March 19, 2011

One year ago (Part 1)

It is hard to believe that is has been a full year since I was sitting in a hospital room waiting for the birth of my daughter. Actually, it sometimes feels like it could have been more than a year. But what makes it feel like time has flown is seeing babies who are smaller than Leilani and remembering that she actually was that size (or smaller). It feels like she is "the" baby, but as time moves on, there are babies younger than her! Crazy, I say.

But let me take you back, nearly one year to the day. As I posted here and here last year, I was extremely ready for her to arrive. However, she seemed to be happy just swimming around inside her mother. What could we do.

Starting about March 1, about two weeks before her due date, I went to work every day not knowing whether my paternity leave vacation days would start ticking down that day or the next. I tried to wind down several projects I had going on, and for those that I didn't, I sent regular emails to the rest of the office with detailed descriptions of what and how tasks needed to be completed in the event I was going to be out of the office for an extended period. (I had worked out 2 full weeks of vacation, and then 4 weeks where I worked Tuesday through Thursday giving me 4-day weekends.)

As the days slowly progressed, and informational emails became irrelevant as I was in the office to finish out tasks anyway, it became a little tiring. I was ready to get the show on the road!

So her due date was March 13/14, and Monday, March 15, after a hope-filled weekend, I was back at work.  In fact, we attended a friend's birthday party on her due date since there were no signs of her imminent arrival.  I had already had two weeks of "no baby yet.." replies at work so another week had arrived, where we could only wait. Monday turned into Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. By this point, my wife and I were oh so ready to have the baby. Her, especially, since she did have the more difficult role to play in this God-ordained human reproduction process.

The weather forecast for the weekend was going to be sunny in the mid-70's, the first bit of nice weather we had as the DC area emerged from the bondage of winter so we figured I take Friday off. We had to go to the doctor's office for a stress test in the afternoon to confirm everything was ok, but figured have a fun, restful weekend.

I left work Thursday hoping that Leilani would arrive before work on Monday, but having been there and done that for the past several weekends, I wasn't too hopeful.  So we embarked on a restful weekend in preparation for parenthood.

Early Friday (the 19th) morning, before 6 a.m., I was awakened by my wife because she was having contractions. She was having them every 15 minutes or so. This was uncharted territory so I began recording on a spreadsheet the times and lengths of these contractions. Oh yes I did. We then called the midwife on call who told us to show up at their office when they opened at 8 a.m.

We were excited! Contractions had finally commenced so we picked up the ready-for-several-weeks Go Bag with stuff we'd need for the hospital and headed over to the doctor's office.  "What will being in a hospital be like?" I wondered. I have been only on the visiting end on countless occasions. We did a (unofficial) tour of the Labor and Delivery department a couple weeks prior, but this was it.  Finally.

Funny thing happened on the way, however. When we made it in, the contractions had stopped, and the midwife gave us a look of, "Oh, you new parents... are you sure you felt something happening? I don't see anything happening here..." 

Feeling somewhat deflated, she said that we should go back home, and Ruth should get some rest as he hadn't been sleeping well, especially in recent days. She advised her to take some Tylenol PM, which we picked up when we went to the grocery store, and bought food to have a nice breakfast.. at home. Because the stress test was to take place at 1 p.m., we had it done in the morning, and after confirmation that Leilani was just fine, we bought the stuff from Giant and headed home.

After a nice breakfast of eggs, turkey sausage, and pancakes, Ruth took some Tylenol PM and headed to the bedroom to get some rest. I stayed back in the kitchen to put dishes away. The sun was shining through the curtains and the warmth of the day was just beginning. The warm, relaxing weekend that seemed to have been taken away from us, was back. Disappointingly back.

However, just a minute or two after she went back to our bedroom, I heard a cry echoing down the hall and inside my head. "Ryan! I think my water just broke!" 

I had to do a double take because I had continually joked about water breaking, even before the 36-week mark. I always asked if she was sure it hadn't. I previously learned that in many cases, a woman's water doesn't naturally break, and during our morning trip to the doctor's office, I was slightly disappointed that I didn't get to have that broken water experience.

After initially thinking she was joking (very momentarily, as I ran to her aid), I saw her, now with broken water.  She came out to the living room and I immediately placed a call to the doctor's office. Now was the time! Not a minute to lose.  After spending more than 15 minutes on hold, I hung up and called again. In the meanwhile, I did hear all sorts of news about their facility instead of music, which might have made the experience a bit more dramatic. When I called back, I mentioned that Ruth's water had broken and needed to know what to do. They asked for us to return to the doctor's office.

At this point, it was around 10:30 a.m.  Our Go Bag was still in the car, and now we were off for some labor and delivery! We got back to the doctor's office and went back and met again with the very same midwife.  By this time, however, the steady stream of broken water had stopped, and after review by the midwife, she asked, "Are you sure you're water broke? I don't see anything that makes it seem like it did."...... you young parents...

We were confident that it had, and the midwife said she would look at some liquid under a microscope and that it, if it were what it needed to be, would crate a fan shape on the slide. She left, and Ruth and I waited to see what sort of amazing medical expertise was yet to unfold. Upon her return, she sheepishly said, "Looks like your water did break!"  In reply, Ruth placed her fist in the air and exlaimed, "Praise God!"

However, she said that because there were no contractions, that we should probably go back home. She said they would pick up in the very near future, but to stay home and be ready to return to the hospital when they did.  Home. Again? The thought itself was rather discouraging.

Upon further review of the chart, however, the midwife instructed us to go straight to the hospital. So finally! We were truly headed to the hospital to finally meet Leilani!

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