January 14, 2011

When Our Baby Was Born

todd_S_2010aBy Todd Schoepflin

When I was young I thought a man paced in a hospital waiting room until his wife gave birth. The image in my head was of a new father passing out cigars to celebrate the birth of his child. But my wife has given birth twice now and I’ve yet to spend any time in a waiting room.

For both births I was in the delivery room for the entire time, except when I was asked to step out briefly so that the anesthesiologist could administer something to my wife to relieve the pains of labor. That’s one of the rare situations when it’s acceptable for someone to yell “GIVE ME THE DRUGS,” which was my wife’s catchphrase during our son’s recent birth. Christmas came early for us in 2010, when our son Mack was born on December 10. This blog serves as a sociological reflection of the experience.

One thing that stood out to me was how technology played a significant part on the day of his birth and during the first days of his life. In the delivery room I had a ton of nervous energy. Let’s face it, there’s not much a husband can do during labor except to encourage his wife and do his best to comfort her. There were hours of waiting around before the birth actually happened.

So aside from talking to my wife, I spent some time sending text messages to my brother and a good friend. It was pretty much a way of killing time and sharing my enthusiasm and happiness. When our first son was born in 2007, I don’t recall sending any text messages at all. In fact, if memory serves, the phone I had at that time didn’t even send text messages. For a long time I had no interest in texting and resisted using it as a form of communication. By 2010, however, I succumbed to the texting culture in which we live. So there I was sending text messages while anticipating a major moment in my family’s life.

There’s no way I can adequately describe the miracle of birth. There are no words I can type to do it justice. Let’s just say it’s amazing and mind blowing to see the birth of a baby. Tears of joy spilled out of my eyes when the delivery was successful and our baby had joined the world (this may be one of the few times it’s socially acceptable for a man to cry). The nurse asked me to cut the umbilical cord. I tried to refuse because scissors and newborn flesh seemed like a really bad combination. But the nurse insisted and so I performed the duty.

We called our friends and family to announce our good news, sent some text messages, and, of course, we posted pictures on Facebook. The picture you see is one we put on Facebook, and in response some Mack
people wrote “he’s handsome”--obviously a gender specific term. I think it’s safe to say the same baby in a pink outfit would be called pretty rather than handsome.

Other people wrote to say they liked his name. Would they tell us if they didn’t? Isn’t it a norm to say that someone’s new baby is beautiful and that you like their name? (By the way, remember when Facebook was only for college students? Things sure have changed. My 65-year-old father uploaded pictures from his digital camera onto his Facebook page before we posted pictures on my wife’s page).

Leaving the hospital the first time after the baby was born, I felt different compared to when our first son was born. When our first son was born I felt a dramatic change come over me, and I thought other people could sense it, as if somehow they knew I had just experienced a life-changing event. It was as though there was a sign on my forehead that said “New Father.” This time I felt a different sensation. It was like someone pressed the reset button, and suddenly my wife and I were back to the world of miniature diapers and overnight feedings.

We received gifts—lots of gifts—and it was interesting that some of the gifts were handmade, such as blankets and winter hats. That’s not something I’d expect in a society in which everybody is so busy all of the time. Gift cards are so popular in our society because they make gift-giving an efficient process. Don’t get me wrong, we were happy to receive those too! But nothing compares to the personal touch of a gift made by someone you know. Family members brought over food that they cooked, and that was also a nice personalized touch.

As I write this, our baby is two weeks old, and our first Christmas with him was awesome. A new baby is better than any gift you could find under a tree or in a stocking. Now, if only babies came with manuals, they’d be much easier to figure out! But with uncertainty and anxiety comes adventure and surprises. Babies truly are amazing and have a unique capacity to turn your life upside down.

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Comments

I really like this post. Even though I am only 14 so I don't know what it is like to have just had a new born son or daughter but I have had a little sister and two younger cousins that I was there for the birth of. It is defiantly an amazing feeling of hold the baby for the first time, and choosing name and things like that. Every time though that the baby's were born I was the one sitting in the waiting room waiting for someone to tell us "your baby sister was just born and you can come see her now" or "your baby cousin Tyler (boy) was just born come on in". I just loved being able to go in and see the little baby for the first time!

