Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bearing Down for Sandy, Bearing down for Baby!

As the mid-Atlantic beared down in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, DJ and I went into labor.

My first "contraction" came at 4:35 am, although at the time I didn't know it was a contraction. I had trouble falling back to sleep so I took a minute to update my Fantasy Football Team, trading Brandon Bolden of the Patriots for Steven Jackson of the Rams. The trade would later prove to be lame with Jackson only earning me 5 points, but I still won the match.
Anyway, thats not important.

After my trade, I went back to sleep, waking up now and then with a "kind of pain, but not really" until 6:30. That last "contraction" had a little something special to it. An extra kick, if you will so I stayed awake and hung out in the bathroom since I couldn't think of a better place to go.

Close to 7:00am, DJ was up with me and we started timing things. The spacing was so erratic and I still wasn't sure if we were in labor so we just toughed it out. All breathing techniques went out the window and I resorted to some kind of hyperventilation breathing and writhing in the fetal position.

Near 9:00 am we called Dr. Beim and were connected with his dispatch service where DJ had to get a little sassy with his receptionist. Was this an emergency? Well, maybe? My wife isn't suffering from stab wounds to the chest, but she may be in labor. By this time, I was thinking there is no way I can do this for 16 hours - I will need drugs.
Beim told us to call back in a few hours if contractions become more intense. Sometimes the pains will subside and it will all be a false alarm.

It felt like as soon as DJ hung up the phone, the contractions went from 7 minutes to 3 minutes to 2 minutes - although, I admit it was hard to tell. The intensity  would subside, but it never really went away so I was just guessing when one ended and a new one started at this point. DJ told me that after the 4th "big one", he would call Beim again. In the meantime he was singing the few bars of "Afternoon Delight" that he knew - which was actually quite enjoyable.

At 9:45 I made the call to home and told my Dad we were on our way to the hospital . I really wanted to wear my lucky Giants shirt, that I had worn to all Petry's major appointments, but I was so hot that long sleeves were out of the question. I wore a pink Old Navy tank instead and the cold air felt delicious as I hobbled my way to DJ's truck. To the outside world, I was probably inappropriately dressed but if anyone told me that, I might have ripped their head off.

Some might say, "shit got real" on the way to the hopsital and thank GOD! St. Peter's is only 15 minutes away and there was no one on the road this early on a Sunday. I couldn't get comfortable and was probably stopping circulation in DJ's hand as we made our way down Route 1. The one traffic light we hit was a fate worse then death as I thought my insides were going to rupture out of my body. At this point, I was really hoping this was labor because if it wasn't I was in some serious trouble.

We got to the hospital and DJ got me a wheel chair. Leaving his truck, he took me up to labor and delivery. Things get a little foggy here, but I remember someone asking if we were doing cord blood, DJ having to run back down stairs, move his truck, get our things, and me telling the nurse (Carissa) that I was scared. I also asked if I could keep my sports bra on because I didn't want to be like one of the ladies in the birthing DVD that have their boobs exposed. I was told no, but my gown was securely tied in the back.

We beat Dr. Beim to the hospital so a tall Indian Dr. Patel asked if I wanted an epidural. He had a little pony tail which I thought was interesting.
Me - "How far am I?"
Dr. P - "9 cm"
Me - "What number do I have to get to?"
Dr. P. - "10 so you really won't have time for an epidural anyway"
Me - "Oh...."(exasperated sigh)..Can I get anything?"
Even if I had time,  I was also nervous about getting a needle in my spine since I couldn't sit still and didn't want to be paralyzed. Instead I got something that began with an N put into my IV that was supposed to ease the pain. They might  have completely lied to me, but just knowing or thinking there was potential relief worked for me. Then another doctor with a beard came in and poked around, said I was doing well and then left.

In  the movies it looks like the actress does four or five good pushes and out comes baby.
Not so much - pushing is long, exhausting, and intimate.
My mom had joined the room as Carissa held one leg, DJ the other, and Dr. Beim stared intellectually into my girl parts. He was so calm and collected - but I guess that's his job.
I couldn't seem to differentiate pushing and screaming so every time I was asked to push, I also screamed. I thought the baby would just come flying out since I had dilated the required amount, but I was a fool. So I pushed on my back, I pushed on my side, I pushed during contractions, and I pushed during things that weren't contraction but urged me to push. Somewhere along the way I got ice chips and a cold compress.

Pushing is also frustrating because, lets say for every 3 pushes, the baby gets sucked back inside a little when you are done with that round so you are always taking a small step back. At one point I swear his head was out and I was in the clear, but who the heck knows. I saw DJ take a peak and I remember thinking that was a bold move. He can never unsee what he just saw. Who knows what things looked like down there. I also heard my mom ooo-ing and eesh-ing  in the background, pacing with her hands clasped at her chest.

So we pushed on and at some point I got the go ahead to scoot down and put my feet in stirrups. I guess this was the big moment. Again, things are unclear but I remember feeling something down there coming out and not getting sucked back in. I'm sure instructions were given but I was so focused on pushing, I'm not sure what was said. I remember giving one last grunt, feeling a pull, and then something squiggly, skinny, and slimy coming out. I am guessing this was the legs and umbilical cord.

Austin David Lathroum entered the world on October 28th at 12:03pm weighing 7 lbs, 6 oz. and 19 3/4 inches long.

He was placed on my chest and I said "Happy Birthday" in an excited  but exhausted whisper. I didn't cry yet, but looked up at DJ and said "we did it!".

He was then whisked away for the appropriate measuring and cleaning while I was cleaned and stitched up. There is something disheartening about seeing a man with a medical grade needle and thread down by your chatchki. You are convinced it will never be the same and, like it or not, Austin will be an only child. I don't remember too much of this part either, but I know I was insanely thirsty. Fortunately my mom was there to feed me ice chips, which were delicious, and life was good while DJ went off to do first-time dad things with the nurses.

After 6 hours of labor and, statistically, a smooth delivery, Austin, Daddy. and Mommy were set up in our room in time to watch the Giants beat the Cowbys 29-24.