18 Months Ago

18 months ago, our biggest mystery was looming. What is our little baby going to look like? We knew her name, Annabelle Katherine for several months by this point (though it’s important to note that no one else did, even though a Facebook group had been set up by Stephanie which had people guessing. No one guessed correctly).

On June 14, we met my friend Victor, a photographer, in downtown Parker to take some pictures of a very pregnant Becky and her skinny husband (another important note is that no matter how hard I tried, I did not put on any pregnancy weight). It was lots of fun and many great pictures were taken that evening. We went home, anticipating the next day, the due date, and the appointment with the doctor to see how much longer we may have to wait.

“I’ll see you in a week,” the doctor told us that morning. She noted some reasons why the baby wasn’t ready to come yet, and we simply accepted it as truth and went on with our day. I went to work to finish up some video work for June Awards, an evening event two nights later that I figured I would be able to be at since the baby wouldn’t be here by then. I had the video work on a hard drive so I could bring it home with me if I needed to be home. I was 98% done with it, just needed some finishing touches (this is an important part of my story).

Becky called several times during the day to tell me that she was having some form of contraction but probably false labor because they weren’t too strong and, after all, the doctor said the baby wasn’t ready to come. She decided to go to a baby shower early that afternoon, where the contractions began to get more intense, though she didn’t show it. No one realized that she was actually in the beginning stages.

I came home a little early that day and we went for a short walk to see if that would make a difference in the contractions… I guess we were trying to determine if we needed to get serious about going to the hospital soon. We ran into our neighbor on the way back and talked with him for a little bit. During that time, Becky had several contractions that she hid very well.

Thoughout the evening, I was working on finishing this video, realizing now, that I would need to leave it outside my front door for a colleague to pick up, because Becky’s contractions were getting more intense and we knew that the baby would either be coming soon, or Becky would be in too much pain for me to go to work and leave her. The later it got, the more uncomfortable she got, and before we knew it, it was time to go to bed and start timing contractions. Between contractions, I was going down the hall to render video (rendering in Final Cut Pro is an automatic process that I just need to start, and then check on several minutes later) then start burning the DVD. I was going back and forth between the bedroom and the office, and then realized I was driving myself and my wife crazy, and that my focus needed to shift away from the video. At the event, they ended up using an earlier draft of the video, as I never got the final draft done.

Looking back on that evening, I found it kinda funny, and equate my obsession with something other than the main event to the time I decided I needed to get my car an oil change… The day before our wedding,(which made sense only in my mind at the time). I was driving 45 minutes to and from work each day and my car was due for an oil change, and I didn’t think I’d be able to get one between our honeymoon and my first day back. So I woke up the morning before the wedding and didn’t tell anyone where I was going, and went for an oil change. Turned out they needed to keep my car for a while, so I ended up actually calling my pastor to pick me up and help me run a couple last minute wedding errands so I wasn’t just waiting there. Meanwhile, all the family that had flown in to see me were relaxing at home, where I should have been.

Back to the story at hand, though.

It wasn’t long after midnight that we decided we should at least call the doctor and find out if this is something we should leave the house for. The contractions were getting closer together and there was no way Becky was sleeping that night, so we might as well inquire. The doctor told me that we should go to the hospital, but not to be surprised if we got sent home. But we left the house with a suitcase anyway, about 1am and drove to the hospital in anticipation, where they showed us to our room in the birthing wing… As if we had just arrived at a hotel. After putting Becky in a gown and running a few procedures, the nurse stepped out and said she would be right back. We asked her if this meant we would be staying, she looked at us surprisingly and said, “of course.”.

Our excitement had gotten a hold of us as I called our parents to let them know we were at the hospital. The doctor had been told Becky should get the epidural and then get some sleep, as she wouldn’t be ready to go for 5 hours or so. I’m not much of a needle guy, so I sat outside while the epidural was administered, posting updates to Facebook and realizing this would be my last sleep before becoming a father.

I won’t bore you with the details about the birth. A little pushing, a little screaming. And at one point I remember nurses chanting Annabelle’s name like it was a football game. Becky worked for nearly two hours. In the middle of that time, the doctor stepped out to help another patient who, “was further along.”. She took several nurses with her, leaving one nurse, and myself, to support and coach Becky. During one of her contractions, I was actually the only one by her side (I think the nurse had gotten bored and was updating her Facebook status).

