I’d never in my life cried tears of joy until Thursday afternoon. It happened the moment I met my son, Grant Bennett Monke.
As I write this from our recovery room in CHI St. Joseph’s Health’s babykind wing, my wife and 1-day-old son are sleeping comfortably. Sarah is snoring in a recliner and Grant is in his bassinet, trying to kick his way out of a swaddle blanket — something he’s already pretty good at.
At a little more than 9 pounds and 22 inches long, he has been described by numerous nurses, family members and visitors as “a big boy.” He’s very alert, has a nice head of dark hair with a great complexion, his mom’s pretty blue-green eyes and one hell of a grip.
No one is lying when they say you fall in love with your children the moment they’re born. Something just clicks inside of you. He’s ours. We made him. We created this life and now we’re responsible for it. And as scary as that seems, it’s really not.
I find myself gravitating to watch him as he rests, smiling and putting one of my fingers next to his little hand with the hope he’ll grip it without waking up and crying. Nothing in this world gives me more joy than when he does.
Even though I knew these moments were coming, getting there wasn’t without surprises.
I’d just drove up to the Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday to take some photos for Thursday’s story about the airport shutdown incident when my cellphone rang. It was my mother-in-law.
Now, to put this in perspective, I’d spoke with Sarah about 10 minutes earlier and she told me about the walk around the block she and her mom had just taken and about how proud she was to still be to do that, despite feeling like she was ready to pop. Little did we know, that walk would cause her to pop.
When my mother called, I had no idea this would be the “It’s go time!” call. I suspected a question like, “When did you plan to be home for supper?” as she’d been staying with us for a few days to help prepare for the baby and had been helping cook, clean and make last-minute preparations to the house as I put in extra time at work to prepare for Grant’s arrival.
When I picked up the phone, I heard, “Sarah’s water just broke. You need to come home and take her to the ER.” … “Uhh, I’m at the airport,” I said with an excited laugh. I was at least 20 minutes away from home — if I didn’t hit traffic and speed through town — and I still had to stop back at the office. She encouraged me to hurry, which I did, of course.
When I got home about 30 minutes later, I rushed into the bedroom and grabbed a dirty T-shirt, well-worn jeans and used gym shorts — because, hey, they are all comfortable and were in plain site — and threw them all in my gym backpack along with some shoes and clean socks (more on that shortly). Two minutes later, we were off to the hospital.
Thankfully, when we got there, things settled down a bit. The nurses determined Sarah was a long way from giving birth and got us set up in the labor-and-delivery room, where we’d spend the next 24 hours until Grant’s arrival at 4:14 p.m. Thursday. Since then, life has been a blur of Baby 101.
Feeding, burping, swaddling, diaper changing. We’re still trying to fi gure it all out while also getting sleep. We brought him home Saturday — much to our dog Noodle’s shock, excitement and confusion — and now we’re trying to settle into life outside of the hospital, where nurses aren’t there to help us with every little question.
Speaking of, we want to thank Heather, Elizabeth, Chelsey, Carmie, Roxanne, Jessica and all the other nurses who made my wife’s stay so much easier and to Dr. William Lowe and medical student Shayna Mann for helping bring my son into this world and taking care of Sarah. You were all amazing.
We also want to thank everyone who sent their well wishes and congratulations. This is an exciting and exhausting, yet innately rewarding moment in our lives. We’re happy pregnancy is over, are ready to be a family and can’t wait for the sleepless nights with our little Monke boy.