Mar. 30, 2013

Less than a year after our amazing wedding day, Joan and I are thankful for yet another blessing in our lives — a healthy baby boy, Michael III, named after me and my dad.

During Joan’s pregnancy, I often jokingly referred to her due date of Mar. 30 as a completely predictable, firm deadline. “This will be great,” I would tell our friends. “Her due date happens to fall on a Saturday, so we’ll just get up, have some breakfast, and then head to the hospital for the delivery.” I would then admit that of course it’s not going to happen that way; it was much more likely that Joan would suddenly feel strong contractions or break her water on a random weeknight at 3 a.m.

However, all kidding aside, Michael’s birth really did fall directly on Joan’s due date! Given that his father has always been fascinated by clocks, I guess it makes sense that our son arrived right on time. (I later learned that only 4% of all deliveries take place on a woman’s due date, which is fairly surprising.)

Joan woke up before 6 a.m. with some contractions, which gradually increased in intensity throughout the morning. She called Dr. McConnell, her primary doctor (as well as her boss at her practice!), who recommended coming to the hospital. We packed some bags, I took a shower, and we left the house shortly after noon. As we began our trip, I had to laugh when I discovered that Joan’s SUV had only one-eighth of a tank of gas remaining. We had no reason to race to the hospital (not for a few more hours, at the least), so we took a few extra minutes to fill up on the way.

We arrived at Lankenau Medical Center shortly before 1 p.m., and Joan was admitted to Labor Room 8 on the fifth floor. She continued to slowly dilate for several hours, and suffered through an epidural in the late afternoon. But by early evening, it became apparent that the baby’s heartbeat was decelerating during each contraction, and Dr. McConnell made the decision to conduct a C-section to ensure a successful delivery.

I was instructed to put on a sterile white suit, cap, and booties while the doctors and nurses prepped Joan in the operating room. Soon after, they led me into the brightly lit OR, where I sat on a stool to the right of Joan’s head and held her hand while the doctors operated behind a low curtain. After a short while, they told me that it was time to stand up and take a look over the curtain. I looked with amazement at our crying baby, and exclaimed to Joan, “It’s a boy!”

Introducing our son, Michael!

Michael Shelton Devine III
March 30, 2013
9:51 p.m.
7 pounds 0 ounces
21½ inches

Unfortunately, Joan wasn’t able to fully celebrate our son’s arrival right away. She was severely nauseous throughout the C-section and slept for a few hours after the delivery. Meanwhile, I held our newborn son for a while before handing him over to the nursery. I then made several phone calls to our family around midnight to tell them the wonderful news.

*     *     *     *     *

The day after Michael’s birth happened to be Easter Sunday, and our families and friends took turns visiting us over a joy-filled but exhausting 11-hour span. Here’s one of the first photos of Joan and Michael together, shortly before our guests arrived:

Joan and Michael

Joan and Michael stayed at the hospital until Tuesday morning, and I stayed with them for nearly the entire time, only taking a few breaks to sleep overnight at home. Her room at the end of the fifth-floor hall was very spacious and even offered a view of the Philadelphia skyline! During our stay, the staff provided us with plenty of useful information about caring for a newborn at home, and the hospital even provided a professional photographer to take pictures for us to purchase. Before we knew it, we were getting Michael settled in his new car seat and driving home with him!

We’re incredibly thankful to have a beautiful, healthy son, and while we’re certainly nervous about such a huge responsibility, we also can’t wait to see what parenthood will bring. And I’m very proud of Joan for her strength and courage throughout her pregnancy and delivery — she has blessed our family with a wonderful new addition, and I love her more than ever.

Welcome to the world, Michael!

[ No. 640 ]

Mar. 2, 2013

The first two months of 2013 have been full of significant changes in our lives, along with another major one on the way.

In mid-January, our house quickly turned into a disaster area during a comprehensive kitchen renovation. Shortly after that project got underway, my work environment changed dramatically as well — I was reassigned to a new position in change management (admittedly not my area of expertise) within Comcast Interactive Media, effective in mid-February. However, I had already scheduled interviews with a newly formed group called CoMPASS (short for Comcast Metadata Products and Search Services), and was very pleased to receive an offer from their team right around the same time! I started the new job in a different location — 1717 Arch Street, the former Bell Atlantic building across the street from the Comcast Center — on Feb. 25.

Oh, and outside of home renovations and new responsibilities at work, Joan and I are also expecting our first child in late March, which has kept us busy between prenatal appointments (the three-dimensional sonograms are amazing), shopping for furniture for the new nursery, and no fewer than four baby showers over the course of two weekends in February.

So, with only a few short weeks to go before our little one arrives, what should we do? Throw our seventh annual St. Patrick’s Day party, of course.

I’ll admit that trying to continue this festive tradition was neither practical nor easy under the circumstances. But we were anxious to put our new kitchen to use, and we looked forward to seeing many of our friends before our baby arrived. We made a few key decisions to make the process a little earlier — we scheduled the party two weeks earlier than usual to provide some breathing room before Joan’s due date of Mar. 30, kept the length of the guest list under control, and ordered some catering from Tommy Gunn’s in Manayunk and had it delivered to simplify the food preparation.

I was really fatigued while I ran several pre-party errands on Saturday. I have a feeling that the Tdap vaccine that I’d taken the day before might have been the culprit, but thankfully, I caught a second wind once the party got underway. Overall, everything came together quite well for the 35 or so guests who attended this year — the delicious catered dishes (including pulled pork, buffalo dip, and brownies) were a hit, and everyone enjoyed seeing the new kitchen, too.

Next year, the eighth installment of our Irish-themed party will be the most unique one yet — our family will be a party of three!

[ No. 639 ]