Our Birth Story (Nik's Perspective)
As I’m writing this, our first born is sleeping in his Mamaroo and is now officially 17 days old, which is crazy! These 17 days went by wayyyyy faster than the last 17 days of pregnancy. I wanted to wrap up exactly how the labor and delivery went from my perspective and a few tidbits of information for any expectant dads out there. I’ll start from 0 and go to 100 real slow like in a timeline fashion and end with him making his debut! Little back story on us, we did The Bradley Method birthing classes beforehand to prepare ourselves for the experience ahead of us, and Kenzie did hours upon hours of research, we both read a few books, and both felt pretty prepared for what was about to come, and to our surprise………... it was exactly how we anticipated it to be, in the sense that we really had no idea what to expect and just rolled with the punches. We had a birthing plan, but we were not hesitant to change it at a moment’s notice. Before we went into labor, our plan was all natural, no drugs, and a calm delivery. On the drive over to the hospital, my exact words were “if you want drugs, there won’t be any code words or safe words, you tell me you want drugs, I’m getting you drugs.” The reason for this is because the Bradley Method teaches you a drug free, epidural free labor and delivery, while calmly breathing in and staring at nature through your treehouse jacuzzi. This was ideal for both of us, but not a requirement by any means. Time for the timeline!
About 5:20pm on Monday December 17th, 2018, my wife calls me while I’m at the gym, 7 days over our due date, and very calmly asks “how much longer will you be at the gym?” I said, before she could finish the sentence “WHY?!?” “My water just broke, but we have a while so don’t rush.” Did she think I would be able to finish a workout while her water broke? I hurry home, frantic, ecstatic, a little nervous. I called her on the way home making sure it was her water, as if she wouldn’t know. I get home, and she is as calm as can be. Did she already forget her water broke? Freak out woman! Her contractions haven’t really started as of yet and for once she is the calm one if our relationship. She tells me I need to get some woman products from the store and she’d like to eat and shower before going to the hospital. Did she already forget her water broke? I go to the store, practically sprinting through aisles because I have no idea where woman products are in stores, I’m looking for pads in produce, and finally get her a sandwich to go and a bouquet of woman products of all shapes, colors, and sizes. First tip, know where the woman aisle is in your local store, and also that aisle is extremely expensive, like unbelievably expensive. I floor it back home, she has already showered, packed our bags, and is just browsing the internet. Did she already forget her water broke!? I patiently watch her eat the food I got her, and it’s at this point I start to calm down and transition into caretaker mode. I load up everything we need in the car and drive us to the hospital. It was about 7pm at this point and we had to go in through the E.R. because the other entrance closed, which is flooded with sick people and no rhyme or reason on how to check in or who to talk to. We tell the security lady that her water broke and a nurse comes to check vitals and take us upstairs, thankfully. They lay her in a bed and do a test to make sure it was her water that broke, and not her just peeing all over herself for the last hour and a half. It was her water, obviously. They checked her really quickly to find out we were at a 1.5cm dilation, which we had been at for a week or two and got us our own room.
They did another check before deciding on inducing her along and in about an hour she was already dilated to a 2.5cm! She hadn’t really felt any contractions since her water broker, so this was great news to us, but they put her on Pitocin to get the ball rolling even more. She was able to sleep off and on that night with her mom and I sharing the couch and a chair, for a total of 5-6 hours of sleep for each of us. Her contractions were starting to get more intense and they woke her up around 5am because they were pretty consistent. Another check came around 6am and we were dilated to 4cm. Moving right along. Her mom got breakfast for herself and I for the long day ahead. Conversation started dying down that morning as the contractions got more intense and Kenzie had to focus on each one at a time. By around 10am we did another check to see how she was progressing. Let me stop here and say, everytime they do a check it’s very nerve racking because in the back of my head I’m just hoping that things are progressing and she hasn’t been feeling this pain for hours to not progress at all. My worst fear every check was that they would tell her she hasn’t really changed since the last check, which thankfully was not the case. At 10am we were about a 6cm dilation and the pain was nearing a 9-10 out of 10. She asked for an epidural, which I was happy to have her get because I knew it would help with the pain substantially. The nurse asked if we wanted some IV drugs before the epidural to take the edge off a little more beforehand and Kenzie refused. The nurse immediately followed it up by letting her know the epidural would be about an hour out, and we were quickly persuaded. The IV drugs took the pain from a 9 to a 6 and it was enough to get her through the next hour. Finally the anesthesiologist came in to administer the epidural.
