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.
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.
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.
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.