*NOTE: This is the sixth post in a series titled, “The Evolution of a Frayed Parent.” For an introduction to the series, as well as links to each post in the series, please begin with the post titled, “The Evolution of a Frayed Parent: A Series Documenting My Metamorphosis from ‘Married Guy’ to ‘Dad’.”
Image © Jamin Garoutte
Following the epidural, my wife got some incredibly good sleep. She was a new person—the fighter we’d seen a few hours before was her quiet little self again, brushing her hair in the middle of a contraction with a smile on her face. All I have to say is, that epidural is powerful stuff and you have to be borderline crazy to ever want a child without one. Seriously, why put yourself through that pain? Guess it’s a good thing I never have to deal with that—Thank you, Lord!
The day continued into the night as things progressed very slowly. The midwife disappeared to another room for short naps throughout the night, and my wife and I both tried to get some sleep. I can’t remember exactly when it happened, (around 4 or 5 in the morning I believe), she’d finally reached the point of being complete and the determined fighter came back for yet another round. She started pushing, and we encouraged her every step of the way. Minutes of anticipation waiting for the first sign of a baby turned to hours. I’m almost positive that my wife had pushed at least twice as many times & and twice as hard than any of her own patients ever did, but with no result.
After such an incredibly long time of pushing and no baby in sight, the midwife consulted with one of the other doctors. Apparently, the other doctor looked at her surprised and asked, “Why hasn’t she had a c-section yet?!” The reason was that while my wife wasn’t opposed to a c-section, it was an absolute last resort in our minds—something to only consider if there was a legitimate danger to the child or herself. Although she had fought harder than most women in labor, she wasn’t giving up any time soon, and the monitor continued to show a healthy baby inside. Thankfully, the midwife also wasn’t ready to give up. Finally around 6am, the midwife informed us that another doctor would be on at 7:00, one that my wife respected as a coworker & knew could help us without resorting immediately to a c-section, so it became a waiting game of just fighting through the pain until he arrived.
Just before 7am, one of the nurses told my wife she’d seen the doctor coming down the hall—Her whole demeanor changed in relief of the news. Shortly thereafter, he walked through the door and he, the midwife, and my wife discussed the options as if my wife wasn’t even the patient but a coworker helping with the delivery of another (as was usually the case for them). To fill you in, our baby was turned funny—not in a dangerous way, but in a way that was simply too difficult to push out. In order to add a little extra “pull” to help get our child in a better position for my wife to finish pushing, the three agreed to try working with a special vacuum that they place on the baby’s head.
With the vacuum in place, the fight started once more. Moments later, the vacuum popped off, the doctor stepped back & the midwife took over again as my wife continued to push. Finally, there was something to show for all of my wife’s hard work—the top of my child’s head, with hair on it! I couldn’t believe it—this was finally happening. After 9 months of imagining what life would be like, I was getting my first glimpse of the very thing that would completely change my whole world. My wife’s sister, also a nurse, commented at the sight, “Oh my! That’s a big one!” None of us expected what came next. Slowly, little by little, there was more to see… and more… and more… and it was all HEAD! This was a BIG baby.
She continued to push, and eventually the baby’s head came out but the shoulders were too broad. The doctor wasn’t liking how long it was taking and swiftly moved back through the equipment & other nurses, pushed past me and climbed up on the side of the bed. In one grand motion, he took his hands applying pressure on the top of my wife’s stomach, and threw all of his body weight down on her, pushing the shoulders through. I cringed in pain from the sight. The rest of our child came out so quickly, I almost missed it—our child was finally here.
I moved behind the midwife to see my wife’s face as she showed her our baby, but instead of seeing my wife I noticed something else entirely. Looking at the hind end of my child, there was something between his legs… I couldn’t believe it. In my head I whispered, “A boy.” We had no idea for the past 9 months whether we were going to be having a boy or a girl, and similar to how people say their lives flashed before their eyes, in one instance I suddenly saw a flood of images in my mind of what that meant. A boy! I didn’t want to say it out loud; I wanted my wife to discover it for herself (I could sense that others in the room had also taken notice and felt the same). Finally, someone asked aloud and my wife replied through tears of joy, “It’s a boy!” She held him close as we all just stared and the doctor & midwife continued to do their thing.
I began to panic a little myself at all the commotion—something wasn’t right. The midwife was sitting between my wife’s legs shaking her head & swearing to herself under her breath. The doctor was standing over her shoulder doing the same, and so much was going through my mind that I couldn’t actually hear what they were saying even though I was standing right next to them. I watched as a softball size ball of pure blood suddenly fell to the floor. Immediately, I looked back at my wife, now very pale and asked if she was okay. With a very serious & determined look on her face, she stared back at me as if to say, “I have my baby now, that’s all that matters” and turned back to the child in her arms.
The nurses finally came to take our son to do everything they needed to do, and I took Chandler and walked around the bed to lay him on the warmer. Once I saw that he was under the nurses’ care, I looked back to see my wife. All the blood was gone from her face, and her eyes rolled back in her head. I shouted over everyone, “Amy?! AMY STAY WITH ME!” I don’t know what the doctor & midwife were doing with her, but they got busier doing it, and I kept trying to get my wife to wake back up & look at me. She’d passed out. I looked down at the monitor to see that her blood pressure had dropped to 47… NOT COOL!
A little bit later her eyes opened back up, and I immediately told her, “You can’t leave me, got it?” and she smiled. Whatever the issue was, they were getting things back under control, and my wife started asking me about Chandler. One of the nurses shouted, “9 lbs, 10 oz!” and everyone in the room replied in unison, “WHAT?!” Again, my wife is a very small woman, and she didn’t have gestational diabetes. Prior to the delivery, we asked the midwife how big she would’ve estimated the baby to weigh, and she guessed maybe 8 lbs—MAYBE! Everyone kept asking, “Where did you put him?!” Nobody had anticipated my little wife to be carrying such a large child.
And he wasn’t fat either. When they went to lay him down to measure his length I watched as the nurse tried to straighten his leg. The ruler only went to 24, and for a second I thought, “That’s not going to be long enough!” He was 23.5″ long! No wonder my wife had such a long, hard delivery—he had no room inside of her & had gotten wedged in so good that he had no place to go! She really couldn’t have had him without the help of the epidural & the vacuum, no matter how hard she tried.
My wife started having contractions on Sunday morning, and finally at 7:59am on Tuesday morning, my son was born. A few hours later, we sat in the room with both of our parents and her sister eating some McDonald’s breakfast that someone had gotten, trying to take it all in. That little baby boy was ours. I went home to take care of the dog & get some sleep for a few hours before coming back to the hospital. Apparently, while I was gone, my wife passed-out a few more times, so we decided to stay as long as the hospital would let her to make sure everything was okay. A few days later, we got to bring our son home.
We’re parents now, and this was only the beginning.
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