Saturday, April 11, 2015

Joy to the world! a guest post.

Today's guest blogger (I say that like I have a guest blogger often) is David Ford. he is an avid juggler, tea lover, kid's church volunteer and baby wearer extraordinaire.  He is the most patient and kind person I know. I'm beyond blessed to walk this path of life with him and I'm so grateful for his steadfast love, his wisdom, his constant support and his sense of humor.

After hearing me tell the story of Joy’s birth from my own perspective several times now, my wife suggested that I write my own post for her blog. Here are my recollections about our daughter’s birth.

Part the First (in which we hem and haw and then get in the car)

Around 5:00 a.m., I woke up. I don’t remember what woke me, but I held Ezra while Kati went to the bathroom. Ezra and I were both getting over a nasty bug and apparently he’d had a rough night. Kati had been holding him a lot during the night. When Kati came back upstairs, she told me she might be having contractions. That woke me the rest of the way up. “I can’t tell if they are contractions or if I just have gas,” I remember her saying. She texted her doula, telling her she might be in labor, but wasn't sure. We timed a couple of contractions. They were close together, but only 25 seconds long. Ezra woke up again and started crying, so I brought him downstairs to where Kati’s mom was sleeping and put him in bed with her, telling her that Kati might be in labor. I got dressed, just in case. The doula said something along the lines of “keep me informed, let me know if the contractions start to get stronger” kind of thing. Kati decided to take a shower. I laid back down, thinking that if this was indeed early labor, and it turned out to be a long one, any more sleep I could get would be good. It was about 6:00. I didn't stay there long. A few minutes after I laid down, I heard Kati talking in the shower. I went into the bathroom to see if she was talking to me. She told me her contractions were getting stronger. We timed a few more. They were close together, not much more than two minutes; but still only half a minute long, peaking after 15 seconds. She told me she didn't have a towel. I brought her one. After she got out of the shower and put her clothes on, Kati wanted to sit on her yoga ball. She said she was going to ask the doula to come to our house, and said I should load our stuff in the car, so we would be ready to go when we decided to.
I went and got Ma’s car keys (we were taking her car), and grabbed the bag that Kati had packed for the hospital.  Since I hadn’t packed a bag for the hospital, I threw a change of clothes in a bag. I put Kati’s bag in Ma’s car and came back inside. Meanwhile, Kati was having a text message conversation with the doula. While Kati sat on her ball, I looked up a chart in one of our books to review what it said about length and duration of contractions, and we timed a few more contractions. They were still short, but two minutes apart. At some point, Kati informed me that it was time to go to the hospital by walking toward the door and turning around to say teasingly, “are you coming?” “Oh!” I said, and jumped off the couch. I was feeling a swell of excitement as we got into the car and started driving to the hospital.
When I read Kati’s blog later, I read that she felt like she was waiting a long time for me to pack my bag. It sounded like she had been waiting on me, and this surprised me because we didn’t leave for half an hour after I loaded the car and was ready to go. When I asked her about it, she confirmed what I had suspected after reading her post -- that she was waiting for me to make the decision to go to the hospital while I was waiting for her to tell me! (Yikes!)

Part the Second (in which we switch to present tense verbs for dramatic emphasis).

As we are driving, Kati begins to moan. Loudly. Um… she doesn’t usually do that until very late first stage, when she’s getting close to transition. She might be farther along than we thought. I start to drive a little faster. I’m glad the hospital is only ten minutes away.
I drop Kati at the door and go to park the car. She asks me to come straight in, and not bother to bring in our stuff. “There’s nothing in that bag we need right now,” she says. We get to the door of labor and delivery at the same time, because I sprinted and she stopped for a contraction. She pushes the button on the intercom. “Hello, how can I help you?” the nurse’s voice comes over the speaker. “I’m about to have a baby can you please let me in?” They buzz the door and we go in. It’s 6:55.
As we walk down the hallway (which has never seemed longer), Kati stops for another contraction. There is no question now that these are serious contractions. When we get to the nurses’ station, I answer the questions that they are asking because Kati’s not really in a place to be talking. They check us in to the same room where Ezra was born. They check her dilation. She’s at 9cm. One nurse goes and calls the doctor while the other tries to get a fetal monitor reading.
I remember at some point, something Kati said prompted me to say to the nurse, “I think she’s in transition.” I don’t remember what the nurse said, but she seemed to be saying she didn’t think so. I wasn’t sure either -- when Ezra was born, there was no question when Kati went into transition. I swear she memorized all the things that our childbirth class’s textbook says that women in transition will say, because she said all of them. Verbatim. But not this time. This time there were very few clues from her emotions and behavior just how far along she was.
While the other nurse is still on the phone, Kati gets the urge to push. The nurse who is still with us tells her not to, she’s only dilated to nine and if she puts pressure on that last lip of cervix, we could end up with a c-section. This is where I start to feel afraid. Kati had a lip of cervix left with Ezra. The doctor had to push on it with her hand so that Kati could push. Now there is no doctor here to do that and Kati can’t keep from pushing. So at that point I’m wishing we had come in right away at 5:00 when we first started paying attention. Are we going to have a caesarean because we waited too long to come in?
So Kati tries not to push. The nurse sees the head. She freaks a little bit. She shouts the other nurse’s name as loud as she can. On the next attempt not to push, Joy slides out onto the bed. All at once. Foomp. She’s already pink and cries immediately. I guess I can stop worrying about that c-section. This is suddenly very funny to me and I start laughing out loud. In my head I’m thinking “you can stop telling her not to push now.” The other nurse is getting into the room now, and the two of them are clamping the cord. They do not see the humor. I can tell that nurses DO NOT like to deliver a baby with no doctor in the house. For some reason, this makes it even funnier to me. Now wait a minute, didn't Kati want to delay cord clamping? Meh, they look freaked out enough, I’m not giving them special instructions. It’s 7:11.

