Third and Long: A Dad’s Birth Story

June 28, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Posted in Bun, Guest Posts | 25 Comments
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Here it is. I’m so excited to post this: my husband’s essay about Bun’s birth. I know he worried over it. I know it wasn’t easy to do. And I know he stoically endured me giving him the stink-eye earlier this week as he chose to play a computer game instead of work on it.

But. He refers to me with words like “pride,” “strength,” and “amazing.” He left out the part where I cursed a blue streak. And he crafted an essay that is thoughtful, funny, and genuine — just like he is in real life. To thank him, I just might relinquish the laptop so he can play a few more rounds.

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Third and Long: A Dad’s Birth Story

Both of Bun’s siblings announced their intentions to be in the very early morning, so with Bun I expected no different. Each night in late April and early May before falling asleep, I thought to myself, Will tonight be it? Will tonight be the night that Stacia pulls herself out of bed to start her labor quietly through the morning and onward as the sun rises?

Although I was wrong about the day — I expected an early arrival like our first two — finally Bun was ready. As expected, I awoke to find the household half risen, half slumbering, with Stacia laboring in her own bubble of thought and focus.

As everyone stirred and breakfast was prepared, my thoughts were on Stacia — helping her decide when she was ready to go to the hospital, running interference with Lollipop and Giggles, and providing calm in the house (such as it is) to let her focus. I timed contractions in between refilling sippy cups. I traded looks with her parents, who had never been present for her labors before, so as to say, “She’s fine; this is good.” I tried to make the morning normal. I judged this to be how I could best help Stacia right then.

As the morning went on, Stacia’s labor kept a steady level of intensity and contraction frequency. We decided to get ready for the hospital, but with no real sense of urgency. We’d get there but felt no need to rush too much. After I had packed and checked the pre-Bun-to-do list for the twelfth time, we headed out.

On the way to the hospital, I tried to convince Stacia to let me drop her off at the door while I rushed to park the car. She was having none of it and wanted me to stay with her the whole time. After feverishly trying to figure out how I was going to drop her off and wait with her and park the car at the same time, I realized I was starting to lose it. (And the sleep deprivation hadn’t even begun yet!) We ended up parking and walked together, and a hospital volunteer met us partways with a wheelchair.

After checking in, we made our way to our delivery room on the maternity wing — which by the way needs an automatic door. I can’t be the first idiot husband trying to maneuver a pregnant wife and three bags through that heavy security door that immediately slams shut as soon as you let go. I did an awesome contortion move to make it all work, which nobody saw except possibly Stacia, and I’m pretty sure she was focused on much more important things at the time! The room, our third to visit in less than four years, looked pretty familiar.

As the nurse helped Stacia and started her initial examination, I remember launching our agreed-on spiel about only being there because we couldn’t get a standard OB visit on the weekend and that we were ready to go home if things didn’t look like they had progressed much. Halfway into it, the nurse said we weren’t going anywhere since Stacia was already at 7 cm. I thought to myself, Okay, this is really happening. And, Oops, we cut that one a little closer than we intended! But it felt great knowing that our son would soon be born.

Stacia’s decision not to use drugs was amazing to me and filled me with pride, but also a little concern. I am a practical man to a fault and was already spinning through scenarios where we might have to get some chemical help as had happened before. But in those moments of hard labor, I tried to ensure that Stacia saw none of that in my expression. I wanted her to save all her energy and focus for the task ahead. At first, the contractions were similar to what had happened all morning — intense enough that she needed to focus on them, but clearly she was still in control, still handling them well.

Soon thereafter, though, the intensity increased. In hindsight, this was clearly the period of transition, and it was probably no more than 30 minutes. But in that moment I could not have told you how long it had been. Stacia’s laboring was clearly getting harder for her, and as with the previous two, the back labor was painful and intense. Our trusty birthing tool, a sock with two tennis balls in it, helped me massage Stacia’s lower back during each contraction and provided some relief.

It was at this point, on some level, that Stacia changed her mind about the epidural. She asked me for one, and I knew that some part of her wanted it, and some part did not — but which part was right? I wanted to encourage her to keep going, but I’ll be honest … I’m glad I didn’t have to try too hard to figure it out; the nurse interjected that it was too late for drugs, that Stacia was too far along.

