Friday, December 12, 2008

On Birth

We just got home from the hospital a little while ago, and I have to say, we're all very glad to be home. I thought I'd take a minute and document the events of our son's birth, before the details go the way of the buffalo secondary to diaper induced amnesia.

My wife was having contractions all day on Wednesday, starting about 1100. They were regular (about 5 minutes apart), but short in duration (20-30 seconds), and pretty mild. I went and took my Nursing Concepts final at 1400, and was home by about 1630. The contractions were still regular, closer together (about 3 minutes apart), but they were still mild and short in duration. We were both convinced it was false labor.

About 1700 we went to Target as a family and shopped for Christmas gifts for a local family in need our small group has adopted for the holiday season. At Target, the contractions started to increase in intensity, and my wife was having a hard time concentrating on what we were doing while she was having one. After we got home, they continued to intensify, but we both thought that she was just getting impatient, and they were getting to her more.

About 1945 a friend came over to stay with my wife and the girls while I ran to BabysRUs to redeem a "member's only" coupon available to be used that day only, 8-11pm. I got a really cool double stroller we both liked for 20% off--we had set aside the coupon for that specifically. She had been doing ok, but when I got home at 2100, it's like she knew it was ok to let things progress because her contractions intensified in a major way. So, we call her mom to ask her to go ahead and make the 90 minute drive to our house so that she'd be available to watch the girls in case we needed to head to the hospital. By 2130 it's clear that we need to go, at least so we know where we stand. My wife hopes she's 2cm and I'm hopeful, but doubtful that she's that far along.

We call the midwife on duty on the way to the hospital (30 minute drive) and let her know we were on our way. 2200 we arrive and the place is hoppin. The check-in lady is in full offensive mode trying to delay our admission so she can get caught up, and terribly unhappy we were there at all. Meanwhile my wife's knees are buckling with every contraction. Our midwife happens to walk past the desk, sees us and the condition my wife is in, rescues us and takes us directly to the back. In the triage room wife gets changed, and lets me know that she will be getting an epidural afterall, even though that was not the plan. And I was inclined to agree with her, if she was in this much pain already at the very beginning of labor, it was going to be a long night without pain meds. The midwife comes in about 2245 and checks her--6cm, fully effaced, and progressing rapidly. My wife and I are in utter shock.

They stick us in a spare L&D room, and work to get an IV started and bolus run in so she can have the epidural. Second stick takes, but is positional. And SLOW. So they pressure cuffed the IV bag, and got probably 500ml's in before my wife's membranes rupture at 2300. My wife starts to get panicky, because we all know that means she's probably out of time for an epidural. Now we're waiting on the midwife because she's delivering another baby. The L&D nurse checks my wife again, and she's complete, save a little lip that easily deforms with finger pressure. The midwife is now stitching up her patient she just delivered, but my wife is INSISTENT that NOW is the time to push. The L&D nurses are in a panic because they don't want to catch the baby. It's all I can do to help keep my wife calm and dealing with the contractions.

At 2315 the midwife hits the door, walks into her gown, gloves, face shield. The nurses have flipped my wife to her back, prepped the end of the bed, and given my wife pushing instructions. The midwife sits down and my wife gives her first push. Good push, but a lot of yelling. Midwife says don't yell, focus your energy into your pelvis. Next contraction is already here, and she bears down. Baby is crowning, and wife continues bearing down. Head is delivered. 30 second break, midwife tries to suction, but no time. Contraction. Push again, and the shoulders are through. Then the rest of baby Drofen slips out of the darkness and into our world at 2320.

He's pinking up by the time they get him up on mom's chest, and he's getting toweled off. They clamp the cord, I cut it, and then he's under the warmer being assessed while the midwife is repairing my wife's 2nd degree midline perineal tear. Everything happened so fast that there aren't even stickers printed yet. So while the nurse is handwriting out stickers, I have several moments with baby alone under the warmer. Luckily I had my camera all set to go, and got some amazing pictures. Baby is totally calm, just looking around, taking it all in. Very little crying. In fact he didn't want to clear his lungs, but finally a few hours later they were clear. By the time he's 15 minutes old he's back on mom's chest, latched on, and feeding. Post partum was so busy that we didn't have a room and ended up staying the night in the delivery room. Worked out better though I think.

Everything happened so fast that no one even knew we had a birth plan in our chart. Things happened that we didn't want. Things didn't happen that we did want. But the whole thing was an amazing experience that we wouldn't trade for the world.

Now, our early morning transfer to post partum? Not so amazing. But that's a story for another post.


  1. WOW! Congratulations to you both on the birth of your little one--you wife sounds like an amazing, strong woman! :) tahnks for sharing your story and always posting such positive things on my blog!

    PS Love the new background!

  2. Wow....props to your wife for tolerating that pain for so long. Childbirth is excrutiating, but so rewarding and beautiful. As they say...there is no beauty without pain. Congratulations to you both. I cannot wait to see the photos. POST THEM SOON! :)

  3. Great story, and glad you got it all down for posterity!

    I was never so lucky to have quick labor/deliveries. The second was slower and more painful than the first - that ain't right.

    Congrats to your super-wife; she will be sore with that tearing, I know that. But you have a happy healthy wife and son, so it's all worth it, of course!

    Sleep well....bwoohahahah....!!

  4. Lovely story. Your wife is a trooper.

  5. Wow! Wonderful!! Praise God, if I may. :) Sorry that things didn't happen according to plan, but you guys are amazing for caring foremost about the safety of mom and baby.

  6. Great post, good to get it all down! Again, congrats to your whole family. Liam is such a beautiful baby!

  7. Thank you to everyone. You guys have no idea how good it feels to post and then get so many comments. You guys are great!!

  8. Congratulations on the birth of your son! Enjoy and Happy Holidays!