Tuesday, June 10, 2008

...and Baby Makes Four

About three weeks ago my wife, Shana and I arrived home carrying our newborn baby boy Nolan from the hospital. This is certainly a long overdue post, but bringing a newborn into the household tends to force some re-prioritization. Blogging fell pretty far down the list. So, without further adieu, a photo or 2. Introducing, Nolan.

I also figured that this would be a good place to record some of the details. At least before I forget them.

Over the weekend of May 17-18th, Shana noticed some different activity going on in her body. She had plenty of Braxton-Hicks contractions throughout the pregnancy, and what she was feeling was definitely more serious. So, I managed to scramble getting some things together Friday night, expecting that we might have to make a quick getaway. That was not the case. Things settled down completely. But we were warned.

Monday (May 19th) morning we woke up, and almost immediately became aware that we were going to be parents to a new child that day. The real contractions were regular and definitely stopped Shana in her tracks once in a while. To make things more interesting, I had an appointment with a recruiter that morning to talk about my job search -- I had actively started looking for a new job a week earlier and needed to find something fast. With things relatively stable at home, I figured that I'd take a calculated risk and go to the meeting. While Shana was at home, in labor, I was sitting at a coffee shop waiting very impatiently for the recruiter to show up. After ten looooooong minutes, and no show by the recruiter (communication mix up) I decided to leave. I'm glad I did.

I got home around 10:30 am and called up Shana's brother, Robb, to arrange a pickup for our two year old, Gideon. He stopped by around 11 am and picked him up, to deliver to Granny and Papa. Everything was pretty well under control at that point.

Contractions were still relatively mild, so in order to encourage them along, we decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood. It certainly worked. When we arrived back home an hour later, Shana was having contractions anywhere from 5 to 6 minutes apart. Right on track.

Our plan was to allow Shana to labor as much as possible in the comfort of our home before arriving at the hospital for the delivery. We had been through it once before, taking Bradley method classes, so we had a pretty good idea of what to do. Shana immediately laid down to get some much needed rest while the contractions did their work. I think she may have even gotten a little bit of sleep.

While she was resting and allowing labor to naturally progress, I was tediously filling out a job application, hunting down history and contact information. I had a potential job offer in the works, and didn't want to take too long to respond. I'm sure they would have been understanding about any delays, but to me it was baggage that I could clear from my head. It also gave me something to do as an outlet for all the nervous energy. So, I did as much as I could, and kept as much job seeking momentum as I could.

Around 3 pm, while I was doing some scanning, Shana mentioned, in a tone that could not be ignored, that she was going to need some attention soon. Scanning could wait.

From that point on, things happened pretty rapidly. She was struggling to find the most comfortable position to be in while the contractions strengthened. Hands and knees? Nope. Sitting on a therapy ball at the end of the bed? Nope. Kneeling on the floor, resting on the bed? Nope. The most comfortable position wound up being a side-lying position on the bed. Good enough for me. I tended to her, trying to massage as much as I could to relieve the pressure. I then called the midwives to let them know that we were in active labor and that they could expect to see us later that day.

Continuing to labor, more intense, deep moaning turns out to be unbelievably helpful for Shana. In the back of my head, I was thinking to myself that the first time we had a baby, the moaning was quickly followed with pushing -- hmmmm. Time to pay close attention. Shana, to her credit, was extremely well composed, especially in retrospect. She looked relaxed, and there was no screaming in pain, but she was definitely working pretty hard. Cool towels were what she needed most. At that point, contractions were anywhere from 5 minutes to 3 minutes apart.

4:00 pm. Shana and I decide that it's time to start moving to the car to get to the hospital for the delivery. I call the midwives to let them know we're on our way. While I'm on the phone, Shana cries out, "I feel like pushing!!!" I really didn't want to hear that. Both of us panic slightly because we KNOW that we stayed home too long. I call the midwives back. "Shana feels like pushing, we're going NOW!"

Then began our lengthy venture down the stairs. Wow, it took some time. Trying to convince a laboring woman, who feels like pushing that she needs to start moving down stairs is like, well, just what it sounds like. It took 30 minutes to get downstairs. And, about half way down, her water broke.


Her pitch rises in fear. In a moment of idiotic diplomacy, I ask her if she wants to ride in the car, or if I should call an ambulance. I definitely didn't need to burden her with something as serious as a decision. Anyway, while I scramble to grab all of our bags in my arm, she found enough strength to make it half way across the front yard before another contraction hits. Remember, she feels like pushing. I hold her up to support and notice that she's crossing her legs at the knee. I nearly freak out. OK, that one's over, let's get her in the car.

She manages to get into the car, but there's absolutely no way she's going to actually sit. She knelt on the front seat, butt towards the windshield, hugging the headrest, while I drove as swiftly as possible to the hospital.

12 minutes later, Shana hasn't given birth yet, and we arrive at the hospital emergency room meeting our midwife at the entrance. They get a gurney, and try to decide whether to deliver the baby in the emergency room or in the actual birthing room. Shana decides that she can make it to the birthing room. Good thing too. I don't get the impression that ER folks enjoy delivering babies.

Up the elevator we go, and get into the room at 4:49 pm. A push or two later, the midwife says, "I think he's coming on the next push." I am completely overwhelmed with emotion, laughing and crying at the same time, as I watch our son Nolan gracefully enter the world. At 4:53 pm.

9lbs 8 oz, 20.5 inches long. Not chump change!


The following day, Tuesday, I managed to get some paperwork faxed to an employer, and by lunch time, I had a favorable job offer from them. What an absolute amazing 24 hours.

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