I am a Dad!

What a surreal couple of days! Darcy safely delivered our baby boy, Kaspar Fitzwilliam Esiason, into the world, and when it happened, we both couldn’t stop crying. The rush of emotion was like nothing I have ever felt, and I’m not sure I even have an adequate vocabulary to describe it all. Both Darcy and little Kaspar (or Kaz as call him!) are both happy and healthy!

The past few days have reshaped my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Growing up, my treatments represented something of a gateway to better health and more opportunities. The hours of my childhood spent inhaling albuterol and Pulmozyme allowed me to go to school and hockey practice. As I grew older those sometimes longer hours opened the door to high school football and then college. Then it was hours inside clinical trials, operating rooms and hospital beds that let me go to the occasional Rangers game with my friends.

Now, after thousands and thousands of hours attached to my Vest, my nebulizer or an IV, I have generated clarity around what it was all for.

It has all been, and will be, for Kaspar.

Every hard conversation with a provider, every bit of bad news from a sputum culture, every sleepless night thanks to hemoptysis, every day lost to a hospitalization, every nurse who didn’t believe my symptoms, every argument with the insurance company, every hard trip to the bathroom, every breathless step, and every moment of physical or emotional pain suddenly feels like they have all been worth it.

Darcy jokes that she thinks she gave birth to my twin, but I think his lungs take after his mother’s, which makes me smile.

Baby Gunnar on the left. Baby Kaz on the right!

I can’t say that after only a couple of days I have unlocked the secret meanings behind life and perfect parenting, but I can say that something magical is happening in our little nursery a few feet from where I am sitting. Kaspar’s innocence has been greeted by more love than I have ever experienced at any other point in my life.  

As with any change, though, each day comes with new adventures and different questions we need to solve like…

How the heck should I do treatments near the baby? Do I need to stick him on the other side of the room? Should I move my treatment cart to a different place in the house entirely? Are some medications more worrisome to aerosolize than others?

Fortunately, there is a great community standing next to use ready to help!

They are, of course, fun problems and questions to tackle.

Some friends have asked me what it’s like to be a dad. I’m not really sure, just yet, but I do know I spend most of my days carrying all kinds of stuff to and from the car or nursery, which bring back memories of my dad carrying skis and boots to and from the lift when I was little. I guess I’ve got a bit of that ahead of me!

I’ve also noticed my reflexes are suddenly attuned to even the slightest bit of movement from baby Kaz or Darcy. So, I guess that’s what being a dad is all about. Being ready to respond, lift and carry the weight of whatever it may be at a moment’s notice.

I think my dad set a pretty good example for me.

Darcy and I have been so grateful for all the overwhelming love and support we’ve received from everyone (especially her parents, who have stepped in and been incredibly helpful around the house) since we came home from the hospital! We have tried our best to get back to as many people as we can, but just know that we have heard from you, and we love you!

I have walked out of the hospital beaten, broken, and defeated far too many times to count.

And each time I did, I felt a little bit closer to the end of my rope.

But suddenly those feelings are gone… all of them.

THIS last walk out of the hospital, the one here at Dartmouth on a cold December afternoon just after a snow and ice storm, is one I’ll never forget. It was a walk that reminded me life is just beginning.