Part the Third (in which we switch back to past tense and recap)

When Joy was born, they had not removed the part of the bed that they remove for delivery, and she slid out onto it. She came out suddenly, with so little warning, so no one was ready to catch her. I think that if Kati had been pushing hard, instead of trying not to, she would have slid all the way off the bed onto the floor. I remember when Ezra was born, how forcefully he shot out. I had never realized before then how literal the phrase “catch the baby” is meant. Ezra had to be literally caught. Like a fastball. If Joy had come out like he did, I think she’d have been on the floor. But no, she just slid gracefully out.
So just to recap on the timeline here:
5:00: “I might be having contractions, or I might just have gas”
6:00 “I’m going to take a shower”
6:45 “Are you coming?”
6:55 “Let me in I’m going to have a baby.”
7:10 “I’m trying not to push”
7:11 Joy to the world

If we ever have another child we are camping out in front of the hospital.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

There were two things I was not expecting on March 25, to have a baby on my due date (I’ve been induced twice) and to get the worse cold I’ve had in at least three years.  So I got sick instead of having a baby.  By Saturday, after a long, frustrating, fruitless search for an urgent care  just in case this nastiness was a sinus infection, I decided I was finally on the mend enough to not waste two hours waiting at the only “urgent” there actually is in this town and went grocery shopping with my mom.

David was starting to come down with the sickness so Saturday night we just kept it low key, Ezra was not feeling great either so after a movie we went to bed early.  Because Ezra was not feeling well, I rocked him to sleep and stayed with him, usually he falls asleep and I transfer him to his bed, but every time I tried to transfer him, he work up.  I could tell he was feeling yucky so I didn’t fight it and snuggled with him, first in the rocking chair and then in our bed.  Only problem, I kept having to pee.  Even more so than usual.  Like EVERY hour.  Up and down the stairs.  And EVERY time I got up, Ezra had a meltdown.  I was trying so hard not to disturbed David, I really wanted him to get well.  About midnight I started to suspect I was having contractions but they were ignorable.  Though the trips back up the stairs did start getting a little more painful.  At about five am I couldn’t just breath through them and fall back asleep, I woke David up and asked him to bring Ezra down to my mom and told him I was either having contractions or some serious gas.  I breathed through some contractions on my hands and knees, a few on my side and then decided to break out my app and time them.  Two minutes apart. Well then.  I should text my doula.  “I don’t know what, but I think something is going on.”  David starting timing them and got the same results.  Close but short.  Two minutes apart, but less than a minute.  I decided it was time to go downstairs, because I had to pee…again.  Screw the toilet I got in the shower.  These babies were talking to me.  LOUD.  Full attention demanded (missed warning I was headed into transition)

Standing in the shower felt good, but I also had a moment of panic (another missed sign)  “what if I have babies like Dee (a college roommate who has very short labors and funny stories about them), I won’t have time to get to the hospital?!” out of the shower, nightgown  back on.  Underwear.

No, whatever, where the heck is my yoga ball.  At some point during this time, David is packing his bag to go to the hospital.  Taking. His. Sweet. Time.  (mind you, I have given him NO indication that I am charging towards transition at this point, calming sitting on my yoga ball by the couch thinking to myself, “seriously pain medication, why I am so anti pain medication?”).

Texting Douala.  Can you come to the house?  Suggesting to David, lets get the car loaded, take mom’s car, she already told me we could, keys are down stairs.  PLEASE don’t make me talk during this contraction (another missed warning sign perhaps)  maybe we should not wait for Anne (our doula).

Texting Anne, “let’s meet at the hospital instead”

Why is he moving so slow.

Going to the car.  Pause.  Bend over and breathe.  Get in the car.

OK we are moving now.  And my contractions are right on top of each other.  My water is going to break in my mom’s new car and she is not going to be happy.  Did I not say put a towel and a trash bag down?

That stop sign is so stupid.

In the sweet privacy of the car I start the guttural, primitive moan thing and the light bulb goes on for David.  This baby is coming soon.  He drops me off at the ER door and I start the trek.  I stopped at the ER window and held up a finger to the triage guy.

“I’m headed that way” I mouthed, pointing down the hall towards labor and delivery.   I have two minutes once this contraction stops.  Start walking.

David catches up with me as I’m ringing the bell, “can I come in and have a baby”  when did talking get so hard?

They let me in I made it down the hall.  They told me room five.  I’m pretty sure I am going to die, or have a baby in the hallway.  Made it to room five and she wants to put a monitor on me and check me.  Its not that I’m not being oppositional really, I can’t unbend.

Yes, we have a birth plan. In the car. No, we don’t have documentation about intermittent monitoring on file.

I am trying so hard to relax.  Somehow I manage to get on the bed.  She checks me.

I’m a nine.  But that stupid cervical lip strikes again.  “don’t push, if things get swollen you might have to have a c section”

So I didn’t push.  Honestly, honestly didn’t push.

Water breaks.

David is laughing, baby is crying, nurses are scurrying.  She gets put on my chest and we both laugh.  

Dr. Mini is on her way.

So I delivered a placenta and Anne arrived, David smiling and chuckling watching as she processed the placenta on the table.  Anne stayed with me for the worst part,  what happens after you don’t push out a baby when your dilated to a nine (at this point I really, really, really wanted the epidural).

My arrival time was noted at 6:55 am, Joy was born at 7:11 am.  Me, David and one nurse in the room.