It’s been a couple weeks since my last post, but I don’t feel the need to apologize because I am also the father of an 8 day old son, I’m sure most of you will understand. Needless to say I’ve been busy. Now that I am back, I want to post about the experience my wife and I had on November 4, 2012;
Firstly, it’s important that I mention that my son was due to be born on November 4th, so we were prepared. In fact my first son, who is now 3, was born a day early so we were actually prepared to meet this new bundle of joy on November 3rd. If you are a parent of multiples or planning on it, then I am sure someone has already told you “The second child is always a faster birth”… but is it really? I mean he was already a day “late” compared to his brother. We weren’t concerned though because my first son was born at 6lbs and 6oz so he would have benefitted a few more days in momma to grow. All that being said, when we woke up on the morning of the 4th, I asked how my wife was feeling. She said she was awoken earlier around 2am with a “cramp”, but it didn’t feel like a contraction, and hasn’t had any more since. We woke up my son and we all went downstairs for breakfast. Throughout the morning she got a few more odd “cramps” but still nothing that felt like a real contraction or even Braxton Hicks. Regardless we felt maybe it was a good time to go for a walk around the mall and do some window shopping and see where things went.
Once we got to the mall and walked around, the “cramps” increased in amount, but not in severity. It was starting to become apparent that this indeed was “Early Labour”, so we paged our midwife to give her the heads up that she needs to be on standby. Our choice for getting a midwife wasn’t out of a hippie au natural vision we had, and it wasn’t anything against modern medicine or doctors. My wife just preferred a midwife because of the added care we would receive in our home after the birth. We had one for our first son, and were more than pleased, especially when it came to helping get the latch to breastfeed. Many people with Midwives deliver at home although we still opted to have the midwives deliver the baby in a hospital in case something went wrong.
It was now 11:30am and the midwife was paged and all pertinent family members and friends were updated via text (I love living in the modern age of the iPhone). We were starting to get pretty hungry, as this was the morning that all the clocks were turned back one hour so it actually felt like 12:30pm. We decided to eat, and as such, we felt glutinous and went for KFC. I can literally count on one hand the amount of times we have eaten at KFC in the past 7-10 years, but what the pregnant lady wants, the pregnant lady gets. Of course I couldn’t make her feel like a pig and let her eat alone, so I indulged as well (Something I may have done a bit too much over the last 3 weeks. FYI sympathy weight is real… look it up!)
After lunch we went home, put my son down for a nap and relaxed, 4pm rolled around and we decided it was time for my wife’s mom to come and pick-up my son. The “cramps” were slowing turning into what my wife described as ‘Real contractions’ so better to have my son go now before things got real. That was one of our best decisions. About an hour later, and another walk around the block, we decided to relax in front of the TV and watch some SNL on the PVR from the night before. I remember looking at the clock at 5:42pm and saying “You know we should really go have dinner at your moms now even if you’re not hungry, you never know when this will hit and we may not eat for a while. Well before we even got to the front door with our shoes and coat on, my wife had 3 contractions. Real contractions. Up until that point I had been timing each contraction with an app on my iPhone from noon until now (Again, love my iPhone). The pattern was pretty spaced out except the last three. Suddenly they were three minutes apart and about 0:45 in length. We decided to high tail it to my mother-in-laws (who live 2km away from us and also on the way to the hospital) and try and give our son a kiss goodnight before the long haul. Our first son took 26 hours to be delivered so we expected much of the same with this one. On the way to my in-laws house it was safe to assume I didn’t need to time the contractions anymore, there were fast and long. It was pretty funny when my wife knocked on the door and her dad answered. Just as he opened the door she got another one, and he was greeted with her holding up one finger (a nice one) as if to say “give me a minute”. Once it passed we walked in and gave our son a big kiss while he ate his pasta. He was oblivious to it all. Just then it happened… My wife grabbed her crotch and ran (more like waddled/shuffled) to the bathroom and closed the door, we were all silent then we heard a big splash. My first thought was “Did my son just enter the world in the toilet” but before I could think twice, my wife yelled for a towel and said her water just broke. For half a second I thought it was time to call 911. Then my wife said no, let’s just go. It’s funny because being a professional firefighter, I WAS 911. Someone with the same training as me would be one of the first responders to this situation, so there wasn’t a real need to call anyone. Especially since it would take longer for an ambulance to arrive and transport than it would for me to just take her myself. For those of you wondering, yes, firefighters do respond to childbirths, in fact I have been lucky enough to be part of childbirth at work and it was amazing.
