May the Fourth Be With You

Those closest to me during the ride up to this fatherhood thing know how much I was hoping that I’d forever be able to say “May the 4th Be With You” to my kid on his birthday. Well, the geek-fates have smiled on me and yesterday at 12:50pm my son was born.

The emotional amazingness of the past 30 hours has left me with no real energy to do anything but copy and paste (virtually verbatim) the e-mail I sent last night to my family:

We woke up around 4 am with Maggie reporting that she was leaking a bit. Contrary to popular belief, water doesn’t usually break anything like it does on TV. Many women have to have their water broken at the hospital by their doctor, others seep more than burst. We were in that latter group.

Maggie passed her (and there’s just no non-gross way to say this) mucus plug around 6 and we were off to the hospital. After confirming with our doc that we weren’t too early, we checked into our VIP room (pretty much exatly like a hotel room, but with a weirder bed and no towel service).

The doc checked and found out Maggie was already a bit dialated but was concerned that there was too much blood in the “water” coming out of her. Because of this and the fact that the baby was still quite high up they decided to load Maggie up with Pitocin, a contraction-inducing drug, and get things rolling.

The drugs brought on some super intense and painful contractions (I’ve heard my mild-tempered wife curse before, but never with such regularity and conviction), but the monitors indicated that there was fetal distress (heart rate dropping when contractions are happening). Because of this Maggie wasn’t able to have an epidural, and so suffered through it full-force for a couple hours.

The baby’s position wasn’t changing, nor was his distress improving, so the doctor informed us that he recommended a c-section. He knew how much we wanted a natural birth, and explained we could continue with it, but that it could just amount to hours and hours of pain, and still end in a c-section. It was either that or Maggie screaming out “C-SECTION C-SECTION! I WANT A C-SECTION!” that swayed my (somewhat limited) vote.

An hour later I was a dad.

It all happened so fast, even the hour of standing in a waiting room with the family members of a bunch of other surgery patients flew by. Everything was behind closed doors, so I wasn’t able to be with Maggie during the caesarian, but I heard the baby’s first cries and only had to wait a couple minutes past that to meet the little guy.

The nurse wheeled him out and let me oogle over him for a minute (giving the waiting room crowd a moment to take in the half-breed) and then we took him back up to the VIP floor where he and I got to sit for about 20 minutes or so and wait for Maggie to come back.

It was surreal being alone with this baby, my son, just moments after his birth. I’ll never forget it, and I’ve not stopped staring at him since.

The c-section left Maggie stuck in bed, barely able to move at all. So, I’ve been doing double duty answering both of their cries. I’m not complaining though, I’m sure if Maggie was up and about she’d be handling more of the baby stuff, so this trial by fire is good for me (man newborn baby poop, ie. fetal tar, is sticky!).

And… drum roll please… I’d like to introduce you all to Casey Ryan McLaughlin, born 12:50pm (GMT+8) on May 4th, 2010 — almost exactly 7 lbs. He’s just awesome, in every sense of the word.

A bit about the name:

We had a hard time finding a name that fit both heritages and ultimately decided on Casey, as it suits his last name, transliterates pretty easily into his Chinese name (恺θ₯Ώ), and we both really like it. His middle name was to maintain a multi-generational tradition from my side whereby the first born son is given his father’s name as his middle name. I have to admit though that considering his birthday, both Luke and Ryan Jr. (ie. R2) were front-runners. JK (sorta) πŸ˜‰

39 Responses

  1. Congrats, man!!! He looks great. I’m sure you’ll be a kickass dad. (If you’re blog is any indication of your parenting skills of course.:) )

  2. Awwww – he’s as cute as a button! And Maggie is glowing! Congrats to you and the new family. Oh and thanks for the detailed description of the baby poo – that’s pretty gross actually. πŸ˜›

  3. Now the fun starts πŸ™‚ Im SO glad everything went pretty much according to plan and Mags & Casey are fine. I don’t want to bring Yuki over to have a look, she probably start ovulating on the spot !

    Great news guys. See you all when Maggie is up to visitors at home, probably several months down the track.


  4. wow,congratulations to you and maggie.the little thing looks soooo beautiful,he even got the same hair style like you

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  6. Congrats to you, Dad – and glad Maggie and Casey are both well. Fascinated to read the full story, so I know a little better what I might expect next month. As I will be going through my own ’emotional amazingess’ and become a dad too. Cant wait!

    • Thanks Ray — I’ll be posting more on the whole experience, and particularly about the hospital, but have largely been very impressed with the space and respect the Chinese hospital we’re in has given us. Granted, we’re in the VIP area, but it’s still very much a Chinese hospital — just 4-star service. Well worth the extra money.

