We were now settled into the delivery room, awaiting what promised to be a long night. It was one of those things that no matter how much research one does, you just can’t really prepare yourself enough. My mind was constantly replaying Bill Cosby’s famous labor routine, punctuated with Carol Burnett reminding me that the pain of giving birth was akin to pulling your bottom lip over your head. Sounds like a good time to me…
The doc arrived, an IV inserted (I didn’t watch), wires and monitoring equipment attached, and the pitocin drip began.
The first few contractions were mild. They were for me, anyway. So far, so good.
After about half an hour, the doc took a look at the fetal heart monitor thingie and did not like what she saw. Not one bit. She mentioned something about “late decels”. The Kid’s heart rate dropped after every contraction. In medical lingo, the technical term is “not good”. I wish I could remember what exactly she said to us, but the gist of it was, “You can continue with natural childbirth and the baby won’t make it or we can do a c-section. What’ll it be?” Not really a choice there, was it? I can’t say that either of us really considered that there was an option in her statement. It was worded like there was an option, but we knew there wasn’t. “Let’s do the c-section.” we said. “When will we do it?” “Now” was the gently urgent reply.
I was handed a set of scrubs and grabbed the camera. The Wife called our friend and neighbor Caroline, who happened to be a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital. She was off that day, but offered to be with us should come to a c-section. We had discussed it previously, and decided that it might be a good idea to have a close friend amongst the medical staff. Caroline was just about to put her own baby down for the night, but her dad came over to watch the baby while Caroline came to the hospital.
We also called the grandparents to-be and told them that our planned evening of labor was not going to happen, and that the kid would be arriving in a few minutes. Best laid plans and all...
Dressed and domed and ready to go, we wheeled into the OR. Caroline came in a few minutes later. The surgical team gave us a quick briefing, they put up the drapes, and it began. I think it probably took 5 minutes at that point. Just as I was asking the Wife if she could tell what was going on, we heard these two statements in quick succession:
“It’s got brown hair” followed almost immediately by “It’s a girl.”
Was that it? It’s only 6:35. I thought this was supposed to be a long drawn out affair…
Next up: “Hi. I’m your daddy.”