Thursday, September 01, 2011
Baby Sharon Is Born
So here's what happened. Last Saturday, August 27th, 2011, began like most other days. I got up, had coffee, cut the grass, etc. My mother-in-law was here to help Mrs. Marius in the last weeks of her pregnancy, and nothing seemed amiss. Around three in the afternoon my wife mentioned that she was having strong, regular contractions, and so we began timing and monitoring, and this time not freaking out. Finally, around five, it became clear that this was really, really labor, and we went to the hospital. By six we were in the labor/delivery room. Imagine a large hotel room, only with a linoleum floor, and medical instruments built into the furniture. For the first couple of hours it was just my wife, me, and an occasional visit by the nurse. Eventually the doctor came in, who was very nice and reminded me of the stock 'female Asian doctor' on just about every medical show I've ever seen with a little bit of Hoshi Sato mixed in, and she examined my wife. Mrs. M was dilated to 7cm, which is close but not quite to the needed 10cm, so we waited a bit more. The contractions were painful, but not too severe, and I did my best to keep her breathing and comfortable. Eventually the doctor decided to speed things up a bit and broke my wife's water. Contrary to popular myth most women's water never breaks until delivery, but sometimes the doctor will make just a tiny hole in the amniotic sac with what looks like a plastic crochet hook and allow the fluid to come out. This usually triggers active labor, and boy howdy did it ever! Within minutes my wife was in full labor, crying out in pain, and ready to get that baby out. Maybe half an hour later things shifted into overdrive. Several nurses and the doctor swooped in and began doing all kinds of things. A tray of scary looking instruments was uncovered, and the sound of latex gloves snapping drifted over my wife's sounds of pain. I stroked her head and murmured encouragement, but my ability to assist anyone at that point was essentially nil. The nurses took over coaching, and soon my wife was pushing, and crying, and straining. We didn't opt for the mirror since neither of us really felt the need for a front row seat, but it wasn't long before I saw the top of the baby's head poking out. Two more pushes and suddenly a squidgy, bloody, slimy, crying creature was pulled from my wife's body. The team swiftly and expertly cleaned her off and within two or three minutes Sharon Elizabeth was laying on her mommy's chest. I confess that more than a tear or two rolled down my face at the sight of our daughter. Mrs. M became very calm and relaxed as soon as Sharon was there, but the work wasn't quite over. If you've never been through childbirth you may not realize that the placenta does not come out when the baby does, and it takes a few minutes before it is delivered, but I didn't even notice when that happened, and I'm not sure my wife did, either. There there was a bit of stitching up to do since there was a little bit of damage during the birth, and then almost as suddenly as it started, the whirlwind of activity was done, and it was just us and one nurse again. They let Sharon nurse for the first time before weighing and measuring her, and then we gathered up our stuff, and our baby, and went to the recovery room. All told I think we were in the delivery room for about four or five hours.
The recovery rooms in this hospital are even more like hotel rooms. The bed is, of course, a hospital bed, but the room is smaller, with comfy chairs, a pull-out sofa, softer lighting, and a wide-screen tv. We settled in and the nurses brought my wife crackers and juice, and then started taking vitals for both mommy and baby, and we began to get to know our new arrival. That night we didn't sleep much, but not because of Sharon. The baby was very quiet, but about every hour or two someone would come in to take a reading, or measurement, or check something, or get something signed, etc. Hospitals are not conducive to resting, but we both managed to grab a couple of hours of sleep anyway.
The next morning my mother-in-law came over to meet her new granddaughter, and our 13-year-old got to meet her half-sister. Everybody loves the baby, though my wife was getting quite sore as Sharon was demanding to eat nearly hourly. Eventually I went home and my mother-in-law stayed with Mrs. M and Sharon for the second night. Monday morning I ran some errands and then went to the hospital. It took some time to get all the paperwork sorted, but by about 1pm the discharge papers were done, and we took our baby home for the first time. She did fine in the car, and since she can't really see much beside blurry light and blurry dark the surroundings didn't really affect her. She sleeps, she eats, she poops, she generally waits til we have her diaper off and then pees. All normal stuff for a newborn. She squeaks, and grunts, and burps, and farts, and cries, and burbles, and is the most beautiful, amazing, gorgeous creature I've ever seen. I didn't expect to be so moved by her presence, after all I've been relatively indifferent to children most of my adult life, but I know that if an army of orcs were coming after her, and all I had was a plastic spork and a single shoelace, there would be a twenty foot high wall of dead orcs around me before any of them laid so much as a finger on her. I freely admit that I am in full-on first time parent mode, worrying about everything that might hurt or even inconvenience her, but I don't care. This tiny, helpless human needs me to be ever vigilant, and even though I rationally know that I can't protect her from every possible threat, I'll do my damndest to try. As for my wife, she is recovering quite well, and while we don't exactly fight over who gets to hold the baby 'this time', I know we both consider it to be the greatest thing in the world to do. Of course, since she is the baby's food dispenser, she has quite the edge on me. :-)
That's all for now. You can be assured, or warned, that there will be numerous posts in the future about Sharon and her growth. After all, it is highly doubtful there will be another baby in this house, and I'm going to make sure we all get the most out of this experience as possible, including, and especially Sharon.
Peace out, y'all.
Daddy Marius the Incredibly Proud and Lucky