24 November 2014

My Baby Girl ...

My baby girl, otherwise known as the surprise was born on the 16th of April in 2014 in Hollywood, Florida at 1452. She weighed a mere 6 pound and 15 ounces, but was born a fighter. It has been the most incredible experience of my life. We named her Aila Kathryn Ileana Watt, but she earned that name is the way she came out. Although we gave her a unique first name, she has some tough names to live up to. My mother Kathryn, whom needs no introduction; and Ileana, for Aimee’s cousin who is just an incredible person. She carries my name, and I only hope I can be an example for her to look up to.

It did not hit me until I saw her first time. I had seen the pregnancy, all the medical appointments, the ultrasounds and the delivery. I could see it was real for Aimee, the feelings and the changes she was feeling. The discomfort and the joy whenever the baby would move inside her. Aimee had that connection that I could only dream to understand. For me, it became real when I held her, touched her, saw her and perceived the miracle that I helped make for the first time.

It is a feeling I cannot put into words, nor can a picture capture the depth of the emotion. I can tell the story in the hopes that there is a glimpse of that truth in my words. Aimee and I went into the hospital the day before the delivery because she had not gone into labor, she was going to be induced. I barely slept that night, knowing that the following day everything would change. I trusted the Doctor, the nurses were wonderful and my Mother and Alba would be there with me to see this thing through.

The following day came without labor or any sign that the baby was ready to come into the world. It was six hours of watching the monitor, and Aimee pushing as hard as I had ever seen her doing anything in her life. We watched the heart rate monitor drop from 150 beat per minute (bpm), down to 80 bpm. My medical knowledge knew this was not right, but I had to be stoic and strong for the woman I loved doing something that the toughest person would cringe at. This happened multiple times, every time the delay to 150 bpm getting slightly longer. The nurse tried everything, but in the end fetal distress was imminent if Aimee pushed anymore. The Doctor made the call for the C-Section and off we went.

They had me suit up outside as they got Aimee ready, I was grateful for modern medicine and the abilities we have to perform these procedures. I could only imagine what this must have been like before we could possibly know the fetal heart rate. My heart and thoughts were with Aimee and the little child that was just waiting to come out. I knew everything would be alright, and my medical experience allowed me to remain calm. When they finally let me in the door, the curtain was up and all I could see was Aimee’s worried face. They gave me a chair and had me sit by her. I watched as the heads scurried above the sheet blocking my view just waiting for the signal to look over the sheet and behold the miracle for the first time.

I finally was told to stand up as I saw the tiny blueish baby meet the world. They handed me the snips and had me cut the umbilical cord. Moving her to the table I watched as they cleared the mouth, nose and just waiting for her to take her first breath. Nothing seemed to happen. Aimee was looking at me, asking me if everything was okay. I took her hand and smiled to the best of my ability masking my own worries. It seemed like an eternity watching the force air, oxygen and continued effort to get her to breath. I knew they were doing all they could, and that alone kept me calm.

Then like nothing was wrong at all, She cried out in frustration that she was cold, wet and pissed off. They wrapped her up and placed her on Aimee’s chest and all seemed good in the world. Tears filled Aimee’s eyes as I asked her if she was an Aila? She nodded and we both enjoyed the moment of seeing Aila for the first time.

I recall like it was yesterday. I accompanied Aila to the nursery as Aimee went to recovery. I was looking at her under the heat lamp, reaching with a finger to touch her, hardly believing it was real. I saw behind her pale eyes a spark light up as the light hit them. There was a life behind there, intelligence, a being that would be looking up to me as an example. Aila was real, and in that moment everything had changed.

16 November 2014

The Proposal, The House and the Surprise ...

I have told you about the ring, now the story goes on to the proposal, the house and the surprise. During this same time I had decided it was time to purchase a home instead of renting. Why pay someone else when you can pay yourself? I knew the area I wanted and was pre-approved for a VA Loan to a fair amount of money to purchase a good house. Aimee set me up with the listings coming to my email and I had spend hours looking through the many houses.

Most of these homes were not fitting to what I wanted, but I found a few that were worth looking at. We found the first home we looked at relatively quick and at first glance, this was the one. It had a yard, pool, close to major roads, in a neighborhood and was relatively new. In addition, Aimara had known the owners of this house and it was a great home to them. The only question was why it was still on the market? We ended up calling it the “poof house” due to a major electrical problem that had issues with the water leaking on the wires. After looking at around thirty houses of either to steep of a price, an owner not wanting to sell, a undesirable neighborhood or not accepting the VA loan; we finally found the house we reside in now. It may have taken three months of solid searching, but we found the best neighborhood, good neighbors, close to the beach and essentially all the things Aimee wanted. We closed on the house and my plan was set in place.

Now imagine a trip to beautiful mountain landscape surrounding a tranquil lake. In my mind this is Pinecrest. Where I would propose at one of my favorite viewpoints looking towards the sea. The sun sets perfectly over the mountains as they roll down to the valley with the verdure of the trees and landscape as it disappears with the sun. On one of those rare days, you can even see Mount Diablo in the distance peaking above the clouds in the horizon. It was a idea I had had for several years, But I had finally found the right woman. I suppose as it was meant to, that plan changed. A simple Statement That Aimee was feeling a little tired and an inability to take vacation due to a new job. This fatigue happened regularly for a few weeks with the idea developing, but comfortably ignored until it became the most probable scenario.

I had to tactfully tell Aimee to “Pee on a Dam Stick!” The test came in a pack of two and the first test was not so certain. Of the cross, which is suppose to be obvious, the one line was too faint to determine if it was positive or not. As excited by the prospect as we were terrified, we had to wait till the following day to try the other test.

