I'm turning into one of those new parents who posts every single picture ever taken of their child. Yuk! But since a lot of people have asked about the grim and gritty details of the labor and all that, I thought I'd chime in to correct any of the inaccuracies Meridth has perpetrated in phone conversation. It's not that Meridth is dishonest, just forgetful. The story is correct in broad strokes but I think I can improve on the sequence of events.
So on Tuesday night I had to conduct at the local cub scout pack meeting. It was a good time and I brought Meridth along because of her advanced state of pregnancy. Meridth had been feeling random contractions throughout the day and we thought that it might happen that day. We did go in Sunday night because Meridth was leaking some fluid that we thought might be amniotic in nature, so we wanted to be cautious. After the scout meeting on the way home I bought Meridth a frozen delectable from the 31 Flavors (which she ended up throwing up two hours later) and we started writing down the contraction times. 8:17, 8:22, 8:27, 8:31 they were getting to be exactly five minutes apart. By 9pm we called the Birthing Center at the hospital and they asked Meridth about her birth plan. Meridth was non-ideologically interested in having a natural birth (just to see what that was all about) so they told us it would be best to wait until she couldn't stand it anymore before coming in.
It was exactly at 10:54 that Meridth decided she couldn't stand it anymore. I called the Birthing Center and grabbed the last bits and bobs we needed and by 11:06 we were on our way. Now I wasn't entirely sure we were going to have Uschi that night because we were still about two weeks out from the due date so I called my work and let the know I probably wouldn't be in the next day.
At the hospital we were taken to one of the birthing rooms and Meridth sat on the bed and had everything checked. And I put Tim Burton's Beetlejuice in the DVD player. Tuesday morning Meridth had seen the doc and he had said she was only dilated to a 1.5 so she still had some distance left to go before 10. Since Meridth had been suffering since 8pm, we figured she'd be up to at least a four. No dice, the nurse said she was only dilated to a two. Boo to that. Fortunately Dr. Walker was coming by for another patient at about half-past eleven so he peeked his head in, noticed Meridth's very regular contractions (like you could set your watch by them) and said we probably shouldn't go back home tonight. Just to speed things along he also decided to break Meridth's water.
And speed things along it did. We had 8cm to go until 10 dilation was reached and the doctor estimated that would take until 8am Wednesday morning, about a centimeter an hour. In fact, Meridth was fully dilated by 4am! But to go along with that speed, Meridth had to endure pretty intense contractions. By maybe 12:35 she asked for her first 'hit' and the nurses gave her a med designed to relax the mother and treat the anxiety more holistically. This was not even close to enough. By one in the morning, Meridth graduated to local injected anesthesia but only a single contraction went by before Meridth said "Y'know? I'm ready for an epidural." That wife of mine doesn't mess about.
So the anesthesiologist rolls in and we sign the forms saying that it's okay if Meridth dies from it and Meridth is sitting up and I'm in front of her and all I can think about is how much I want to see this huge needly-thing injected into my wife's spine, but I don't want to get in the way. I'm very interested in the dirty details of medical procedures, but in this case I had to settle with the salad-plate sized blood stain when the doc was finished taping all the kit down onto Meridth's back.
Anyway the epidural made my wife as happy as a clam who suffers from uncomfortable numbness and manageable pain (the sort of clam with a decent HMO) and she was able to doze for about an hour before the pushing started. Me and Meridth were ready and refreshed for round two. 5am! Fully dilated! Ready to push! We went at it for a half-hour then the nurse gave us permission to rest again. And by 5:45 the Dr. Walker showed up for the main event. Pushing pushing pushing pushing pushing pushing pushing! Curl up toward the fetus! Push were my fingers are! PUSH!
And just like that I started seeing a tennis-ball sized hairy lump appear from points unknown. Hmmmmm... I thought to myself, that's a real small head for a full-term baby. And suddenly Ka-boom! There was her head! I'd only seen the point of her little cone-head, so it looked smaller coming out that way. It was pretty out-there.
So the shoulders. And the rest. And the placenta. And there it all was.
When the doc was stitching up Meridth she started saying, "Uhhh...should I be feeling that?" Turns out that the tip of the epidural had worked itself out despite all the tape and what-not. So the doc tore it off and left it on the floor and treated the stitchy-region locally. Dr. Walker's pretty sure that it came out before the major pushing started so you could say that Uschi was born naturally. If you were so inclined.
Now you might be wondering why Uschi was in the hospital for two whole nights. I guess she had a poo on her way out that morning and had swallowed some of it, which wasn't good for her digestion. So throughout that first Wednesday she was burping up black bile. Late that night she had her innards suctioned out and the next day we just checked her diapers for the right colored poo. Friday at about noon the stars aligned and the poo-colors were spot on and we went home.
RADAR has been so good with the baby, it's pretty amazing. He's been mellow but curious about his new sister and has gained an undisclosed amount of weight while he was hanging out with the neighbors. What a great dog!
And that is that great friends! Thanks for all the millions of metric tons of support you have given us in the last ten months and we wouldn't dare have a baby in a world without people like you. Pat yerselves on the back!