Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Husband's Perspective - Three Birth Stories

Following my reflections on the births of Blaise, Finn, and Lucy, I invited my husband, John, to share his thoughts! 

Reflecting on our children's births is a strange whirlwind tour for me--each one is so powerful a memory, so distant yet so near, as I found myself utterly powerless in three of the most important moments of my life.  First, and most permanent in my memory, is Blaise.

I remember, quite distinctly, eating Chinese take-out while Kristen lay sleeping, barely, amid the induction process. That was the first night of two. We had arrived at the hospital for an appointment earlier in the day, had a discussion with the doctor as to whether or not to induce, and decided to go for it.  24 hours later, barely dilated and already exhausted, Kristen told the doctor to go ahead, break her water, and let's try to get Blaise moving.  He did not comply...and neither did Kristen's body!  So, finally, after hours of very painful but not helpful contractions, Kristen allowed the epidural.  Her body no longer in control, things began to move quickly at first....and then stopped again. That was the second night.

I remember standing next to Kristen, holding her hand, right after Blaise was born. The nurses placed him fairly quickly on her chest (though not immediately), and I took some pics on my cell phone.  His head was a bit conical from the double-suctioning to get him out, and my Kristen was beyond exhausted and starving.  Yet, there she was, full of grace, caressing her son.

This was the moment, taken with my cell phone, right after Blaise was born.
The doctor, on the other hand, I remember annoyingly yelling at one of the nurses..."I need you to hold that light steady!"  The main spotlight for the restitching kept shifting out of place on its own, and the nurse was feeling it a bit beneath her to stand there and hold the light.  "Just hold the light!" he said "I need to see what I'm doing here!"  So...that wasn't stressful at all!!  Thankfully, Kristen was with her baby, and Blaise and Mommy were going to be ok.

With Finn, as Kristen said, the heartbeat was scary for about a week before that.  I remember keeping my head on Kristen's belly for a long time that week, listening to his little heart through all the funny noises that a stomach makes, waiting for it to calm back down the 160 bpm range.  It wasn't overly surprising to me when the doctor heard him around 200, but it was surprising that he wasn't slowing down.

Daddy and Finn
So, just like that, a C-Section!  I remember being very nervous, holding Kristen's hand, looking at the all-too-calm anesthesiologist, who kept telling me that she was doing great.  I was like, "umm...is that amount of blood loss acceptable?!"  No, really, I asked him.  They have a vacuum tube that sucks out the extra blood (is this too much for a blog?)...anyhow, I could see the mL level rising as Kristen started getting really afraid of being there...and just overwhelmed by the whole process.  Finally they gave in and knocked her out completely for a bit...I can still remember her telling me, "I just want to go home!"

But Finn was born, healthy and happy, and Kristen's recovery was so much faster than after Blaise's birth.  I was so thankful for C-sections.

And Lucy, well, Lucy was completely different.  Scheduled from early on, Kristen's pregnancy with Lucy took place throughout a rather non-stop several months while we were packing and then moving and then unpacking across a time zone, a thousand miles away.  New doctors, crazy healthcare stresses, new hospital...it was a stressful time!  But the birth, thankfully, was not. As Kristen said, everyone was chatting it up in the OR, and there was actually much less blood this time (I KNEW I was onto something!).

But, boy, that Lucy, once she was born.  Those first six or eight hours after her birth were just painful. Crying, and crying, and crying. Lucy wouldn't nurse, and she wouldn't be held, and the nurses kept asking Kristen to try...ugh.  Her first 12 weeks were the toughest of the three kids in my opinion, but Blaise may have actually been more colicky--he was just the only one around at the time!  With Lucy, we had two other kids already, and I just started a PhD program not a week after she was born.  So, yeah, that was tough.

Obviously, this was taken AFTER the first six hours of Lucy's post-womb life!
But my wife is amazing.  Three births, none of them how we first envisioned, but she rocked it through thick and thin.  Nursing, working, pumping, at home watching all three, in school teaching, she is my inspiration, every day. (And yes, dear, I know that's incredibly cheesy, but it's true, and it's my guest blog, so I'm writing it!)

1 comment:

  1. Nothing teaches self sacrifice like bring a patent! Y'all are great! Keep it up!

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