Apr. 7th, 2011

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"...Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." - Closing Time, Semisonic.

I heard this song on the radio the other day, and it is perfectly appropriate here. This post is the end of Aimee's labor and delivery, and the beginning of our new life as a family of five.

According to her wishes, as soon as Connor was out, the nurses put him right on Aimee's chest. According to her wishes, they didn't even ask if she wanted any pain killers, and waited until the pulse in his umbilical cord was imperceptible before they offered to let me cut it. They did almost all of the medical exam stuff they had to do while Connor and Aimee simply sat together, bonding in mutual exhaustion. Within the first few minutes, Connor was on the breast, learning the first essential skill in a lifetime of education. Aimee suffered a slight wound during delivery, but taking care of her didn't interrupt a thing. The nurses flowed around us, like the well-oiled machine they are.

For our part, her three partners milled about in stunned pleasure, alternating between taking pictures and stares of pleased bewilderment. And lots of hugs and tears. We started making phone calls to far-flung family and loved ones, letting them know that Connor had finally arrived. One family member in particular couldn't wait, and was on her way to us as soon as her husband got out of work. Aimee's parents arrived about fifteen minutes or so after Connor was born. They came into the room, expecting to see their daughter still hard at work. What they got was their little girl nursing her little boy, and the waterworks began to flow. The look of surprise on her face is one I will not soon forget.

Connor was 20.5 inches long at birth, 9 lbs. .06 ounces, with a head 34 inches in circumference. In every respect, he was a big boy! His feet and hands are huge, his feet in particular. He came out not fitting into newborn sized socks. Like both of his biological parents, he can't wear a hat, either. They just don't sit on his head. He had that squished cute ugliness that all newborns have, and a fairly full head of hair. He's now five days old, and the hair shows no signs of falling out, so we think he's going to keep it. It was no surprise to anyone that a boy child of mine was born with hair that was already over his ears. His eyes were (and still are) the generic blue-grey of most Caucasian babies. Both of his parents have fair eyes, so we suspect he's going to keep them in that general shade.

Time continued to pass by in a blur. There were tests, eating, nursing, visiting friends and family, sleep, and more nursing. Barbara gracefully bowed out about an hour after Connor was born, wanting to give us time to just be alone. We hugged her goodbye. If she's reading this, I hope she knows that we consider her an honorary auntie, and hope she'll accept the title. Aimee's parents left after a little while, to spend the night in a nearby hotel room. Aimee had her first real meal in almost two days. It was hospital food, which was not nearly as good as the cafeteria food, so I went out with Laurel to the local Uno's to get more for all of us. This is a good moment to praise her, as she played a very important role for us. She was our dog sitter, but more than that, she took it upon herself to straighten up and clean our home, so that when we got back, we found things much more orderly than we would have otherwise. I know she'll be reading this eventually, so I'll say for all five of us; we loves us a Laurel, we're thrilled to have her as Connor's crazy auntie, and cannot thank her enough for being part of our life.

Before we knew it, we were heading home. I'm not intentionally skipping things, but honestly, the next day and a half passed by fairly uneventfully comparatively speaking. We rested, helped Aimee regain her strength, ate more cafeteria food, bonded together, and basically hung out until the doctors and nurses pronounced Connor healthy and whole so we could take him home. We came home Monday in the early afternoon, and have been blissfully happy ever since. We know that real life will intrude soon, and force us to pick up the threads of work and school, but for now, we're simply enjoying being a family.

I didn't get to see most of the comments on my Facebook until well after everything was over. I cannot imagine what it was like on the other end of the Internet. I've heard from some of you that you were waiting with baited breath for every update, as eager to greet Connor as we were. One person said that she was refreshing her feed almost constantly, while another switched from computer to mobile devices to make sure she didn't miss an update. The unofficial award for best comment goes to Michael W., for the following: "Congratulations. You have gained a new party member: Level 1 Baby!" Truer words have never been spoken!

I want to end this story by thanking everyone that watched and participated in the live labor updates I was doing over the web. I did it for three reasons. First, I knew that lots of folks that couldn't be in the room with us would really appreciate knowing what was going on. Second, by tweeting events more or less as they happened, I was creating a record to use later. I consulted the log of them to help reconstruct and remember the timeline. Last, my family is from the Internet. This is how we roll!

Reading through all of your well-wishes, comments and congratulations on Facebook and Twitter was wonderful for all of us. In a very real way, every single one of you that took the time to say something was part of this magnificent experience. If I have left you off this list accidentally, the fault is totally mine, and I beg your forgiveness. In the interests of privacy, I've scrubbed out last names, sometimes leaving an initial for clarity. In no particular order, I want to thank:

Alex S., Bette E., Barbara M., Mary S., Jane B., Beverly M., Ellen S., Hugh C., Kelly S., Sara H., Lorelei, Alanya D., Seána, Dusti, Laurel, Jessica C., Crystal H., Eric Z., Mel G., Julie J., Meg and Matthew W., Megan M., Jill O., Matt W., Sariel, Magdelen, Sara B., Kelsi W., RJ, Karen June, Jill K, Justin W-P., Martina R., Michael W., Annie R., Adrian, Michelle S-L., Nick M., Tara R., Eliza J., Jennifer C., Chuck, Sherrell S., Megan P., Gia, Bill A., Ricky M-A., Lisa H., Adam S., Nadia, Victoria C., Angela L., Jessica W., Sarah Rose F., Rebecca M., John and Jennifer R., Dani R., Mark R., Dominic C., Amanda M., Richard A., Katy C., Larry, J.J., Brynn H., Melissa C., Sofia M., B.K., Rhiannon, Lee H., Aiden F., Elaine T., Alice R., Cassie H., Dee, Amelia S., Winterson, Martin G., Georine R., Stephanie S., Faye W., Ricky M., Dawn W., Ron R., Brian R., Alicia H., Jessi C., Donna D., Laura, Michael L., Tikva, Lynne S., Kevin C., Justin C., Esh, Halley C., Amy W., Sandy M., Mariama, Sara Jane L-Z., Taneka and Josh M., Eliza A., Roseanne M., Julia, Ann R., Karen M., Sher, Rachel W., Sunshine and Wally, Adam M., Crystal N., Kiernan, Cid and Bear, Roxy, Andrea F., Tiffany, Ross, Sarah Noel, Jason P., Sarah S., Kali, Bendy, Kay, and Sharon and David von Behren.

Some of you are family, some are friends. Some are blood relations, some married in, some sibs from another mother. Some are fellow activists and educators, some former and current co-workers, still others schoolmates, college friends or fellow grad school masochists. Many of you we see frequently, others we don't, and a very few I've never met in real life at all. Many of you have met all four of us, but quite a few haven't (and I hope someday that changes). There is no way for me to thank you all individually for being with us in virtual spirit on the day our son was born, so this will have to suffice. Never was a child born surrounded by more love as he made his way into this world; from his parents, his family and the electronic throng gathered to celebrate a new life. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being part of that amazing day, when our son Connor was born.

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