The flip side of Dina’s story about going into labor for the first time: dad’s perspective!
Just over 5 years ago, my life changed with the birth of our first child. Hopefully you have already read Dina’s perspective; if not you can read it here. To put a little perspective on the events, I’ll take you back about 2 weeks before Dyl was born. This is really when the Braxton Hicks contraction really started to kick in.
Along with those, she was experiencing some of what we referred to as “intermittent cervical.” What it actually was, was pressure on her cervix. We were going to our regular obstetrics appointments, and things were progressing very nicely. Dina was starting to dilate, as to be expected.
Fast forward to our last appointment with our obstetrician, who asked Deen how things were going, and if everything was all right. Deen was both eager and excited to meet our first born, but there were also a host of nerves around the process. During this appointment, our doc decided it would be a good idea to check to see how far dilated Dina was. What came out of our doctor’s mouth next surprised us both: “Do you know that you’re 9 cm dilated and fully effaced?”
I did a prenatal class, so I know that basically means the baby is coming. But with no overt signs of labour, our doc told us to go home, but come to the hospital tomorrow, because if her water were to break we would likely not make it back.
After a night with very little sleep, we walked to the hospital the next day. Yes, I said walked; we lived just down the street at the time, and it was very convenient. After another exam in the Labour and Delivery triage, we were ushered into a birthing suite. Now, as simple as you may think that is, it wasn’t. We had come stocked with everything from laptops, cameras, video camera and all the associated chargers. On top of this, we had a bag of clothes for us and stuff for the baby. Apparently these were all “essentials.”
Just as an FYI our go-to-the-hospital-pack has been pared back quite a bit.
Once in the room, our doc showed up to say hi, did a quick exam, and decided that she should break Deen’s water as she was closer to 10cm than 9cm. That’s when things really started moving. Immediately, after having her water broke, Dina began having contractions and went right into active labour. She decided she wanted an epidural, so the anesthesiologist came in, explained the procedure, and Dina signed the consent form. The anesthesiologist then came back with everything she needed. For the next hour or so (although to me it seemed like eternity), she tried to place the epidural.
Deen was hunched over, sitting on the edge of the bed, me holding her hand as her back was being poked repeatedly. She was in the most pain I had ever seen her in. I felt completely helpless.
Just as the anesthesiologist finally said she “got it,” Deen proclaimed, “I feel the baby coming.” In that same moment, the anesthesiologist vanished. I don’t know how, or where she ran off to, but she was gone, leaving Deen and I alone with the delivery nurse.
The first words out of the nurse’s mouth were: “Don’t push yet, you’re not ready!”
Deen’s response was: “No, I am ready, I feel him coming!”
What happened in the next 90 seconds is a bit of a blur, but it went something like this:
Dina: I need to start pushing.
Nurse: No, you don’t. Andrew can you go to the end of the bed and hold your wife’s leg.
Me: Sure, should I get the camera now?
Nurse: No, she’s still a bit away from pushing.
Dina: Get the camera and start recording. I feel him coming.
Nurse: Hold on, let me check… You’re not ready.
Dina: I’m going to push on the next contraction.
Nurse: Let me call the doctor and get her in here!
Dina: Here it comes.
Nurse: *on the phone* We need a doctor in here now, bring the vacuum…
Me: The head is out! *I support the head*
Nurse: *drops phone* Okay, Dina, one last big push.
Me: *catches baby*
Nurse: Here’s your baby boy.
Dina: Told you he was coming.
Doctor: *running in* What, you couldn’t wait for me? I was just at the nurse’s station.
The best part of this was the fact that the actual delivery only lasted about 90 seconds from the time the anesthesiologist left to the time Dyl popped out. I know this because even though I had to catch him, I also managed to get the entire thing on video tape. The rest, as they say, is history.
What I have not been able to get over is how quickly we managed to settle into the newest chapter of our lives as a family. Another little tidbit I’ll share: the 3 of us were taking a nap, Deen and I in the hospital bed, Dyl in the bassinet. If you spent any time in the maternity ward, you’ll know that crying is something that you get used to pretty quickly! But I remember looking over at Deen who was fast asleep, then over at Dylan, and I realized he was the source of the crying that woke me. This is the only time Deen has ever slept through one of the kids crying.
What you should learn from this story is there is always another perspective to what happened. Also, things do not always go as planned, so prepare for the unexpected. But most importantly, listen to your wife and get the camera!
Andrew obtained his PhD from the University of Waterloo in Physiology, a topic not entirely having to do with with kids health specifically. Andrew’s expertise in kids health and raising children stems from his now 4+ years of direct hands on experiences with 4 young boys. My goal is to share some practical advice and some of the little not-so-perfect things my kids have done and how we managed to figure it all out so you can too.