The Story of Pegifi
Once upon a time, there was a happily married man (that’s me!), married to the girl of his dreams. We’d been married for a year and my wife was pregnant with our first child. Seven months pregnant to be exact. It was mid-December, not long before Christmas. The baby was due mid-January.
Next year had all the ingredients to be a great year and I could not wait!
Whilst the future was looking promising, the present was not so good… The pregnancy had not been easy, with my wife suffering from pre-eclampsia.
On this day we ventured for a routine appointment with the obstetrician to check the health of my wife and our unborn child. The frequency of checkups increased as the birth drew closer. Today’s checkup was to be a routine checkup. Or so I naively thought.
The checkup started normally. The exchange of pleasantries. “How are you?” “How is everything?” “How is work?” And then from an outer orbit of pleasantries, the obstetrician flew in for a closer look, first looking at her computer as results from the most recent tests downloaded from the Cloud. Numbers and words, meaningless to ae non-medico like me.
A shake of the head.
Is this good? Is this bad? Or she just thinking of another patient? Or another subject.
And then the obstetrician flew in even closer, asking some questions. A physical examination. A discussion. And then the pronouncement: “We are going to deliver today. This afternoon. Drive your wife to the hospital, then go home and pick up her things, and come back to the hospital. We will perform the cesarean at 2 pm. So there is plenty of time. Everything will be fine. Remember. Drive your wife to the hospital. Go home and pick up her belongings. Then come straight back to the hospital.”
A fog descended over my brain.
A million thoughts all at once, and at the same time no thoughts whatsoever. Everything is good, but now the delivery is being brought forward to today? Today! Today is early? One month early. Will our child be OK? Will my wife be OK? What do I need to do first? How much time do I have to get back home and come back again? This is crazy. CRAZY! God, I hope everything will be okay…
I looked at my wife. She looks beautiful. She looks unwell. She looks nervous. Oh boy, this is going to be… I have no idea how this is going to be. And I’m starting to feel scared because I have no idea about anything. The obstetrician is talking and so is my wife, but I really don’t hear anything. Mumbling, and a huge fog, numbing my senses.
Take her to hospital. Go home and get her things. Bring them back to the hospital.
The obstetrician’s instructions are the only coherent thoughts in my head, as I swim in a thousand thoughts and no thought simultaneously.
I feel like I’m drowning in a vacuum.
“OK,” I think to myself, as my male instincts kick in, “let’s simplify this. It’s not good because we will be delivering a month early. Is a month early bad? I don’t know. It’s not good. But it’s not crazy early. OK. We’ll rate this as neutral. ”
“Drive her to hospital? It can’t be good that we not making an appointment for delivery at a future date. It’s happening today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. So it’s urgent. Unless the obstetrician is away next week? Holidays? Conference? But then they would find someone else. OK. We’ll rate this as negative.”
“Take her to hospital. Okay, I get to drive. Not an ambulance. It’s not an emergency. But it’s… I don’t know what the right word is. And I don’t have time to nitpick. It’s not bad. And it’s not good. Again, it’s neutral?”
This simplification could go on forever. Simplification, or procrastination? My brain feels like a car stuck in mud; wheels spinning but going nowhere. Whatever this is, this procrastination is not making me feel better, it’s not making me any more knowledgeable, and it’s definitely not getting my wife to the hospital. So it’s time to get out of the mental mud and move.
Take her to hospital. Go home and get her things. Bring them back to the hospital.
“And definitely don’t look like you’re going to have a panic attack,” I tell myself. Although I didn’t feel panicked, I certainly didn’t feel relaxed, maybe anxious. But first things first, let’s get to the car and get to the hospital. The walk to the car had a decidedly different feel to our walk from the car to visit the obstetrician’s office. Carefree chatter had been replaced by a nervous silence. Although it may not have been a nervous silence, perhaps more of a preoccupied silence.
If I was close to losing it, I can’t imagine what my wife was thinking or how she was feeling. I don’t think there is any way you can be truly be prepared for childbirth, and this with everything going according to plan and no surprises. The pregnancy was not following the script before the appointment with the obstetrician, and now that the cesarean had been brought forward to this afternoon, the script had been thrown out the window.
Go to the hospital and have a cesarean.
I look at my wife. Even at this crazy moment, she is beautiful. She looks serene, with a hint of urgency in her eyes. It’s true, I think, catching a glimpse our reflection as we walk past closed mirrored elevator doors. Women are tougher than men. She looks resplendent; I look shocked. She must be awash with mixed feelings, a touch of excitement at what could be, and a splash of trepidation, knowing of all the complications that could arise. But there was no exit, no escape clause, and no stop button. The cesarean was going to happen, and she walked with purpose.
