January 4, 2018

To say that the holiday season is chaotic is a gross understatement. And this year was infinitely more so than any other year I have ever experienced in my lifetime. And, by no means, not entirely in a bad way.

I was already scheduled to be off all of last week with Steph taking my place on air. That was planned. What was not planned was me missing the end of the week prior. As most of you know, my wife and I have been expecting our first child right after the first of the year if not sooner. However, our son had to come sooner than even I had anticipated as I had estimated his arrival to come right after Christmas during my planned time off from work. Well, Tessa was continuing to work third shift at the hospital until her due date and had worked all night on Wednesday, December 20th and had an OB/GYN appointment the following morning. The plan was to have her meet me at home and I take her to the appointment so she could rest on the way. Unfortunately, traffic caused her to have to go straight to the doctor's office where I met her. When I got there, she was already in the ultrasound room since she was one of the first patients of the day and they would take her vitals afterwards. Everything looked great in the ultrasound but when they took her readings, her blood pressure had spiked and there was protein in her urine. At that point, they moved her from seeing the nurse practitioner to the doctor. When the doctor came in, she informed us that we needed to plan to wrap up the pregnancy. When I asked her when, she responded, "Today." Needless to say, this hit me like a ton of bricks across my face. So we ran home, packed a couple of bags and went to Greenville Memorial.

By noon, they had started inducing Tessa to try and force her into labor. After more than 20 hours, nothing was happening so they decided to perform a cesarean. They took Tessa back to the operating room to prep her while I waited to throw on scrubs and join her. When they took me back, my wife - a very strong woman - looked at me with a terrified look that I have never ever seen on her face before. Her jaw was quivering and there were tears rolling down her face and, when I asked how she was doing, told me that she was afraid since she could not feel anything below her shoulders. This put me into an instant panic (beyond the panic I was already in all things considered) but I tried my best to keep my resolve and be strong for her. I am sure that I failed miserably at that but I did what I could. I had hoped that her jaw had been quivering because she was just cold.

When they were ready to operate, the doctor performing the procedure asked if they could play a little Christmas music to which I quickly requested some Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Shortly thereafter, "Faith Noel" started to play and the operation began. Just a few minutes later, our son, Gideon Lee Holcombe was born at 11:55 am on Friday, December 22, 2017.

While my wife was still filleted open, the doctor asks if she was aware of the tumors on her uterus. Needless to say, when I heard the word 'tumors' I went into yet another panic. Thankfully he quickly explained that they were benign and most likely played a part in it taking some time to finally conceive. About this time, as they were cleaning Gideon up, I heard someone say that he was having trouble breathing and doctors were coming in to inspect him. Again, another flood of panic began coursing through me. Thankfully Tessa was unaware of what was going on at this point.

As they were wheeling her out to recovery, they sent me into a room alone with my son. Already freaked out about holding my child for the first time, I was freaking out even more when he would get quiet as I was afraid that he wasn't breathing. It wasn't long until someone came and got him and wheeled him down to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

He spent the next two days in the NICU where the first of which he stayed hooked up to a CPAP machine.

Gideon finally got to come to our hospital room on Christmas Eve. It was an extremely emotional day for both Tessa and me as I actually sat in the hospital food court crying through lunch while Tessa was upstairs sitting with Gideon before he was released from the NICU. We had both been through so much emotionally not to mention physically. When we were first admitted, I was fighting off a fairly nasty head cold. After it had peaked and started to subside, I ended up reagitating my left shoulder while sleeping on the cot in the hospital room so I was miserable throughout most of our stay. And let's not forget that Tessa had essentially been gutted to give birth to our son. Plus I was a bit depressed being cooped up at the hospital during the holiday while our family had their gatherings. Looking back, though, it was a lot calmer and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

We finally got to go home the day after Christmas and Lil Giddy was ready to go home with his mommy and daddy!

For the next week, we had a lot of family pass through with Tessa's mom staying until New Year's Day to help us adjust to our new home life. We got to ring in 2018 with our new little bundle of joy and got to give him a nice little New Year's Kiss!

Although today is my first day back on the air, I actually came back to work in the office on Tuesday. It was really hard to leave my wife and child at home but Tessa kept me up to speed with how our little boy was doing with pics and even a video.

Now I am trying to get back into the swing of things while adjusting to parenthood. And, despite all the panic, depression, aches and pains, I wouldn't have it any other way. Plus I get to go home at the end of the day and do this:

I cannot thank God enough for one of the best gifts I have ever received just in time for Christmas and getting us through it all. Best. Holiday. Ever.