The most common reaction I received from friends, family, and coworkers to the news that I would be a dad was "Your life will never be the same." Intuitively we knew this. Our lives as we knew them wouldn't come to an end, they would just require a little more planning, and of course we expected with time our priorities would change. Obviously there would be no more spontaneous road trips or wild benders during football season. We were OK with this. You have to grow up sometime - I guess - no matter how reluctantly. Don't get me wrong - I'm incredibly happy to be a dad. There are just some changes that will take some getting used to. It's not the obvious changes either. They kind of sneak up on you.
This morning one of those changes smacked me in the face as I tried to straighten up our kitchen. The kitchen is one of my favorite places in our house, after the library / office. Cooking is one of my hobbies, and we like to have big groups of friends over for dinner - though sadly that is getting less frequent as more of our friends move away from Gainesville. It is fair to say that Rachel and I have a little bit of a gender role reversal when it comes to the kitchen. On several occasions I have found myself standing in the kitchen cooking dinner only to look out the window and see Rachel hard at work on some project or another with my power tools. It's not for everybody, but it works for us.
So as I stood there this morning organizing the clutter that has accumulated on the counter from days at the hospital and nights of just crashing, I realized what has become of my kitchen. It is now a room dedicated almost exclusively to the pumping of breasts. There are large bags of serving-sized milk bottles, boxes of freezer storage bags, and little test strips so Rachel can check the milk for alcohol - we don't need Ginny sucking down White Russians just yet. The freezer is so full of 5 oz bags of breastmilk that there isn't room for much else. The dairy jokes that were so funny a month ago seem to have lost something with Rachel, too.
I feel bad for Rachel because what should be a special bonding moment with Ginny has turned into something quite detached and mechanical. Her life for the moment revolves around pumping. I'm sure she would be much happier using a power tool other than a vacuum pump. Which leads us to the good news.
While we don't have a date for surgery just yet, the neonatology team did their rounds this morning and are very pleased with our little princess. While we have increased her sildenafil just a bit, she is doing great. She is way down on her ventilator settings and the plan is to take her off the ventilator and remove her tube some time tomorrow. This is wonderful news. We should finally get to hold her tomorrow afternoon, barring another one of her tantrums. Pray that she doesn't throw a fit about having to actually breathe on her own, or the tube will have to go right back in.
I'm trying not to think too much about what the experience of holding her will be like because I'd like it to just happen. Needless to say, the anticipation is killing me.