I agree technology is growing everyday because there was a time when we didn't have machines to use to mix chemicals to make medicine. Now we have the meds that will help the mother givin birth feelsome relief frmthe pain. Then using the internet for social purposes is growing because now people can find lost relatives. Next with the texting when you don't have much to say you don't have to call the person and listen to the awkward silence anymore. it's like a new creation is made everyday. we even use different tools and monitors when a baby is being born.

Great post this definately portrays gender roles. You see the men in movies waiting in the waiting room and the doctor and mom walk out holding the new born child, but in reality it is nothing like that. You feel you must be there with her through her pain.

It is amazing to see in the change in a familiar setting in just three years. The fact that technology has become a forerunner in most American's lives is amazing as well as how quickly most, if not all, begin to use it. As society changes, we have no option but to allow it to, but also to follow in its path.

I find this article to be very accurate in the way that our population has changed, including all age groups. It's interesting to think that not even 5 years ago, things such as texting and facebook were hardly used by anyone other than teenagers and college students, but slowly, our whole world is turning towards technology. The world will be so different in the future because our children will be socialized into a world of technology far more advanced than ours. The author speaks how we've come in a full circle of technology, because his 65 year old father uploads pictures on his facebook of the author's son. Everyone is involved with the current forms of technology, whether it is to upload a picture, or just to be in it.

Congratulations! The society and the way it uses technology has definitely changed. A friend of mine told me the other day the 73% of the world's population is on facebook now. Whether or not that is true is beyond me but facebook is growing very quickly. We live in an age where alot of interaction is now through the computer and by technology. Texting is another phenomenon that is becoming more and more popular. My parents have even mastered the art of texting and now do it a little more often than I would like. lol :)

Technology has definitely changed. The difference between two generations is huge now. Cell phones, computers, and all kinds of technology are becoming way more advanced. Babies are now born into a fast-moving world that is survival of the fittest. As advanced as we think we are now, technology is going to grow twice as fast.

I can imagine what it would be like to be inside the delivery room as your wife goes through that experience! Once you mentioned texting and facebook with today's technology it made me think. I guess facebook does have it's benefits and I am on it quite often, but it seems random people are able to be in your business whenever they feel. Texting also has changed the way we communicate these days and seem to have cut down my phone calls by a lot. I am not complaining though because my mom can just text me instead of calling every ten minutes.

the difference in generations are huge. Even on this blog you got so many different choices such as face book and twitter and more. I have a Facebook account and im only 17 but i get on my account almost daily. Its a great way to talk to friends and meet new people. I have friends that just had a baby and I believe pictures of it will be on Facebook real soon.

Congratulations! Technology has definitely made a change in the way we live now. I could not imagine being in the delivery room when a baby is being delivered. It's one of those things that changes your life the moment it happens. I'm not a huge Facebook person but it's a good way of getting caught up with long distance friends and relatives. I am into texting though and my family is too,my grandparents know how to open and read the messages but not how to send them. lol :) the babies that are being born are going to grow up in a world that the technology is at a point where it's going to change dramatically, and affect their lives more than it will ours.

That's good that you put your pictures on facebook so all your friends and family can see how cute your baby is. If I were man I couldn't see my self in the delivery room watching a baby get delivered seeing all that blood and other gross stuff. When the baby is born after the doctor has wiped up all the blood I can see my self there.

Congratulations on your new baby! This definately shows differences in gender and generations. Society has dramatically changed.

