WE DID IT! I can't believe it. No, really; I got up at 9:30 this morning after a 4-hour nap, and wondered if it really happened! I've had so many dreams about this happening, you really can't blame me.
But I've ignored the premier rule of writing: En Media Res, “in the middle of the action.” At 1:51 this morning (Sept 21), Callista Marie Burke joined us in this cold, bright world. That's right, after all of those 'Girl' dreams, lo and behold, we've been brewing a little lady!
And what can I say that hasn't been said a thousand times before? Describing a “Little Miracle” “Awed and Humbled” “Love at First Sight.”
They're cliche's because they're true.
Let me take it from the top. We got up yesterday (the 20'th), and arrived at the hospital at 7:30, bearing gifts of coffee & muffins. Andrea's mom is a retired nurse, so we got the inside-scoop on how to properly suck-up. We were a little slow to get the ball rolling, as there were more urgent cases. By 9:30, our Dr. applied the Hormone Jelly to get the cervix dilating. Then, by about 3:00 (I think. I journaled as we went, so I have the times, but my details are beyond reach at the moment.), he was able to break the water (Andrea called this part the most painful part of the delivery!).
After this, we waited. And waited, and waited some more. By 6:30, she'd dilated about 1cm. By 8:30, we at 2cm; it seemed to be going painfully slow. Painfully in the psychological sense, Andrea had had an epidural. I had to give my folks a call to tell them to hunker-down for the night, because this wasn't happening anytime soon. Now, they had wanted to come shortly after Church, but we convinced them to wait for the 8cm mark, so they wouldn't be waiting around the cafeteria for hours on end.
At 12:15AM, Andrea was 7cm dilated, meaning that she was close. My gut had been telling me
'Between 10 and 2AM,' but my mind had resigned to 'Between 12 and 4.' The lesson being: Go With The Gut.
From about 3PM 'till 11, we had a great nurse monitoring us, but the girl who relieved her was a bit of a twit. Overall, the nursing staff in the Pediatrics Ward of Barrie's Royal Victoria Hospital was great! Top Notch, and wonderful to work with. However, the nurse who was assigned to monitor Andrea's progression was the exception. She couldn't have been older than 24, and she acted as though she had been the top of her class at university, and expected the veteran nurses (and patients) to treat her with her due reverence. When it came time for me to return my Obstetrics Pass, she really said “Ta” to me. Really. I wanted to back-hand the precocious brat! I said “I'm thirty-five.” She said “Pardon?” “I'm thirty-five, you don't need to say 'Ta'” “Oh, it means 'Thank-you',” as though that justified speaking to me as though I was 2. I'm a little fuzzy on how it went from there, as I'd been in High-Functioning mode for more than 20 hours at that point.
Point being, at 12:15, she checked, and Andrea was 7cm dilated; massive progress! Twit-Nurse figured she should check again at 2:15. At 1:15, Andrea determined that she couldn't Breathe-Control her way through any more contractions; that her abdomen would push, whether she wanted to or not. Fortunately, one of RVH's finest had relieved Twit Chick for a break, and determined that labor was well-underway. This was at 1:15, and the doctor was promptly called, as were my parents. The DR arrived just in time for delivery, and my folks arrived shortly after delivery.
At this point, I'd like to stress just how easy the actual labor was. If you've had a child, or have had a wife who's had a child, or have had a relative who's had a child, you'll be tempted to think I'm full of shit. However, this is the God's Honest Truth; Andrea was actually pushing for less than 40 minutes. For a first child, this is virtually unheard-of.
She pushed, and I saw something like a black fingernail. For two more pushes, that's all I saw, then on the next, the black spot was the size of a a thumb. Two pushes later, what I saw was the size of 2 1/2 fingers. Soon, I saw a hair line. Dr M had to slow her down, because she was ripping, and needed an episiotomy.(sp?). That, I was unable to watch; I resumed my keep-a-cold-cloth-on-her-forehead duties with a new vigor. All the while. I was keeping Andrea appraised of what I saw of the delivery. It was no-time before I saw a hair-line. Then I saw an ear, and thought, “Holy Shit, this is a real people here!” Truly, it would be more believable and awe-inspiring to present a more painful story, but that's how it happened.
I'll probably want to give ya'll the forgotten details later, but for now, I'm just pooped, so I'll send all my love to all y'all, and say good night!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some cactus to plant around the house.