The heir apparent.

At 9:00pm on August 24th, while rising from the dinner table just a day before due, her water broke.i

At 11:00pm, her labour began, and at 6:00am the following morning, after a mostly sleepless night, surely the first of many over the weeks and months to come, the intensity had increased to the point where our doula was called by our place to assess the situation. With our doula’s calm guiding hand, by 8:00am, the contractions had all but ceased. Damn it, she’d relaxed too much!

At 1:00pm, eager to pick up where we left off, we drove to our Ukrainian-Israeliii midwife’s office at the Lucina Birth Centre.iii A pungent, rotten-looking verbena cocktailiv and a spine-archingly uncomfortable “stretch-and-sweep”v later, and we were back at home, the contractions now returning with life-affirming strength and renewed gusto. We were back on track!

At 5:00pm, labour now in full swing, our doula returned. At 8:00pm, our midwife – the heavy artillery – arrived at our home for the first time. At 10:00pm, things were progressing steadily, presenting us with a pivotal decision to make. Our original plan to birth at the Sturgeon Country community hospital was kaiboshed because renovations were underway and the temporary replacement rooms were too small to accommodate the not-inconsiderably-sized birthing pool the mother-to-be was so keen on making use of, leaving the Sovietesque Royal Alexandra hospital as the only alternative venue whereat our midwife had admitting priveleges.vi Our original plan, however, was based on needing that medical parachute – that emergency safety net available just down the hall.

But as we were finding, the heir apparent was moving safely and happily into position, the risks appeared to be minimal, and we couldn’t possibly imagine being more comfortable and in control than we were. No fan of the iatrogenicists in white lab coats, I wasn’t about to push a move to the hospital if it wasn’t medically necessary, so when the midwife offered to grab her birthing gear from the car, and after a quick weighing of pros and cons with the mother-to-be, we agreed to a home birth.

Had you asked us 48 hours before this moment whether we would’ve considered such a thing, much less the water birth that we ended up having, and we would’ve given you a sigh and a cookie-cutter story about “risks” and “what ifs” while openly envying parents who were bold enough to do what we weren’t,vii just as most any other over-schooled upper-class Canadian parents-to-be, particularly those with medical professionals in the family.

Once we’d made the decision, however, our eyes were opened to the first-class luxury, the unbridled progressviii – which is to say the complete control of variables – and the absolute five-star decadence offered by a home birth. Does the mother-to-be want a fresh banana soymilk smoothie ? How about some fresh edamame bean spaghetti with bbq’d chicken for the father-to-be ? How about some homemade raw seed bars for our support team ? Well, if having a full fridge of delicious treats readily at hand isn’t persuasive enough, surely having two full bathrooms, two bedrooms (one with real desktop computers and a full dead tree library), as well as a living room complete with couch, Dutalier gliding chair, and a birthing pool must sound pretty damn desirable. Let me tell you : it is !! As such, if you’ve had a baby at an economy-class hospital in the last 30 years, you have no idea what you’re missing.ix

Needless to say, at 2:32 am on Wednesday, August 26th, in a bath of water and a pool of bodily fluids, Niko Dushenski was born at a perfectly reasonable 8 lbs 12 oz (4 kgs) and an entirely unreasonable 23.25″ (59 cm) in length.x

In my lap as I pen this story, this blonde (!) beauty has the barrel-chested build of Atlas, the Sumerian strength of Gilgamesh,xi and the stoic solidity of Samson.xii “Brick shithouse” was the first descriptor that came to mind as I pulled him out of his airless echo chamber and into the world. That he’s already starting to lift his head a bit, particularly to reposition his airway as he gargles and gasps, doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.xiii So not only will there be no “accidental infanticide,” but even the warring Spartans of Ancient Greece couldn’t have brought themselves to expose this little tyke right off the get-go, so how could an all-around nice guy like me ?

Now, I’ll try not to lose my Lordly edge too much here, and my natural disposition certainly gives me an advantage in this regard, but we all know that, from that fateful morning onwards until my dying breath, a wasp husk is me.xiv

Pete_and_Niko_Dushenski
Incipe, parve puer, risu cognoscere matrum (et patrem!).

