Note: This is a running blog that is/was updated throughout my wife’s labor. Kristen was originally hesitant to let me post repeated updates during her labor, but she ended up liking the commentary and support from loved ones. Doghouse avoided. Enjoy!
April 15, 2015
8:02 am – The cat wakes us up. We curse the cat. Kristen finds her unmentionables to be wet. I tease her for poor bladder control.
8:05 am – Kristen declares she has not peed herself. She suspects her water has broken. I ask how she confirmed it wasn’t pee, then slowly recoil as I realize she smelled it. We call the hospital, who tells us to come in within an hour. The mad dash begins. Kristen eats Cinnamon Toast Crunch and curses the cats for being in her way.
9:05 am – Driving to the hospital Kristen admits she has not felt the baby move all morning. A mild panic underscores our drive to the hospital. I hit 92 mph.
9:30 am – Doctor alleviates anxiety by confirming A. The baby has a strong baby heartbeat, B. Kristen’s water has in fact broken, C. We won’t be leaving the hospital. We thank the cats in absentia for waking us. They’ll never know.
10:25 am – We are “direct admitted” to a labor and delivery suite. It overlooks the Sunoco on the Boulevard of the Allies. I’ll keep everyone updated on the current price of fuel in our neck of the woods. Currently, we’re at 3 centimeters dilated and $2.65 per gallon.
10:28 am – If you want to see my wife naked and you’re on the Boulevard of the Allies, the next 45 seconds is your chance. In other news, I have not yet figured out how to work the blinds.
11:02 am – I have already inquired to two different nurses about food. Apparently I am allowed to have food in this room, but Kristen is asking me not to. We are so in a giant fight right now.
11:15 am – 3 updates. 1. There is a bake sale in the lobby. And I’m not allowed to eat in here. Worst day ever. 2. Aaron Hernandez found guilty. Gotta be the biggest news of the day, right? 3. It’s tax day! Hope you all got your taxes in. The tax puns are gunna come fast and furious today (RIP Paul Walker). Oh, and I almost forgot, Kristen got her IV.
11:23 am – Our nurse’s name is Allison. She asked if I want to cut the cord. I have never given a more resounding “No” in all my life. Still no contractions.
11:29 am – Dr. K will be our doctor today. He’s the guy who “stirred things up” last week. We like him. He said there’s another doctor who may be around, but hopefully we won’t see her cause “she usually goes where there are problems.” Judging from the large crowd in the waiting room and the nurses scurrying about, I think we’re doing pretty well.
11:40 am – The doctor has decided to give Kristen pitocin (a drug that jump-starts labor) since she hasn’t started contractions yet. I have no idea if I spelled pitocin correctly.
11:44 am – The nurse just told Kristen that she’s starting to have weak contractions. Nothing too taxing yet. (Tax pun #1.)
12:30 pm – Our Baby Watch Mailbag (not a real thing) is filling up, but fortunately it looks like we have time to answer a few questions! Ashley asks, “What is the status of her ‘mucus plug?'” Thanks for the question, Ashley. The truth is, that bad boy is long gone. Lost it about a week ago. Tigran questions, “Why are you focusing on the blog instead of on Kristen?” Well Tigran, great question. The truth is, I am obviously focusing on her. I’m blogging when the nurses are manhandling her, which is frequently. And finally, several folks have asked about Kristen’s contractions. They’re currently about two minutes apart, which is pretty good, especially when you consider she is barely even feeling them. She’s up and active and has a great demeanor. This labor thing is a breeze!
2:02 pm – Hit the bake sale and got some banana nut muffins. Kristen’s mother has joined us for a while, so I have free time to roam around. The labor triage room is overflowing with people. We got here at a very good time.
2:20 pm – Contractions still 2 mins apart, but Kristen still not in any pain. Things seem to be progressing slowly. Nurse Allison just told us that things tend to be slow when your contractions have to be induced. She unwisely says, “The longest I’ve seen a woman in labor is 4 days.” Goodbye spiders, snakes, and flying on airplanes, I have a new biggest fear in my life.
2:31 pm – Titanic is on!!! Kate and Leo, take us through the next 3 hours.
2:43 pm – This baby heartbeat monitor is driving me crazy. It’s just an incessant beating that echoes through the room, which is good for keeping tabs but bad for keeping sanity. “Tear up the floor I say; just stop the beating of thy hideous tell-tale heart!”
3:15 pm – You’re not gunna believe this, but Kate seems to be falling for Leo, but he’s a third class passenger! Talk about Romeo & Juliet! Right?
3:34 pm – Finally some pain! Kristen says it’s only about a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10, but at least it’s a little progress. Also, she can’t pee on her own. The nurses have to unhook all her cables so she can make the trek to the potty, and almost as soon as she’s back in bed she has to go again. Incessant peeing: good preparation for this impending baby. Or for when Kristen is 95.