As we were leaving the house the midwife called us back and said we had a bed ready at the hospital and she would meet us there in a half an hour. Our biggest concern was missing the window for an epidural. Once at the registration desk at the hospital we had a poor experience with the nurses again (same attitude we received with our first son). First I had to wait for the nurse to stop texting to even acknowledge us. Once she did I gave her our name and asked that she paged the doctor to administer the epidural before the window closes. Then she said, “You’re under the care of a midwife.” So I explained that I know, but we didn’t have much time. Well this went back and forth for a few minutes and her response was the same each time. She wasn’t elaborating on what that meant, and it felt like we were being treating poorly because we chose a midwife. Thankfully before I blew up, a nice nurse came and took us out of the situation and to our room. She then started an IV for my wife and asked me to return to the front desk and ask that they page the anaesthesiologist for the epidural. Great I thought, here we go again. This time I composed myself and explained that the nurse requested an epidural. To my absolute dismay, I was treated with laughter by a room of nurses as they explained it was impossible because he was busy and I would have to wait 30 minutes. 30 minutes?!? 30 FREAKING minutes?!?! We may not have that long. “Oh well…” was the response I got in return. Thankfully he became available sooner and arrived in our room just as our midwife arrived and got the job done.
We made it! We were safe in the hospital in a private room and the epidural was doing its thing. My wife was 7-8 cm dilated and it appeared that everyone was right, the second birth is faster. It was safe to text the family and tell them the baby would be here within the hour. Well, that’s like telling a pitcher he’s got a no-hitter in the 9th or mentioning to a goalie he’s got a shutout going with 2 minutes to go. You guessed it, JINX-O-RAMA. It was 8:15pm and the pushing was about to begin. I know this because I went back to see my text messages to my wife’s friends to see the log of how it all went down.
Shortly thereafter all our important family members were in the waiting room, including my rambunctious 3 year old son. The only problem was that the pushing wasn’t going so well. Things were moving slowly. It was now 10:30pm and I had already updated the family numerous times about the progress (or lack thereof) so far. It turns out the epidural, while amazing for my wife’s pain, was actually horrible for the contractions. Every time my wife pushed for 1:00, it was only met with 0:20 of contractions. This meant for inefficient pushing that only tired her out. It was time for the Oxytocin. She was given this drug to increase the contractions, and she was to rest for 30 minutes longer until it took effect. Well that meant the end of my son’s night. He would have to go home to sleep and wait until tomorrow to meet his new brother.
Well, long story short (slightly) my son was born at 11:24pm on his actual due date of November 4th, 2012. My wife was adamant to have him on his due date and had it not been for that time change 21 hours earlier, he wouldn’t have made it. After I cut the cord, and all the cleaning and stitches to mom, not baby (That’s another post for another time) were done as well as all the measurements and function tests, it was time for the remaining family members to meet him. At this point it was 2:30am and I felt horrible they waited so long. Especially since I texted them at 11:30pm and told them he was here.
Once the family got its dose of newborn and we were “settled” it was 4:30am. We weren’t sure how much sleep awaited us, but we tried. Unfortunately for me, we got the last available room and all the “dad” chairs that convert into a small cot, were taken. Luckily we had an extra pillow from home and I found a corner on the floor to sleep on (See photo). The hard part about sleeping on the floor was seeing exactly the type of things that end up on that same floor during childbirth just hours earlier. However, considering what my champion wife just went through, who was I to complain? At least I wasn’t spilt in two pieces.
Surprisingly my son gave us 90 minutes of sleep and probably more if the nurses didn’t come in for more tests. The next day went pretty well and it wasn’t until 2:30pm that we were set for another nap. At this point I had secured a “dad” cot and the baby just got his first bath. The nurse who administered it assured us he would sleep for about 3 hours after the stress of his first bath. We were so excited, 3 hours of sleep to recuperate, can you believe it?!? Then at 4:30pm there was some incessant knocking on our door, to my horrified surprise we had a visitor. An unannounced visitor bearing gifts. Bless her heart for wanting to visit, but damn her for coming so soon and without warning. Of course she doesn’t have kids of her own so she doesn’t understand the process, but after repeating this part of the story to our friends with kids; they reassured me I was right to be perturbed. That was the end of our rest and also the beginning of a future post, for another time.
It’s now 8-9 days later and we are full of some many different emotions. I’m so inspired to write more posts on various topics, but also too tired to write them. I’m impressed my newborn stayed asleep long enough for me to get this first draft out of my head and on the screen.
Stay tuned for more posts soon, on various topics, but mostly about newborns and new (again) parents…
Keep your head up and your nuts covered…