Birth Day

This was written previously.

Maybe another week, I thought. Last night was sleepless. My work kept me awake past 3 a.m. and knowing that I had to wake up by 7:00 a.m. for your neonatal appointment at 8:30 a.m., it was a recipe for disaster. Sometimes I can be a bit cranky on little sleep.

I eventually gathered enough energy to get out of bed sometime after 7 a.m. having been encouraged by a staggered series of your mother’s alarms. After a quick shower, your mother, grandmother and I went to eat breakfast at the nearby phở restaurant before your mother and I left for the doctor’s office at 8 a.m. We arrived just after 8:30 a.m. and proceeded to the COVID-19 check-in area. As your mother was completing the health forms, she received a call from the doctor’s office asking about her whereabouts. We were surprised because it was only 8:38 a.m., just eight minutes after the appointment time, and they had never called us before. We had been 20 minutes late on Monday largely due to traffic but on-time for all prior appointments.

The doctor’s office was busy. All of the seating space was occupied but that didn’t cause any delays. Your mother was called by the nurses within the first 15 minutes as usual for the typical check-up that consists of taking her vitals and undergoing a sonogram prior to the doctor’s consultation. On Monday, her doctor had tried to convince us of an immediate delivery because you had only grown about a tenth of a kilogram since our second to last appointment, a week prior. Your mother would have agreed had she been alone because she was frightened by her doctor’s comments. But unsure if whether that was the right decision, I wanted more time to decide so I asked your mother to ask the doctor if waiting until our next appointment, today, was safe before making a final decision. Your mother told me that the doctor said there’s “no difference”. I was afraid an early delivery might be a bad decision if the doctor miscalculated your estimated growth. We weren’t sure if the nurses had estimated your weight at our last appointment.

Once your mother had finished the consultation, she sat next to me and, with an obvious elevated heart rate, anxiously said that we need to deliver you today. Then a nurse walked over and asked your mother if 2 p.m. is okay. I was shocked. I thought we had another week, maybe two.

Regardless, I gathered my composure quickly and softly questioned your mother to understand certain facts. She told me that the doctor determined the blood circulation to your brain is being restricted and that you had not gained any weight since the last appointment, at least. I was a bit skeptical about her analysis concerning your blood flow but convinced it was the right decision to expedite your delivery out of an abundance of caution. Knowing you hadn’t gained any weight was also reassuring because I had come to believe that it’s not good for a baby to stay inside of its mother at the cessation of growth and without any noticeable signs of an imminent labor.

It’s important for you to understand that I don’t trust Vietnamese doctors, let alone Vietnamese people for anything of importance. Vietnamese people are not nearly as intelligent as Westerners, collectively. They lack educational and cultural rigors, among other things. It’s my belief that’s because of the Vietnamese government and its communist philosophies. For example, your mother wanted to eat when we arrived home and I told her that she shouldn’t eat before surgery. She wasn’t sure and called the doctor’s office to confirm. Whoever your mother spoke to said eating is okay. After she made it a point to tell me that I was wrong, your mother was literally a second away from taking her first bite of the delicious beef and vegetable dish your grandmother had cooked before the doctor’s office called back and told her not to eat. I’m actually surprised someone else was mindful enough to correct the answer because typically that doesn’t happen. Stupidity might not be as big of an issue in Vietnam by the time that you’re our age, hopefully.

We left the hospital at 10:30 a.m., got home at 11 a.m. and then immediately went to the salon together. Your mother wanted to get her hair washed and I needed to get a haircut. She was afraid that would be her last opportunity to wash her hair for a couple weeks and I hadn’t got a haircut for over a month. Your mother had been asking when I was going to get a haircut for the last couple weeks, at least. I finished before her and went home to start packing. Your grandmother was already busy handwashing clothes in a hurry. By the time your mother got home, I was still packing, eating and freeing up space on my phone (to take pictures) all while splitting my time talking to my dad about what’s happening and my best friend about names for you. Your mother was already ready. She finished packing about a month ago. We left at 1 p.m.

We arrived at the hospital at 2 p.m., went through the check-in protocols and made it to the hospital room around 4 p.m. Her doctor visited us at 5 p.m. to confirm the cesarean procedure. I thought they had agreed to that this morning, hence the reason we were all in the hospital room, set and ready to go. In any case, not long after the doctor left, your mother wanted to eat again but held back and a hospital staff member came to take our order for dinner.

Neither the doctors nor any of the attending nurses gave her any guidance on eating, so I assumed that she still shouldn’t eat. After dinner had arrived, your mother soon questioned that assumption when I told her that drinking milk wasn’t okay either and called her doctor. Evidently, eating and drinking milk was okay because the surgery isn’t until tomorrow. We all had thought you’d be here today. That’s what your mother told your grandmother and me. Had it not been for the milk, we wouldn’t have known, yet.

The hospital only allows one person to stay overnight. That’s me, tonight. Your grandmother will return early tomorrow morning having gone back to our apartment. I can’t sleep on the bed with your mother because it’s quite small but there’s a foldable cot setup on the floor adjacent to her. It’s sufficient.

I pray that all goes well tomorrow. The doctor is concerned that you’re small and told your mother that something might be wrong, but – from everything I read – you’re within the acceptable size range albeit on the smaller side and strong. Your mother says that you’ve been kicking and hitting more than usual today, in addition to the last two or three days, and that you’ve been awake more than usual. I figure either your body is under stress or you’re ready to come out. Nurses came by two times today to check your heartbeat and it looks and sounds normal to me. Whereas it hit 140 bpm during the first check and then slowed to 120 to 130 bpm, your heartbeat maintained 140 bpm during the second check.

We love you, regardless. I can’t wait to meet you. I’m excited, nervous and worried. Tears well-up in my eyes every time I think about the first moment you enter this world.

Until tomorrow.


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