4:34 pm – As things were not progressing much, Dr. K decided to have a little investigation. He found that Kristen’s water hadn’t fully drained from her amniotic sac. It had pooled into something called a “fore-bag.” The doctor said it felt like a small water balloon. And what do you do with water balloons? You pop them. And pop it we did. With some crazy medieval sounding thing called an “AmniHook.” Here’s the string cheese looking package that the doctor had me help him open while his hands were covered in goo:
When he popped the fore-bag there was a gigunda rush of water that evoked an “Oh my!” from the doctor and a “I’ll get more towels!” from the deer-in-the-headlights nurse. In fact, you could actually hear the rush of water audibly, which is a really strange sound to hear when not standing next to a babbling brook. The doc said she is 4 cms dilated (gas still at $2.65 / gallon), but because of the slow progression it is unlikely that Baby Hemmings will be born today. Anyone care for a little late-night blogging? 😉
5:19 pm – Finally we have some regular contractions that are relatively “normal.” The bottom line of this seismograph baby monitor is her contractions. The top two are the baby’s heartbeat (the blue line & number at the top) and Kristen’s heartbeat (the green line and number).
5:42 pm – Day shift is leaving. Night shift is coming on. Goodbye Allison and Dr. K. Hello Dr. Devon. We do not yet know if Dr. Devon is a man or woman. The anticipation is palpable.
6:40 pm – Two MAJOR revelations. First, Dr. Devon is a female. Turns out Devin is her first name. Kristen’s mother scolded me for using the doctor’s first name. I was unaware that medical professionals were owed such reverence. Secondly, I went to grab some dinner while our mothers were still here . . . and the cafeteria is CLOSED for dinner on weeknights!!! How are we supposed to survive!?!
7:15 pm – THE VENDING MACHINES HAVE BUFFALO CHICKEN WINGS!!!!! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!
7:27 pm – The night shift is pretty cool. But Anna and Amanda will have to live with me mixing up their names repeatedly. I ask them why people are not checking her dilation more frequently. The movies have prepared me for a check-up every few minutes. They tell me it’s because Kristen’s water broke. “Every time fingers go in there is a chance for infection.” Noted.
7:40 pm – Contractions getting stronger. Starting to have to breath measuredly through them. Had a roast beef sandwich for dinner. And dark chocolate almond bark from the gift shop. And chocolate milk. Cause I’m about to be a dad. And that’s how dads roll.
7:47 pm – Expecting a dilation check at 8pm. They’re on the clock.
7:53 pm – The sun has set. The lights in the room are on. Still haven’t mastered the blinds. I’m just sayin, if a small viewing party were to gather at the Sunoco across the street, I wouldn’t stop it. Encouraging signs and noise makers preferred.
8:08 pm – Boom! Like clockwork they came and checked. Positive: everyone says things are progressing perfectly. Negative: Kristen is still 4 cm dilated (gas STILL $2.65 / gallon). Positive: They say that’s normal in a first pregnancy. Typically a woman’s cervix thins out first, then dilation occurs. Kristen’s cervix has thinned from 50% efaced to close to 80% efaced (you want to get to 100%). Negative: They still upped the pitocin level. This means stronger contractions. Positive: Stronger contractions are inevitable. It just means things are progressing. Negative: Fruitopia. Totally off the market. That was my all time favorite drink, and I’m hardcore hankering for a strawberry kiwi Fruitopia right now.
8:27 pm – A.) Anna has crushed our dreams and told me the windows are “magic windows” that can’t be seen through from the street. (Sounds like the type of reasoning I’d use to get a toddler to stop asking questions.) B.) Kristen has crushed my dreams of watching the Pirate game. A fair trade-off, I admit, but the toddler in me is upset regardless. C.) Kristen’s tail bone hurts. They didn’t prepare us for this in our labor and delivery class. I offer her some oven baked Lays potato chips as consolation.
9:19 pm – Nurse Allison has commented on the blog. Apparently she went home and read it. I classily and frantically reread everything I wrote today to make sure I didn’t say anything negative about her. I think I’m safe. Allison is due in October. Hopefully this blog helps her husband / boyfriend / significant other cope with the stress of spousal labor anxiety. In other news, Kristen and I are deadlocked in a heated battle of tic-tac-toe (or “tic-tac-tactics” as my spell check wants to change it to).
9:38 pm – She’s letting me watch the 9th inning of the Pirates game! For this I won’t even make fun of the super hot mesh granny panties that Nurse Anna gave Kristen to wear.
10:07 pm – Serious post. Kristen’s contractions have gotten pretty fierce. Hoping to get to 11pm when she’s going to get rechecked and hopefully be dilated to the point when she’s comfortable getting an epidural. The odds of her making it are . . . 50-50. Go, team, go!
