Fourteen days that changed the world

Been a long time since we rock’n’rolled, huh? Lest you think I’ve been idling away at Expat Mansions, wilfully neglecting this esteemed journal, let me reassure you that I’ve had one or two things on my mind. Specifically, I’ve been preparing the raw material for what could be my new book entitled “Life: How To Change Everything In As Short A Timeframe As Possible”.

So, cue the Scooby Doo style flashback fade, and let’s take a look back at the last two weeks:

Day One
I wake up at 2am to find The Special One at the edge of the bed, telling me that she’s going downstairs to make herself a baked potato, and that I should go back to sleep. Given that I am Enlightened Man, I intuitively understand that is pregnant female code for either “I have taken leave of my senses and need to be institutionalised” or “I have had a few contractions and I think I’m going to give birth today, so you should rest and relax in preparation for the fact that I will be shouting obscenities at you in a few short hours.”

I plump for the latter, and within a couple of hours, I’m hearing The Special One make the kind of groans that got us into this whole mess in the first place. And, as it turned out, the noises only got louder for the next twenty hours.

From a mother and child’s perspective, the benefits of a homebirth are clear: better outcomes, more control over decisions, and a more relaxed environment for a baby to come into the world. From the father’s perspective, ease of access to your own refrigerator so that you can get the champagne out when your child is born, should not be overlooked. Pink champagne, of course, given that we had a beautiful baby girl at 12:37am on October 1. American manufactured, with British parts – and there couldn’t be a better example of the special relationship between the UK and the USA.

Day two
I’m no expert, but nowhere in the baby manuals do they generally say “if you give birth after midnight, and get to bed at 4am, you should move house later that morning.” But the winning combination of a baby turning up 11 days late, and my wife having an idiotic husband, conspired to cause the movers to turn up less than nine hours after the birth. Suffice to say that my name was mud for some considerable time afterwards.

Day three
My punishment for such a challenging schedule was to clean our old house for seven hours straight. On my own. The arrival of a new tenant was a shock, although the mouse (or small rat) at least had the decency to be dead.

Day four
If I dislike B&Q or Homebase, I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate Lowes and Home Depot. Especially when I get home from buying a brand new microwave, and find that it has a brand new dent in its brand new door.

Day five
Did I not mention that I was launching a brand new corporate website for the company I work for? It’s always useful to have to be sending constant emails when you’re looking after a five day old, and you’re simultaneously unpacking enough cardboard boxes that a passing news crew mistakes your home for the favelas of Sao Paolo. In related news, I also stuck a broom up my arseass and swept the floor as I walked.

Day six
No, you don’t understand, I really hate Lowes. Who knew that not all toilet seats were the same size?

Day seven
Let me give you some marriage guidance advice, should you need it. If you have a child, and you move house on the same day, you’re going to be unpopular. If you then spend a day on telephone calls as you attempt to organize a conference for your company’s senior management team the following week, you should probably keep your suitcases close by just in case.

Day eight
I’ve never spent any time in UK hospitals, so I don’t really have any point of comparison with their US equivalents. But given that the American ‘system’ forces you to pay through the nose for private healthcare, I think that when you race to the emergency room with an eight day old child, you should be considered as an emergency. I mean, I’m sure some people are happy to be able to watch TV in the waiting room; I’m not one of them.

Oh, and by the same token, private healthcare should entitle you to access to someone who doesn’t need five attempts to get a lumbar puncture right.

Day nine
Hospital food in the US is astonishingly bad. If Obama wants to make this country a better place, he could do worse than outlawing the production of hospital meatballs.

Day ten
Only in America would you get hospitals that have 50 channels of cable TV at every bedside, but no water fountains anywhere on the ward.

Day eleven
The best thing about American hospitals? Leaving them. With your eleven day old baby, safely in your hands.

Day twelve
When you’ve given birth at home rather than a hospital, it’s almost as if your child doesn’t exist. Try convincing your healthcare providers to pay for, say, some antibiotics for your apparently non-existent daughter, and you’ll find you’ve got more chance of getting a quick roll in the hay with Megan Fox. And add that freckly girl from Lost into the mix if you think there’s a remote chance of the battle over the subsequent hospital bills being over before the London Olympics. The 2124 London Olympics, that is.

Day thirteen
If you have a child and move on the same day, you’ll be unpopular with your wife. If you then spend a day on the phone organizing an international management conference, you’ll need your suitcases nearby in case you get thrown out. And if you then have to go back to work to actually oversee the conference, you’ll almost certainly have to look into expensive jewellery options if you want to remain married.

Day fourteen
I take my 803rd look at a photo of Brit Out Of Water, Jr taking in the world from her bed. Realise that it’s all worth it.

Brit Out Of Water, Jr.

23 thoughts on “Fourteen days that changed the world

  1. GrahameD

    Oh. My. Goodness.

    Just reading that turned my hair white.

    But… Congratulations! She’s beautiful!

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  3. Lynsey Georgiades

    You moved on the same day Dylan?!?! Are you INSANE?!?! You must have married a saint considering you’re still in NY :o)

    HUGE congratulations though lovely.

    xx

  4. Amanda

    What can I say but “Congratulations” to you and yours. Your daughter (wow!) is beautiful. I bet you’re a really proud Daddy. Well done to your good lady wife, and I hope that she is recovering well.

