Dad finally gets a word in edge-wise
My husband, the real writer in the family, is the author of several books including Fixed: How Goodfellas Stole Boston College Basketball.
Here are his reflections on our first few days!
Ask me the things I remember most about the first, indescribably crazy days after our baby was born and I can immediately transport myself back to the delivery room when our little guy first came out, wailing like he’d just seen Steven Tyler up close … the first minutes in the recovery room before my wife came out, his big eyes staring at me as if to say, ‘who let the old guy in here?’ … sitting in our hospital room at 4:30 a.m. watching a documentary on manatees while he snoozed in his crib.
One of the more vivid and revealing memories, though, was of what I like to think of as the interludes during those four hectic days _ the times when I would leave the hospital to run errands, pick up food, stop and get some things from the apartment and generally try to be as useful as possible. If these activities were supposed to restore a little sanity, they frequently had the opposite effect. I was at my calmest in the hospital, where my wife and I had a newborn baby that both of us were terrified of dropping, hurting or otherwise unintentionally vexing. Yet back home, preparing the apartment for his arrival, I was a ball of nerves, all tied up inside with a feeling I couldn’t shake. The 98-degree heat didn’t help.
I had asked our 20-year-old nephew, who was in town to see a Red Sox-Yankees game at Yankee Stadium, to help me move some furniture around to try and create more space in our cramped apartment. Waiting for him to arrive that Thursday, I realized I needed to go to the hardware store around the corner to pick up some odds and ends. Walking the two or three blocks, I had a knot in my stomach that wouldn’t go away. I’d felt nerves before going on live television or playing music before thousands of people, but this was different; more concentrated and unsettling. Familiar sights and sounds in the neighborhood felt oddly different, the way they do when you’ve been sick in bed for three days and finally get outside, or when you are about to leave on a long trip, or if you have taken too many recreational drugs. I think I may have bumped into the super from next door and told him we’d just had a baby; it’s entirely possible I dreamed the whole thing. I really don’t know for sure.
Being around the hospital was a different story. I can remember bounding outside in the early mornings to get my wife an egg-and-cheese sandwich on a roll at the breakfast truck, and picking up mangoes and apples for myself at a stand another block away. One night I made it down to the Mister Softee truck in time to get the last strawberry sundae for my wife, who overlooked the bright red dye and managed to enjoy some of it. The routine got so comfortable that we joked we would find a way to stay there a few more months (not sure what the insurance company would say about that). We did get to keep the bathrobes, which I count as a big plus.
We were so well taken care of in the hospital, I guess it’s no wonder I had an overwhelming sense of doom once I left that idyll and returned to our cluttered, no-nurses-on-call living space to prepare for the start of the rest of our lives. But then, just as quickly as the malaise had set in over the last few days, it dissipated, leaving me with a feeling of equal parts joy and relief.
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