As the labor proceeded, I watched Stacia’s strength as she brought forth life. I tried to help in what little ways I could and to encourage her. As she tried different positions to find the most comfortable, at one point she was standing with her arms around my neck as I squeezed my fists into her lower back. It was a hug of sorts. And I thought to myself, This is amazing, just amazing. It was our third birth, and the wonder of it all had not diminished.

Eventually, I could tell she was getting closer. When the doctor broke her water, everything progressed very rapidly. Bun started to come out fast, and everything looked good until he crowned and his shoulders got stuck. Because the cord was around his neck and getting pinched, he wasn’t getting oxygen. The room — already busy with people — started to get even busier. The nurse to my side told me, “Dad, push that red button on the wall there,” and I thought to myself, Oh, shit, not good.

I bounced my focus between urging Stacia to push and checking on the baby’s progress. As with the contractions, all I could do was encourage her to keep going. It was time, past time, to get this baby out.

Stacia pushed. Hard. And kept pushing, with nurses on either side who simultaneously pushed with such force into her belly that I winced. It felt like an eternity, but finally Bun came forward an inch, just enough for the doctor to get a hand on him and pull as Stacia pushed. Out he came, finally, but he was silent and blue. Three years ago, I remember being shocked when Lollipop was a little blue. For our third child, I was ready for that and knew it was normal. But not this deep purple-blue hue of Bun’s skin.

As in the past, I tried to follow the nurses as they took our child to the station across the room. This time they pushed me back and told me that I should stay with my wife, that she needed me. I knew they did not want me to see him as they tried to get him to breathe. Just like in the parking lot a few hours earlier, but a thousand times more intently, I wanted to be in two places at once — holding Stacia’s hand in reassurance and watching over Bun, willing him to breathe.

After three minutes, three very long minutes, he finally cried out. I went to him, welcomed him to the world, checked those fingers and toes, and then rushed back to Stacia’s side. “He’s fine!” I smiled. “He’s wonderful. He’s perfect. He’s ours.”

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What recollections has your partner or birthing coach shared with you? What tasks was your partner or coach responsible for during labor? And did you, too, find tennis balls to be indispensable??

25 Comments »

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  1. OH MY GOODNESS. I am totally in love with this story. And the way you tell it. You are clearly such a terrific couple of parents. How lucky you both are to have one another, and to have written and shared this beautiful story. Thank you thank you thank you. I’m pretty sure I’m out of the birthing business permanently, but boy did this one bring me back.

  2. I am so touched by this! How wonderful is your husband, sharing his side of things with us? Lovely.

  3. May 9, 2010, I came downstairs to find my daughter sitting on her big ball at the kitchen table, breathing deep and heavy. I asked if she was okay and if I could do anything for her. She said she was okay, her labor had started. When her husband came down, Stacia’s breathing was deeper and her moans louder. As he pressed on her lower back as she requested, all I could think was “Please take care of my daughter, your wife, the mother of Lollipop and Giggles, you made that promise when I gave her to you on your wedding day.” He did, a few days later he and Stacia returned from the hospital with a fine new baby boy, Bun. To be a dad and a granddad, what a wonderful Blessing !!! Thanks son!

    Pawpaw

  4. I can already envision a family of computer nerd / writers for you guys. Your husband is an amazing storyteller – does he have a blog too by any chance? 😉

    What an experience it is for the both of you. Especially the three minutes at the end…so glad everything worked out. You know, I never really talked to My Guy about what it was like for him. This inspires me to ask him about his version of the story – told from the other side of the birth canal. All I heard before was “there was a lot of hair!” but I think I’d like to know more. His thoughts, what he went through the hours before all that hair…

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Congratulations again to your fine family.

  5. After the initial moment of “OMG”, my first thought was being glad Bun was coming at the beginning of my two weeks vacation…and not the end. Then came the plastering of a smile on my face because my “baby” was in pain and there was very little I could do to help. My contribution was making sure she did not worry about Lollipop and Giggles…and could focus all her energy on getting Bun into the world. Besides, I was pretty sure their daddy had a spreadsheet with contingency plans for anything that might come up. 8}

  6. Now it’s Dad’s turn to hear what Stacia hears about her blog on a pretty regular basis… So touching. You made me cry. 🙂

  7. This was spectacular… thank you so much for sharing your husbands perspective (and thank you for writing it, Dad! :))

  8. What an amazing story, written so beautifully. Thank you, Dad! 🙂

  9. So, I’m crying. Not just a tear, but really crying.

    Love is the best thing in the whole wide world and making babies is just, well I don’t know if it gets any better.

