Rookie Dad- 1 month later
When we found out that we were going to have a girl, for a moment I felt like Rookie-dad Sean “It’s A Girl! Wait… Oh my, it’s a girl. I don’t know anything about girls…” … In those few seconds I did a time travel- I thought boobs, periods, love, heartbreaks, girl games etc … really what do I know about girls?! For the larger part of my life I have lived around boys- 5 brothers, a boys boarding high school, a 90% male campus and only 1 girl in my architecture class … for 6 years!! To add salt to injury I work in a male dominated field and our office is all male save for the receptionist and accountant. So really I have spent my entire lifetime mastering being MALE… yet now I have to get as much understanding as I can possibly get about the female existence because I want to know about my little princess and help her along as much as possible.
Contented little baby:
My wife and I purposed in our hearts to make our baby as comfortable as possible. We therefore armed ourselves to the tooth for a much anticipated face off with first-time-parents challenges. We stocked up our library with Gina Ford’s book “the contented little baby” … “What to expect in the First year”, among other books and many conversations with been-there-done-that parents. But when the exam came it reminded me of my 2nd year at varsity when as a class we signed a petition not to sit a Geometry exam after seeing the questions claiming that we had not covered the material in class. The last 4 weeks have felt alot like that Geometry exam.
1st night at the hospital:
When all the visitors left, I moved my girls (that sounds nice) to a private ward where I could also be accommodated for the night as I could not imagine leaving them at the hospital. My wife was tired … (more like exhausted) and still all wired up with medicated drips (pain killers). Little princess Gaila on the other hand was swaddled and safely put to sleep in her hospital cot between our beds. I cannot tell at what point I blacked out only to be woken up by a little girl crying. Both of us woke up, looked at baby, and then back at each other full of question marks. Almost instinctively we reached out for the nurse call but common sense got the better of us … “this is our baby … she is crying … we need to find out why and do something about it…” and right there we had our first very nervous and shaky diaper change! Did I mention babies have black poo to start with? There is a whole science behind it but that is not my area of expertise 🙂
The rest of the night was rescued by the very friendly nurses who took the baby to the nursery to allow us some sleep after the veeery long day we had had.
On Monday morning I woke up to go to work. (I wanted to take my paternity leave once they were out of hospital). Late in the morning I got a call from my very shaken wife. She was all tears and could not speak. All she could say was, “there has been drama at the hospital!! …. sob … sob … sob … ” … then silence. She managed a “I’ll call you back sweet… ” in between sobs. “Is Ciiru ok?” …”yes she’s fine now” … The next 5 minutes were the most agonizing in my life… ever! I wondered what could have happened. I was shaking at my desk as I had never heard my wife shaken like that before (she is a strong Nyeri-blooded-Kikuyu woman). I called her back as I walked to the parking lot in a rush.
That morning, while Ciiru slept she chocked on some kind of sputum. Her face had turned purplish and was having a strained cough while kicking and desperately gasping for air (I could be exaggerating here but that is the picture my wife painted). My wife jumped from her bed reached out for the nurse call and ran to the nurse station outside shouting “nurse! nurse! nurse!”. Remember my wife was a 100m champion at Nairobi River primary school and won medals at the national levels (
only the school lost their certificates) … sorry I digress. The nurses came running and quickly turned the baby on her stomach while smacking her back and then took the baby to the nursery, my wife in toe. Here they used some tubes inserted through the mouth to help the baby get rid of the mucous. All the while tears flowed freely. After they were done they handed the baby over to my wife who refused to take her (My heart sunk when she told me this … where was I ?????). It took several nurses to calm my wife and luckily on that day our Gynae was around to give some much need reassurance. When I arrived all we could do was hug for a long time. We sat in silence as we absorbed what had just happened and thanked God it wasn’t something worse and that it did not happen at home.
Leaving mummy and baby at the hospital:
Needless to say I could not leave my sweetheart in that state. I stayed with her and by the end of that day she had come round. In the evening I had to go home. I had spent 2 nights at the hospital and and needed to make sure everything was alright at home to welcome our new addition. Daddy’s visitation ours end at 8pm, but I managed to push it to 11pm in light of what had happened earlier in the day. Before I left we shut the door to pray. This was the first time I fervently prayed for my daughter and wife. My tear ducts were on overdrive as I asked God to take care of them through the night and to shield and protect them from in more drama! When we were done we could feel the presence of the Lord in that room. My wife was even stronger than I was after that prayer. She said to me, “honey go home. We will be ok.” With that reassurance I hugged and kissed them and drove out into the cold quiet winter night playing our usual favorite Linda Randel CD … “God of the mountain is still God in the valley ….”
Now its been almost a month since Ciiru graced our home with her presence. And she has made her presence felt. For those contemplating having babies … sleepless nights are not a myth, and more than 3-4 hours of continuous sleep is a distant memory. Between feeds, diaper changes, and the many own compositions we have managed some level of sanity. It is so difficult to watch your little girl cry. Your heart breaks just a little for every whimper and tear that falls. And you will do absolutely anything to bring her comfort. I have found myself rushing home at 5 to catch some much needed sleep before we start another long night of baby stories and out of tune Kikuyu lullabies… “tiga kurira mwana, tiga kuriraa … oga munyonyi mwana, tiga kurira mwana….”
Angels with food:
In-between all the challenges we have faced our love has remained steadfast and God has been merciful towards us. He has sent us angels with food almost every evening for the last 3 weeks. We feel alot like Elijah being fed by ravens and Abraham and Lot that got visits from angels in their homes. My sister Muthoni, the Koech family, Joe & Beryl, Steph & Peter, and Mama and baba Sierra have been our amazing angels. I have learnt that family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile. These have made our transition to parenthood much easier and their support has been immense. These angels have supported us, fed us, prayed with us and loved us immensely! For their friendship we are truly grateful! I cannot fail to mention all the friends and family who through their SMSes and phone calls have offered very insightful advice to first time parents … but that’s a post for another day – parenting 101; advice from friends and family coming soon!
Ciiru is 1 month old tomorrow…! (Can you imagine that?). And now we have settled into some kind of routine. I hope to blog more consistently and regulary on this journey that we are taking together with my wife and daughter!