Reading this post allowed me to reminisce about my own daughter's birth 13 years ago; that was 1998 and I had no cell phone, no Facebook, and only used a computer to check e-mail! Prior to giving birth, my pregnancy was the most amazing time of my life. Most people hate me when I tell them I experienced no morning sickness and gained only 28 pounds. I worked until the day before I gave birth. (I was going to take a week off in preparation for the arrival, but she surprised me and arrived a week early.) Furthermore, I did not want to know the gender of my baby as I wanted to keep it a surprise. However, I was convinced I was having a boy because my mother and all her "wise" friends were never wrong and declared, "oh, you are having a boy because of the way you are carrying", or "if you can't tell you are pregnant from behind, then it's a boy." So who was I to question these women with years of experience? Needless to say, when the doctor announced "it's a girl", I didn't believe him and asked him to double-check. Like the author above, I had received many nice homemade gifts (crocheted blankets, booties and such) and cherish them now. A treasured item my daughter still sleeps with is a fuzzy, super soft pink blanket. The person who gifted this at my baby shower went against the "norm" and insisted I was having a girl. Everyone else bought or made things in blues, yellow or light green. I documented my daughter's birth the old-fashioned way with hospital portraits, but I can honestly say my daughter was not pretty or beautiful; poor thing had a cone head and a wrinkled face. Yet, she was mine and she is the best thing that ever happened to me. I continued to document her milestones in a baby book and took pictures of her almost every day. Yes, a little much, but I wanted to capture every moment. Today, she is a gorgeous, considerate and insightful 13 year-old. Truly, pregnancy and birth are an amazing experience. Yet, even more amazing are the memories and experiences you share with your child.

I love hearing you as a man, speak so highly of the birth of your children. Its interesting how in the begining you talk about how you thought that it would be like, passing out cigars and pacing the halls. It made me wonder where you got the idea from, which could possibly be movies,some type of media, or another persons experience. Or maybe in todays society, the father is a bigger role in the delivery then in past years? Has the beauty of birth and actually seeing your child be born been changed from a horrific experience that males dont want to see to a beautiful blessing? I dont know how it was percieved 20 years ago or if there were regulations on having the fathers in the room, but as you described, all my friends who have had children recently, were all in the delivery room supporting their wives. Im so grateful for technology as you are. Each of those experiences were shared and makes those who cant be there, feel like a part of the birth. It brings family and friends close in a time like that and the fact that facebook and texting can do that is awesome! This is one of the great uses of the technology we have to day that strengthens the family unit.
Thank you for sharing :)

It's very interesting how much things have changed when it comes to women having babies. When I was born, 31 years ago, my Dad stayed in the waiting room until I was born and all cleaned up.

With the birth of my five children, my husband (Rick) was there and very much an active part of my labor. I had an epidural with my girls and was drug-free with both sons. He was asked to leave for the epidural but other than that he stayed by my side. He helped me get what I wanted when I wanted. When I was in too much pain to talk, he knew what to say or do. All because we came up with a birth plan beforehand. We actually discussed the birth beforehand, unlike my parents. By the way, we also received many hand-made items with my youngest two.

The delivery room is not the only place you see change when it comes to children. We do things a lot different than my parents did. I was put on my tummy to sleep because that was considered safer. When I had my first at 22, we were told back is safest. You can also see it in car safety. It was very rare for parents and their peers to use car seats. Now, not only do we know it's safer, but it's actually been made a law. My dad didn't understand it at first, but he was willing to listen to why they are so important. Rick's parents, who are a generation older than my dad still don't see why they are necessary despite the fact they saved the lives of our babies when we were hit by a garbage truck.

You can definitely see how society has changed over the years when it comes to children. Birth through adulthood.

Being a parent is an amazing experience in itself. Seeing all the changes over time is also amazing. Gosh, this article touches on so many things close to my heart. If I hadn't rambled too long at this point, I could get started on the whole gender thing. ;)

Congratulations! He really is cute. For a puffy newborn, that is.

It's wonderful, I'm sure you are so proud to finally have a baby. The joy of seeing your offspring is such an overwhelming joy, isn't it? There are no words to describe it. And look at that, who wouldn't be proud on that cute wonder. Congratulations!

In the chapter we read this week, we learned that technology is one the major reasons for change. In the article, you mentioned you were texting while you were waiting for your second child to be born, while you would have never thought of that during the birth of your first one. This shows how the advancements in technology has changed our society. Different norms have been accepted and advancements in technology will always be major reasons for social change. Thanks, this article was helpful for my class!

Its shows how the technologies works in our lives. http://www.ofwforum.com visit OFWs Forum

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