By Bobb Allen
As many are aware, and many can contest to, child birth is an amazing part of life; that until you go through it yourself no one can tell you what it is going to be like, how it feels, or what to expect. Sure they can give you some insight on the ordeal at hand and give you the tools to help you along the way, but no two birth stories will ever be the same and ours would be no exception.
May 6th 2011, 11pm, as the chronicles would state: Jen closes her laptop, and work is done. The next two weeks were for relaxing and finishing any last minor preparations as our boy wasn’t due for another fourteen days. As she closed up the home office she said to him “OK Mommy’s ready when you are.” Apparently babies are quite literal.
May 7th 2011, 2am or somewhere close to it: My wife wakes me up, with the news that her water broke, and contractions had started. This being our first time one would think panic would set in; however, as methodic as ever my wife said to me, “Let’s wait and time them.” So we did. As organized as we were – car was packed, car seat installed, nursery ready – you think we would have had the hospital number handy. But apparently not. After an hour I was instructed to find the number and call the hospital to see what they suggested (it was a 40 minute drive, and we didn’t want to be sent home) so off I went to search the internet for the number, and somehow finding myself on Facebook. After all, ones status should be updated for an event like this, no? Shortly thereafter we were on our way. Though in our case, “after” meant after my wife made the bed, cleaned up the wet towels, and tidied anything out of place, god knows… we have to be ready for family at the house now.
May 7th 4:30am: We arrive at the hospital and the nurses check out my wife. She was 3cm dilated and so we were instructed to walk and they would recheck her in 2-3 hours. Off we went to roam the halls of the hospital, no one around, coffee shop closed… wait, what? Coffee shop closed? What was I going to do?… contractions getting bigger, longer. Two and half hours would pass with leaning, supporting, trying to give all the right words, waiting to be told it was “all my fault”, but it never came. Strong willed and ready to face this, we headed back up to the birthing unit… 6cm dilated. We were now being hurried into a birth room. We knew we were on our way to parenthood, we had crossed “THE LINE”, the one where only two people cross, but three come back.
Birth plan in hand, I reviewed it with our nurse, who I must say was most amazing! Jen was progressing rapidly and our boy was working his way to the light. All was going as planned and nowhere near as insane as everyone makes it out to be.
Around 9cm, Jen went into a contraction and didn’t fully come out. In turn, our son’s heart rate would not come back up. It had slowed to what apparently was an alarming rate, something I figured out when the nurse hit “the button” and ever so calmly explained the situation. In seconds there were five interns storming our room – poking, pushing, and looking worried. They finally said he was sideways and needed to be turned. To their credit, they tried all they knew, but they couldn’t turn him. The doctor came in and she tried, but that baby was comfy, he didn’t want to move now. We were told that they would take her into the OR and try a few other things, and if that didn’t work they would have to perform an emergency c-section. I was given hospital scrubs (apparently my daddy scrubs weren’t up to standard) and instructed to get changed and meet the nurse at the desk in a few minutes. So that’s exactly what I did.
Now I sat in a chair and waited my few minutes. And then a few more minutes, and then even more minutes. Twenty minutes and 18 seconds to be exact. It’s amazing how scary it gets when you don’t know what’s going on. The mind works in mysterious ways and I was dying inside.
What is happening?
Then I saw her. The nurse. She came to save me from the grasps of my own thoughts. They were unsuccessful, and couldn’t do it. My boy was already showing signs of how stubborn he would be. Child birth as most knew it was not going to be for us. I was escorted down the hall and into the room where my wife lay on the bed. I will never forget the look of fear that I saw at that moment, it was not fear for herself, but for him. I held her hand and told her everything was going to be ok. How would I know? I am not a doctor, and I wasn’t in the room for the last 20 some odd minutes, but I knew it would be.
May 7th 1:42pm: I heard him cry for the first time, our boy. I stood up and there was Kayden. I finally got to see what my wife had felt for 9 months. Life, the life that we created… it was amazing!
My advice to any first time parents? Be prepared, but do not be scared for birth will take its course when and how it wants.