8Mar
Lawrence General Hospital labor and delivery room.

Live-Blogging Birth Through Dad’s Eyes

I’m live- (or kinda-live-) blogging the birth of our first child. Meggin’s doing all the real work, so I figured I’d contribute what I can and document the event. The following is based on a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Or whatever.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Today is induction day. The doctor told us on Monday—3 days ago—that Meg would be induced. He scheduled it for tonight. We know when and where to arrive. We’ve been planning for this all week.

7:30am, Wake Up

It’s Meggin’s favorite day of the week: trash day. The day when she makes me get out of bed around 7 to take out the garbage and recycling. This job could happen anytime during the morning, but once—ONCE—we missed the truck and had to wait a week to send off our refuse. I know. #fwp. So I’m up by 7:30. Much earlier than my usual whenever-o’clock. But today’s also a big day: it’s our last day at home before the ton o’ bricks that is parenthood begins to fall on us. Meg has started her maternity leave, so she’s not working today. She asks me several times if I’ll work today. I say yes, but I don’t really believe it. We watch some tv, eat some breakfast, check the weather. I eventually do sit down and do some work. It’s a pretty normal pre-parenthood day around the Kelly Manor. It feels like a Saturday. We have lunch. We each shower and get ready for what we expect to be the second-biggest night of our lives (second only to tomorrow night, when the baby should actually arrive).

5:30pm, Start the Car

We’re scheduled to be at Lawrence General Hospital at 6:00pm. We plan to leave at 5:45 as we live close by. I go outside to start the car and clean off the inch of snow piled up. As I’m doing so, my mother pulls into our driveway—one of her many unannounced visits. We walk inside to find Meg and say hello/goodbye. I overhear her on the phone. She hangs up and says, “Guess what! They have no beds!” That was the hospital on the phone. The labor and delivery center is full—they can’t take us tonight. We. Are. PYOSSED. So no induction tonight—sorry ’boutcha. But! They do want us to come in for a non-stress test. So we have to go to the hospital tonight, we just can’t stay. Ok, so we’re going. We decide to throw the bags in the car anyway. They’ve been packed and waiting patiently by the door since January, after all. Off we go. We drive over to Lawrence in silence, each fuming about it. Worst of all, how could they wait until 5:40pm to cancel our 6pm induction? And what if she were actually in labor? What would they do then?? Hogwash.

6:00pm, Arrive at LDC

We roll in. Meggin is sweet as ever (HOW??? No idea.). I’m visibly angry, but cordial and restrained. The nurse is apologetic and actually very nice (damn it). Her niceness goes nowhere but up (damn it!). She explains that they had three unexpected admittances already in labor. They, understandably, take priority over non-labors. She also explains that we’re one of three couples scheduled for induction tonight—all three were canceled. We’re not alone. And I guess that helps us feel a little better. Still sucks though. She leads us to an empty room. BUT I THOUGHT THEY WERE FULL, I can hear you shouting. Yea! That’s what we thought! Turns out “full” means one open bed, in case of emergencies. And that actually makes us feel a lot better. At least they could accommodate us if she actually were in labor.

6:30pm, Non-stress Test

So they strap up two monitors to Bellyus Maximus and our nurse Cheryl (yea, she has a name now…whatever) immediately starts earning brownie points. She’s like the nicest. She does her thing and leaves for a while. After 20 minutes or so, she comes back. She says she wants to talk to the OB on call and she’ll come back again when she hears from him. Another 20 minutes. No real update. Still wants to talk the doctor. Or maybe she wants to talk to him again? I don’t know. Cuz here’s the important thing she said: “we’re trying to keep you here.” !!!!! She doesn’t want to send us home! Praise be to his noodly appendage! All fingers and other digits are crossed tightly. If we don’t have to go home, that means the induction can start tonight and Meg won’t have to delay her delivery for another 24 hours. More importantly, it means we get to meet our baby sooner!

7:30pm, Our New Room

Success! Some glorious woman down the hall had her delivery and a room has opened up for us. We wait another 20 minutes and Cheryl comes back to move us to our new, much larger room. This one even has a couch for me! This night just got way better. After a stressful and emotional start, the night is shaping up to be pretty damn awesome. We’re all settled in. Phase 1 of the induction began around 10pm. Meg is hooked up to two monitors, one for her contractions and another for the baby’s heartbeat. We had snacks. We shared the news so far with friends and family. We watched some tv—they even have a channel devoted entirely to infant care. Brilliant. It reminded me of the ship information channel you see on cruise ships. (Nerd alert: that was our favorite channel on our honeymoon cruise.)

Friday, March 8, 2013

They tell us today will be baby day. For birthday purposes, I would have preferred March 7th. But that’s only because I’m a weirdo. We’ll see what labor looks like. For now, we’re taking things as they come.

1:30am, Write Blog Post

That’s where we are now. Further bulletins as events warrant. I doubt I’ll have much time to blog tomorrow. But if I catch a few minutes to typity type, I’ll update y’all on our status. Until then, dear reader. Until then. (I should have some GeoCities-esque MIDI file of the Superman theme or something. Just sing it to yourself…)

Update #1, overnight report.

