Dion's random ramblings

Saturday, October 13, 2007

10 mistakes a new dad (and maybe even a new mom) shouldn't make

Wes, Barry, this one is for us guys! It's amazing how many of these mistakes I still make (even second time around!) Take a quick read through the list (or at least the first line of each paragraph). This is good advice!

Top Ten Things a New Dad Shouldn't Do

1. When taking off your baby boy's diaper, don't hold your mouth open and lean over him, making funny faces. This is serious! It's true that when baby boys feel the cool air upon their little bits of manhood, they let loose powerful streams of pee, which doesn't taste good. You should also consider throwing a wipe or cloth on your baby son's bits the moment the diaper comes off. Or else, up shoots the pee into the air, and for a moment, you and your son might watch with surprised awe at just how high the stream gets; but then it comes down again and lands right on your son's face. Sure, this is incredibly funny, but only for a moment. You now have an inconsolable baby on your hands.

2. Don't work on the novel or screenplay three days after your baby is born. Yes, there is something inside you that tells you that you need to make $1 million right now, or else your growing family is doomed - and that novel or screenplay is just the ticket. This is just your caveman survival instinct kicking in. It will go away after a while. And there is plenty of time to work on your novel or screenplay - like, when you're finally getting sleep and your brain is working again.

3. Don't come home from your first day of work after the birth of your child and say, "Boy, what a day!" Come home from work and refuse to talk about your day until you hear all about the baby's day and your wife's day, even if it?s the most boring thing you could imagine. That's the point! Don't you understand that your wife is going stir crazy? She had to spend all day with a baby that wouldn't let her put it down! And even if your wife has gone back to work, your day pales in comparison, pal. Ask her how her day was. Your day doesn't matter. Don't you understand that your wife had to spend all day away from the baby?

4. When you and your wife go out to dinner, leaving your baby with the sitter for the first time, please don't expect to enjoy yourselves.

5. Don't be intimidated by that older woman in the mall, the one who has long since seen her babies grow into adults. She'll come up to you with a smile on her face as you stroll proudly with your baby. And she'll get you to put your guard down when she says, "What a beautiful baby!" And just as you are about to thank her, she will say, "Why is this beautiful baby in a cold mall without proper clothing? This baby will catch its death! You should be ashamed of yourself!" Listen: there is nothing wrong with how you are dressing your baby. There is, however, something wrong with this woman. She's in an organization called Kooky Old Bats. They spend their afternoons roaming malls, looking for unsuspecting fathers to harass.

6. Don't leave your dog alone with access to a garbage bag full of dirty diapers. It's just not pretty what dogs will do to dirty diapers.

7. Don't listen to your mother or mother-in-law. Both of them are on the same team - a sub-organization of Kooky Old Bats - and that team recently had a meeting and decided that, as capable as you are as a human being, you have no idea what you are doing when it comes to caring for a baby. You're a man, after all. You need serious help. You need someone to take the baby from you as soon as you start holding it. You need someone to tell you what the baby needs to eat, or how to boil rubber nipples, or how to use a microwave. You need someone standing over your shoulder, clucking away as you change your baby boy's diaper and he ends up peeing on his own face. But it's not you; it's them. They have nothing else to do with themselves. Just turn off your ears and be happy you are not married to them. Sooner or later, your wife will force them to leave the house.

8. When your wife wakes you in the middle of the night and asks either A) "Can you see why the baby is crying?" or B) "Do you want to have sex?" ? DO NOT answer, "But I have to work in the morning."

9. You might find yourself at a park with your wife and your newborn. It's a nice day; your wife, nipples bandaged painfully beneath her blouse, has decided to bottle-feed your baby today. A warm breeze is blowing. Then, a sour-looking woman or a righteous-looking man walks up to where you sit on the park bench and says, "You know, you really should be breast-feeding. It's much healthier for the baby." These people are called Breast Nazis. If you are attacked by them, by all means, don't be afraid to say, "Actually, we?re the baby's uncle and aunt. Do you still think she should breast-feed the baby?" Whether or not you agree with the breast-feeding issue, watching their reaction is just plain fun.

10. Don't be under the impression that you must be SuperDad. First of all, no matter what you do, the baby is going to like her mother best. There is no competition. Second of all, SuperDads are worthless when the baby is young, because anything you can do that is "super" is lost on the child; she can hardly hold up her head to see you. And as the kid grows, and there you are pulling the SuperDad act, she will get completely annoyed with you and end up moving far, far away. All you need to do is be around as much as you can. Hold the baby when you want to; feed the baby when you're ordered to; smile at the baby when you're moved to. It's really that simple.

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Update on Liam 29 December 2006 - So much to give thanks for!

I came across some photos this morning that I took with my cell phone camera (so please forgive the quality). They were taken over the last 7 weeks.

In these photographs you can see just how far Liam has come!

This photo was taken about a week after his birth. Here Liam weighed around 1.2kg's. He was so fragile and small (as you can see his whole body was the size of my hand, he still had oxygen, a feeding tube, respiration sensors, temperature sensors, blood oxygen probes, and heart rater sensors).

This is a similar photo, look how small he was! When he was first born, at 27 weeks, he was still very foetal. He seldom dropped his legs. Megie and I used to joke and say he looks like a cornish hen!

I have posted this photograph before. It gives a real perspective on just how small and thin little Liam WAS. Notice the emphasis on WAS! We praise God that he is not like this at all now. He now weighs 1.755kg's (that's about 600 grams more than his birth weight). That is almost a 50% weight gain, and it is amazing how much that growth has filled him out. Look at Liam's little premature nappy in the photos above. The nappies almost covered his whole torso at that stage. Now, however, they fit like regular nappies.

