My Son Is Here // This Is His Birth Story

When I last wrote here, I was facing down a lengthy labor in the hospital with my brave, tenacious Kaitlyn. We’d had the wind knocked from our sails, changed direction, and approached childbirth from a new direction. We were prepared for this challenge anew, ready for our child to be born any minute.

Spoiler alert: things didn’t turn out as expected. Not even close.

But here we are now, three days later, basking in the warm glow of new life on the fifth floor of the big hospital downtown. Our son is beautiful and healthy, as good as we could possibly have hoped for. That’s the great news.

Kaitlyn with newborn Miles

The Not-So-Great News

The not-so-great news is that after 36 hours of struggling through labor, things weren’t looking so hot. The doctor measured again and again and, after some heavy deliberation, decided with us that we’d have to ditch our plan and go with a cesarean birth. Baby was stuck and not making progress. The only way to ensure that he emerged safely was to get him out of there as soon as possible.

Kaitlyn was a fighter through all of this, and she took the potentially devastating news in stride. We’d agreed long ago that we wanted to do whatever was medically best for our child, and that included capsizing our carefully crafted plans in the event that it was necessary. One of the values that bonds us, that we both hold dear, is pragmatism. Neither of us are so precious as to stick to some predefined notion of how things should be when they are clearly something else entirely. We wanted to have a relatively natural birth, aided by the best modern medicine had to offer, but that just wasn’t going to happen safely. So surgery it was.

After the intense and often deeply painful stretch of labor up to that point, Kaitlyn was certainly ready for relief in whatever form it was offered. As her concerned partner, seeing what she was going through and feeling increasingly helpless, I just wanted to do anything to ease her suffering. I also wanted, above all, to see our baby born into this world unharmed.

Cesarean Time

So the thing is, despite the usual apprehension and fear before major surgery, we were both eager to get rolling. It wasn’t until they’d wheeled her into the operating room that I felt the knot in my stomach. I was suited up in scrubs outside the room, stewing in my tension, hearing the sounds of all those machines humming to life, just staring at the door. I started feeling the fear. I just wanted to be in there and see what was happening, so when they told me to grab my camera and come on in, I practically ran.

You know how they show births in movies, with a big curtain separating mom’s face from the hot, gory action happening further down her body? It was exactly like that. I sat there, grasping her hand along with a wonderful nurse practitioner, both of us urging her to breathe, relax, and remember that this whole thing was about making sure baby was ok. Kaitlyn was panicking hard, wild terror in her eyes. I’d never seen such alarm in my life. But the team was fantastic, working in concert to bring our son into this world in short order. The anesthesiologist made sure she was able to relax after the ordeal, too.

We’d been hoping the entire pregnancy that he’d arrive any day other than the big red, white, and blue holiday, the Fourth of July. So when we were at the hospital a couple days before, charging headlong into labor, we figured he just might have to share his birthday with flags and fireworks. We’d accepted it – better than sharing Christmas, right? Yet somehow, careening into the operating room with twenty minutes to midnight, our son entered the world with time to spare. At 11:56pm on July 3, 2017, he was born.

We named him Miles.

This Is An Adventure

There’s a bit of personal meaning for each of us behind this name, and it’s not going to sound important to anyone else, so we choose to keep it to ourselves. Suffice it to say that this pair of overthinking Libras spent a lot of time deliberating, unable to decide until after our child arrived. It’s not so much that we’re indecisive; we just wanted it to be the very best name possible for us, something that we could always be happy about. It’s a lot like how I didn’t get my first tattoo until I was 30 years old. The time was right and so was the idea.

I’ve left out a lot of the gritty details about labor, the highs and lows and heavenly blows, because at this point they don’t matter. What matters is that, on our fourth day in the hospital, we’re sitting here cradling a near-perfectly healthy baby boy and staring wide-eyed at the brand new future laid before us.

I know that everyone is genetically programmed to love and adore their offspring. Maybe it’s just hormones talking, but I feel like this tiny guy is actually pretty cute. Yeah, he’s a potato like all newborn babies are, but he’s a nice little spud. I couldn’t imagine him looking any other way.

Miles as a newborn. Birth was wild for this little guy.

Thanks for tagging along on this massive turning point in our lives. It’s just the beginning.

As Steve Zissou said, this is an adventure.

8 Replies to “My Son Is Here // This Is His Birth Story”

  1. I cried while reading this. Seven months your senior we brought our amazing Grace into this world. It’s the kind of change that stretches your soul from the inside out you have no clue the magnitude until it happens to you. Our birth, I thought was a great success since we didn’t have a surgical outcome. But upon reflection I’ve decided if it happens again we are going the crunchy chewy midwifery route. After four days in the hospital I was emotionally broken. A deep congratulations beautiful boy.

    1. Thank you for sharing. I totally understand the urge to go the midwifery route – the hospital is a hectic, difficult place, especially when you’re stuck there. We don’t plan on having another child, but if we did, I don’t know if we would want to handle another ordeal like this. Congratulations to you, too.

  2. I enjoyed reading both David and Jim’s coming into this beautiful world stories. I know Pat was watching over you. She is smiling and sending her love both through the new father and grandfather. I have some great stories to share about their grandmother growing up in North Muskegon. Time flies by so quickly enjoy ever moment of it.

    1. Thank you so much. It’s good to remember that my mom’s love is always felt, especially for my son, who I wish could have met her. We’re definitely enjoying our time with Miles! I’d love to hear those stories!

  3. I cried (as I do with most birth stories), but also because we can relate SO much to the expectations being shattered. I’ll share my version of birth if you’re interested:)

  4. “Deja vu all over again” – Yogi Berra. Almost 35 years ago you mom went through 36 hours of labor but wasn’t progressing. Emergency C section and she was off like on a gurney like mini ambulance. You were stuck, big time stuck, and the Dr. had a tough time popping you out of there! My stomach in knots not knowing after all this time what was suddenly happening. Mom was feeling very chipper either. And alone in the Fathers’ Waiting Room. So many other dads had come and gone already and there was no way that the were allowing me in there even after giving me a gown. Mom’s and your vitals were getting funky… A while later they wheeled you by and trust me, you don’t want me to post THAT image – but I did find it yesterday. It was 8 days before mom was well enough to come home and they allowed you to stay while you looked like the Lone Ranger in a little black mash to bask in the Bili Light… I had lost my job two weeks before so all around, it seemed pretty much like a train wreck. And at the hospital, we discovered the joys of rubber Jello. Kaitlyn and Miles are looking a lot better 2-3 days into the new normal, than you and mom! Hang in there!

    1. Wow, thank you so much for sharing this story. I know I’d heard it in bits and pieces over the years, but never all in one go. It’s great to know how I came into this world, but it’s even better to know that it informs the way my son was born, too. Hearing how hard it was is heartening, if only because I know you guys got through it fine and that we will, too. Seriously, thank you dad.

      Also, I think the food has gotten better here. We just enjoyed a turkey burger that wasn’t half bad! We’re definitely hanging in here, hoping to get to go home tonight.

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