You’d think there’d be nothing to report since 1:30am. You’d be wrong. Here’s what the night’s events looked like.

3:30am, Enter: Loud Nurse™

The shift changed and Loud Nurse™ felt the need to barge in like a tornado and introduce herself. Meg had to thimble-pee, and had to be unhooked from the monitor to do so, so I guess the intrusion was warranted. It definitely could have been…gentler. Meg had slept some. I had slept more. As usual. I went back to sleep after the Loud Nurse™ tornado. I don’t think Meg did. Not much, anyway.

6:30am, End of Phase I

The tornado burst through the door again, threw on the lights, and started Louding™ at 6:30. It’s time to remove the monitors and the Phase I induction drug. American Medical Association requires that all this happen at 100+ decibels. Loud Nurse™ abides. She shouts that she’ll be back at 7 to hook up the monitors again. Meg hops in the shower. I squeak out 20ish more minutes of hospital couch sleep.

7:00am, Halleluia It’s Nurse Lisa

She’s smiley and friendly and CAN YOU BELIEVE IT within normal volume ranges. She will be our nurse throughout today. We’re like Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt at the end of Twister: the skies are clear and the tornado is gone. Rejoice. At nurse Lisa’s instruction, Meggin dons a tube-top thing used to keep her monitors in place. These sensors are portable. She’s a mobile threat, folks. I’m awake now and it’s a good thing. Lisa has work to do. We chat and she does her thing until nearly 8:00. Oh, and the deluge of text messages begins. Thank you, friends. We feel loved. We will answer you all as faithfully as we can. Ok, shower time for pre-dad. Updates soon…

Update #2: Coffee Shop and Midwife

It’s been about two hours since my last update. Not a whole lot has changed, but I did get to explore a bit. Meg can’t eat—clear liquids only—but I sure the eff can. Nurse Lisa pointed me toward the coffee shop and/or the cafeteria. She couldn’t pick a favorite between the two. Her indecision was confirmed by the tuxedoed room service delivery guy in the elevator. “They’re both not bad.” High praise. I ventured down a few levels and found the coffee shop. And it was actually really nice. Breakfast was delicious and cheap. Can’t ask for more. They have water, juice, and soda for free on our floor too. Bonus. I hurried back, not wanting Meggin to sit alone very long. I woofed down my breakfast and tried not induce any jealous rage in my wife. So far so good. After a few minutes of typing this update, Nurse Lisa came back and she was joined by Anne, a hospital midwife. I don’t know much about midwives, but I was surprised to meet her. I guess I just expected doctors and nurses. We’ve been seeing the same rotation of OB doctors since August. This midwife works for our OB’s office and yet we’ve never met her before this morning. A bit puzzling. If she’s going to be involved in our child’s birth, I would have thought we’d know by now. Oh well, no big deal. She’s a very nice lady and apparently thinks I look “very, very familiar” to her. Cue Twilight Zone theme.

9:30am, Swimming Laps

After being in the same bed for hours and hours, Meg wanted to get up and walk around. I saw Rachel Greene do it on Friends. I’ve seen other tv and movie moms-to-be do it. But I never realized how true to life it is. Expecting or pre-laboring moms walk around a lot. We strolled the halls and awkwardly half-smiled at the same nurses three or four times. We even got spoken to about venturing into a restricted part of the hallway. (Why were there no “restricted” signs, you ask? Good question.) The walk got boring and there was a creepy dude sitting in the hall, so we bailed and came back to our room. Here we sit. Meg did some crossword puzzles. I updated this post. She’s sleeping now and I’m very, very glad for that. She’s the best. All hooked to sensors and IVs and stuff, and still just snoozing away. Heart.

10:30am Here are some pictures

This post is already way to too wordy. I’m not sorry. But in the meantime, here’s some imagery to help you catch your breath after all that reading.

Sorry for the poor quality. I had to compress the bajeezus out of them in order to upload them over hospital wifi. But you get the idea.

Update #3: Pictures and stuff

11:30pm, Meggin’s had worse lunches

Lawrence General Hospital, Labor & Delivery Room lunch.

However it looks to you, she loved it. So, ya know. There’s that.

12:00pm, Hark! A visitor!

We had a visit (actually our second, she came by last night too) from a family friend named Janice who works downstairs in the nursery. She’s the nicest. Like, ever. And she works here. A total winning combo. Janice hung out with us for a while and told us what to expect after delivery and all that. I can’t speak for Meg, but I feel much more comfortable knowing that a long-time friend is waiting for us when when we get down there. She’s not working over the weekend, but even just to see her and hear her explanations goes a long way with me. For now, we sit and watch the snow pile up outside. I’m trying not to think about digging out my car from the parking lot or who’s going to shovel our driveway before our return home. YOU GUYS I’M TOTALLY THINKING LIKE A DAD ALREADY YOU GUYS. Ok, all for now.

Update #4: Progress

2:00pm, More visitors!