Niko, Nikoxv
Niko, Niko
You are so strong, Niko, Niko
You are so long, Niko, Niko
You are so blonde, Niko, Niko
Of you I’m fond! Niko, Niko
(repeated infinite times)

___ ___ ___

  1. Oh, you thought I was a bachelor or a pimp or something ? Like what, men can’t have families and still put a ding in the universe now ? What sort of holocaust-denying racialists are you people ??!!1 []
  2. I.e. perfect. []
  3. Midwives in Alberta used to be a $4k-a-pop luxury item but they’ve recently come under the “legitimising” purview of Alberta Health Services, that bureaucratic disease industry monopoly. In praxis, this means that the ~100 midwives in the province are not for sale at any price, there’s just… a waiting list. So if you’re lucky, you’re lucky, and if not, too bad so sad. Y’know like for a Trabant Tesla or a rent-controlled apartment in Soviet Moscow latter-day New York.

    Doulas, being only trained with a weekend course (compared to the highly competitive 4-year baccalaureate program for Canadian midwives) are still on the market for about $400, a price that works out to not much more than $20/hr all told, which, for an experienced professional in a “post-industrial” economy is basically the deal of the century. []

  4. Feel free to look this one up. []
  5. Feel free to look this one up too. []
  6. A midwife having “admitting privileges” means that, other than the hospital check-in, no other interaction with front-line medical staff is required. To be sure, the less anyone has to deal with those impatient and unreasonably risk-averse pushers of painkillers and surgical intervention, the better! []
  7. Funnily, this is little different than spandrell envying my boldness in other domains. But frankly, a small community hospital with a midwife, a doula, and zero front-line medical staff really did seem like the best of all possible worlds. Unfortunately, like Pangloss, we had no idea how good life could actually be! []
  8. Yes, this does mean that childbirth-as-a-life-event in 1665 Europe was ahead of where it was in 1965 America. While this is the case 99% of the time, if not more, there’s little argument that childbirth-as-a-medical-condition is light-years ahead of where it was half a century ago. []
  9. Very much like if you’re still deploying “Bitcoin Core” in battle, stashing your hard-earned cash in inflatable fiat stocks, or taking orders from customer service reps. []
  10. Niko is so named for my Gido, Nikoli Dushenski, whose notable achievements I’ve previously covered.

    As to his formidable length, the longest the midwife or doula had ever seen in fact, he’s already in the top 1% of baby boys born in this part of the world. The latest figures show that the mean length is ~52 cm with the standard deviation of ~2.5 cm. To many more top one-percents ! []

  11. “Gilgamesh,” or “Gil” for short, was perhaps not coincidentally his fetal nickname. What, you’ve never nicknamed a fetus before ? You should try it. “Baby” is so unoriginal. []
  12. This one is far more likely to be the bully than be bullied. []
  13. Niko’s strength and physical build seriously put mine to shame. I have to work my ass of for my meager physique. Without deliberate and concerted effort, I wouldn’t be able to do two full chin-ups. That I can do 11 chin-ups, 40 push-ups, and plenty besides is a testament to practise, practise, and more practise – and nothing more. []
  14. It is the absolute, unavoidable job and duty of the parent to become that wasp out of whose dead body its larvae eat. And the wasp must be dead, make no mistake about it, the parent must give away his life, all of it. Not most of it, not a great portion of it, not “as much as necessary”. Everything. Every last bit and strand of it, altogether, completely. For no return and with no consideration, humbly and unapologetically, it’s what he’s for. Exactly like any thing – which is what parents are, things, ex-human beings that meanwhile succumbed to their own biology just like any other corpse – exists for its function, just like the mug holds coffee and the paper towel soaks it up should it spill. It’s what it is. ~MP

    On the plus side, the Contravex category L’art d’élever un enfant should see more attention. []

  15. “Niko, Niko” is pronounced, in gentle rhyming song, as “Nikonikoh.” []

29 thoughts on “The heir apparent.

  1. BingoBoingo says:

    Congratulations. May the rest of the journey be this easy.

  2. Mitchell says:

    My man, congrats! At first I saw some topless dude in my news feed and was like WTF, then I was like: aahhh shiiiiit!

    Exciting times ahead.

    • Exciting times are indeed ahead ! (And not just the very public and very gruesome sinking of BIP XXX, which is also a guarantee, as well as being incredibly rewarding in its own unique way.)

  3. Saifedean says:

    Congratulations! As we say in Arabic: May he be raised in your glory!

