The first week of parenthood is gradually coming to an end. Sleep, eat, burp and change just about describes the cycle. And that’s just for me. Dylan’s cycle is pretty similar, although he gets to sleep a bit more and can’t eat as much. Nicole is handling it all, which is remarkable given what she just went through. I mean, the whole process of labor is remarkable. I think about 15 hours into it, I was starting to think: He’s Not Going To Come Out. We Are Going To Have To Come Up With A Different Plan. Do the math and it doesn’t make sense. I would imagine the conversation would go something like this:
“OK, on this side of the pipe we got this 8 pound priceless piece of art. Sort of looks like a statue about this size. Now, I need to get it over to this side, but through this pipe.”
“Yea, this pipe.”
“No, this is the biggest pipe I could find.”
“No, I’m not kidding…We are going to have to push it through without breaking anything.”
“What do you mean it can’t be done.”
“I know that’s what I thought. It looks like it won’t fit, but they guarantee it can be done. There must be some type of magic trick to it.”
The contractions brought on a pain that must have been excruciating for Nicole. For me, it was really difficult to sit there, helplessly only able to offer words of comfort. “You can do it!” How many times can you say it before it starts to lose its sincerity? One thing about Nicole is she is terrified of needles. So when the nurse wanted to insert an IV Drip line into her and take some blood, Nicole had a real difficult time. Enduring the labor pains, no problem. Having to give blood, no way! But it was absolutely necessary since she had been throwing-up and starting to dehydrate. Nicole understood the situation and was able to go through the blood draw and start the IV in the early morning hours of the 15th. At 10 AM she was at 4 cm and we needed to reach 10 cm. Nicole’s Plan A was to go all natural and try without any drugs. But by around 11 AM she was having so much pain that she took her first of two doses of Fentanyl. As the labor progressed, I think the doses of Fentanyl only prolonged the labor without any real benefit. (But that’s just me talking and I didn’t have to endure the pain!) Nicole started to become tired and appeared to be out of it during the next couple hours. The pain worsening and her energy weakening. After the second dose, we decided it would be best to go with the Epidural. The early IV Drip line was a cake walk compared to the Epidural, which is inserted in the lower part of the back and usually during contractions and all the time they need her to remain very still. So she sat on the side of the bed. We held hands and they started the Epidural. It was like night and day. Immediately, she had a second wind. We could see the contractions on the computer but she wasn’t feeling them. She had a renewed sense of energy and optimism.
Her brother, Peter, stopped by and said hello. Nicole was feeling pretty good now and we were just waiting for her to reach the magic number of 10 cm. As the afternoon wore on, she started feeling the contractions again and by 4 PM we were going through the highs and lows. Between 8 cm and 9 cm we were in a holding pattern. Not sure what I was thinking, but I had thought we might be done in the morning, for sure by the afternoon. Now we were approaching evening and she hadn’t even started the real labor. The nurse would stop by about every hour and we kept asking, “How much longer?” The only answer was “Nobody knows. It could be an hour or a few hours.” So again, optimistically, I thought only about a hour more. She could be done by 5 PM.
But the holding pattern continued for the next few hours. It was like being delayed at the airport and with no information. Sitting on the tarmac and then the voice comes over the speakers:
Folks, unfortunately we are dealing with some delays. We’ll keep you posted when we know more.
But nobody knows anything. At least they aren’t saying anything.
This pattern continued until about 6 PM. Finally, we called the nurse and said we need a little help. She’s been pushing for hours and you say to keep pushing, but how much longer. She’s running out of energy. “Well, it could be another 20 minutes or a couple hours.” The same line. From 6 PM till 10:02 PM, Nicole went through the real labor part of labor. 4 hours of hard pushing. I did what I could to help her push and I’d count to 10, for 3 or 4 repetitions. By this time the midwife had joined us in the room and her and the nurse were at one end and I was at the other end trying to help Nicole. Pretty soon, they said, “We can see his dark hair.” Then it was probably another 45 minutes and while Nicole was pushing he just sort of popped out. It was surreal. Somehow I thought first would be his head, then a few minutes later his shoulders would emerge, then a few minutes later his torso. But he just popped out all at once. We wiped the tears away and gave each other some kisses, then Nicole held him while they put some scissors in my hands to cut the cord. I hadn’t planned to cut the cord but they seemed to expect me to so I did.
The next few hours are a blur. Dylan did a lot of crying. The nurse did the usual things and took his measurements and gave him some shots. They worked on Nicole for a bit, then we called her parents and they drove over to hospital to see their grandson. The process is pretty incredible and when the moment arrived it was “I can’t believe what I am seeing.” But after having him around now for a few days, he is for real. Around 3 AM, Nicole headed over to her hospital room and I drove home. I went back the next morning and we spent a lot of time holding him and visited with a lot friends who came by the hospital.