Some things never get old.
That first warm breeze on a spring day, the first pitch of baseball season, the sound of leaves crunching under your feet in the fall, the blissful quiet of the first snowfall.
Add becoming a dad to that list.
On Monday, Sept. 18, my wife Sarah and I welcomed our third daughter, Maci Jayne Say, into the world.
Maci is our pleasant surprise baby. Our other two daughters – Madelyn and Maura – were planned well in advance. We had to undergo numerous tests and operations to even have Mady, and when we had Maura it was a second miracle. However, being a teacher, Sarah had planned those births out meticulously. We had them in May and April, respectively, so she could take the summer off and be back for the start of the fall semester. Every detail leading up to their birth was scheduled, marked off and double checked.
That’s Sarah’s way – I call her “Captain Planner” as a joke because she’s so organized.
Maci is my creation.
I’m spontaneous, living by the seat of my pants. I enjoy a little bit of stress and worry in a sick way – I did it on a daily basis for 10 years (that may have been a bit much) and now I live for Wednesdays when the Culpeper Times is due. The adrenaline kicks in and I get a little bit of a high rushing to meet our deadline.
So it would only be fitting that Maci wasn’t planned. She – as best I can figure – was conceived on New Year’s Day. It should have been a time when we weren’t supposed to get pregnant, but we did. Everything happens for a reason.
The preparations for Maci were much more relaxed – I guess that happens with your third child.
It also helped she was another girl – we had everything we needed for that gender, so the planning was kept to a minimum.
When we first found out we were pregnant, I had hoped maybe this time I had produced a boy – but there’s one thing I’m good at, and that’s making sweet little girls.
Maci arrived Monday – just as planned – but we were still in for a few surprises.
When she was born, it was the scariest birth we’ve had yet. She was born naturally, but was blue from head to toe. Her little lungs were filled with fluid and Sarah and I panicked. I said a little prayer before asking, “is everything alright?”
As doctors massaged her little blue skin and suctioned away, an oxygen mask was put on her face. We didn’t have this happen with either of the other girls, so terror flashed across our minds.
What if she isn’t breathing? Will she have to go to the NICU? Why doesn’t anyone else seem panicked?
Within moments, she let out a little cry and started breathing on her own and, we too, breathed a sigh of relief.
I was doubly concerned, as my mom and dad had lost a little girl – Mary Lou – nearly 60 years ago to the same symptoms. Thankfully, medical technology has advanced and I’m pretty sure my mom was looking down making sure our family didn’t lose another baby girl.
Once that drama was over, our next surprise came at her size. She was a BIG girl. Our other babies weighed just a little over eight pounds – Maci tipped the scales at 9 pounds, four ounces.
All that was left was introducing her to her sisters, and Mady and Maura couldn’t wait. Mady held her tightly while Maura sang happy birthday. Maura, our middle child and just 4, was still too afraid to hold her right away. I’m sure by the time I go back to the hospital this afternoon, she’ll be ready.
As for being ready, I am now. It seems scary welcoming yet another child into this world. With uncertainty with politics, the economy and tensions within our country, this seems like a trying time to bring a child into this world. But as I looked down at little Maci at 2 in the morning Tuesday, all those anxieties and stresses left my being.
She was perfect – even if she wasn’t planned.
Jeff Say is the now sleep deprived editor of the Culpeper Times. He’s the father of Mady, Maura and Maci and the husband of Sarah. And yes, this is the last one.