Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Meet my daughter, Riley Grace Quackenbush

January 11, 2009 will be the day that changed my life forever. That Sunday, at 7:35pm, my beautiful wife gave birth to our precious little girl, Riley Grace. She was 7 lbs 1 oz, 21 inches long and she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. She already has me wrapped around her fingers.

For those who didn't know, my wife was overdue by a week, she was 41 weeks, and had to be induced this past Sunday. She was induced at 9:03am and it wasn't until 2pm that she felt her first contraction. Thank goodness for my in-laws being there and our wonderful nurse, Evelyn. They provided some much needed support for my wife. My wife was in active labor for five and a half hours. Some might say that's nothing, but my wife has a very low tolerance for pain. The worst part of the day was when her epidural pulled out a bit and the pain came back. She was fortunate enough to get another epidural which was a godsend. The doctor didn't even have a chance to deliver the baby! They asked Kymberli to start pushing, to get her "ready", so when the doctor came in she'd be ready to go. Well, as luck would have it, Kymberli started pushing at 7:17pm and at 7:35pm Riley was born! They were all in such a rush that they forgot to tell my wife what the baby's sex was. Crazy!! I softly muttered 'It's a girl!' twice, but I kept waiting for the nurses to exclaim "It's a girl!" before I said it too loud. Too bad that never happened. After what seemed like an eternity they finally handed her to my wife and said it was a girl.

I thought I would get super emotional at first, but I was wrong. I just stared in wondrous amazement at my wife, our baby on her chest and those ever searching eyes. I have to say that I am now in love with two beautiful girls, my wife and my daughter. You cannot explain to anyone in words the feeling you get when you see your child for the first time. I wished her Happy Birthday and was taking pictures as soon as she came out. I took about 165 photos in less than an hour because I HAD to document the day. I will post a bunch after I finish getting my thoughts poured out.

When I got to hold her for the first time I was in awe. Just plain awe. She was so light and tiny. She just looked at me with those beautiful blue/gray eyes. I couldn't stop looking at her. I made sure to get her back to mommy so she could have her skin-to-skin. She is going to make me say words like 'precious', 'adorable', and 'pretty.' I am going to love saying those words every chance I get. I can't wait for my family in NY to meet Riley. That's one of the things I truly missed on Sunday. Being able to share the day with them there. I miss you guys!

It wasn't until I got a quick message from my friend Jason that I choked up. I know he and his daughter are super close and he loves her more than anything. We bust each others chops and goof around, but his words were very true and heartfelt and it really hit me like a ton of bricks. I was sitting in the hospital room reviewing my Facebook messages on my Blackberry when his popped up. Here's what he wrote...

"Mr. Quackenbush... can I just call you Savage? This is Jason on Amy's Facebook, and I just wanted to say congratualtions on the birth of your daughter, and I wanted to pass on some words of encouragement I have read since having a princess too. From Father to Daughter, "Because he's her first love. Her first Hero. The first man in her life." Awesome words and an honor to be all of this. Congratualtions Daddy!"

Wow, right? Kymberli will tell you that as I read those words I got choked up, had to pause and then my eyes were burning like mad from lack of sleep and the tears. Jason, I really appreciate hearing that and I want to thank you for sharing those words.

Kymberli was fortunate to get a private room and I was lucky enough to be able to stay in her room for two nights. I want to thank my boss, Tim, for being understanding and allowing me to take a few days off to spend some time with them. I hadn't planned on taking time off, but how could I not? God blessed me with a wonderful family, an amazing wife, a fantastic profession, and now a precious gift of a daughter. I am a VERY lucky man and I know it.

We got home yesterday and it was so nice to be home. I'll admit, I have been nervous since day one. Making sure she sleeps right, getting the feedings on schedule and making sure mommy gets enough sleep so she can heal up. Want to know the one thing that really doesn't bother me that does to many people? Changing diapers. I don't mind it one bit. I told Kymberli a few months ago that I thought I'd be gagging (terrible gag reflex) each time I had to change a diaper. I guess it's my way of bonding with Riley. Mommy can breastfeed and I can change diapers. Even trade, right?

Last night was spectacular for me. Grandpa Don and Grandma Roma brought dinner over from the Milk Barn. Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad and pizza. All were fantastic! We had Riley in her swing as we ate and it was so nice to relax and eat with family. After they left, mommy was tired, so I offered to stay up with the baby and get her up when I got tired. I knew Kymberli needed the time to heal, so I stayed up until 6:30am. Yeah, I know... "Get your sleep now!" they all say. Well, I had that bundle of joy in my arms most of the night. I just couldn't put her down. I know there will me many long nights, but I already know it'll be worth it. Life is full of challenges and raising my daughter will be a welcome one. My wife and I know this is a team effort and that there will be frustration, laughter, bumps & bruises, and most of all a reward unlike any other; seeing her learn and grow.

I watch Kymberli interact with Riley and it just warms me up all over. She's already a great mom and a wonderful wife. We are each others biggest fans and support team. I love you, Kymberli. I love you, Riley.

