As a list maker and perpetual planner, I can tell you that from the second my wife’s water broke nothing went as planned. It was 4am on a Thursday. I woke up to this, “Tim, I either pissed the bed or my water broke.” 5 hours later, after a failed “nap” and throwing all our overnight necessities into a bag, we were admitted by our midwife. “Get comfortable” she said, because at 35 weeks, it’s not safe to carry on once the water breaks.
On Thursday, December 11th @ 9:57am reality bit and we confirmed: we’re not going home without this baby.
In an effort to keep your attention and save some secrets for future conversations, I’m going to give you an overview of what happened over the the next 30+ hours:
10:00AM -We get settled in our room, I check the wifi and Isa puts pajamas on.
10:45AM -We got the name and number of the back-up doula since our first pick was on holiday in Thailand.
01:30PM -Isa “demands documentation” and I start taking these notes.
04:30PM -We test the hospital restrictions on number of visitors. We have 4.
08:07PM -We meet our (second) doula for the first time.
11:00PM -Things aren’t progressing, so we nap for an hour.
12:03AM -Woke up and ate a giant slice of pizza.
04:44AM -The doula went home and Isa is back in bed.
07:30AM -The midwife has an idea: castor oil. Isa drinks a cocktail of castor oil and cranberry juice.
09:20AM -Castor oil kicked in and things got messy. See: chorro
10:20AM -4-5cm and 90% effaced. Time to call the doula back.
12:00PM -Spent an hour in the tub. I imagine we looked like two well-oiled walruses wrestling in the night.
01:15PM -100% effaced and +2 (whatever that means).
01:30PM -Isa started pushing.
02:28PM -“If we can hear you pushing, you’re doing it wrong.” – Nurse #3 said.
02:36PM -Our baby was born.
02:39PM -They check for extra limbs, get basic measurements and disappear to the NICU.
Until this point in my life, I had never had my physical and emotional stamina tested at such levels. I knew that love would carry us through the labor but never really thought about which part of love would be the driving force.
When I break it down, I know that the only way I survived those 35 hours was because of the respect that I have for my partner. I respect her for sacrificing her body in the name of new life. I respect that she had to sleep on her side for many, many moons. I respect she had to fear the “ring of fire”. I know how much she loves sushi and respect that she could only consume avocado rolls for 8 months. I respect her as an intellectual and career woman and know that becoming a mom might jeopardize her image as such. I respect that she had to do all the hard work during labor and know that I’m just an assistant who happens to be sleeping with the boss. There is nothing that I had to deal with during those 35 hours that even comes close to what she was going through. Sing it Aretha!
Sure, I would’ve preferred tacos instead of pizza and really wasn’t comfortable trying to sleep on that aged leather love seat. But guess what, I didn’t have a human growing inside of me. I didn’t have to worry about pooping on a doctor or knowing that a room full of people are staring into my soul through my pee hole*. I respect that my wife is tough as nails and looked amazing after a 35 hour marathon. I had to sit around waiting to deliver a bottle of water, to blow raspberries on her neck, to crack a few jokes and keep families updated. The hardest thing I had to do during the whole experience was call out the name of the baby when I identified what was, or wasn’t, between it’s legs.
I sealed my survival and completed my job with a boisterous exclamation: “IT’S A RAFA!”
*While this is how I believed it worked through most of high school, I know now that it doesn’t actually work that way.