The trip from the obstetrician’s office to the hospital was a non-event. Not even a 10-minute drive, the obstetrician’s office was just up the street from the hospital. Or in this case, just up the divided, busy main road. Nonetheless, being mid-morning on a weekday, the traffic was more than manageable and the drive to the hospital was accomplished in no time at all. As an added bonus there is dedicated parking for expectant mother’s drop-off. The parking was not too hard to find, there are available spots, and it’s just a short walk to the lifts and then to the ward. Greeted by the charge nurse who offers the same instructions.
“Go home, get your wife’s belongings and come back.”
I’m getting the feeling that these simple instructions to all fathers-to-be who wear a “what-the-heck-is-happening” look on their face.
The drive home to get my wife’s prepacked suitcase was like the drive to drop her off at the hospital; straightforward and a non-event. Was this a sign of things to come? I certainly hoped so. Despite the ease in which I was able to get home, I didn’t feel at ease. Whilst the obstetrician (and now the charge nurse too) had given me simple instructions, this wasn’t the complete list I had to do.
There were two additional tasks I had on my to-do list prior to the birth. When I woke up that morning I had incorrectly assumed that I had a couple of weeks to get to these two tasks. First, paint the nursery and the walls of the staircase. And second, buy my wife a gift to celebrate the birth of our first child. The first task would be time-consuming, but not a stretch. I had bought the paint, had paint brushes, rollers, extensions, and ladders, so it was just a matter of dedicating some time to getting the painting done.
The second task, get a gift, would also not be a stretch. I wanted the perfect gift, and we had discussed jewelry, specifically, something from Tiffany’s, would make the perfect gift to celebrate the birth. The Tiffany shop was literally in walking distance from our home; in fact, if I held my breath at the entrance to our building, I could just about run to Tiffany’s in a single breath. So getting to Tiffany’s would not an effort.
As I lay in bed that morning l thought to myself that these two tasks were under control. I would get the painting done and buy the gift with no stress. Plenty of time! And then we visited the obstetrician and all my plans flew out the window. But that was then, and now with my wife’s suitcase, I had to head back to the hospital for the birth. The birth! A thought both exciting and terrifying!
Again the drive was a straightforward non-event. Traffic flowed and parking was seamless. Apart from the huge shock that the delivery of our child had been brought forward by a month, the day was following the script prescribed by the obstetrician. Or so I thought…
After receiving directions at the nurses’ station, then donning the appropriate gear to enter the delivery room, I nervously walked into the delivery room. Or, to be more accurate, the nurse pushed me into the delivery room. Having no prior experience with hospitals whatsoever, I may as well have walked onto the moon. A room full of medical staff and my wife lying on the table as the cesarean was being performed. She looked beautiful but nervous. There was a sense of control from the medical staff.
The obstetrician, seeing me standing there clueless, told me to hold my wife’s hand and support her. Without hesitation, I walked to my wife and held her hand as our child was brought into the world.
I was ecstatic! It was a boy, and boy was he tiny. Happy doesn’t even touch the edge of how I felt in this moment.
“Would you like to cut the cord?” I was asked.
“I’m the least qualified person in the room,” I responded, not wanting to interfere in the delivery.
“Don’t worry, it’s just like cutting calamari.”
That must have been their ice-breaker because the comment made me laugh out loud.
I cut the cord, and my wife held our baby for the first time. Even just writing this makes me almost cry with happiness.
The next thing I knew our baby was taken to the nursery for premature babies and for the surgery to my wife was to be completed. I followed the pediatrician to the nursery. Our boy was tiny and looked frail. He was put in a special crib with oxygen to help him breathe.
This wasn’t good.
I sat and watched him struggle to breathe with the pediatrician who monitored him acutely. We sat there for fifteen minutes watching this beautiful, frail creation breath. Each minute felt like an hour. I didn’t know for sure but I was pretty positive that things were not the best, as the pediatrician had not left my son’s side since his entrance into the world. After thirty minutes I started to get nervous. Really nervous. Medical specialists are generally overbooked and time-poor, so it can’t be a good sign that he was continuing to monitor our son for this long a period. After forty minutes I had to wipe my hands because they were so sweaty. How long could this go on for? My son looked frail and tired, and I did not think that he could continue to struggle like this for much longer.
After forty-five minutes our son seemed to start breathing with ease, and the pediatrician, who had been sitting with hunched shoulders, relaxed. After an hour, the pediatrician stood up and assured me that everything was now looking positive. I shook his hand and thanked him profusely. What had been a rough start for our son was over. Things were looking good. Now to check on my wife.