    Stacia, your husband is warm and funny and caring and compassionate. How lucky is Bun? How lucky is our planet to have a daddy who yearns to be in “two places at once.”

  10. Ok, so I’m forwarding this link to my husband so that he might write about 1 or 3 of our children’s births. I want to know what he remembers, too!

  11. Beautiful! I love that you have captured both of your viewpoints of the birth. Bun will cherish these posts as he grows! Thank you for putting what our husbands feel into words.

  12. I love the two perspectives. Stacia, I think your two stories would be great in Bun’s baby scrapbook. Wonderful…

  13. Oh how I adore this. What strikes me most is that the details of this story are similar to SO MANY OTHERS. And, don’t take that as a bad thing in the least. Because…I remember being there. Pushing. Fighting. Babies roaring into life. Anticipation. Reality. Emotions all mixed up. The body working hard, the brain just trying to keep up (or tune out)! So, even though the details might be similar, even simple at times, I remember the emotions as some of the deepest I have ever felt. And the simplicity of this reenactment allows so much room for me to soak that all up. Does that make sense? Oh, I hope that makes sense. Because I adore this. (Except for the blue part…that would have sent me spiraling for three Loooooong minutes.)

    I wonder what my husband would write about any of our three births. I imagine it to be much like this, but I’m pretty sure there’d be a corny joke or two, and that I’d have to remind him that he wore a WHITE polo shirt to my first delivery…very wise choice, my husband. Very wise.

    Congratulations, you two! And to Bun, for making it here! Bravo!

    And yes, I’m quite clearly rambling…ending NOW!

  14. This is beautiful. I read it to my husband and choked up a little bit. I never have thought to ask my husband his viewpoint on each of our births and now I’m curious!

  15. How cool to hear a dad’s birth story!
    Beautiful and honest.
    Enjoy that bundle (er, Bun).

  16. Yay Dad!! That’s beautiful. I wish I’d… forced Hubs to do this with Munchie’s birth.
    I had back labor too…. ugh. I had so much PLANNED…. positions and stretches and such, but it all went out the window when I had meconium in my water and wasn’t allowed out of bed. The only position I found that brought any relief was sitting at the side of the bed, bend over with my arms around Hubs’ neck. He was the only one who ever sat on the birthday ball.

    • I mean “birthing” ball.

  17. So beautiful! Wonderfully written and I loved hearing everything about it from Dad’s point of view.

  18. Aw, what a great gift he’s given you,and Bun, writing this out. Poignant and lovely!!

  19. You are amazing, Stacia, and now I know that you have an amazing husband as well. Plus, you’re both such wonderful writers that I can’t wait to see which of your children wins a Pulitzer. What a great phrase right here: “with Stacia laboring in her own bubble of thought and focus.”

    My hubby has some homework now.

  20. Thank you for sharing your version. Absolutely beautiful. You write with honesty and love.

  21. I’m very slowly catching up on reading! This is so wonderful – how eloquent your husband is. I feel like I was right there, and it also brought back memories. When our son came out after a 29 hour labor my husband cried, and I had simply assumed he was crying out of joy in seeing his baby. But he said, “No, I’m crying because I’m proud of you.” And that is what I felt in your husband’s post too – total admiration and respect for what you did and went through. I always consider my husband the “tougher” person, and it gives me alot of pride in myself and happiness to know that I have done something that could make him so proud.

    Our baby was born with the cord around his neck too. I am glad that Bun turned out okay.

  22. Thank you so much for sharing! Not sure what touched me more….your husband’s story or your Dad’s comment. You are lucky to have two such amazing men in your life (make that 4 with your lil guys) that obviously have so much love and respect for you. The miracle of birth never ceases to amaze me! Wasn’t quite as exciting for me as I had to have a planned c-section with my stubborn breech baby but the prize at the end is still the same.

  23. This brought tears to my eyes. I love you guys!

  24. […] Happy 2, Bun! Want to read his birth story? And my husband’s take on it? […]


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