Compare Liam's size in relation to his teddy in this photo and the one below.

In the first 'teddy photo' (taken in week 1) Liam was almost exactly the same size as his little teddy, however, in this second photo (taken in week 5/6) his little teddy is not even half of Liam's size. How incredible is that for 5 weeks!? Also, see how his cheeks have filled out! He is turning into a chubby little lad. He is still tiny (about the size of a 3/4 loaf of bread).

Well, we certainly have SO MUCH to be thankful for (here's little Liam joining us for a prayer)! Liam has been infection free, peaceful, and grown consistently over the last 7 weeks. We cannot thank God enough for God's faithfulness, mercy, healing, and care! Liam now weighs 1.755kg's. He started with one breast feed a day two days ago. Now it is just a matter of getting him up to 8 feeds on the breast per day, making sure that he get enough food from that to both stay hydrated and grow, and then if he keeps that up for a few days he may be allowed home early! He will be on one breast feed a day for a few days (as he gets used to feeding, slowly picks up his weight over 1.8kg's, and gets used to the 'exercise' of having to suck for his food. His lungs will grow and mature through all of this). If he keeps his weight and manages one feed for a few days, then he will have two feeds for a few days, then three, four, five, all the way up to a full eight feeds in 24 hours. This could take a few weeks. However, at his current pace he should be home at least two or three weeks earlier than expected (perhaps some time in the second or third week of January). So, please keep praying for him, and all of us. We give thanks to God, and ask you to join with us in thanking God, for Liam's healthy growth.

A blessed and joyous year ahead. May the miracles of this year be found in and surpassed by the ordinary events of 2007.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Update on Liam - 14 December 2006.

Yesterday Liam the Great (slayer of Oxygen, dirtier of Nappies, conqueror of Neonatal ICU, lover of Incubation) celebrated his 4 week birthday! This is an answer to prayer, and a real milestone, because he gets a little bit stronger each day. Megan and I both feel confident that he passed the major danger points, now it's just fattening him up! His last weight was 1.4kg's.

Here's a picture of Liam getting his first bath from Megie (he had previously had a quick wash down from one of the nurses). His bath had to be done with the oxygen attached, however, we disconnected the probes from the monitors. It also had to be a very quick in and out since he cannot keep his body temperature for too long

Bathing him was quite a big deal for us, since it is something 'normal'. Megie did so well! Remember, it has been about 7 years since we've had to do this. Of course the fact that he still has a few tubes and lots of wires makes it a little more complicated. However, this is one instance in which is size is a real plus. He is small enough for Megie to hold him almost completely in one of her hands, with his legs and a few bits dangling onto her wrist. I, of course, did what most dads do... I held a video camera!

I can, however, assure you that I am a champion at changing nappies! And, at this stage, quite adept at feeding (although our hope is that soon I will not have the 'equipment' to do what is necessary). Until then it is a daily joy to hold him for an hour or so whilst he gets his feed.

Once again, thank you so much for all the encouraging messages, prayers, and practical help (yesterday Jules, one of our worship leaders at Bryanston, arrived with about 10 frozen meals!) It is wonderful to be loved, and incredible to experience God's provision, both in supernatural and miraculous healing, and in tangible care and concern! Where would we be without our faith in Christ, and the love of the body of Christ?

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Update on Liam - 5 December 2006.

Firstly, a huge thanks from Megie, Courts, Liam (AKA BJ) and I for all the prayers, calls, messages and emails! It is wonderful to be cared for in this manner. It reminds me of a line from the Emmaus spiritual directors handbook that is shared at one of the community gatherings which says something like "isn't it wonderful to see the body of Christ caring for itself in such love?" We do truly feel loved and cared for!

Well, here is a recent picture of our little lad. Please forgive the poor quality of the image, it was taken with my cell phone. The GREAT news is that he picked up a few grams in his weight. He is now weighing in at a whopping 1.19 kilograms. He has been getting a supplement that helps him to gain weight a little faster (it gets mixed into the 25 Mils of breast milk).

Some folks have asked why he needs to be fed through a tube. There are two reasons. Firstly, he has not yet developed the sucking reflex that allows him to feed on his own (I believe that only comes somewhere around 34-36 weeks). Although he is learning to suck a little, it is not yet at the stage where he could feed. Secondly, until he weighs around 1.8 kilograms, the effort it takes to feed would be greater than the nutrition he would get from a full feed. So, in essence, he would loose energy (and so weight) rather than gain it at this stage. So, the solution is to pop the milk directly into his tummy for him to metabolise it from there. He seems to do that pretty well! He is realising that feeds come every three hours and so he starts to niggle a little when it gets close to feeding time.

Here's another picture of little Liam contemplating the weight to energy ratio of premature infants in neonatal ICU. I could show you the mathematical formula he wrote out for me to understand this discrepancy, but that would be showing off! So, take my word for it, differential calculus is a breeze for him at 31 weeks!

At this stage Megie and I are juggling our time between the hospital and work. Megie went back to work last week for half days, and has taken leave for half a day to be at the hospital in the afternoons. She needs to do this so that she can save her maternity leave for when Liam comes out of the hospital some time in January or February (more or less when he was to be born). Unfortunately if she stays away from work now she will loose almost two months of her maternity leave.

I have also been running between various meetings and my office to the hospital. I try to spend an hour or so at with Liam in the late afternoons. However, I tend to take the nights at the ICU and take my laptop and some work with me so that things can carry one more or less at a regular pace.

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