My mom arrived carrying a cheese pizza. I knew I loved her for a reason. Immediately thereafter, Meggin’s mother, father, and sister arrived. The six of us sat around for several hours making small talk and studying the heart rate/contraction monitor. Nurse Lisa kicked out the fam a few times to do some Nurse Lisa stuff.

Janice from downstairs came back for one more visit. Midwife Anne came back to check in. The visits and the Medical Stuff™ are becoming longer and more medical-ish. Or something.

3:30pm, “Snag that bag”

I’ll be sensitive with this one. Ya know how lots of women say “my water broke?” Well, sometimes that doesn’t happen on its own. Sometimes midwives and nurses have to do it for you. And sometimes they have funny nicknames for it. So that happened. That’s all I have to say about that.

Conversation has now turned to Snooki and her baby. I’m insulted by this comparison. But I’m also very proud to be on the right side of this comparison. Meg had admitted to watching Teen Mom (and maybe to feeling better about herself afterward). I can’t weigh in on this show or its merits, but that thought is funny to me.

The hospital’s wifi connection is killing my hopes and dreams. And things are progressing faster and more intensely. So more updates as I can. We’ll see.

Update #5: Stronger Contractions & More Waiting

This part is hard for me (it’s no picnic for her either). Contractions are becoming painful now and all I can do is watch and hold her hand. Things are moving along and we expect another check-in soon. Nurse Jackie is here to make the bed and stuff.

They have this big inflatable ball for her to sit on. Pretty standard looking, except it has a metal piping base so it can’t roll away. And it has a back to lean on. It’s pretty much the perfect sitting apparatus. They have pretty ballin’ recliners too. Ya know. For the moms. Totally not for dads. You guys.

Update #6: Drugs and Dialation

The contractions got worse. A lot worse. The sensation moved to a new point in Meg’s body, so I fetched Nurse Jackie to ask about it. NJ checked on Meg’s progress and measured it slower than we’d like. Our earlier (tentative) estimate of 10:30 is shot.

6:30pm, Benadryl and Stadol

Nurse Jackie complimented Meggin on taking contractions like a boss. She must have jinxed her because 10 minutes later, we were discussing pain meds. There are two options: epidural or not-as-hot-damn-legit-as-epidural. That’s the one Meg chose. It’s part IV-drip, part shot to the ass. NJ cautioned us that it will make Meg woozy. She corrected herself and told us “it feels like being drunk.”

Five minutes later, Boss Lady® mumbled something like “I see what you mean” Thirty seconds later, she woke herself up with a loud snort :) We verified with NJ that sleeping is allowed. Turns out it’s like the holy grail of childbirth. Meg dove in head first.

7:30pm, The Arctic Tundra

Not sure if it’s a side effect of the meds or of, ya know, initiating a human, but Boss feels hot. So the AC is blasting at a smooth 63° and I’m freezing my patardos off. But I pulled up my hood and shut my mouth. Ya know, like a dad.

I hoovered my cafeteria chicken wrap dinner, just like I did breakfast. Our families took the hint a few hours ago and parked downstairs in the waiting room or coffee shop or something. I smuggled their belongings out to them in exchange for my dinner. And now we wait. Again. Still. More.

Update #7: Epidural

8:45pm and getting an epidural. No jokes this time.

It’s a sterile procedure so I got kicked out. Sitting in the hallway. The epidural woman snarked at us for not making the call sooner. I bit my tongue but ooooohhhh did I want to scream at her. Lose the comments and help my damn wife. I’m not a good spectator with this. It’s killing me not to be in there with her. Most of the staff here have been excellent but that lady is the exception.

The waiting is torture. How do our families do it, I wonder. My glorious sister is providing text message support. It’s stressful moments like this when I typically rely on the support of my wife. I just want to get in there. Open the dooooor!!

Hey, by the way. Please comment below. Meg isn’t reading this now, but she’ll love to see your love and support left for her in the comments.

Update #8: Peace & Rest

Epidural did its job wonderfully. Meggin is sleeping peacefully. Good god, what a difference. This is much better.

Auntie Erin stopped by for a visit. We’re trading stories and being creepy/watching Meg sleep.

Thanks for the comments, heroes. Keep ‘em coming!

Update #9: All Quiet

Meg is snoozing comfortably on her side. She reaches for my hand every few minutes to squeeze through another contraction. Her eyes are closed, but she’s mostly relaxed throughout these new, drastically reduced contractions.

We expect a check-in soon now that the night shift nurses are on. Will update soon.

Our families are in the small waiting room down the hall. The nice nurses made them coffee just because. The doctor is predicting 2am. We’ll see how right she is, especially after the upcoming check-in.

11:45pm, 10 Centimeters!

At last check, Nurse Tina says we’re ready to go! Meggin’s urge isn’t quite there but here we go!

Update #10: It’s a girl!

She’s perfect. Her name is Caroline Quinn and she. is. perfect. Meggin was an absolute champ. Only took 44 minutes of pushing for us to meet our gorgeous daughter.

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Welcome to the family, Caroline. I can’t wait to hang out with you.

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