The epidural was by far the worst part of the entire labor and delivery. The anesthesiologist that administered it was so arrogant and a little incompetent in my opinion. He came into the room with the confidence of Jersey Shore Cast member and it ended up taking him 45 minutes to finally get the epidural to work. Full disclosure, Kenzie has scoliosis, but so do 9 million other people. He ended up stabbing her back about a dozen times, often asking “is this your spine?” Pretty sure you should at least be able to feel where her spine is, I mean I can and I’m not a doctor. He did all of this while she was feeling the worse contractions as of yet, and simultaneously berading the nurse for asking a question about a vein that he also nicked saying things to her like “do you actually understand or are you just saying you understand?” I had to restrain myself from saying anything because I knew the added stress of me yelling at her anesthesiologist, while in the worst part of the pain, would not be best for her stress levels. Finally after 45 minutes and 12 needles in her back, the epidural took place and by this time she got rechecked and had already progressed to an 8cm dilation before the epidural even began to work. Once the epidural took hold, the pain went from a 9 all the way to a 3. She was able to take a nap for the next hour and a half. She woke up again and hour and a half later, and had to be checked again. 9.5cm! The nurse said the doctor would be here shortly to check her at 10cm and we would be able to start pushing soon. The doctor came in as scheduled at 10cm and she said Kenzie can try to push at her next contraction. Here is a good point to tell you that Kenzie is a pretty private person, who pees with the door shut and still has not farted in front of me, so she was worried she would be embarrassed if she pooped in front of me. After her first push, the nurse and doctor gave a less than thrilled “good push” and we all knew that it would take awhile if she wasn’t fully pushing. So she gave it a real push and you could tell the doctor was a lot happier with that push. Doctor stood up and said “See you in 30 minutes” My first though was, how can you not hold on for 30 minutes and make sure everything goes okay, but again, saner thoughts prevailed. Once we started pushing the atmosphere was sooooooooo calm. So calm that it made me uneasy with how calm everything was, I mean, the baby is coming any minute now right!? Kenzie would push, we would all be focused on the push and then in between contractions and pushing we were all talking and making jokes, including Kenzie. Unsettling how calm it all was. I even made a comment about it and the nurse joked and asked if I would feel more comfortable with more nurses in the room. I laughed, but yeah it kind of would. Now full disclosure, I was on the business end of this birth the entire time. I saw it all. This was probably the most asked question I would ask fathers was “did you watch?” The decisions are across the board, some say the only way to have a kid is to watch him be born, others say they would throw up watching it. I don’t have a super weak stomach for blood or anything medical, but I left it to the day of to see how things played out. By choosing this, I had to see some less than pleasant things come from a historically pleasant place, but I also got to see my son come into this world from negative seconds old to seconds old. I don’t think either option is right or wrong, but I have too much FOMO to not experience something like this with my own eyes. All in all, watching was a cool experience for me, and it was really so adrenaline packed that it didn’t even register to me that it was gross or unsettling in anyway, I was in full caretaker mode. Gross part ahead. Birthing does have a distinct smell. If I walked into a room with someone wearing “birth” as a perfume, I would immediately recognize it and say “is that the new birth scent from Macy’s?” That part is not for the faint of heart and I would recommend some mouth breathing for a bit. The other thing I wanted to experience was catching my child as he entered the world. I was also a little curious to see if I could catch my son into this world because of course my confident self thought “Pshhh I can catch my son and place him on Kenzie.” Let me tell you, this doctor was literally the quarterback and captain of a professional team. She did things that I couldn’t have even expected and orchestrated everyone in that room to the beat of HER drum. She anticipated potential problems in the event that they arose, and her team of nurses were on a level of focus a true professional team can only obtain. In the event a doctor or nurse of L & D is reading this, hats off to you guys.
Birth went great, a few contractions and pushes and Remi was born into the world. The nurse immediately set him on Kenzie and continued their post birth tasks. Super real time for dads out there, and this may sound a bit harsh, but newborns are not cute and pretty gross. My mom, her mom, and Kenzie all broke into tears watching the first few breaths of this new life, I however did not, not because I’m a macho man and don’t cry because you throw on the Time Traveler’s Wife, and let the tears roll in. I was under the impression it was going to be this magical, emotional, crazy feeling, and here I was trying to not look surprised. They look gross for a few different reasons, the first is obviously they just went through a pretty traumatic event, I’m not disputing that, but they also are purple and slimy, and don’t resemble either parent yet. So here I was staring at this purple baby, that looks nothing like me, crying his face off, and every woman was crying. From everything I’ve read it’s super normal to feel this way, but that doesn’t change the feeling. I feared I wouldn’t connect with my son, or that I was a monster for not crying, or that I didn’t have an emotional experience with it all, as most other dads I’ve talked to shared. Once they warm the baby up, and his skin tone gets to be normal, and he has even just one of your features, all seems right in the world. We had a few close friends and family come by the same night he was born and left 30 hours after he was born! If you guys want the first few weeks story and tips let me know and I can get working on that!