Howdy, I think I got enough sleep last night to write about Jessica’s labor and delivery of Evie. I’ll edit it so as to keep it generally G-Rated, but I also wanted to share about this fantastic experience.
Monday morning Jessica woke me up with, “Are you ready to be a daddy, again?” Which of course was like being shot up with 1,000 CCs of adrenaline. It was like waking up with something much better than Folgers in my cup. It was like when she woke me up to tell me that Abby was going to be joining us in the world: exciting and scary all at the same time. Exciting because I love the concept of fatherhood and scary because being a parent is a huge responsibility with the chance to fail costing lives or changing the course of them so radically that I’d rather have had the doctor screw up on my circumcision to have prevented my screwing up my children (I know, too much information – but I’ll quote the Bible to validate it: Galatians 5:12. Are you laughing yet?). Either wayEvie was coming and there was no backing out now. Heck, there was no backing out since some time in February when we figured out that we had a little one coming.
We woke up and began the psychological preparation for labor and delivery knowing that contractions with Abby rapidly progressed to 5 minutes apart within approximately 3 hours. I sent off emails to appropriate work related contacts, sent a few instant messages because I could to ask people to pray and send further emails to other people. Once Linda (my mother-in-law) woke up we told her and the exceptional excitement spread. I blogged here that contractions had started. The world was spinning just a little faster and I was preparing to be a dad by the afternoon. Doh! Silly assumptions.
Jessica and I went out for a brisk walk to help speed up contractions since they were still light and not close enough together. We walked for about an hour and it was a nice walk because it was just the two of us talking – something that will be much more rare now . Contractions started to be more intense but their frequency was still rather unreliable. So we walked home, got ready for the day as best as we could and the four of us went out shopping. This is a big mistake for those of you who have a future involving waiting for labor pains to increase. Don’t go spending more money while waiting to have the baby, you don’t know how long things will take – we shopped for around 6 hours and I still haven’t tallied up the receipts from all of the small purchases.
We dropped Abby off around noon at my parents place and the three of us (Linda being the third, unless you count me as the third, in which case Jessica and Linda were the other two. Jessica at no time should be counted as the third person) went out for lunch and then walked around the new Whole Foods market. On the way out of Whole Foods we were walking to the car and Jessica had a contraction. I chided her and said, “What? You can’t walk during your contractions? What’s up with that?” To which she replied, “Why don’t I squeeze your testicals and then we’ll see if you can walk.” That is a priceless moment. One I will always cherish.
We ended up shopping at Timbuk Toys and then Linens ‘n’ Things. Right before we entered Timbuk Toys Jessica called her midwife and asked if 8 minutes would be close enough apart to come in since it was 4:20 or so and it was getting later in the day. The midwife said, “Wait until they’re 5 minutes apart.” Apparently that was the magic thing to say because pretty much as soon as she hung up the phone contractions started coming at about 5 minutes apart. We had a few that were 8 minutes apart, some that were 4 minutes apart, but things averaged at 5 minutes apart for about an hour and 20 minutes before we headed to the hospital. In fact we had managed to go to a walking trail and get about 1/8th of a mile down it when Jessica started having contractions four minutes apart. Getting back to the car took a while due to the regular contractions.
We called the midwife’s call service on the way to the hospital because that was when we’d officially had an hour of 5 or less minute apart contractions. The midwife chuckled as her call service had let her know we’d called again and by the time she called us back we were in the parking garage. She said she’d let the hospital know we were coming. While we registered at the Emergency Room registration area Jessica had two contractions and a few more on the way up to the hospital’s labor and delivery area. The walk should have been short, but the contractions kept us stopping. The Registered Nurse (RN) took some initial measurements and tests and determined that Jessica had dialated to 5 centimeters already. Jessica planned to go walking around the department to help speed up contractions but found that she was unable to walk very far before having another contraction. Plus the contractions were becoming more intense. As a side note I want to offer other fathers-to-be this advice: only give your pregnant lady at most 2 fingers to squeeze during contractions. A whole hand has too many knuckles and you’ll regret giving her 3 or more fingers as the knuckles will press into one another and you’ll cry like a baby.
Jessica chose plan B which was to get into the bathtub and have further contractions there. This was the best choice she could have made as the water helped sooth her and reduce the pain level of the contractions. Once the midwife arrived in our room Jessica had been in the tub for a while and had even more contractions. The midwife helped her out of the tub and had her get into the delivery bed and checked her for greater dialation. In an hours time Jessica had gone from 5 centimeters to 8 centimeters. We were debating whether or not the midwife should break her bag of water (which buffers the baby from the birth canal). God, having a better plan than us, ended the debate and brake it by way of internal pressure. We didn’t have to choose to wait or have the midwife do it. You can start your stopwatches now because 22 minutes later Evie would enter the world. Once the midwife was ready for the pushing and catching Evie it only took 6 minutes of pushing.
I want to pause here and say that Jessica did a phenominal job during this whole day. She was patient, determined and gracious (with exception to threatening to squeeze my ‘manicals’ which was a joke anyway). In the bathtub she had said, “I don’t know if I can do this.” Which was mostly because it was rather painful. However, she kept on keepin’ on and she did great. When the pushing came on the RN and the Midwife told her to focus and push. Jessica closed her eyes, focused her brain and with 2 pushes Evie was out. Amazing. I watched and cried as two of the three most beautiful women in my life were there before me in a short moment of wonder.
I cut the umbilical cord in the tradition of so many men. The hospital wouldn’t let me bring in my table saw to do that so I just used the provided scissors. I rushed out to tell Linda after taking a moment to hold the precious new girl in my arms. She wasn’t in the hallway and I figured she’d gone out to smoke. It turns out she was in the waiting room: waiting. However, she came shortly and we cried together as she held Evie. We made some phone calls and let some people know that she was here and had my parents bring Abby over even though it was after 9:00 PM.
Jessica, Evie and I stayed at the hospital and Evie was shockingly quiet during the night. We had planned to take her to the nurses station between feedings to ensure sleeping but Evie was just so quiet and sleeping, too, so we kept her with us. I got about 5 hours of sleep that night, but it was restful sleep because the intensity of the day was over.
Abby’s still adjusting to having a little sister, Jessica and I are adjusting to waking up at odd hours of the night and Evie is adjusting to everything. We’re doing well and I’m pleased to share my presious little girl, who already has a good sense of humor.