophy of religion, politics, scripture, theology at 4:22 am by Jerry

More and more my Canadian pride grows, when I hear about stories like this one below. A man in California is suing his government for the extensive/expensive bureaucracy surrounding the procedure of taking his wife’s maiden name for his own.

Only six states — Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota — have statutes establishing equal name-change processes for men and women when they marry. In California and other states, men cannot choose a different last name while filing a marriage license.

In California, a man who wants to take his wife’s name must file a petition, pay more than $300, place a public notice for weeks in a local newspaper and then appear before a judge.

[…] At one point, the couple tried the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a name change. But Buday said he was told by a woman behind the counter: “Men just don’t do that type of thing.”

Earlier, in this same article

Mark Rosenbaum, legal director of the ACLU in Southern California, said it is the first federal lawsuit of its kind in the country. “It’s the perfect marriage application for the 17th century,” Rosenbaum said. “It belongs in the same trash can as dowries.”

Even here in liberal Canada (though led by a Conservative government) I received some opposition to the idea of taking my wife’s name. Why?

A name can have a long heritage attributed to it, but it doesn’t define who we are (even though I try to take meanings in consideration when naming my unborn child). And changing my last name doesn’t mean I’m disassociating myself from my own family any more than it has done for women when they get married and take their husbands’ name. So why all the fuss?

Apparently, “That’s just the way things are done,” or “The woman takes the man’s name because the man is the head of the home.”

Marriage Like Christ and the Church

22Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.24But as the church IS SUBJECT to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands IN EVERTHING.25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,30because we are members of His body.

Ephesians 5 (NASB)

MY WIFE’S HEAD IS ME!

I know analogies shouldn’t be taken literally, and I know we should recognize the literary elements like similies and metaphors in the text, but even so – the figurative language used above is sending a strong contradictory message. God and humans are, biblically, far from being understood as equals.

To me, it seems some couples have decided that the task of recognizing whose mental skills are stronger in the myriad of situations they face is just too difficult. So to ease the burden, they’ve decided only one within the relationship should be considered an authority in all skills. And most of these couples have chosen the traditional, patriarchical option. Which is a shame, in my mind.

I think this traditional approach has a greater chance of overlooking valuable insights from the so-called weaker minded one. Wherever there’s a relationship, two heads are better than one. So, my wife better claim her head as her own, because, contrary to what others may perceive of me, I DON’T think I know everything!