Yogi is 16 days old today, so I’m feeling the pressure to get this down before I forget.
Saturday, August 14
We spent a low-key evening with some new friends, eating a delicious home-cooked meal and playing with their two-year old. By Tuesday, when my wife hadn’t eaten in days I was really glad that we had had this meal. Our friends cooked chicken on the grill paired with a traditional Bulgarian salad (he is Bulgarian), mashed potatoes, grilled tomatoes and chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven. This is probably the best meal that my wife had had in at least a month and I was surprised by how much eating gusto she had. I guess that was a sign. During the last weeks of her pregnancy she never felt like eating and when I could entice her to try something, she never felt well afterward.
All was normal when we got home and settled into bed. In fact, we fell asleep kissing and all tangled together that night. By that time in her pregnancy, that was a real gift as it was usually impossible for her to feel comfortable in bed. At some point during the night things changed. By the time I woke up (maybe 7am), she had been awake for a few hours and was feeling different. That was how she put it, something was different.
Sunday, August 15 – Morning
On Sunday mornings, we usually get up and go for a jog, shower, have a little breakfast and head to church at 11. Although I encouraged her to be cautious, she wanted to head upstairs to the treadmill to see if that would help her feel better. At this point, we were planning to carry on with the day. Now, I realize that to most people (me included) getting on the treadmill does not make the short list of activities to pursue when one thinks they might be in labor, but my wife is not most people. In her defense, walking and jogging have helped her feel better throughout this pregnancy, so I guess this response wasn’t entirely crazy.
So, she headed to the gym in our building to do something productive and I proceeded to pace around the living room. Pacing and pacing and repeating an “is today the day?” loop in my mind. When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I headed up to the gym to check on her. She was cooling down after jogging 7 miles (I’m glad I don’t have a tendency towards feelings of inferiority) and calmly told me that she was thinking she might be having contractions. Cool as a cucumber. She decided to take a shower, settle in on the couch and start timing these things. Ok, I could be on board with that.
By the time these tasks had been accomplished, we decided to call the doctor bc whatever these things were, they were about 5 minutes apart. She told us to head into the hospital and let them monitor us. I managed to whirl all of our stuff into the car while barely taking a good deep breath and we were on our way.
The hospital is about 3 miles from our house and given that this drive took place in the late morning on a Sunday, we made it to OB triage in a flash. We had to wait a bit as there were 2 women in line ahead of us, but she handled the wait fairly well. By the time we made it through the check-in process and got her hooked up to the monitors, it was very clear that she was in labor.
Sunday, August 15 – Afternoon
The nurse called our doctor (who was magically on call that day) and gave her the update. The next thing we knew, they were rolling in a wheelchair and saying “Happy Birthday. You’re having a baby today.” We headed down to an L&D room, where my wife was prepped for surgery. That was when the whirlwind really began. Suddenly there were lots of people in the room and I was realizing that it was time to call people.
We had decided that we wanted to have all 4 parents and (if possible) her brother and my best friend in town as soon as possible to meet the baby. We all had plans built around our scheduled c-section date, so nobody was expecting the call that Sunday. I was able to reach everyone but her parents immediately. My parents got in the car and headed up the 200 miles from their house, while my wife’s brother started his 900 mile journey. My wife’s parents were in the air headed back from a trip with her brother, so I caught up with them on the tarmac and they hit the road as well.
During all of this calling and surgical prep, my wife was calmly chatting with the hospital staff. There were moments when she went a little white, but for the most part she seemed entirely present and together. She was a little nervous, but the primary feeling in the room was excitement. We were going to be meeting our baby so soon!
In what felt like moments and I think was really only about 30 minutes, they wheeled her into the OR. They left me on a little chair outside the door until the anesthesiologist had completed the spinal and all systems were go. I have no idea how long I sat on that chair. I concentrated on my breath and repeated “All will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well” over and over and over until the nurse ushered me through the door.
I sat on another chair in my surgical gear by my wife’s head and focused all of my attention on her. There were so many people in the room, but I don’t think I really saw any of them. I saw only her and the huge smile on her face. I was able to hold her hand and all I could think to tell her was something along the lines of “you’re doing a great job baby” and suddenly she started to laugh. Then she said “I’m going to lay on this table like I’ve never laid on a table in my whole life”. It was pretty funny. I’m used to cheering her on in races and so this kind of encouragement was what came to mind, but I guess it didn’t really fit the situation. It did make us laugh though.
Sunday, August 15 at 2:09
Shortly after that the OB held up the baby and I could see him over the curtain. I couldn’t do anything but stare at his face and until my wife asked “is it a boy or a girl?” I forgot to look. When I did look it was quite clear that we had a little boy and I couldn’t believe it. He was so perfect. The nurses whisked him over for clean up, but I was able to follow and watch everything that went on. When they laid him on the scales, he immediately grabbed the edge and I was struck by how powerful his little body already was. They wrapped him up tight, handed him to me and I was able to take him over to my wife.
As the doctors closed her incision and cleaned everything up, we just stared at our boy. I had brought my camera and the nurse anesthetist picked it up and took pictures of the three of us. I was so teary that it was hard to see, but I could tell that the whole world was new.