  7. Congrats again Ryan. Happy to hear everything worked out well, even though the C-section weren’t a part of the original plan.

    I’ll never forget when my wife gave birth to our firstborn this february either. It really is a mix of terrifying and joyous day. I switched from worried to extremely scared in a few hours when my wife lost a lot of blood and I could hear/see the nurses voices change pitch a bit. Then it was followed by the child finally being born and everything slowly returning to a more calm moment, where they dropped the child on me while my wife was sewn up. Somehow I was so confused by it all, that I never expected to sit with the child that suddenly which was both a strange and wonderful surprise.

    Welcome to fatherhood. Its a cool and crazy time. πŸ™‚

  8. Hi Ryan ,

    Have been reading your blog from a distance for a few years now! Congratulations on the birth of Casey. Your photos and words brought a smile to my face and I wish you all the very best. I know it is a cliche, but from now on, your life will never be the same. In a good way!!

  9. Ryan- Congratulations from Tony and I!!! I’m just sitting here smiling for you both- I’m not even sure what to write! Rest well with your new family. Keep posting more updates and photos! xxx

  10. Thanks so much everyone — we’re still at the hospital but things are going great. Maggie’s recovering well (walking around pretty easily) and little Casey is pretty comfortably breast feeding now.

  11. Congrats, Ryan! Sorry I’m so late to the party.

    Looks like your childhood is over. Time to man up and be a dad. I hear no one’s really ready to become a parent, but you seem as ready as they come.

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  13. Simply beautiful looking boy, Ryan.

    Heartfelt congratulations to you and Maggie.

    Strap yourselves in; it’s gonna be one helluva ride!

  14. Fantastic, Stuart is absolutely right the little fella looks great.
    My sister and a good mate have both had babies this year and they both say even when its bad its good.
    As the saying goes (although not necessarily the reality),

  15. Ryan, you totally took me by surprise here. I mean 100% I don’t know what clobbered me surprised.

    Not only was I aware you recently had a son, but I didn’t even realize you were married (shows how much I know about my fellow China bloggers!). I’m over the moon to hear that everything went so delightfully well! Maggie and the boy look like two peas in a pod, and the second snap is a total beaut. This is one of the “keeper” moments in life, brother. Cherish every lovely second and of it all. And don’t forget to document, document, document it like mad! Casey’s going to want to see these things when he’s old enough to click around.

    –ADM in Prague

  16. Ryan,
    Congrats to both of you. Devon (on passing through Shanghai & using my sofa) mentioned the imminent arrival.
    Cool name … though I have to admit that Luke would have been high up my list too πŸ˜‰
    Mike AKA Scottish Mike (now in Shanghai)

  17. Congratultions to you and Maggie! He’s a beautiful little boy.

    You’re experience seems eerily familiar to ours with our first child. Nearly 24 hours of Pitocin and ended up having a c-section. The second time around we ended up with a scheduled c-section. Take care of Maggie though. Having a c-section is much harder than having natural birth. The anesthetic alone takes its toll.

  18. Oh boy! Casey is a cutie. Can’t wait to see the little guy in person, if you ever need a babysitter in Beijing… Everything else has already been said. Congrats!

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  20. Welcome to the club! And here’s a Yoda quote to keep in mind while watching little Casey “Truly wonderful the mind of a child is!” Hope my sprog can meet up with yours one day.

  21. RYAN!!!!! Sorry to be catching up so late here — CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! What a beautiful little boy! And Maggie looks wonderful with him in her arms!

    So much more to say but once again, congratulations!

  22. Been there too… twenty days ahead of you, and I feel for you now, man… You must be exhausted, and walk around red-eyed – and my kid would like cry only 7 minutes and 12 seconds per day.
    Maggie is Chinese, right, so you’ve just survived zuo yue ci…

    It will get better… there will actually be a time that you can sleep a solid 6 to 7 hours again and the good news is: befΓ³re he goes to middle school.
    You’ve got hundreds of advices, but let me add one: those lullabies your mom (or dad?) used to sing to you – they still work.

    These mixed kids of ours push the limits of the law, isn’t that great? They have birth rights that no one could ever anticipate here.

    Enjoy every minute. He’s about to start really smiling back to you and trying to make sounds! You wouldn’t want to miss any of that.

  23. congratulations, father and parent. When my son was born, we wanted to have a natural birth too and I was part of it every step of the way–even in the operating room watching every step of the way until the doctor saw that the cord was wrapped around his neck and he was turning blue while he was still in the birth canal. I was sent out and a few minutes later Jason was born. No damage–I hope. That was more than thirty years ago.

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