I was working in the patio when I heard a high pitch “Babe!” and a very excited Aimee jumping up and down in the living room. I would have to be blind to not see the excitement and joy in her face as she showed me a shaking digital test with the word “Pregnant.” We celebrated and started making the calls to those that would have to know and keep it a little secretive until the end of the first trimester. These people included my parents and Aimee’s Sister Alba.

Now keep in mind, Aimee had not met my parents yet. The plan was to propose after she met them in California and were at the cabin, but with a new job for her and the surprise of the pregnancy; that had not happened. Needless to say, she was a little nervous. I made the call and told my mother we were expecting and of course, she wanted to immediately speak to the mother to be. I handed the phone to Aimee and watched as she nervously put the phone to her ear. A wide smile and tears to the eyes accompanied the muted voice I heard through the phone. “You made my dreams come true…” and just like that, I knew everything would be all right.

The location had changed, but my plan was still plausible. My parents were coming out for a visit, and Aimee would meet them, then I could propose. I had this ring burning a hole in my pocket and it was about two weeks before the visit when I was asked why I had not proposed yet. I told my mother that is would be disrespectful to them to propose to girl they had not met. My mother said that she was pretty much Part of the Family and I should go ahead and do it even if they had not met her.

So now the plan had changed once again, but I did my best. We had been in the house for about a week and I had already painted the bedroom because Aimee wanted color on the wall. I told her that we needed a break and I wanted to take some photos of the sunset at the beach. We loaded the car, headed out and started a trek down the beach with a little more complaining than I had planned for. I thought all I would have to worry about was he seeing the ring box bulging in my pocket. When she asked why we were still walking or going so far?, I would tell her the frame was not quite right. And to be fair, we probably walked about a sixth of a mile on the beach before I finally found a place secluded enough and a beautiful backdrop. I snapped a few photos to test the light and the settings. I asked Aimee to be the subject to ensure I had the right setting, and then made my move. I stepped in to do a picture with her, the camera set on the ten-second timer. I watched the light indicate that it was time and as it was about to shoot the photo; I took a knee and the ring out of my pocket. Holding it out towards her I asked, “Will you do me the honor?”

This was followed by a flurry of “Babe” and “Really”, but she said yes after what seemed like an eternity. It was probably only a few seconds, but I knew she would say yes. I slipped the ring onto her finger and admired as the setting sun refracted on its tanzanite stone and small spiraling diamonds. It was not the biggest ring like I wrote before, however it was unique and beautiful to what symbolized my passion for her.

09 November 2014

The Ring

I cannot tell the story of the getting my first home without telling the story of the pregnancy, the marriage and the ring. Yes, the pregnancy came before the marriage, but a wise man once said the apple does not fall far from the tree. It was May of 2013 and I had just returned from my deployment to South America, as amazing as the experience was, it was nice to be home. Unfortunately I came home to a my still insane landlords that figured the law had no bearing on them and would ignore it even if it quoted word for word. With that said, renewing my lease at the house in Hollywood was not an option and my beautiful soon to be fiancé was a real estates agent. I had missed Aimara the entire deployment, and had decided that is was time to take the next step, although she did not know this yet.

 There was one requirement on the ring that Aimara dreamed of, it had to be tanzanite. My mistake, let me explain. We had gone on a family cruise to Atlantis the previous fall and found our way into an overpriced jewelry store. Aimara had been telling that she liked sapphire gems. I had told her about my mothers ring that had been stolen, how much I had liked the tanzanite. I asked the representative if she had any tanzanite, she showed us a few stones and Aimara was hooked. Like a fair weather Dolphins fan, the sapphire could not compare. I accept responsibility, but the stage was set and it had to be tanzanite.

I had been shopping online and looking in several jewelry stores to find a ring that that was not only tanzanite, but as beautiful and unique as Aimara. All the rings seemed to be “run of the mill”, nothing stood out as her. They were to dainty, or to gaudy, the edges were sharp or they lacked definition. Call me critical, but I knew I would find the perfect ring for her. One that would have that “wow” factor; yet practical at the same time. I wondered into a store near the house, when I noticed a large selection of settings. I took my time to look through and finally found one that had spiraling diamonds with room for a gem to rest in the center. A ring that was simple, elegant and stunning. I tested the setting with a few stones and hoped that It would be there when I could purchase it.

One day it happened that Aimara and I had to the Verizon store, which happened to be next to the jewelry store. I brought Aimara in there just to take a look. She took a look at the stones, and at the pre-made rings. I gave her a leisurely time to take it all in. I discreetly showed her the settings like it was the first time I had seen them. She looks for a short while when I pretended to notice the one I had already picked and asked to see it. Her eyes lit up and a broad smile spread across her face. Her hand went out and she nearly jumped in place just seeing it. They placed it on her hand and she walked around the store admiring the setting while I asked her about what she would prefer in a stone. When we finally got the setting off her finger, I put down the deposit while she had to take a call outside. It was a while before I could pay the balance down, but I had found the perfect ring for Aimara.

05 November 2014

A much needed Update ....

It has been an eventful and unforgettable time since I last wrote. It has been a while and I don’t even want to think how long it has been. In lew of the lack of writing it has been the best part of my life thus far. Challenges and all, I would not change it for the world. I have established a very nice life out here in Florida and forged some incredible friendships. I have purchased a house, Married a beautiful woman, had a beautiful baby girl, went sky diving, and have found a very rewarding challenge in Aikido. It has been busy, but a wonderful time. It has not been the typical experiences that I enjoy chronicling, but it has still been an adventure. I look forward to letting you all what I have experienced and how I have grown. Until then, enjoy every moment.