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 (恺西), 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) 😉