Yes, we are the one in labor but we are not the only one stressfully awaiting the arrival of our little miracle. I think that men often decide to stay in our shadow and, sadly, we generally forget (understandable...with all the changes brought by a newborn) to acknowledge their feelings. Don't you think that it must be horrible to see your partner in pain...or in my case shaking, vomiting and almost fainting for 6 hours? This is why I decided to share Dan's side of Alice's story...written when she was not even a month old.
She said its been three weeks: "I bet you don't even remember half of it!" I was insulted but I tried to play it cool and not show it. How could I forget one of the most important day of my life?
I was not sleeping well. Work was a little more stressful than usual and I was having trouble shutting down at the end of the day to go to sleep. But not that night. I was sound asleep and for all intent and purposes dead to the world. I half awoke when Claudia got out of bed to go to the bathroom muttering that she thought that she had peed herself. I thought she was joking and took a look at the time: a bit past 3:00 am. Damn, I need to get ready for work in 3 hours. I'll never get back to sleep! That's when Claudia cried: "Shit, shit, shit, I think my water just broke! Brian no!"
All my senses turned up to 100% as I jumped out of bed just in time to see Claudia run again to the bathroom. Brian was licking a puddle of amniotic fluid on the floor. I quickly grabbed some paper towels and started to clean up. I asked Claudia if she was having any contractions. She wasn't. I was starting to panic. This isn't how it was supposed to happen!
When Claudia came back from the bathroom, I tried my best to squash that panicky little voice in the back of my head. Now was not the time to add to her stress. She looked shaken and a little upset, but in good spirits. I was reassured.
She quickly listed off what was bugging her in typical joking/sarcastic fashion:
a) We weren't supposed to go to the hospital right away. We were supposed to spend a few hours at home just like our classes said. This isn't the plan!
b) Our doctor told us two days earlier that it would be unlikely that Alice would come this week. I wasn't ready this week!
c) I was supposed to have a haircut today. What is Alice going to think when she sees my hair ;)
d) Our accountant was planning to bring our taxes forms today. When will it get done now?
I smiled. That's my girl! I gave her a hug and asked if there is anything I could do. There was: a) Call our ride to the hospital. Check! b) Send an email to her hair dresser to cancel her appointment. Success! c) Send an email to our accountant. Failed! Hey, two out of three is pretty good right?
Once our ride arrived, we packed up our stuff and headed out to the hospital, cracking jokes and laughing the entire way. I even made Claudia laugh so hard that she lost more water in the hospital parking lot. Good times!
Once we made it to the maternity ward and Claudia was settled in, I headed out to get her registered. Since it was now around 4:00 am, the registration office was closed, so I needed to go to the emergency waiting room and take care of the paperwork there. When I got there, there was only one person being checked-in. No problem, I thought, this shouldn't take too long...boy was I wrong!
The person being checked-in was drunk. Really drunk. Not I had one too many drunk. More like I don't remember how to spell my last name drunk. Which is unfortunate since that is the type of information needed to get registered. An hour later (45 minutes of which were spent staring a hole through the drunk person's head) the paperwork was taken care of and I dashed back to the maternity ward hoping nothing happened while I was away.
The nurses wanted to keep Claudia under observation at the hospital even though her labor hadn't started yet. At this point she was 2 cm dilated. We thanked our ride and got ready to try to get some rest.
At around 6:00 am, Claudia had her first real contraction. She was in pain, I was worried. They were stronger and coming faster than they were supposed to. We tried the different techniques we learned in our prenatal classes. The only thing that helped a little was a specific position on the exercise ball with pressure points on her lower back. Hours went by. She was unable to eat or drink. Nothing would stay down. Claudia was getting weaker and weaker after every contraction.
Six hours later, things have not improved. After each contraction, she would start shaking. I needed to hold her so she wouldn't fall off the exercise ball. I was worried. She was near exhaustion and I didn't know what to do to help her. After all this time, she was still at 2 cm. I was heartbroken.
At this point, Claudia was offered an epidural. Even though she said was open to any medical procedure if required when we were building our birth plan, I knew that she did not want an epidural.
Throughout her pregnancy, we were basically told that epidurals were bad: they make labor longer, you need to give birth on your back (the worst position), you won't know how to push, your baby will be affected by the epidural. And on and on. Then, ironically, they would tell us they are OK if you really need it. I didn't care about any of this at this point. I just wanted Claudia's suffering to stop. I didn't say a word, but I wanted her to take the epidural. She did. And just like that, her pain was gone. We were both able to get some much needed rest.
I awoke a few hours later just in time to hear the nurse says that it was time to start pushing. Alice is coming! I took a look at the clock 3:30 pm. In 3.5 hours, Claudia went from 2 cm to 10 cm. All she needed was a little rest.
What happened next was the most amazing and surreal experience of my life. Watching Claudia push in a trance-like state, seeing Alice's head for the first time, seeing every one cheer on Claudia with me, are all experiences I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Alice was born in silence with her bright eyes open.
I was and still am so proud of both my girls, I thought my heart would burst.
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shine little light*: It is super easy and perfect for kids...and adults!
vanessa - lynn david handbag co.: Happy that you think that I offer great entertainment!
emily: Ramona will love it!
dear olive: Yes, pretty cool, I think.
little wild moose: We have a little ritual. At 7:45 pm, I breastfeed her in our bedroom (the lights are dim and she is in her warm sleep bag). Right before she falls asleep (since she doesn't have a pacifier, I generally let her "use me as one" for a few minutes"), I put her in her crib and it takes about 5 minutes until zzzZZZzzz. I always put her blanket (it is in muslin so safe even if it goes over her face) on her legs. She grabs it in her little hands as she falls asleep. For the past two weeks, she wakes up at 1:30 am...to play! She doesn't need to drink or anything. She just has enough energy to "start her day" so she rolls in her cribs, "talks...lalalayayaya" and play with her sleep bag. It goes like that for about 45 minutes and she falls asleep again. This is why we will move her in her own room...we also need to sleep!
the franglaise: Merci! Avant, je trippais sur la couture. Maintenant, j'aime bien faire des trucs avec du bois. Gros becs :)
liz rose: Thank you so much. xox
katie f: I used the tent for an entire evening while I was using the computer. It was awesome.
jamie: I know Alice will have a lot of fun with it in a few months but I wanted to make it last weekend...because I needed a little project! It is very easy to do.