Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mountain Top Experience #2: Sophie

One of my major motivations for embarking on this Mountaintop Experiences series was that I felt the blog had changed from written entries about the adventures of our family to an online photo album of the baby. I wanted the opportunity to write about something other than Sophie, which I felt like I hadn’t really done since she was born. It is thus a little ironic that I should choose to write about her so soon in the series, but in honor of her 6 month birthday today, it seems like the right time.

As a teenager and into college, I was convinced that I wanted to get married as soon as I could trick a girl into marrying me and that we would start to have children immediately. I had relatively young parents and was convinced that if I waited past 21 or so to start having kids then I would just be too old. I think, looking back on it, that I was afraid I would never get married or have kids, so the idea of accomplishing those things early was a mental protection against them not happening at all.

I’m sure that I reeked of desperation which, combined with low self-confidence, had to be extremely attractive to the ladies. Nonetheless, I did end up managing to con a lovely young lady into being my wife (I’m still surprised…). Once we got engaged and I was sufficiently convinced that she hadn’t figured out my elaborate ruse, I began to rethink my long-held notion that I wanted to have kids right away. My one reason to have children so soon (fear of never being able to) just didn’t seem to stand up against all the reasons to wait (money, maturity, a wife who was in no rush, among others). Plus, I was beginning to wonder if I actually wanted to have children at all.

For the first several years of our marriage, we almost never talked about starting a family. We had too much work to do and were having too much fun to allow a baby to interrupt our lives. That changed when the doctors discovered that I had low levels of testosterone, which has since been treated. After further testing, one of my doctors informed me that I was “not infertile,” but only barely. He said that we could reasonably expect to be able to have children, but it might take a long time. Nancy & I still weren’t ready to have children yet, so I filed this information under the “worry about later” category in my mind.

Of course, “later” came sooner than I thought. Not one to worry, I made the decision that the safer emotional play was to plan on not getting pregnant rather than let my hopes build up and be disappointed (apparently I had taken care of the money and wife in no rush issues but still had a way to go with maturity). I can’t say this was the type of emotional support that Nancy needed as the months passed and the stick never turned blue.

As is obvious at this point, the stick did eventually turn blue. It was a Sunday morning and I was barely even awake when Nancy jumped into bed to tell me. I had no idea what to think or how to feel in that moment. On the one hand, I was excited and happy beyond measure. On the other hand, I didn’t or couldn’t or wouldn’t believe that it was true. What does a stick know anyway? As the days passed and it became apparent that the stick was right, I began to let my guard down. Maybe I really would be a daddy after all.

Nancy’s pregnancy is a story for her to tell, but it is enough for me to say it went better than I ever imagined it could. She never even asked me to get her pickles and ice cream in the middle of the night. I was disappointed, however, that she didn’t even entertain the notion of naming the baby Jackbauer.

As was well documented on this blog, Sophie was born at 11:45 pm, about 15 minutes before Thanksgiving. I think that by 12:15 I had called or texted almost everybody I knew. I was on the top of the mountain and wanted to bring everybody else up there with me.

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