I’m back.

And by back, I mean back at work. 2 weeks went really, really fast. But here I am, on a Wednesday morning, in the church office, listening to Rage Against the Machine, trying to remember what a normal week looks like.

It’s amazing how a major life transition can scramble your brain. I feel like kid 2 has been a much easier transition than kid 1, but even so. I have been in family mode, hyper focused on caring for just 3 people. For 2 weeks, the outside world has continued spinning without me knowing what was going on. And for 2 weeks, I have continued living without the world knowing what was going on with me. It’s a strange thing, especially when my job is heavily relationship oriented. I’m used to being in peoples’ lives, and them being in mine. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to Focus on the Family (®) for a couple weeks, but I’m ready – and I think my family is ready – to reenter society.

So here’s what’s been going on for me in the last 2 weeks.

My 2nd son was born. It was a dramatic entry into the world, as all births are. Little Tobias Pax came into the world not able to get 2 full lungs’ worth of air, so after 10 minutes ex utero, he was whisked to the NICU for CPAP to force air into his lungs. It is supposedly pretty common, and the CPAP is really just pressurized oxygen to help drive the fluid from his lungs. Normally a newborn has time to get some of that fluid out in the birth canal, but Toby had to come out pretty fast due to the position in which he found himself upon delivery. The cord was around his neck, and it was being pulled on his exit, causing his heart rate to drop, and forcing the midwife and nurses to encourage a fast delivery. We were one contraction shy of needing him to be vacuumed out. All that to say, his transition from womb to world was faster than most, so his lungs didn’t have the same chance to work out. In the NICU, they did a chest xray, and found a pneumo thorax on his right lung. That is just a pocket of air between the lung and the chest wall. The doc said it’s not unusual, and its likely that a ton of babies have one that resolve itself without ever being noticed, since they don’t do chest xrays on every newborn. Anyway, they held Toby for 24 hours in the NICU, monitoring his vitals, as a precaution. If he was in our room, they would only check him every 4 hours or so, and they didn’t want to risk missing something, so they monitored him in the NICU. After the 24 hours, the pneumo thorax had shrunk a lot, but not enough to be gone. So they had us stay one more day, with Toby in our room. During this whole time, we were able to see him whenever we wanted, and he was able to nurse as often as he wanted. So we were not worried, we were not scared. Just glad they were taking care to make sure Toby was fine before sending him home. So thanks, Kaiser doctors!

Most of our stay in the hospital was spent trying to think of a middle name. For the entire pregnancy, we really only had one serious contender for the first name. Others came and went without impressing us. But Tobias was our favorite from the beginning. Middle names were all over the place. I really like the name Calvin, mostly because of Calvin and Hobbes, the comic strip. That kid is awesome. But we looked up the meaning and it means bald. So we had to decide whether we wanted a name that sounded cool or meant something cool. Meaning won. So then we went crazy looking up names that meant something. There are a billion websites that you can look up names by meanings, which was awesome (other than I had abysmal internet connection on my phone, so it took FOREVER to find anything). We started by looking for names that meant “Breath,” to tell the story of his birth and the first day of his life. There are some great girl names for breath, such as Avalyn, which means “beautiful breath of life.” How perfect. The only guy name we saw that looked promising was Abel. We decided not to name him after the first murder victim in human history. We then went to things like wind and air, to continued frustration. Then, as we spent time with him, we observed this kid is STRONG. I was trying to wrap him up and he was resisting and I was like “Dang, kid. You strong!” But we didn’t really like many of the strong names. Angus means “exceptionally strong” but I wasn’t feeling super Irish at the time. Then the word peace came to mind, looking at how peaceful Toby was after his dramatic entry. I remembered from my 3 years of Latin in high school that Pax is the Latin word for peace. (ok, I remembered it from high school, but really it popped in my head in the form of the Gloria from Bach’s B-minor Mass: Et in terra, in terra Pax. And yes, Tobias Pax, was in the world). The only other contender at the time was Zephyr, which means strong wind. But…..yeah, Pax won. We thought he would hate us when he was learning to spell his name.

Since then, time has flown by. Yesterday, Toby was 2 weeks old. He’s doing great. Super chill, and living into his name. We’ve had lots of family, and will have more coming. PJ has been adjusting really well. I was worried about that. But he is SO happy to have a little brother, and is constantly giving him kisses and wanting to be around him. Here’s hoping it lasts! Today is Paola and my 9 year anniversary, and we celebrated last night with sushi, since she couldn’t eat it it for the last 9 months. I asked, and she said she wants to stay married another year, so thats good news. She is amazing. A great mom. She has to take care of  a toddler, an infant, and a husband who might as well be another child. She pulls it off. I don’t feel like any of her boys are neglected. Except Tim, our cat. She pushes him away. But that’s because he’s super annoying.

I feel like it’s a good time to be coming back to work, to ministry, to life with others. The Gotholds are back. And happy to be so.

Haven't killed each other yet!
Haven’t killed each other yet!

One thought on “Back

  1. Love your writings Peter. So very expressive. Looking forward to having you & Paola back in the swing of things. We are so blessed to be able to know you, worship with you & share all of God’s joy with your family.

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