Guest post: Introduction of our exceptional daughter to the outside world

For the first time ever, I have a guest blogger writing. Without further ado, may I introduce my awesome husband, Ken:

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Unbeknownst to me, Lisa arose promptly at 12:00am, Thursday, November 19th. She had a stomach ache that quickly turned out to be contractions. For the next three hours, she quietly roamed the house, perhaps hunting mice between contractions.

At 3:00am, I awoke to find the lights on, and I asked if she was okay. She said “I think we’re having a baby.” This did not come as news to me as I’d been aware she was pregnant for the last several months. As the grogginess of sleep lifted, however, I realized she meant we were more immediately having a baby. I asked if we should go to the birth center, but she wanted to wait a bit longer in the comfort of her own home. She sent me back to bed, where I was able to get absolutely no sleep.

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Around 3:30, I again arose to find out how things were going – I wasn’t sleeping, so the only benefit of being in bed was the warmth and delight. Her contractions had become stronger and closer together (every one to two minutes, lasting 30 to 60 seconds) and we decided it was probably high time to head to the birth center. I figured the sooner we went, the easier the drive would be. We called the midwife and she said we could come in and see how far along things were. Lisa was concerned we’d be sent home, but I wasn’t keen on delivering a baby on the side of the interstate. I think we made the right decision, leaving at around 4:00am.

We arrived at the birth center around 4:20, and the midwife checked Lisa and pronounced her to be in active labor. So they prepared a room for us (there are two rooms, the other was being used for another birth that had just occurred), and we wandered around the building for a bit.

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Sometime around 5:30 or so we retired to the privacy of our room, and at 6 the midwife came in and filled the tub for Lisa. We got her into the water, which slowed the contractions and made them less intense. As a side note, “intense” is a word they use instead of “painful” in an effort to mislead people.

At around 7:00, the contractions became more intense, and Lisa became quite interested in an intensity reliever. So, in an effort to reduce the intensity, the midwife administered nitrous oxide, which helped the intensity and also made Lisa a bit loopy. Over the next hour or so, she worked through the contractions with the nitrous, and occasionally I had to remind her to take a breath of real room air because she was becoming sleepy and slipping into the water.

Sometime around 8:00 the contractions again changed (became more intense, in fact). Some short time later, Lisa asked “how much longer?” but I was able to comfort her with the report that I had seen the top of the baby’s head on the last one. She didn’t believe me, but a few contractions later, at 8:40, the midwife handed her a tiny bundle of tangible proof. Joy, I mean.

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After the cord stopped pulsing, the midwives clamped it and I had the honor of cutting it, which is apparently deep and meaningful, I guess. Of note though, the umbilical cord is definitely an internal organ – it looks quite unlike anything that is supposed to be external to a body. Having completed delivery and with a new baby on her chest, the midwives relieved Lisa of her nitrous oxide. I understand there was a lot of intensity in the next few minutes as she was coming down from the nitrous high.

The rather purple, grotesque, and still damp baby was handed to me while they transferred Lisa from the tub to the bed. They told me to take my shirt of because skin to skin contact is important for babies. I considered telling them I was just Lisa’s gay friend, here for support, not the father. I doubt they would have bought it. Anyway, they helped Lisa onto the bed while I stood by, practically naked holding someone’s baby. And as the pink color crept into her skin, displacing the purple weirdness, I realized she wasn’t someone else’s baby – she was mine.

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I crawled into bed next to Lisa. I’d never held a baby before, and here I am naked and trying to crawl while holding this floppy, delicate little thing (side note, I think they are actually more robust than they seem). But I got in, and we got the baby back to Lisa. And she and I lay there with our daughter. The midwives inspected Lisa and patched her up where necessary, and then left us for a bit. To let the overwhelming fear sink in, you know.

They kept us for four hours after delivery, while we named her Anna Marie. Anna was her Great Grandma (Mom’s Mom’s Mom), and Marie is a beautiful name with some family history for both of us. The midwives came by to answer questions and check how Lisa and Anna were doing, do the initial measurements on Anna, etc. They wanted to make sure Lisa was going to get some nutrition, so they asked if we eat red meat. Embarrassing question (for them), I know, but they do get a lot of hippy filth through birth centers like that.

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At 12:40, after I’d added Anna’s name to the sign out front (she was baby #397 for the center) and rang the bell (to announce another birth, the neighbors must hate that place), we set out for home. We got home and spent the afternoon in a bit of a daze, and I cooked a steak dinner for all to celebrate. And little Anna ate almost her whole sirloin!

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After having her for some three days now, we’ve decided to keep Anna. The birth center does have a very generous money-back return policy, but she seems as good as we could get anywhere else, and probably better than most places.

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2 Responses to “Guest post: Introduction of our exceptional daughter to the outside world”

  1. 1 bmoozick November 22, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Congratulations to Ken for writing his first blog (and managing to tastefully convey the disgust and fear and love you experienced with your first kid) !

  2. 2 Larry November 24, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Thanks for sharing Ken. Larry is enjoying being a Great Grandpa!

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