Annabelle came the morning of June 16, 2010. Our question about what she would look like was answered. She looked like our baby. Words could not describe it, so pictures and video have for the past 18 months and will continue to for years to come.

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Annabelle’s Laugh

I went out and got an iPad 2 on Friday. Actually, I didn’t actually buy one, my friend did. He waited in line and everything, and I paid him cash when he delivered it. So I’m typing this on an iPad, which, as it turns out, is easier than an iPhone, but hard than a regular keyboard. But don’t believe the haters, this thing is cool.

My favorite part of this is the joy it brings to Annabelle. Sitting on my lap and watching me play Angry Birds on my iPhone is one thing, but in HD on the iPad is even better. If I can just get some of her contagious laughs in one sitting of Angry Birds, I feel that I’ve done my job as a father.

After all, Isn’t it every father’s job to bring joy to their daughter?

2010 Christmas Letter (the “Green” edition)

Dear Friends and Family,

We want to wish you a very wonderful Christmas and New Year! You have likely found this site through our Christmas card, which, if that’s the case, then welcome to our little blog (formerly www.2deans.net). Blogs like these tend to be pointless in an age of Facebook, where status updates are pushed to your smartphone if you so desire, but I plan to use this a little more for publishing some longer updates if you are interested in returning.

2010 was a whirlwind year for us filled with new opportunities and challenges. It was also not without sadness, as the year began with the passing of my grandfather at 94. We were so glad that we were able to spend his final Christmas with him last December, and his funeral in January was a great event remembering a man who inspired me and encouraged me in my creativity my entire life. One of the most significant things that happened on that trip was Becky feeling the baby kick for the first time.

In April, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to purchase a home in Parker, and be able to close on, paint, and move in to the house with several months to spare before the baby arrived.

Annabelle Katherine was born on June 16, and as you’ve probably discovered through seeing pictures on this site and Facebook, she is unbelievably adorable (if we may say so ourselves). She has legs for dancing like her mother, and lungs for singing like her father, and, as of this writing, is able to feed herself with a bottle, hold herself up in a sitting position, and talking like crazy. It’s a matter of weeks before she begins to crawl, and by this time next year, she’ll have a college degree.

Through sleepless nights and figuring out just what the heck we’re doing as parents, we did make time for non-baby-related activities.

I (Chris) became a deacon at our church, Redeemer Presbyterian in Parker, where I am now leading music and worship. It has been fun learning new songs and getting back into leading a congregation, which I have missed since leaving our church in Salt Lake City.

Becky returned to work this fall by dancing for Apex Contemporary Dance Theatre in October (her first performance in a year), as well as teaching and directing her students at the Colorado School of Dance and The Nutcracker of Parker.

We plan to take 2011 to do some traveling with Annabelle, work on some projects in our home, continue forming friendships in our church, and get further used to being a family of “3Deans.” (Note: I have no current plans to register the domain “4deans.net. Not for quite some time).

Wishing you the best in 2011,
Christopher, Becky & Annabelle

Annabelle’s Birth – Part 2: Telling People

About a month after finding out Becky was pregnant, it was difficult keeping it to ourselves. We were able to talk with the Parkers, but that was about it.

In mid-October, Becky’s mom came to town to see one of Becky’s performances (her final major performance before the inevitable break). It was at lunch after she flew in from the airport that Becky told her she was going to be a grandmother. Susan stood up and jumped up and down like a little girl on Christmas morning.

A week later, Steve and Anna drove in for the weekend and stayed at our place. Becky was busy that weekend with Nutcracker stuff, so she wasn’t able to hang out as much, so we didn’t have an opportunity to formally tell them. Instead, we hung up the ultrasound picture on the refrigerator to see if they would notice. The evening before they left (Becky was at rehearsal), Anna went to the refrigerator to get a beer and asked, “who’s baby is this?” I said, “ours.” She didn’t believe me until I pulled out the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book and all the other pregnancy literature we’d been collecting.

I told my sister, Stephanie over iChat on October 30, and my parents the next day. However, I was smart enough to hit “screen record” when I told my grandparents: