And Then There Were Two
A little more than two weeks ago, I became a dad again. Parker Maxwell Ferguson was born on Saturday, June 13th at 10:47 PM. This is the story of his arrival.
After going through this twice, I can report that women tend to get to a point in their pregnancy where they just want it to be over. They’re really uncomfortable and agitated about it and they have every right to be. They are creating life after all. Monica reached that point in this pregnancy around the beginning of May. She wasn’t due until June 22nd. She went to the doctor for a routine visit on Thursday, June 11th. The doctor said that she would definitely go to full term. Two days later, as if both her and my soon-to-be-newborn son told the doctor “F You” her water broke.
This happened around 7 AM. I was downstairs with Oliver when Monica came down and told me that she thought her water broke. She eventually called the doctor who told her to come into the hospital around 1 PM. In the meantime, she relaxed, went for a walk, took a shower, and ate lunch. It was like every other day…except for the fact that liquid was literally leaking out of her. Yes, that sounds gross, but how did you think the baby was going to come out?
She also called her parents who agreed to come down to watch Oliver. This was a big concern for us because, depending on when the new baby came, we didn’t really know what to do with Oliver. As a very temporary solution, he could come with us, but someone would have to pick him up. If it was during the week, he’d be at daycare for most of the day. As it turned out, this was probably the best possible situation. It was the weekend. Monica’s dad had just started vacation so he was available to come down. It all lined up nicely.
We got to the hospital around 1:30 after I took at least 2 wrong turns. I can’t explain why this happened. I’ve been to this hospital several times when we were taking various lamaze classes and whatnot but for some reason, I just totally spaced out on the ride over. After getting into a room, the doctor confirmed that Monica’s water did indeed break. As a result, we were stuck there. She was officially admitted to the hospital as they won’t let you leave after the water is broken.
Monica was still mobile and not in much pain at this point. Contractions were coming but not regularly and they weren’t too severe. She was told to walk laps around the maternity ward for about an hour. This helps shake things loose. Again, if this sound gross, sorry. That’s how these things work. We set out for the walk while I was texting family and work folks. While we were walking, I pointed out a white board with “Welcome to the Maternity Ward” written on it along with a number of names. I assumed that these were the names of the new children that have been born. Monica, being far smarter than me, noticed that 99% of the names were female and that was unlikely. I think the one male name was a mysterious “Ray.” On a later lap, the names were confirmed to be those of the maternity ward staff. Then I instantly wondered if anyone heard me make fun of some of the names while we were walking by.
After about an hour walking, we returned to the room for another check. I think this was around 4 PM by this point. Things were progressing steadily. We both rested a bit, Monica in the bed and me in this odd pleather chair / bed contraption. This thing means well, but it’s an uncomfortable pain in the ass. Now, I get that the chair in the labor and delivery rooms aren’t really a cause for concern in the minds of hospital staff. After all, the men / guests aren’t the patients. The important people are the pregnant women who are about to go through an insane experience and literally produce a human being. Me being uncomfortable in a weird pull out bed is the least of their worries. The way this thing was supposed to work was by pulling the bottom of the chair out and then folding the back down so it would turn into a sort of bed. I didn’t figure this out right away so the bottom kept rolling out or the seat would slide forward while I was sitting on it. I didn’t figure out the right way to use it for a few hours. I should also note that this is the same type of chair that was there the last time we had a baby.
This next part gets a little hazy for me. I’m not sure of the specific time frame, but I think we rested and hung out for about an hour or so. At around 6, we were going to go for another walk, but the contractions were getting more intense, so Monica asked for the epidural. This is a magic drug that comes down from the gods to numb pregnant women from the stomach down. It doesn’t paralyze them, but they’re not too steady on their feet. There is absolutely no shame in getting an epidural. I can only imagine the pain of childbirth. I’ve seen two of them and both times the epidural provides a very noticeable relief. There are many women that don’t want to get one when it comes time to give birth. Of those, a large chunk of them get it anyway. Science!
I was kicked out of the room while the anesthesiologist put in the epidural. It goes in as a catheter into the spine so there’s a steady stream of the stuff to keep the pregnant woman comfortable. I think what happened next was I checked in on Monica again and everything was OK. She was going to rest for a little while as the drugs kicked in so I took the opportunity to go downstairs and get a bite to eat. Not eating was a big mistake I made with Oliver’s birth, especially since that turned into a marathon. I subsisted almost entirely on Famous Amos cookies. I came prepared this time with a couple bananas, peanuts, cookies, and some granola bars, but I still needed some real food. I got a mediocre chicken parm in the hospital cafeteria and promptly got sauce on my white t-shirt. After I finished eating, I went back upstairs to find that the doctor was performing another check. She now said that Monica would be having this baby tonight.
A quick note on this. The doctor that said this was also the one that told Monica she would go to full term. So what do we believe, lady? Her estimate would actually get closer, claiming that the current nurse would see the baby born and her shift ended at 11 PM. (To put this in perspective, we went through four different nurses during Oliver’s birth. Their shifts are 12 hours long. Woof.)
We basically hung out for a bit here. Monica rested. I read many comics on my tablet. I read most of the pre-New 52 run of Batgirl starring Stephanie Brown and Red Robin featuring Tim Drake. Both of them were pretty good, but I found Batgirl to be solid for the entire duration. Now I see why people love that character so much.
Anyway, back to the baby. The epidural didn’t work entirely. There was this one spot on Monica’s hip that was throbbing in pain. She got a booster with the epidural that helped a little bit but didn’t fix the issue. This, coupled with a partially completed root canal that was not painful before, but began to throb like crazy, made for an unpleasant experience. Fortunately, she didn’t have to deal with it nearly as long as the first time.
I think it was around 10 where things started heating up. Monica was crazy dilated. The baby had dropped into the -1 position (Look it up!). It was go time. The bed transformed into baby mode as Monica began pushing. She actually had to stop for a sec so the doctor and the nurse could catch up. It was happening pretty quickly. Stirrups were popped out and her feet were propped up. All of a sudden, the baby was right there. Throughout this whole thing, I was at the head of the bed, holding Monica’s hand. I was not going down to ground zero. Let the professionals handle that. I’d just be in the way and there’s a lot going on down there. I got a peek down and saw the baby’s head. After a few more pushes, the baby was out. Just like that. It happened. Again, to put this in perspective, for Oliver’s birth, Monica pushed for a total of six hours. Pushing is the part of labor that you always see in movies. The woman is red faced and screaming and it’s a big hub-bub. In reality, that phase of the labor should take up to a half hour, as was the case here. Oliver was stubborn and didn’t turn the way he was supposed to so he just kind of got stuck until the doctor had to literally suck him out with a little vacuum.
Oh, I almost forgot. With a flip of a switch, a large mirror descended from the ceiling. This allowed Monica to see what was happening as she was pushing. She found this very encouraging and helpful in the act.
Right after the baby came out, I had this moment of panic. They don’t really come out kicking and screaming like in the movies. Parker was rather still and a little purple. All these horrible thoughts went through my head in that instant. Was there something wrong? What happened? Oh no. Then the doctor turned the kid around and everything was fine. He let out a little cry but nothing huge. The doctor let me cut the cord and then plopped the baby down on Monica’s stomach. In the meantime, the doctor pulled out the placenta and showed it to us which I will admit was a little gross. It’s basically a small sack of flesh, about the size of a deflated soccer ball. It was like a show-and-tell. Monica loved it. In the final push to get that out, a gush of blood followed. The doctor said something along the lines of “I don’t usually have my births look like a crime scene.” That was when I looked down and saw the blood splatter just about everywhere. It was all over the floor. Dexter would have a field day in that room.
So, that’s how Parker Maxwell Ferguson came into the world. He did so in less than half the time that Oliver did. Parker was one inch shorter and one ounce bigger than Oliver was.
The next chapter is him meeting his big brother and how the two of them get along.