    My wife and I are also expecting, and the plan is to give birth in Canada so she can be with her mom. I loved reading this because so much of what you’ve been through mirrors our thought process. We’ve already hired a doula and are looking for a midwife, and still contemplating the dilemma of home birth vs hospital birth, very much like you were. My doctor father went berserk at the mere mention of a home birth, but then he’s never experienced the joys of modern north American soviet healthcare.

    Please do share any tips, advice, or resources you think are helpful; here or via email.

    • Thanks Saif, your kind words are appreciated!

      As far as my advice for home births goes, securing a midwife will be your first and most important obstacle. At least for us, we couldn’t have done it with just a doula – not only for the extra set of hands, but for the midwife’s appreciable medical knowledge, which is something doulas, as more holistic healers, really don’t have.

      Secondly, plan to go to the hospital with your midwife in the event that something does go awry during labour. That way, if you need to go, you just go “according to plan.” This will surely appease your father at the outset, and should your wife be doing well at home, stay and enjoy the comforts of your own nest. You’re unlikely to regret it.

      Lastly, I can’t speak highly enough of birthing pools. We rented one for $200 and it was worth every penny. And even if you don’t want to bring your new baby into the world via water, they’re excellent coping spaces in the latter stages of labour.

  4. cazalla says:

    Congratulations!

    All my best to you and your new family, Pete.

  5. mh says:

    Congratulations! And welcome. Now you know what it’s all about. :)

  6. […] sandwich thank you very much. I sure as fuck don’t and I very much intend to continue enough my decadent lifestyle, if you don’t mind. If you want to spread buttered garbage on your bread, there’s […]

  7. He in the web of trust yet? :D

  8. brendafdez says:

    You both look awesome. Although, I must admit my inner troll was really hoping you’d have a daughter. ;) Maybe next time…

    One interesting fact is, I tried countless Google searches to find that link. Nothing. It would output the most retarded results imaginable. It’s pretty much impossible to find, unless you can recall it literally word by word, in which case, you wouldn’t be searching for it. Bing, on the other hand, surprised me finding it with the first query I tried. And it surprised me again with the cleanness of the results. Interesting to see how quickly google is going to shit, to the point where former shit becomes tolerable in comparison.

  9. […] Niko‘s just 6 weeks old now but le petit monstre already boasts the length (and very nearly the strength) of a 7.5 month old. Seriously, at 70 cm in length, he’s in the 50th percentile… for a 32-week-old. And at 14 lbs., he’s the average mass of a 3-month-old Canadiani boy. […]

  10. […] tenderly, and eventually put them in your mouth, but softly and carefully now, like you’d put your first-born into your mouth (which, in a way…). In any event, don’t be too hasty with them as […]

  11. […] your descendants could know such heights, but only if you work really hard in this life to provide your children and your children’s children with the best opportunities for adaption in this crazy world of […]

  12. […] travels, incredibly few tribulations, a truly spectacular wedding, and a male heir later, and we’re barely the people we were when we started, and better for it. You […]

  13. […] the Bolt, the Tesla was the Trabant. From The heir apparent […]

  14. […] fingers crossed and barring an “accident” down a flight of stairs – set to be a first-time father by late summer. Not that it was an unplanned pregnancy, but neither did that seem to dampen the […]

  15. […] on-again-off-again annoyance that coincided with fatherhood. Maybe it was all the cradling to sleep. […]

  16. […] exactly getting more plentiful, nor is there a safer haven in these turbulent times. And if your heirs don’t heed your advice, fuck the stupid lot of ‘em. […]

  17. […] be to risk STDs and children. The latter in particular is a cross that I’m unwilling to bear (unless it’s intentional). Even with the pill, that forsaken shaman of working woman bondage, the effectiveness is only […]

  18. […] and necessary for the furthering of mankind. Yes, I’m going to have to explain this lulz to my heir someday, and I guarantee he’ll laugh in my face in much the same way that children whose […]

  19. […] It just had ports and a remote. And the remote had been summarily executed a few months earlier by a certain someone who couldn’t help but throw it off the edge of the balcony eighteen floors onto the […]

  20. […] of the blond wunderkind (pictured above), our first is 2.5-years-old now and has been surprisingly accommodating of the new addition given how much of […]

  21. […] girl was out of town at a bachelorette party this past weekend,i so it was just the heir apparent and I left to our own devices.ii What did we get up to ? For one, mini-golf at Fort […]

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