My wife looked tired but beautiful. The medication had spaced-out, and she was saying the craziest (and funny) things. The obstetrician said that despite the issues my wife had had, she was now looking good. I thanked her, and all the stress I had been carrying evaporated. It felt like someone had been standing on my chest, but had now stepped off.
What a day. What a great day!
It was now early evening. My wife was expected to have a long sleep, and I was told not to come back until mid-morning the following day.
First things first, a million phone calls to share the wonderful news. Then I had to paint and buy the gift.
Easy. Or so I thought.
Painting, or any task which you usually don’t do, can seem easy from the outside. The painting couldn’t be that hard I convinced myself. The walls had been painted four years earlier, so the painting I had to do was just to get things beautiful before our son came home. Two coats of paint were all that was required. And then in the morning stroll over to Tiffany’s to pick up the gift before going back to the hospital.
How hard could that be? Leaving the two most important things in my life at the hospital I drove home with a clear plan of what I had to do.
By the time I had changed and was ready to start painting it was 9 pm. Wow, its already late and nothing had been done. I surveyed the work to be done. The skirts and doors were fine, as was the ceiling. I’ll paint the walls only in the nursery and on the staircase. There is no way that I can do the timberwork too, and really no pressing need to, I tell myself. Before I opened a can of paint I had already cut down what I would do. Not a good start. Time to start taping.
I finish the taping and looked at my watch. It’s now 10.30 pm and I still am yet to open a can of paint. It’s going to be a long night, but I’m running on adrenaline after such an amazing day. The nursery was a rectangular shaped room with a door on one side, mirror cupboard doors on another, and a window to let in light opposite the cupboard doors. Although at this time there was no light coming in; the night provided me with a stark reminder that I needed to get moving. Painting the nursery is straightforward, and the first coat is done without working up a sweat. I look at my phone to check the time. It’s midnight. Eeek! It’s going to be a late, late night. Now for the first coat on the staircase.
Unlike the nursery, the staircase is anything but straightforward. At the highest point, the wall on the staircase is at least 14 foot high. I’m no painter, but I have all the tools to make this happen. That being said, getting edges right, or not looking horrible takes time. Too much time. I’m done by 3 am. The paint is dry enough in the nursery for a second coat so I get cracking, but by now fatigue is setting in and what feels like a cracking pace is, in reality, a crawl. I finish the nursery by 5 am and having a coffee when my phone rings; it’s my wife!
She’s feeling better, but really tired. Our son is doing well. She is going to rest, so I should come in at 11. And don’t worry about doing the painting.
I said that the nursery is done and after one more coat and the staircase would be done too. I tell her I love her, we finish the call, and I knocked off the second coat on the staircase and cleaned up the mess. It was now 9 am. Tiffany’s opened at 10 am, so I had plenty of time to have a shower, grab some breakfast, buy the perfect gift and head into the hospital. But after pulling an all-nighter on the painting I was tired and then some.
At ten past ten, I walked into Tiffany’s on a mission. I had my budget. I knew what my wife liked, and I knew what she loved. After 30 minutes of looking at so many different beautiful items, my head was swimming. I was tired and confused by the all-nighter I had just pulled, and the vast selection of potential gifts in front of me only made my head swim even more. And I desperately wanted to see my wife and our child, so I just to grab anything and get to the hospital. But what about the perfect gift? I had no idea what to get. Absolutely no idea, so I thought I’d grab their brochure and let her choose.
After all she had gone through, and what my wife had achieved, I celebrated the moment and acknowledged my unwavering love and support for her with a brochure from Tiffany’s. OMG. The lack of sleep didn’t help my thought process, and neither did the premature birth. But that didn’t matter, and to be honest, wasn’t even relevant. I had 8 months to buy the perfect gift and failed at the last moment. My wife was confused and deflated when I gave her the brochure.
Fail. Big time fail.
This was not the only time I have failed badly when I have given gifts to the special and important people in my life. What I realized in these moments is that with life being so busy, and with so many options out there, there has to be a better way.
A better way?
But there wasn’t a community solely focussed on finding the perfect gift. And that’s where the idea for Pegifi came from.
At the end of the day, there are not that many important, milestone events where it is so crucial to get the right gift, without fail.
And with this in mind, we have created Pegifi. A source of information, a community, to help you (and me!) find the perfect gift.
As with most important things in life, finding the perfect gift is not easy. It can take time, it can cost money, and can require effort, and it can take time. What we hope to do with Pegifi is provide a valuable resource to help you ensure that when there is an important milestone for someone important in your life that you do not let that important person down; rather, that you have the perfect gift to demonstrate just how special that person is.
Life doesn’t always follow the script.
Pegifi is here to help you find the perfect gift, especially when life goes off script.
Sound good? Then stay tuned!