Friday, March 22, 2013

How My Wife and her Childbirth Team Are Like Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots

Although the National Football League is not currently in session, all eyes are on free agency and the upcoming football entry draft. And no one doubts that when New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick says he makes the decisions that he feels are in the best interest of his football team, he means it.

Bill Belichick, take notice. When my wife got pregnant, she went to work assembling the best childbirth team she could find. Like football players, the players involved with birthing babies -- the midwives, doulas, birthing centers, physicians, hospitals, nurses, pediatricians, and all of the related support players -- have certain characteristics, advantages, price tags, experience, and ultimately levels of value to the team. Alison surrounded herself with the perfect group of professionals for this Super Bowl of lifetime events. Even Coach Belichick could take a lesson from my wife when it comes to putting together the best possible team for the journey.

Once the team is in place, you wonder how the different parts and pieces will come together. Bill Belichick puts together the best game plan he can, but when the game gets underway, he makes adjustments and his players respond. None of the players on our team knew each other until we brought them together at Porter Hospital a couple of weeks ago. Alison's team showed the kind of flexibility, adaptability, and grace under pressure that Belichick must aspire to.

Finally, not every Patriots game is a blowout; they play some excruciatingly close games where Belichick really works to manage the clock. This requires poise -- even from the least experienced players. Our childbirth, which came a full two weeks after the due date, was scheduled for an induction. Literally in the 11th hour (and I mean, like, 10:30PM!), Ali went into labor. Which meant she didn't have to be induced. Obviously, the rookie on our team (that is, our baby!) didn't want to leave any time on the clock. Truly Belichick-ian. Is there really any doubt as to which NFL team this kid is going to root for when he gets older?

Thursday, March 21, 2013


The newest member of the Aiken team -- Gunnar -- arrived home on March 10th. Through a spokesperson, he says he really likes his new home -- especially his two watchdogs and watchcat.

Sleeping patterns in the Aiken household have changed since his arrival -- many late-night meetings have been held... and more frequent daytime naps. Gunnar has adopted several nicknames, including G-Force, G-Machine, Gunny, and Guppy.

Gunnar was born at Porter Birthing Center in Middlebury, Vermont -- and his arrival has definitely been the wildest experience of my life. I fully expect the rest of his upbringing to be no different.

Welcome Gunnar!