11:01 pm – Things have leveled off somewhat. It’s like the eye of a hurricane. Speaking of, Twister is an underrated movie. “What’s this road? It’s like ‘Bob’s Road.'” Oh whatever, you have stupid quotes to stupid movies you like. Don’t throw shade on me!
11:26 pm – Me: “Well, it’s safe to say that Baby Hemmings isn’t gunna be here till April 16th.” Kristen: “We should look up the horoscope for the 16th to see if our kid is gunna be a jerk.”
11:41 pm – Serious post. Baby’s heart beat was dropping during contractions, which is obviously a bad thing. So the nurses rolled in five deep and repositioned Kristen and hooked her up to an oxygen mask and things seem fine now. It would’ve been scary if they weren’t upbeat and chuckling the whole time, so props to them for the sunny disposition parade. Also, Kristen looks like Darth Vader with the mask on, but she refuses to let me post a picture of her while wearing it and I won’t cause I’m a good husband and cause I already took a picture and I’ll just post it later. (Commas have gone out the window at this point. Embrace the run-on!)
April 16, 2015
12:47 am – Baby Hemmings is turning out to be quite the turd. First his/her heart beat dropped, then he wouldn’t let the doctors put a tube in to help steady the heart beat. Right now he/she is making Kristen get an epidural while lying on her side (not more dangerous but evidently more difficult – the anesthesiologist had to call his boss for help). Kristen has stuck it out like the Storm Trooper she is (reference to her Darth Vader oxygen mask), even though some of it hurt pretty bad. I, on the other hand, am currently in the hallway because I provided the wrong answer to the question, “How are you with needles, sir?” My queasy face betrayed me. Anyhow, Kristen made it to 4 cms and 90% efacement before the epidural, although she was at 4 cms for like 6 or 7 hours. Hoping the near future provides some steadier and more normalized progression and maybe even (fingers crossed) some brief rest? Perhaps I ask too much.
1:15 am – Epidural is in. Mama Kristen is hopefully able to relax after a rather stressful past few hours. I wouldn’t dare post a current picture, so instead here’s a look back to a healthier, more rested time (12 hours ago):
1:48 am – 5 years ago Kristen and I made a bet. She claimed that she could fall asleep within 1 hour – anywhere, anytime (as long as she didn’t have to stand up and as long as it wasn’t in a crowded or dangerous public place). This bet has been looming for 5 years. And I just called her out on it. It’s a win-win for me. Either she can’t sleep and I win, or she can sleep and both her and Baby Hemmings get a much needed rest before a final push. The only downside . . . now I can’t rest cause I keep checking to see if I’m winning the bet.
2:26 am – Okay. So they think that Baby Hemmings is compressing the umbilical cord, which is causing the heart beat to dip. To correct this, they’ve wanted to put a small tube into Kristen’s uterus and pump some fluid back in there (that she lost earlier when her water broke). The hope is that a little fluid will help Baby Hemmings to float around like the baby from Nirvana’s Nevermind album, which can help to untangle things. Hopefully. Maybe. In a perfect world. It’s all starting to sound a little science fictiony to me, but what do I know. Anyhow, it took 2 different doctors a total of 3 attempts (the first 2 before the epidural) to get the tube in. You’ll never know what Kristen’s face looked like, and you should be thankful. I wish I didn’t know what Kristen’s face looked like. Imagine getting your private parts waxed with Gorilla Glue. It was rough. But she hasn’t cried once, and it’s in there, and I’m super proud of her. We’re now waiting to see what happens. On one hand, a c-section seems more and more probable. On the other hand, she is now dilated 5 cms, and they keep saying that things are progressing nicely. And on the third hand . . . are mini powdered donuts that I got from the vending machine and I’m currently treating like Ring Pops by eating them off my fingers because it’s 2:30 in the morning and that’s how I behave at 2:30 in the morning.
2:27 am – Oh, and she fell asleep. With 3 nurses in the room, 6 various tubes and wires connected to her, and an oxygen mask strapped to her face. I lose the bet. I was always going to.
4:14 am – Both of us napped briefly. Still having baby heart rate issues. Still at 5 cms. Docs decided to give her the ole slice. Heading to c-section now. Hazmat suit has been donned.
5:05 am – Well, we done up and had ourselves a baby! Kristen is getting stitched up, and Baby Hemmings is getting poked and prodded, but everything went well and both are generally healthy albeit moody because of the ordeal. This is gunna be my last update for a few hours. I’ll post a new entry as soon as the wife allows with details about the baby. But for now . . . I think we’ll just enjoy things as our family of 3. 😉
PS – Thanks for all the support and for being a part of our big day!
PPS – For name and vitals, see my next post here!