So I guess the following is going to be sort of like my journal entry on the birth of my first little girl. I’ll try and keep this interesting so none of you falls asleep in the middle. If you have your own newborn then I’m sure you’ve already fallen asleep. No worries, I understand. In fact I’d be surprised if I don’t fall asleep at some point while writing this.
1:00 AM Monday 13th Feb 2012 (All times are estimated and therefore subject to change if it becomes convenient for me)
I woke up and asked Ashleigh how far apart her contractions were. 4 minutes, steady for the past hour. I asked her if we should go to the hospital. She said “I don’t know, what do you think?” I asked her what the doctor said, and she told me that he said to come in if her contractions were 3-5 min apart, steady for an hour. So we left for the hospital. I had a pretty nervous feeling as we navigated the empty streets of Orem. I had no idea what to expect.
2:00 AM Monday
Still in the hospital, and the nurse has already told us that Ashleigh is still not dilated. Still she has us waiting in the room with Ashleigh hooked up to a contraction and baby heart monitor. (Sorry Ranee', I know I just switched tenses on everyone, it feels more natural this way and makes it easier to recall what I was feeling etc. I don’t really want to go back and change what I’ve already written. J) The hard chair did a good job of keeping me awake as we waited to for 2:30 to roll around when the doctor would come back and see if Ash had made any progress, if she hadn’t we would be headed back home. I watched the contraction monitor and cheered every time the line spiked, signifying a contraction. Okay so cheered isn’t the right word. For someone who can watch baseball stats get updated on a computer screen and be entertained, watching a line go up and down on a hospital monitor is actually pretty entertaining.
2:25 AM Monday
The nurse came back in and told us Ash is still only dilated to a 2. So we are headed back home. I don’t sleep well, but at least I get to skip my first class to go to Ash’s doctor’s appointment.
9:15 AM Monday
The doctor tells us that he’s going to induce Wednesday morning at 5 AM unless the baby decides to come sooner. I don’t think that’s happening and neither does Ash, so I can relax for a couple more days. The next couple of days go by pretty fast and I often find myself wondering what it will be like to be a dad. Of course I had no idea.
4:20 AM Wednesday
I wake up at 4:20 and take our bags and the car seat out to the car. After getting everything ready we leave at about 4:40 AM. We get to the hospital and the nurses check us into our room. The pullout that I’m supposed to sleep in is more like a bench and it’s not long enough so my feet hang off the edge. That’s okay though because I’m used to sleeping in weird places on campus. I don’t fall asleep though, but instead I lay awake until 8 AM listening to the baby’s heartbeat. It reminds me of a washing machine with the steady swishing sound. Sometimes the baby moves and monitor doesn’t pick up the sounds very well. I hold my breath each time until the soothing sound returns. The doctor comes in and tells us that Ashleigh is progressing. I finally fall asleep at 8:30 AM.
I wake up and find out that the nurses have brought me breakfast. I didn’t expect this and I open the tray curious to see what is underneath. To my surprise it is a very edible breakfast burrito, very delicious actually. This raises my expectations for the rest of the week, but those hopes would be shattered when I would eat the worst toasted ham and cheese sandwich I have ever taken a bite of in my life.
The doctor comes in and checks Ashleigh’s progress. He says it’s time to push. My heart suddenly starts racing. What am I going to do? She’s really coming! I jump out of my seat and head to my wife’s side. The nurse gives me my instructions for the next little while and the fun begins. I figure I need to keep things positive so I take it upon myself to show the nurses my new dance moves in between contractions. They love it, and generously complement me. (Not on my dance skills, but on my fun attitude.) These nurses are seriously awesome. After an hour of pushing the baby is still at a 2+, I have no idea what that means but when Ash pushes the nurse that is looking (I’m definitely not looking) says that she can see the baby’s head. I venture a couple glances down but the only thought that comes to mind is, “A baby’s gonna come out of that?”
Doc comes back to check on the progress, still a 10+. OK… He tells us that he is going to give it another half an hour and then we’ll decide what to do if there is still no progress. I’ve been praying the whole time but now I really kick it into gear. I ask my Heavenly Father, “Please let this baby come out. Let her be healthy. If she is not supposed to come out this way then please let us know what decision to make when the time comes.” I continue my dance skills in between contractions. I’m pretty nervous, but I feel sure that both mom and baby will be fine.
The doctor comes back in and checks the baby’s progress. Nothing. He explains our options. We can continue to push and see what happens. That doesn’t feel right. We can do a C-section and get the baby out that way. That feels right. Our last option is to try and get the baby out with a vacuum and forceps. I get a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach when he gives this option. He explains the benefits and dangers of each option. I look at Ash and it feels like we have both come to the same conclusion. I say “C-section” and she nods in approval. The doctor says that we will start the operation at 6 ish. They begin prepping the operating room and getting Ash ready to go. I put my weird anti-terror biological warfare suit on and plop myself on the couch with my head in my hands. I am trying to imagine that everything is going to go great. I’m going to be a father in less than an hour. The nurses keep asking me if I’m ok and I tell them that I am. I really am, and they were very kind to be worried about me.
Ashleigh heads into the operating room and the doctors tell me to wait outside while they get everything prepped. They tell me it will only be a few minutes but I think it was much longer than that. I listen to the doctor’s talk about what a sham colonoscopies are and how they are using scare tactic commercials to squeeze every penny out of us.
The doctor finally comes and gets me and takes me into the operating room. There is a weird plastic wrap on Ashleigh’s stomach. They take me behind the curtain and I sit down by Ashleigh’s head. I grab her hand and she looks at me and smiles. Now I start to get really nervous. This is really happening and I’m not sure what to do. It seems more and more dangerous as the minutes pass. So much can go wrong. I know it’s time to pray again, but I’m not sure what to ask for. I say the simplest prayer I’ve probably ever said in my life. “Heavenly Father, please take care of my wife and daughter.” I feel a great calm come over me. The best I’ve felt all day.
The anesthesiologist nudges me and says, “You’ll want to look at this part.” I look over the partition just in time to see a very hairy head emerge from my wife’s stomach. They pull the rest of her out and I think, “I did that?” (Think of those HP printer commercials). They clean her up and I get to hold my daughter for the first time. It is awesome. She is not screaming so much as squawking. They wheel her out and I go with while they sew up my wife. I get to stay next to my girl for 20 minutes or so until they are ready to take us to our new room.