About a week ago, Laura and I packed some bags and took a taxi to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The baby’s original due date had been 4 August, so when we checked into the hospital, we were already fifteen days late and Laura had agreed with her midwifery practice that it was time to induce labor. Roughly thirty hours later, Laura gave birth to our beautiful, gorgeous baby girl: Thuy Esme Holder-Vinh at 4:21a on Friday, 21 August. Find out more about her, and see more pictures, at www.thuy.me.
For all of this, I’m incredibly, abundantly thankful, but perhaps most of all in two particular regards: first, that Thuy, at seven pounds and thirteen ounces, was delivered as a ridiculously, unequivocally healthy child, the seventeen extra days she dawdled inside the womb having no root in serious complications of any kind. We visited the pediatrician on Monday, and she confirms her hearty spirit.
And second, I’m eternally grateful for how Laura delivered Thuy. Her labor, as you can imagine, was agonizing, trying and, at each juncture, seemed to promise that it would never end. After thirteen or so hours of heavy, torturous contractions that humbled my own capacity for pain tolerance, Laura finally began to push the baby out in the very early hours of Friday morning. Each hour until then, I had been futilely hoping against hope that she would find some relief, that the baby would just come; now finally we were entering the home stretch and I thought to myself then, “At last. This should be over any minute.” Four hours later, Laura was still painfully pushing, having somehow found an inner strength, an heroic level of perseverance that I’m now not sure that men are even capable of achieving, and Thuy was born. What I mean to say is that I’m thankful for Laura being such a good mother from the very beginning.
We came home from the hospital on Saturday afternoon, finding out that much of the advanced billing for parenthood turns out to be true, including the idea that the first week is a bit of a whirlwind, and a new parent’s ability to fulfill routine responsibilities is quickly put to the test. It took me forever to announce Thuy’s arrival even to my closest friends. Part of it was a more or less temporary aversion to social media; I made a few half-hearted attempts at updating Twitter, resisted posting to Flickr too soon, and frankly wanted Facebook to play no role in the birth of my child if I could help it.
Part of it was that I wanted to put together an announcement in the form of an honest-to-goodness, one-of-a-kind Web site at Thuy.me, which took some time. Mostly though, I felt it was a very unique time, a magical and fleeting interlude that I didn’t necessarily want to broadcast. Those were literally the first few hours when Laura, Thuy, Mister President and I were all a family. We’ll never get those first few days back, as close to our hearts as we might try to hold our memories of them. I guess I was guarding it all a bit jealously, and I certainly couldn’t imagine why I would want to waste even one of those moments telling Facebook how to market to me more effectively.
The thing of it is, Thuy was — is — literally changing by the hour; when I left Laura and Thuy sleeping right after the delivery and returned several hours later, Thuy’s upper lip had popped out. Amazing! Even today, she looks so much different from yesterday. She’s a wonderful phenomenon, like a box of infant fireworks setting off randomly. I don’t want to miss any of this.