Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Three years ago tonight:

Beautiful Wife went to bed feeling a little funny, and got up a few minutes later to tell me that her water broke. We weren't quite ready*, thinking that we still had at least a week to go before the big day... At this moment all I can remember is the overwhelming sense of panic, and then forcing myself to be absolutely calm and seemingly ready for anything so as not to panic BW. We managed to get some things together, and out the door and into the late-night lower-east-side Stuy-Town darkness. We lived a good block, one way or another, from any kind of taxi traffic, but we needed to go uptown, fast. There really was only one way to go, heading towards First Avenue and hoping for the best. Providence provided, and I chased down a cab that had just dropped someone off in the loop that winds into the buildings of Stuy-Town, saving us at least a half a block of running. The ride to the hospital was like something out of a bad TV sitcom, with everyone a classic stereotype - anxious father-to-be, stoic cab driver of indeterminate foreign origin, tense and cranky but clear-headed wife, offering advice and commentary between contractions. BW, ever the producer, had a stopwatch with her, and was timing the contractions and grunting while gripping me hard enough to hurt. From what I'd remembered from the classes it seemed that the contractions were close enough together that we weren't going to make it to the hospital - a classic New York story, but one I think no one would actually care to experience for real. We made it to the hospital in what seemed to be the nick of time, then everything went into slow motion... A shot or two and into a hospital bed and then time stood still. The epidural slowed everything down, and the baby** that was seemingly so eager to enter the world suddenly wasn't.
I vaguely remember three shift changes, a lot of holding BW, and a lot of supportive words and the three really great nurses that saw us through the night - coaching, holding and urging BW on, but it was all to no avail - we finally got to that point of full dilation*** and beyond, and then it was over - the good (and I mean it, seriously) doctor determined that there was no way that the baby was going to come out the way it went in, so-to-speak. It was stuck. There was an impressive flurry of activity as arrangements were made for an operating room, and the rest is history...

* No matter what they tell you, there's absolutely nothing you can actually do to be ready, but there are things you can do to make it easier for everyone involved. We weren't quite there.

** The baby was still a baby - we really didn't want to know which kind. We'd sort of talked about names, but... I was genuinely hoping for a girl, but I didn't know.

*** Okay, Yay! it's the top of my baby's head! But seeing your loved one turned practically inside out and covered with gore is nature's way of desensitizing you to anything that baby-to-come can dish out, gross-out-wise.

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