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The Nora Chronicles: The First Breath

For those of you who don’t know, my firstborn daughter was born last week. Here’s the 411:

Name: Nora Rachel Cohen
Time of Birth: 1:48 PM October 29th 2009
Weight: 7 lbs 9 oz
Length: 20 and1/4 inches

The Ordeal

My wife was induced into labor starting at 6:00 AM October 28th. Do the math with the above time of birth… yeah, that’s a long time. She was induced because she was dealing with Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension (PIH–meaning high blood pressure during pregnancy). Left alone with this, she could have gotten pretty sick prior to labor. Hence the induction.

I call it an “Ordeal” because she went a full 30 hours before being told she needed a C-section. This news was given to her after she’d had the epidural in for over 24 hours. I know, crazy.

So she had the C-section and naturally, 30+ hours after we started, the baby was out within 10 minutes.

It was worth every waking minute

My daughter is beautiful. Now just 6 days old, naturally she’s already changed everyone’s routine, dominated conversation and awake time, and just been her eat-sleep-poop-ing self.

Things I’ve already learned

  • Diapers aren’t hard. Before my daughter was born, I had never changed a diaper in my life. I’ve changed a few since I got home, all unsupervised. Meaning, diapers aren’t hard, and guys shouldn’t be afraid of them. Heck, if I can figure it out, anyone can.
  • Babies are tougher than they look. No, I haven’t dropped her on her head. I’m just addressing the common (as in I had it) concern among men that they’ll hurt their babies when holding them. That’s ridiculous. I know for a fact that my daughter likes to try to use me as a launchpad sometimes (she has very strong legs for a newborn). She also has big hands and can already grip and move things with some semblance of purpose. Needless to say, I’m pretty impressed this early.
  • It’s a good idea to have a convertible crib AND a bassinet (or pack-n-play). We tried the first night home to put our daughter in her crib. I think 10 of her kind would be needed to get close to filling the crib. I think the space freaks newborns out. A bassinet is smaller. I recommend any soon-to-be dads encourage their wives to get one.
  • Once you’ve seen labor (and C-section), graphic medical dramas don’t seem so daunting. I’ll admit it: I nearly passed out during my wife’s C-section. Actually, check that: I nearly passed out BEFORE the C-section. I choked up, I had a hard time breathing. I was hoping that the doctors couldn’t see me turn sheet white. A combination of no sleep for 34 hours, watching my wife go through immense pain for the 8 hours leading up to the C-section, and the adrenaline of having a kid combined to make for a nearly comatose husband.
  • Babies recognize your voice immediately. Match up your face to your voice as soon as possible. My daughter knew my voice before I even knew her face. It’s pretty cool. My voice is very calming for her. And since she can see objects about a foot away from her face, I think she knows my face now, too. Important to match up the face and the voice.

I will learn new things every day. My life is changed forever. And that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t trade this for the world.

Until next time.

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