The following is one of the posts I wrote for my wife’s website, www.thespohrsaremultiplying.com, during Maddie’s ten-week stay in the NICU.
Babies are beautiful, amazing things. Their very existance puts you in awe of the power of God/the universe/nature, and once you’ve had one you find yourself a totally different person than you were before your little pipsqueek popped out. One change you will notice is that you’ve become a “baby stalker”, and, upon seeing a baby in public, will sprint over to it and jut your frightening mug way too close to its little face. Even worse, you will become an emotional wreck regarding absolutely ANYTHING that has to do with a baby. For example, there currently is a commercial on TV about a Dad going on a business trip. His two-year old daughter hides her doll in his briefcase before he goes, and en route to the airport the Dad stumbles across it. He then decides to use his cell phone to take photos of the doll everywhere he goes on the trip and email them back to his daughter. He takes photos of the doll in front of a monument, in his hotel room, even perched on the conference table at the meeting that ostensibly was the reason for the trip in the first place. I find that last photo bizzare, and like to imagine that the business men in the background are going, “I like this guy. Let’s give him the deal! Um, wait. He just took a doll out of his briefcase. And now he’s taking a picture of it. Hmm. Maybe we should go with the other guy.”) At the end of the commercial the Mom and daughter open a photo sent from the Dad and see it is of the doll in front of their house. The daughter gasps, then runs outside and hugs her Dad. The end. Now before Madeline was born my friends and I would have made endless jokes about this cheesy, sentimental pap, and likely would have been in stitches imagining all of the wildly inapropriate places the Dad could have taken a photo of the doll, such as a strip club or Japanese massage parlour. After Madeline, however, I actually found myself weeping as the little girl hugged the Dad, and started running around our place taking photos of stuff with my cell phone to show Maddie at the hospital.
As amazing as babies are, however, they are also really strange. For those unitiated into the baby universe, here are a few details that will likely alarm you to know:
1) Babies have a “soft spot” atop their head where their skull hasn’t developed, and anyone could very easily stick their finger into their brain. Note: This fact will haunt you and make you suspicious of anyone with fingers.
2) Babies tote around a remnant of the umbilical cord called an umblical stump. It will rot, turn black and smelly, then finally fall out after a few weeks.
3) Babies are born with a bunch of stuff in their intestines called meconium, and have to pass this before they can pass breast milk and the like through their system. This meconium is very black and has a tar like consistancy. Yes, a tar like consistancy.
I realize those without kids are likely vowing never to have them after reading the above. The good news, however, is that once your baby is born you will love it so much that you will even brag about your baby completing numbers two and three. Don’t believe me? Well, Madeline passed her meconium yesterday! She, like all premies, had a hard time eating and digesting food, and for a while the doctors were a little concerned she had yet to pass the meconium even after beginning to eat breast milk. Well, she finally got rid of all that crap (pun intended), and started to have normal bowel movements!
In other baby news, Maddie has been moved to a “low-flow” canula, which is the least amount of breathing support she has ever had, and is doing just fine! She has also gained weight up to five pounds and even has a CD player in her bed to listen to baby music! She is amazing, and hey, if getting to have her in my life means I have to turn into a sentimental fool, I say so be it!