    Sorry it was all so terrifyingly hectic – at least you have a story to tell your daughter as she gets older…nothing like the story to trump all others. “…you call that stressed? You should try having a baby, moving house etc etc on the same day!”

    But seriously – enormous congratulations – any chance of a name (if you e-mail me your address, I might even manage a card)?

  5. That Girl

    Congratulations… she’s beautiful! And hope that she’s all OK after the hospital trips? The insanity of you moving, Mrs OOW having a baby and work going crazy all at once will fade… the worrying about your daughter won’t! But it’ll be worth it I promise!

  6. Lisa

    Yes, you seemed to visit the hospital at a much different moment than the rest of us hospital-birthers do. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Everything is ok now, though, right?

    You’ve most definitely had your hands full (just to state the obvious!)

    Congrats to all of you! She IS quite beautiful.

    P.S. How do you get a birth certificate for a baby who is born at home?

  7. Silverback

    What is it about all Dylans, Dylan ? I only ‘know’ three and after you and Bob, suddenly that drugged out rabbit from The Magic Roundabout seems comfortingly normal.

    Like you said, the end justifies the getting there (to paraphrase) and she’s a little UK/US treasure.
    Good luck in about 13 years time !

  8. Noble Savage

    Congratulations! She’s beautiful. Glad that all is well with her now after the hospital visit.

    That’s cool that you guys had a home birth. I had one last year and it was amazing! I’m not surprised that the docs treated you disparagingly when they found out she was born at home though. Jerks.

  9. Iota

    Congratulations! She looks lovely.

    I’m sorry about the hospital visit, which must have been horrendous – even though you pass it off in a couple of paras.

    My midwife, when she was leaving at the end of the final visit (you get home visits from the community midwife for 10 days after the birth in the UK) always signed off with “Enjoy your baby”, which is excellent advice to new parents.

  10. Brooklyn

    First, MAZEL TOV. And, yeah, I did wonder where you had “gone.”

    Second, I agree with the others who question your sanity. I mean you knew when the little one was going to arrive, right? At least, as we say in the US, you had a ballpark idea. So how did you overlook this little detail in scheduling the move.

    Third, ditto for the work project. To paraphrase the punchline of an old joke, did you at least say to your boss: “Around late October to early November, on me you shouldn’t depend.”

    Fourth, even if you didn’t actually say that to your boss in advance, what kind of [insert vulgarism for penis here]s do you work for? No one at you job had the common sense and common decency to say that someone else would fillin for you that day, or that the matter could wait a day or two? I assume your work does not prevent an imminent Martian invasion or zombie outbreak, so that delay would mean the end of humanity.

    As for hospitals: Obama has every reason NOT to follow your advice regarding meals. Shorter stays in hospitals means lower healthcare costs. At the tail end of a hospital stay, you feel better and have gotten used to cable in bed and food brought to you 3 times a day, plus juice two more times. If the food were actually tolerable, you’d be tempted to linger.

    As to hospital billing, I have an apropos story although it happend a while ago.

    My wife and I arrived at the hospital for my daughter’s birth at 11 PM. Obviously, my wife did not pass GO, did not collect $200, but went straight to the delivery room. With rather startling speed, my daughter left her original accomodations 2 hours later, 1 AM the next day (no C-section, no drugs).

    My wife was in her hospital room at around 3 AM.

    Leaving aside that the daily bill for the telephone was outrageous since everyone had paid for it since its installation so its amortized cost was something in the negative thousands, they actually tried to charge me for the phone FROM THE MINUTE WE CAME TO THE HOSPITAL. I finally convinced them that since my wife had not been in a hospital bed with access to a phone for that first hour of the first “day” the charge for that “day’s” phone rental should be taken off the bill. If they hadn’t I think my behavior would have resulted in my spending the first day of my daughter’s life outside of the hospital in a jail cell.

  11. Catherine

    Absolutely beautiful.

    Enjoy every moment you can with her. It’s a clichรฉ but time does go so fast when they are growing up. One minute they are like your little one and the next minute they are on their gap year. Trust me, it’s just happened to us here in Swiss expat towers, we just don’t know where 18 years have gone.
    Oh yes… be prepared for your bank account to be permanently empty from now on.

  12. Beth

    Found your blog through the Noble Savage blog, and have been enjoying reading it. Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby and so glad she is OK. Hope you settle in quickly to your new home.

  13. Kevin Hill

    Sounds like we have some similar brit out of water experiences.
    My wife went into labour sixty seconds after telling me where to place the last box on the day we moved house. A year later an I think I finally unpacked that box this week. There’s that bloody recharger!
    Our little girl and her mum had to spend the week in a Canadian hospital right after the birth (and 48 hours of labour!). Crap food too but at least it was free. The Yanks always complain about Canadian (and British) healthcare…ie “you never get any choice.” Believe me, when your kid and wife are in trouble and you need a doctor I’m not going through the yellow pages. If you have a white coat and a stethescope and you are right there you’ll do. And did I mention it didn’t cost me anything?
    Congrats on the new semi Brit. Sorry to tell you this, but this last bit is the easy bit.
    Wait until sleep deprivation really takes hold…yesterday, I mashed up some bananas for breakfast for my daughter… handed her the fork and went to put the banna in the dish washer.

  14. geekymummy

    Just found your blog, love your writing.
    Can’t believe you had to move house the day after your daughter’s birth! (I didn’t homebirth,had always worried about the mess, but your strategy takes that worry away!)
    Congrats!

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