Baby Jack is Born!

Born on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 8:50 PM

22 hours 20 minutes of labor

8 pounds 6 ounces

20 ½ inches long

Head full of black hair

There is only one person who directly assured me back before we knew the gender of our baby that he would be a boy.  That was Tommy Huong, a Vietnamese co-worker who had already predicted the gender and birthday of another coworker (he has evidently memorized the 12 year patterns of the Chinese calendar).  So last Friday (the day after the due date) when someone at work suggested we all do a “baby pool” to predict when Baby Jack would actually be born, a better idea instantly surfaced:Go ask Tommy!

I ventured over to his desk and as he turned around it was as if he already knew why I was there, being that he was too far away to have heard the recent conversation.  “When was the due date?” he asked me.  “Yesterday,” I answered.  Tommy turned to his calendar and without any hesitation, placed his finger on Tuesday, November 16th.  “Tuesday, he will be born Tuesday.”

So we enjoyed the weekend.  Then I worked a full day on Monday.  That night around 8:45, my wife said I should finish the last two episodes of Dexter on the disc from Netflix so we could mail it off the next day- and so I have could time to watch my new favorite show before our schedules became forever changed.  I watched my two 50 minute episodes of Dexter, walked to the bedroom in perfect time to hear my wife proclaim, “I think I’m in labor.”  And she was.

From 10:30 Monday night until 5:11 Tuesday morning, she labored at the house.  Then we drove in the rain to the hospital; a 40 minute ride.  After laboring for 12 hours without any pain medications, she then pushed for four more additional hours while not furthering past the 8 centimeters mark (and 100% effaced).  By that point, it became clear that after making it that far, she no longer had the strength to push without some outside help.  So my wife chose to get an epidural.  Because ultimately, we wanted to do everything we could do to avoid major surgery.

But even after several hours of the epidural, it took everything she had to push our baby out.  In fact, if it weren’t also for the diligence and determination of the midwives to honor our request of avoiding a C-section, cutting the baby out of my wife’s stomach would have been the only option.  But the midwives tried every trick in the book, and finally, it worked.  In the end, Baby Jack turned out to be one big Bambino.  The first words my wife said when she saw him coming out was, “You’re a big baby!  How did you fit inside of me?!”

I realize that the expected Hallmark way to portray the first time I held Jack is to say that I cried, as the emotions surrounding the miracle of life flushed through me.  But for the fact all my emotions were exhausted from helping my wife suffer through over 22 hours of labor, here’s what I thought instead: “You’re darker than us!  If anyone should be Mario, it’s you!”

I’ll explain.  A few months ago I told the story of how the name my parents gave me while my mom was still pregnant with me was Mario.  My mom is half Italian and half Mexican, and therefore, dark skinned.  The name Mario would not only have represented my dark skin, but also cover both my Italian and Mexican heritage.  But as soon as I was born, my pasty skin and seemingly American features brought cause for a name change.  Therefore, a few hours after I was born, I was named Nicholas- a less ethnic name that still points to some kind of a foreign background.

So 29 years later as I held my own son for the first time, I had the opposite reaction from the one my mom had when I was born.  Because as of now, Baby Jack doesn’t necessarily especially look like my wife or me, but instead what I would imagine Super Mario would have looked like when he was first born.  One of Jack’s noticeable features his full head of black hair.  I think he has “Gerber baby” lips.  And as I have already studied his profile multiple times, it’s safe to say he has an Italian nose- which I am so proud of!

My parents holding their first grandchild for the first time.

Right before we were released from the hospital, Jack was circumcised.  I felt really bad for him, yet at the same time realized that I don’t remember my own circumcision.  It’s still sad to think about him having to go through that though.  He’s holding up just fine and so is his mommy, despite a drawn out entrance into this world.  God has answered all of our prayers for his and my wife’s safety and health; we are so grateful for that.  The pediatrician at the hospital told us that she checked him from head to toe and couldn’t find anything that needing fixing or reason for caution or concern.

Jack is a cool baby, if I do say so myself.  He’s pretty low maintenance- he just wants to be held all the time.  But I’m guessing we won’t have trouble working that out.  Thanks for following dad from dad one, so far.  If life is a sitcom, this is the season finale.  The new season premieres next week where I am promising an interesting new plot twist…


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  1. by Alli

    On November 21, 2010 at 12:59 am

    Congratulations – he’s beautiful, and I’m so excited for you guys!! And I LOVE that blanket! :)

  2. by nickshell1983

    On November 21, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Thanks Alli. We love your blanket!

  3. by Nickie

    On November 21, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Love how you wrote this. I loved reading your perspective on the entire event. He is adorable and now the real adventure begins. Let me know if I can help any more while you are in town. Congrats to you both… and yes, Alli, your blanket is beautiful…. she does great work!
    Take care family of 3!
    Love, Nickie

  4. by Brad

    On November 21, 2010 at 2:27 am

    I’m happy for you two.

  5. by Adrianne Smith

    On November 21, 2010 at 5:55 am

    Wow! Jill is my hero. I pushed for just 1 hour and was so exhausted. I just kept praying that God would deliver Sarah because I didn’t have the strength to do it. I don’t know if I could have gone 4 hours! And I had the opposite reaction – she’s so SMALL! To be overdue and still only 6 lb 14 oz. We were all surprised. I’m so happy that they worked with you to deliver without surgery. Rhett was so awesome to help me succeed with natural labor even when I told him I didn’t think I could do it. I can’t wait to meet Jack and for him to someday meet Sarah. Born just 3 days apart!

  6. by Amiable Amiable

    On November 21, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Congratulations! Jack is beautiful!!! So happy for you, your wife, and your newborn son! Wishing you much happiness and little sleep deprivation. Enjoy!

  7. by nickshell1983

    On November 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Thank you :) And we’re doing our best to deal with this whole sleep deprivation thing…

  8. by nickshell1983

    On November 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I told Jill what you said. That’s interesting that Sarah is so small. I’m sure our babies will meet in the near future :)

  9. by Nina

    On November 21, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Congratulations! Jack is adorable! Wishing you and your family the best :)

  10. by geewits

    On November 23, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Congratulations! He sure is a cutie. I love that last picture of you crashed out in the hospital room. Good luck with everything. After the first two months, you will both be more relaxed.

  11. by nickshell1983

    On November 24, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Cool, thanks :)

  12. by Laura

    On November 24, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Congratulations and welcome, baby Jack! Bring him to Babies R Us to see us all as soon as he’s able :)

  13. by nickshell1983

    On November 25, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Will do it!

  14. [...] the Season One finale of dad from day one, I promised an interesting plot twist.  So here in this premier of Season Two, [...]

  15. by Anonymous

    On December 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    he is a very cute baby

  16. [...] A year later, I met Mommy. Less than two years later, she and I got married. About two and a half years after that, you were born. [...]