Here are my favorite photos from days 1-3 of Riley Grace's life. Always puts a smile on my face.

Seeing each other for the first time.

Weighing in.

Mommy and Riley sharing a moment.

The first time I got to hold her. There will never be a feeling like this that I can explain to anyone.

Grandma Roma and Riley in the spotlight.

Grandpa Don and Grandma Roma with Riley.

Riley arriving home in the car seat. Isn't she adorable?

Mommy changing a diaper.

Riley does this hilarious thing with her feet. When she's in the swing, she lifts her right leg up and holds it there while the swing is in motion. She does it every time! It's hilarious to watch!

Mommy holding Riley as she drifts off to sleep.

Thank you all for your kind words, words of encouragement and prayers. We are now proud parents and we look forward to everything life now has in store for the Quackenbush family. We love you all!


kymberli q. said...

You are the BEST husband and daddy EVER. I cannot imagine what it would have been like if you weren't by my side. Thank you for taking care of me and taking care of Riley when I needed some time to rest and hopefully heal. I can't imagine having to do this on my own in my state right now - you are such a blessing. I love that little girl and I love you. You are amazing.

P.S. I hate that awful angle and pic of me, but since I endured so much pain and was being "taken care of" by the Doctor at that moment, I feel I deserve to look that bad! LOL

Anyway, I love you so much. Thank you for having such a wonderful heart with your wife and your new baby girl. I thank God for both of you.

Anonymous said...

She is soooo beautiful. It is so hard to explain the love you have for some precious little thing that has come into our lives.

Love Grandma Roma

Anonymous said...

Hey Al,

For some reason, I cannot see the pictures of your new little bundle of joy on the website. I really wanted to see what your kid would look like after all those years of shooting the boot, pretending to be fater Abraham or the S&M man, smuggling rolls of quarters in your butt crack, occationally playing a little rugby, and all of the other miscellaneous drunken debauchery.

In all seriousness, congratulations, and best wishes. It goes by fast, so savor each and every moment.

Matty (You know who this is)

Mazboot said...

Too, too beautiful. If my own congratulations aren’t too redundant, please accept them on top of all the others that have been offered. Enjoy the fathering years you have ahead of you. Strap yourself in for the ride. Seriously, strap yourself in now while you have the chance—In a startlingly short time, you’ll find yourself playing catch-up with your daughter, and it’ll remain that way for the rest of your life with her.

I suppose it would be trivial to complement you on the great photos, too? Ok, I’ll hold off on that until your new daddy glow abates a bit.


Anonymous said...

This is one of the greatest moments you'll ever experience in life. I wish you, your wife, and Riley all the best. ES

Jim, "Homer" said...

Wow oh wow, I have to say that I am so excited for the both of you and man did you bring me back to days when my two kids were born.

Congratulations and I look forward to watching Riley grow in your posts and pictures that I know will come.

Steve Ottley said...

Congratulations Al and Kymberli!

-Steve Ottley & Talya Kohler

Dave Pronko said...

Hey Al,

Congrats on your beautiful baby girl! I already pity the poor teenage prick that's got to introduce himself to her dad on prom night 16 years from now!

As one of your friends said in an earlier email they do grow up quick so enjoy every precious moment.


Emily :-) said...

Hey Al, Congratulations...she is absolutely beautiful...I cannot wait to meet her...and I know Ben, your mom and dad feel the happy to hear that everything went well...we miss you guys, and again, cannot wait to meet her and see you guys again...all my,

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. & Mrs Quackenbush
Reading about the moments that Riley was born brought tears too my eyes. I just wanted to say that i have been praying for your family. And i see they have been answerd. God have giving you one of his precious angels. A gift that you will have forever. A special gift for a specail couple. Enjoy and may you countine to be blessed.
Michelle Carter

cassandra m said...

CONGRATULATIONS AL! Riley is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L and beyond. WOW! THanks for sharing these amazing images. I've kept you guys in my prayers and so glad she is here safely. I am so excited to see how "obsessed" you guys are with photographing her...ha.ha. I can see she is already a natural in front of the camera. My HAPPIEST thoughts are coming your way. Congrats again to you & Kymberli. You will be great parents!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Your post was beautiful. Your girls are magnificent & I wish you many happy memories together!!

Richard Wong said...

Congrats Al. Those are some great pictures that will last a lifetime!

Kate Bettison said...

Al, thank you for sharing your beautiful story and photos with the world. Riley is just the sweetest little thing (and Kymberli - you look beautiful in ALL of the photos!).

My hubby and I have been trying for a baby through IVF and it's not going brilliantly - but we still have hope! Funny thing is that since reading your blog I have even more hope - we were talking names just the other day and we always had Ruby Grace for a girl, but recently I have been leaning towards Riley Grace, and seeing your little Riley somehow makes me KNOW ours will arrive soon too...

Blessings to you all and may Riley have a life full of love, happiness and adventure.