My wife posted a very moving and wonderful rendition of our newest family members birth.
Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how I remember it.
Let’s rewind a bit. When my wife let me know we were pregnant again, naturally I was very excited. My first thoughts of it however were very different than hers. She thought “Hey! I want a photographer there, so we can remember it forever!” To which I responded (in my head) “there are some images that will always haunt me, why on earth would I want an actual copy of it?”
At any rate, I’ll spare you the in between for now, but 9 months later, and just ovet two weeks ago, baby June was born.
7lbs, 3oz, 20 inches long.
At 7:33 am.
Yeah, that’s right. 7:33am. If you’ve had kids before, or know someone who has, or really just paid attention during sex ed class, you’d know that labor isn’t generally a short process.
It was a Sunday, and we woke up, made breakfast and tried to figure out our plan for the day. My wife wanted to go see The Hunger Games, and I was honestly too exhausted to care. So after breakfast, we thought we’d get ready slowly and give it a whirl. After all, we weren’t due for another two weeks.
Now, around 8-9am, I noticed that Mary was wincing about every 9 or 10 minutes. “Ah shit. Pack the bags, and especially the iPhone charger” I thought.
With our first daughter, it was about four hours of labor, then about 15 of pushing and active labor. The doctors (and our mothers) all warned us that it’d go faster this time around, so “don’t be stupid” is what I think I was told at one point. Naturally, I wanted to NOT have a baby in the house or in the car, so I encouraged Mary to move a little faster (BAD idea and impossible – gentleman, take note). And thinking that we were going to the hospital, of course she wanted to take a shower and shave her legs. Who wouldn’t?
My wife claims my distain for having a kid at home was to protect the hardwood or our furniture. Surely, if you’ve ever visited our house, you’d realize that the floors need an excuse to be refinished, and I’d be happy to reupholster about 99% of our furniture. I just know I’m no Doogie Houser and pass out at the side of blood. Yeah, having a baby at home sounds like a wonderful idea – just not for us.
So shortly after she was able to clean herself up a bit, my mom who was awesomely on-call, showed up.
Now, to be fair, I did make Mary sit on a towel in the Jeep. ‘Cause it’s the Jeep. Even with the big dent by one of the wheels (thanks, Wells Fargo ATM post), it has a better interior than our house some days.
So we scurried to the hospital, to arrive at my favorite time. It was “you can’t park at the ER door because there aren’t any spots, it’s time for the ramp you have to pay for” time. We parked the car, walked up to PETU. PETU stands for something about Pre-labor, but all I remember is that it’s called PETU in my phone’s address book.
We got there, and contractions decided to continue to be around 7-8 minutes apart. Thinking that we were having a baby shortly (mind you, it’s about 11am on Sunday), I sent a text to Mandy of Glimpses of Soul Photography. She was who Mary wanted to take pictures of the whole shebang, and me being a good husband, chose not to argue. Mandy was waiting for the call, and ready to go whenever we told her, she was about 15 minutes away. I waited a bit to see how things were going to progress. And waited.
Fast forward about four hours, and it was decided to move us out of PETU and into a Labor and Delivery room. That was fine with me. I knew from previous experience that they had better chairs.
Making the move, we decided to let Mandy know, and invite her to join us. We thought it’d be no time. Holy crap were we wrong.
Mary was uncomfortable – who wouldn’t be – so our nurse ran a bath, and thought it would help her relax a bit. Boy howdy did it. I kid you not, she fell asleep between contractions.
Guys, think about this. Go do something so intense for about 30-45 seconds (every six or seven minutes) that you fall asleep between each moment of intense action. It’s insane. And honestly, fairly comical to watch – but do not laugh. That will end poorly.
Unfortunately for us though, Baby June really liked her time in the tub. So much so that the contractions slowed significantly.
So we waited. And hoped. And starved. When you go to the hospital to have a baby, they don’t feed you until after you have the baby for fear of nausea and vomit. Trying to be the empathetic husband, I said I wasn’t going to eat until she could. She was starving. I was starving. And I was just being stupid.
Then, an epiphany.
The nurse told me that Pizza Lucé delivers to the hospital, and they’re open till 2a for deliveries.
So, if you’re keeping track, we got to the hospital around 11am, moved rooms to L&D around 3ish, and I finally caved (as per Mary’s insistence) and ordered a pizza at about midnight. We’d been there 11 hours at that point. Mandy, who with every passing moment grew more appreciative and respected, had been there for seven hours.
Photographers take note. Imagine a wedding shoot where absolutely nothing happens for about seven hours while you’re there, and the ceremony still isn’t in sight. Crazy.
Speaking of food though, Mary was starving and at some point our nurse realized that the rate of contractions was not quick enough to have the threat of immediate active labor offered her some food. For some reason, Mary had a hankering for some peanut butter toast. The nurse oblidged kindly.
About 30 minutes later, as predicted, I was holding Mary’s hair back as she tried throwing up said toast into a wastebasket on the floor.
Now at this point, I hope you realize how different my wife’s beautiful story is from mine. But there’s an important correlation. Both tell the same story, and that story continues and culminates only a few hours later (ok, another seven hours).
At about 7am, after a long night sleeping on and off (on a window sill bench – pro-tip: fathers bring your own pillow, even if you go in at 11am), we could tell sweet baby June was fed up.
Within about a half hour, the number of people in our room quadrupled wearing all sorts of protective gear. I swear, one was wearing a clear visor that reminded me somewhat of a hockey mask.
Mary had an incredible urge to push. With every urge, I lost a little bit of feeling in my arm. Her nails dug deep, and pulled me as close as possible. I know that my level of pain was a fraction of hers, but another pro-tip for fathers: wear long sleeves and never complain about how much it may hurt.
Now at this point, my wife turned from the in-pain-sane woman into what could only be described as one of the scariest versions of my wife I have ever seen.
Gentleman, you’ll get yelled at during your marriage. But nothing compares to that of child birth. Sure, it is loud, but it’s the deep, from the gut, “I WANT THIS THING OUT OF ME” and “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT” that are the hardest to bear.
Lucky for me, it only lasted a few passing moments.
And during that time, at some point, every father must feel that little sense of scared-relief. A moment in time where you realize that it’s really happening. Something impressively awesome is about to occur. And even though it scares the shit out of you, knowing that it is truly partly your fault makes you feel amazing.
Our daughter, Tigger Two, The Moose, Baby June was born at 7:33am on Monday the 26th. She was healthy, mom was healthy, dad was happy. There’s no greater joy I have than writing this post, because as comical as it may be, having kids is more Magical and Revolutionary than any iDevice in existence.
I love my wife. I love my Lucy. I love my June. All in no particular order.
Anyone want a cat, though?