Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored


Dispatches from Eli’s Arrival, Part 2

Adjusting to the demands of pregnancy and the new baby is hard. Change is always hard. But you’ve already been in a season of change for nine months. How you do going forward is a reflection of how you’ve done recently. If you have been sensitive, hard-working, and responsive to your wife’s needs during the pregnancy up until this point, then you are probably well-trained to adapt to her needs and the needs of the baby in this new stage of their lives. If you’ve ignored or pressured your spouse to be just as productive and engaged as she was before she got pregnant, then watch out! You’re in for even more tension and rougher waters. Start serving her now. Be sensitive to her extra needs, take advantage of moments to refresh and refill yourself, and remember: she is the weaker vessel. You are designed to bear this load. It won’t last forever. Be ok with working extra hard for a season.

The hospital has been the hardest part for me so far. Stacy needed me and me alone for those segments. Me only to comfort her through 28 hours of labor: encouraging, rubbing her back, finding new ways to help her cope with the pain…at least for the hours and hours before her epidural. Thank God for modern medicine. Without that, she would have been exhausted when baby arrived. Then I was her coach when pushing baby for 2 hours…keeping her distracted and then comforting her when she had to accept the fact that a c-section was the best way for baby to arrive. Again, thank God for modern medicine. I am so glad doctors can see that baby was turned backward in the birth canal, and that he was getting distressed by all the pushing. Why would I pursue a more “natural option” at home and miss the life-saving advantages for both mom and baby in the hospital? Sure its more expensive (a little) and they overly poke and prod my little one. I’m ok with that when it means life or death in many cases. Pregnancy is a leading cause of death in many places, modern and ancient. Thank God for modern medicine.

The other hard part about the hospital was the difficulty of getting rest. People came in every hour or so to poke and prod Stacy, to visit, and to teach us new things about parenting. A lot of the advice was helpful, the watchful eye of the doctors and nurses on Stacy and baby (who was jaundiced) was appreciated, but the pace of it all was overwhelming. I walked outside once or twice to catch my breath and avoid killing everyone. Sleep deprivation at this stage can make you crazy. Rest every chance you get before this stage…and leave the hospital for a few hours to regain your sanity. At the very least, find the chapel. Meet with God and enjoy unbroken silence, as I have only been in a few chapels where anyone else was present.

Being home is awesome…if you have a good support system. With a mom joining us to cook meals, do errands, and help with the baby (and comforting Stacy as a new mom) I was able to take my week of vacation and turn it into project time for all the things that Stacy and I have been working to do at the house. While that might sound neglectful—Stacy’s dream is to have a ranch with a garden and chickens—timing is crucial to making her dream come true. So as she adjusts to the schedule of taking care of baby (with help), I am nearby and attentive, but busy in a way that will reflect my return to work soon. She gets a pretty good deal. For my part, I usually take baby early or late—whenever she most needs a big favor, and I make sure that I never complain about helping. I change diapers or bottle feed, I clean her baby items, and I let her parents know how incredibly grateful we are that they are helping! I can’t imagine doing this without help! And one more note: Having a mother-in-law who cooks REALLY well is also awesome. I’m eating better than I have in years!

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