Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Birth Story: Daddy's Perspective

Originally posted here.

File this post away as "the one that got away" - or that I have been meaning to write for a long time but never got around to it. I would normally blame procrastination but actually have a much better reason.

Fatherhood is one of those things that, at least for me, you can prepare for but in the back of your mind know that you're not even remotely ready for. We found out a year ago that we were going to be parents. We found out 8 months ago that we were having a girl. Then in the middle of July, our little girl entered the world.

So how did that day go? I'm glad you asked, because you're about to get an inside look at what was going through this guy's mind.

The best place to start would be back in June, when G and I made two "trial runs" to the hospital because she had intense back pain which we thought could be back labor. I'll direct you here to get all the details. That experience helped us better prepare for the real thing - what to pack, where to go, layout of the hospital, and, for me, how much wi-fi there would be. A word of advice for fathers-to-be: take a comfortable pillow and blanket, because the hospital sofa is anything but.

Fast forward a few weeks later to a Sunday night/Monday morning. I was having some trouble sleeping, got up, and checked out the weather (shocker), which showed a line of thunderstorms approaching our area. After I finally fell back asleep, I awoke at 6 to get ready for work. There was one hiccup though. G was already awake and told me, "Babe, I'm having contractions." "Um.. what?!?" "I've been having them since 3:45 this morning." At that point, plans to go to work were abandoned (which turned out to be a good thing, because it rained ridiculously hard that morning), and I opted to work from home in the event of, well, you know. The day went on; the contractions continued every 15-30 minutes; and both of us went about our day as best as possible. Needing to get out of the house, both of us decided to head out to Sam's - just to walk around and enjoy what could very well be our last night with only two of us. We got back, ate dinner, and were going to play Mario Party 8 on the Wii... when we decided to go to Target. Again, another nice time for both of us to (slowly) meander around one of our favorite places.

By the time we got home, it was getting late. We were getting ready for bed when G expressed concern that her water may have been leaking. Not wanting to take any chances, we got our things together - calmly I might add - and made the 15-minute drive to the hospital. Another bit of advice for fathers-to-be: they're going to take your wife back for 5 hours 20 minutes to ask her some questions and make sure she feels safe with you; just be prepared to wait and be nervous. When they let me back to see her, she had progressed nicely, but the water had not broken, and our little girl was still not ready to arrive. After an hour, the nurse told us that, while we would have a baby in the next 24 hours, it was ok to go home, as nothing was really happening. We made the drive home, left all of our things packed, and climbed back into bed.

2:00 AM. I had been asleep for about an hour. My wife wakes me. "Babe, my water broke." Ok, time to go again. Now before I go any further, let me say that break does not even begin to describe it. It was a flood that soaked the sheets on her side of the bed. So again, we climb in the car (bags still in the trunk) and arrive back at the hospital. One of the nurses that saw us earlier happened to be walking by as we were checking in again. G was showing me more water that was leaking. Said nurse saw said water running down G's pants and uttered, "Oh yeah, her pants are soaked. Admit her now." More waiting on my part. Phone call to both of our moms. Update facebook status to "Water break does not even begin to describe what just happened." Come back to room to see my wife.

The morning went on. The contractions got stronger. G was in more pain. The epidural was given. G was not in pain anymore. Our moms both arrived within 30 minutes of each other, claiming they couldn't sleep. That was ok with us. Their being there helped pass the time quicker. They also rocked the cafeteria and scored me some bacon and chocolate milk. Yes, I am 11 years old. Around 9:00, the nurse checked G and said it was time to start pushing. The moms left. And I tried my best to avoid passing out for 30 minutes while G started pushing. More advice to dads-to-be: be ready to use a cold washcloth for your wife... and yourself. Of course, you probably do hospitals better than me.

The pushing passed the one-hour mark. At that point, G's doctor came in to assist. G continued to push, but that little girl just would not move past one tight spot. The doctor laid out our options: keep pushing for an hour and hope she moves OR have a C-section. Neither one of us wanted option 2. But at this point, with little progress made in 2 hours, we both agreed that the C-section was best. I notified our moms of the situation, got dressed up in some scrubs, hat, and mask, and walked with my wife to the surgery room...

Or not. It turns out I had to wait out in a hallway before being let in to see her. Longest. 15. Minutes. Ever. The thoughts are running through my head a mile a minute. Is everything ok? Is Ginny ok? Is our baby ok? Why am I waiting out here? I took a deep breath, said a prayer, and looked up to see one of the doctors coming to get me. Once in there, I sat by Ginny as they had the sheet up, working to get Ny out. One of the doctors told me to get the camera ready. I stood up, watched as they struggled to yank Ny out, and then smiled as we heard the most beautiful cry ever. She was finally here!

I walked over to the nurse's station while they cleaned Ny up, gave her a vitamin K shot, and cleaned up the poo that Ny took all over the equipment. That's my girl! She was still upset, as one would expect when being yanked into a cold room. I started talking to her, and, in an effort to secure an early pony promise, she immediately stopped crying and actually turned her head toward me. (There's a picture a nurse took of me with my hands in a position that shows how much I wanted to hold her.) Oh, man. She had me from that point on. They checked her length - 21 inches. They checked her weight - 9 pounds, 8 ounces! Then they swaddled her up tight and gave her to me. Let me tell you this - nothing will EVER prepare you for the moment you hold a new life that you created for the first time. I think I spent the next 10 minutes just staring at her. I brought her over to a now-sobbing G, who was getting sewn up. Little Ny just laid there in my arms and looked up. Once G was patched up, off we went to recovery.

That was the first time G got to hold Ny, who was still alert and looking up at us. I took pictures with the camera and cell phone, preparing for the exclusive facebook photos. We both sat there, exhausted from a long night but in awe that our baby girl was finally here. This little life that grew in G's tummy finally entered the world in all of her beauty and innocence. Even today, I am still blown away by holding her or rocking her or feeding her or just staring at her. From one single cell to a now 15-week old, healthy girl. What a blessing she is.

Daddy loves you, Ny.


1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the daddy's version of the birth story! I actually have never really asked my husband hwo he would recount the times are children were born! Thank you so much for sharing. Now I am off to have my husband write how he felt when our kiddos were born HA!