Comedian Jim Gaffigan describes being the father of four like this: “Imagine you’re drowning, and somebody hands you a baby.”
I’m not sure what the proper description of having five kids is, but we’re about to find out in the Rempe house. At 9:19 AM EDT on March 21, we welcomed Anna Rae Rempe as the newest member of this motley crew. She was seven pounds, 12 ounces, and 20.5 inches of beautiful baby girl. (Any biases daddy might have do not override this objective fact.)
As I type, we are still in the hospital, with mom recovering (quickly, as usual) from her c-section, and Anna chilling under the lights in an attempt to reduce her bilirubin levels. Okay, “chilling” might not be the best term—Anna really doesn’t like being sequestered, and grumps until she is able to be held. We’d like nothing more than to oblige her, but if we want to eventually return home, it’s best that we keep her in the therapy. No knock on the facilities or fine staff here at Inova Fair Oaks, who have been been wonderful, but it will be nice to reunite with Anna’s brothers and sisters at the family estate.
Anna is our second late March baby – both of whom brought with them early spring snow storms. Fortunately, we were able to beat most of the storm on our way to the hospital, and Washington’s typical overreaction to potential weather occurrences (the federal government, as well as most local governments and school districts were closed) kept the roads nice and clear for a timely arrival.
I am once again amazed at the weird, wonderful process of childbirth. From conception to arrival, it boggles the mind how so many systems work together to produce a truly unique individual, and how many of those systems completely shift once the baby is born to allow the baby to function semi-autonomously. God truly is a master planner, and with a sense of humor to boot. And my respect for mothers—my strong and beautiful wife as the chief example—grows exponentially each time I am able to see the process firsthand.
For those of you who are wondering—no, it does not appear that my daughter got my red hair. Blue eyes and left-handedness are still to be determined. She did receive my blood type, so at least my genes were dominant in something. My suspicion is that, should I live to see it, my traits will prevail in the next generation with a slew of redheaded grand babies. Definitely something to live for.
Our thanks for all the prayers, well-wishes, and positive thoughts from friends and family, very few of whom questioned my sanity for re-entering the fatherhood arena at such an advanced age. (At least to my face.) We look forward to introducing Anna to many of you personally. And as soon as I have a good analogy for being a father of five, I will let you know.