On November 5th 2012, my wife gave birth to our first child. During the pregnancy I decided that I would write about the experience. Every week since I have documented all of the events that took place throughout this time, along with my thoughts on them. Now that I can confirm that our baby is happy and healthy, I will share those thoughts with you.
Week 39 – Nothing Comes Easy
The thirty-ninth week started as simply as any other. Following the hurricane we had scheduled an appointment to see our doctor Monday morning. They were originally booked and wanted us to go on Friday instead, but since our last appointment was Monday two weeks ago we didn’t want to go almost three weeks without an appointment. Jess pushed us into that Monday appointment with some stern motherly nagging.
We show up about as early as we ever have. I had to work so we didn’t want to have to spend as much time as we normally do in the waiting room. If they had to squeeze us in for Monday, who knows how packed it would be. We essentially showed up at the same time as our doctor. To our surprise, the waiting room would be virtually empty when we arrived. I may even get a nap in before work.
Before long we are having our appointment. Jess is examined and informed that while she is getting closer she is not dilated and there will be “no baby today.” Maybe this weekend. We are told everything looks fine. Heartbeat, fluids, all good. We are essentially ready to leave before Jessica mentions that she did not feel the baby moving much since the night before. Our doctor decides to put her on a monitor for 20 minutes just in case. They hook her up and after the 20 minutes, there is not nearly enough movement from the baby. They give Jessica some juice to see if the sugar wakes him up. Nothing. Jess moves on her left side, then on her right side. Nothing. Now I’m getting concerned. After over an hour of monitoring our doctor decides that we need to go to the hospital for further monitoring with better equipment. That must be the issue, the equipment.
The hospital is under ten minutes away so we decide to get Jessica a meal to help get Alexander going. We stop at a pizza place where I get one soda and two slices of pizza. One for her and one for me. She devours the first slice so fast that I offer her my piece as well. She begrudgingly accepts and eats it faster than the first slice. Now at the hospital we head to the labor ward. We never had a tour of the facility so we are at least getting a first hand look. My wife gets hooked up to another monitoring device and despite the food and enhanced machinery, we still get little from our son. After an hour we get moved down to get a sonogram for an even closer look. At this point our early exit and nap before work is completely out the window. I’m now calling work to inform them that I will be late. After the sonogram did not reveal anything we went back up for more monitoring. The entire time we are never told what would happen if they didn’t get movement from him. Well now we know. At 3:30pm we were told that he would be coming out in the next 24 hours (BOOM!). They weren’t sure if it would be a c-section or if they would induce labor. With things being so vague Jess and I each called our folks to let them know what was going on. I left the room, briefly spoke to my mom, left a message with my dad, and told work not to expect me in for the next week or so. By the time I got back into the room Jess was with a small medical team and I was about to find out what Jess just learned herself. She was going to have a c-section, and she was going to have it now.
After quickly leaving another pair of messages updating the parents I was changing into scrubs and getting back in there to be with my wife (I was told later that the site of me in scrubs shook her to the core). Minutes later our doctor arrived, roughly six hours after telling us there would be no baby today, to deliver our baby. What seemed like seconds later I was telling Jessica that I loved her as they were taking her into the operating room to give her the initial spinal shot to numb her and start the procedure. For the next ten minutes or so I was alone. I caught my reflection in the window. Seeing myself in the scrubs and knowing what is coming is awfully sobering. I send a couple of text messages to give updates and notice my doctor talking to another doctor about how good her niece is at the piano. This is just another day at work for her. It’s one of the scariest and most exciting days of my life. I’m kind of glad she isn’t at my level of anxiety. Soon I am summoned into the operating room to be with Jessica, who is numbed but still conscious. I sit next to her, hold her hand, and look around her to see what’s going on. I see EVERYTHING. I thought I knew my wife, but now I know what the inside of her stomach looks like. I’m not grossed out. I’m just interested. I watch as they move her insides around to make their way to him. Jess is calm, which is expected considering she is drugged out of her mind. I tell her there are pieces of her everywhere. This mostly consists of gauss soaked in her blood and other bits, although I did catch some part of her being dropped and picked up again faster than a ball boy at Wimbledon. Then at 4:40pm he was pulled out. He was blue, he was relatively limp, and he wasn’t really breathing. Finally after a few more attempts to kickstart him he started crying and my heart crept back into my chest. For a brief moment I was able to see him. Alexander Anthony. 18 inches, 6 pounds 5 ounces, lots of dark hair. We saw him for about two minutes before he was whisked away to the intensive care ward to be examined. The whole operation took about 30 minutes. With preheating the oven, that is about the same time it takes to make a digiorno pizza. Speaking of which, I am really regretting giving up my pizza. I am running on nothing but one banana and a sip of soda for the entire day.
Next for Jessica was recovery from surgery. She saw less of Alexander than I did and now she is stuck in a room freezing cold as she slowly gets feeling in her body. At the same time our families are showing up. So now I am running out to them to greet them and let them know everything is okay. Then I am running back to the recovery room to make sure Jess is alright. Rinse and repeat. Finally I am allowed to see him in the NICU. He has a CPAP is his nose, an IV in his arm and all other types of tubes to terrify me. Through all that though he’s still the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. Jess comes out of the recovery room and briefly sees him as well before being taken to our room to continue healing. The new grandparents and my brother got to see him as well (I can only pick 4 people to go into the NICU) before visiting hours ended and everyone went home. It is now 10:00pm and I am exhausted and absolutely starving. My mother in law takes me back home to grab our overnight bags, extra supplies, and some McDonalds to get something in my stomach. After taking a little moment to digest what just happened we head back, she leaves, and I’m left alone with my wife. At 3:30pm I was told I would soon have a son. At 4:40pm as was looking at his face. We are brand spanking new parents, but we are currently unable to hold our son. Not how I wanted things to start.