Monday, February 3, 2014

The Birth Story

When my wife and I found out that we were pregnant, we went through a lot of emotions.  At first we were surprised, we had only been trying for a month and a half and the test just said we were successful.  Next comes happiness where we both threw our arms around each other and shared a moment of pure happiness.  Next, comes fear - we were both 28 and well into our careers but life as we knew it was going to change.  Do we make enough money, do we have a nice enough house, do we have enough in savings, etc.  Finally, acceptance sinks in and we set in for the long haul extremely excited about what was to come next and a little nervous at the same time.

If we would have only known then that the next 9 months would fly by so fast I wonder if we would have done things differently?  The first trimester was the hardest.  As a husband, you want to provide for your family in both financial means and fix anything that may be wrong with the family.  My wife was a mess with morning sickness which eventually turned into daytime sickness and then evening sickness.  She was just sick all the time and as a teacher who is on her feet a lot, this caused problems.  Coming home from work I knew the night was going to be a rough one but we made it through it and at almost exactly 3 months - it went away.  It was like a light switch had been hit and she was better.

The following 6 months went by without incident, we made our appointments at the midwife and got the regular ultrasounds.  Fear is a good word to describe how I felt at those ultrasound meetings because the baby wasn't inside me.  I didn't always know how my wife felt and if she maybe wasn't telling me things to not scare me so when we went to these ultrasounds, I was a nervous wreck.  Hell, after the second one we were all but sure something was wrong but an unneeded call to the midwife to have them explain things eased our minds.  Everything went great for the next couple months and eventually we hit the home stretch - October.

October went by uneventful and as planned which is always a good thing.  Finally, on October 31st (Halloween), Reilly woke me up in the morning and said she thought she was having contractions.  They were very mild and barely affecting her so I convinced her to go back to sleep (something our class told us to try and get when this started) and we'd see how everything was in the morning.  When we woke up the contractions were still there and still extremely mild but I called out of work just to be safe.  We stayed home and straightened up the house and eventually took a trip to Target after the contractions went away but by the evening it seemed these were just Braxton Hicks and we went to bed after watching Hocus Pocus (it was Halloween after all.)  Little did I know that our life was about to get real interesting real soon.

Reilly again woke me up in the middle of the night but this time the contractions were extremely strong and about 5 minutes apart.  We were told to wait until 4 minutes apart before going to the hospital so we called the midwife to let them know and they told us to wait another hour before coming in as long as things stayed the same.  Reilly was obviously in tremendous discomfort and while I was a bit in denial the previous day about the baby coming, this scene in front of me made it all very real.  We also had a doula who we called and agreed to meet her at the hospital.  After the hour was up and contractions were flirting around the 3-5 minute marks, we decided to head to the hospital.

The drive to the hospital and the subsequent walk up to the room was probably the most nervous part of the morning.  Things were in motion, we were ready to go and it was happening so fast.  I remember Reilly crying outside the hospital as the realization of what was about to happen, something you read about happening in the future was certainly about to happen in the present.  A million questions of safety pop into your mind and what if's but we kept walking and eventually made it to our room and set in for the long haul.

Our doula showed up about an hour after we were in the room and the day began.  We were checked in around 6 am or so and by noon I believe Reilly was only 7-8 cm dilated.  Eventually, she got in the tub to help relax her but we were told that her bag of waters would most likely need to be broken.  Reilly decided early that she wanted no interventions but after talking with the midwives, this was one we both agreed would help (it was already 7pm and she had been dilated at 9cm for a few hours.)  After the water was broken - Reilly was pushing within the hour and Jack was born a little after that.

For a father who sat on the sidelines the entire day coaching Reilly to a successful birth - the moment was very surreal.  I am not a religious person at all but I could see how people would view the "miracle" of birth as something god given.  The moment Jack left the birth canal and was placed on Reilly's chest (see picture above) he started screaming and had a great color.  Everything was great and we couldn't be happier.

The birth itself was awesome and an amazing experience that made my wife and I parents and ultimately brought us closer together than we had ever been before.  I have always loved my wife more than life itself, but after seeing her give birth to our son it was almost like I saw a new side of her.  It's hard to explain but I'm sure fathers out there know what I'm talking about.  After Jack's birth, he didn't latch onto Reilly's breast and we had to use nipple shields to get him to feed, something that would ultimately take another 2 mos. and a lot of money to address but that's a story for another post.  On November 1st, 2013 Jack was born to two loving parents and we couldn't be happier to have him in our lives.

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