Hey guys, it's Jason, or better known here as "Coach."
It's not too often that Michelyn allows me to take over her blog, but today I am. Michelyn has been blogging for a few years now and frequently runs blog posts by me before writing them. During her pregnancy, she mentioned how other bloggers typically share their birth story with their followers. After some thought, I asked Michelyn if she would let me write Violet's birth story, from my perspective, the sidelines!
Here goes nothing!
I heard it so many times from Michelyn…Saturday we would go to Columbus to pick up her mother, Mom Darlene, and then she would deliver our daughter shortly thereafter. For those that know my wife (the ultimate planner) that meant that we would go to Columbus, pick up my mother-in-law, shop for a while, drive straight back to the hospital in Athens and have the baby. She was absolutely certain this would happen.
Thursday, June 12th, 2015
The predicted date of delivery was the topic of conversation at our Thursday check-up. As Michelyn explained our timeline to the doctor, we both searched for validation that this would be how it played out. At the beginning of the appointment the doctor examined and explained that the baby was 90-95% effaced. A 10% increase from the week before. When Michelyn asked how long it would take before labor is eminent, the doctor explained that it wouldn’t be long. Michelyn said: “So, like through the weekend?” The doctor shrugged her shoulders as if to say not a chance…you are ready!
I still had thoughts of the stories of my colleagues who had been told that their wives would go into labor a few weeks early, only to wait a week or so after the due date. I decided to be optimistic and listen to the doctor’s recommendation as well as the intuition of my wife, “the ultimate planner.”
Saturday, June 13th, 2015
Mom Darlene’s flight was to arrive in Columbus around 2:00pm. She was arriving from a flight from London. When we picked her up, she was exhausted from all the hard work of the previous few days. We ultimately decided to push our reservations at Cooper’s Hawk Winery up to 4:00pm so we could return home so that everyone could get some much needed rest. Our quick shopping included a stop at Janie and Jack (for more baby clothes) and Nordstrom's (so that I could get a shirt for our family newborn pictures).
As we walked Easton Mall, I was lured into The Apple Store by the shiny new apple watches at the front of the store. In very convincing fashion, I was able to convince Michelyn and Mom Darlene that having this watch is essential for a basketball coach. Unfortunately they did not have the watch I wanted in stock and we headed home to Athens. (I did get the watch a few weeks later!)
As the night approached, Michelyn and I decided to try a method that we heard about from our sister-in-law, Nicole, which is claimed to bring on labor. She informed us to massage between the ankle/calf area of each leg. We tried this for about 30 minutes thinking of it as some old midwife folklore, which would not work. By 10:00pm we were both fast asleep after a long and productive day.
Sunday, June 14th, 2015
I was awakened to wrestling to my right. It was Michelyn, saying that she could not get comfortable no matter what she tried. She had been having contractions on and off for the last few months of the pregnancy, but these seemed different. She was also experiencing serious back pain. By 3:00am, she could no longer lay down and asked if we could move to the “Man Cave” (aka tv room downstairs).
As any man would attest, this request at three in the morning with a pregnant wife only had one answer, but as always, there was a silent follow up statement…
"This better be real” (I said this to myself lol!)
By the time we set up shop downstairs Michelyn’s pain had intensified, but was offset by the odd chores she was accomplishing at warp speed (laundry, dishes, etc.). Michelyn had the nerve to request we go to the grocery store at 3:00am – only my wife!
By 3:30am the decision was made to wake Mom Darlene as we believed that this was it! Mom Darlene suggested we go to the hospital, so we gathered our things and headed to O’Bleness Hospital, just as Michelyn had predicted days before.
Michelyn was admitted into triage for monitoring to determine if we were ready to deliver a baby, or if it was a false alarm. The nurse measured Michelyn at 1 centimeter which is nowhere near ready to go. We were both a little disappointed but were told to stay for an hour to see how quickly we would progress. An hour later and the pain was unbearable.
The nurses determined that Michelyn was somewhere between 1-2 centimeters. At this point, the staff gave us two options. One, we could stay in triage and continue to be monitored. Or, we could return home to labor there. Michelyn decided to return home as she was unable to walk about the hospital floor to work through the contractions.
On the way home, Michelyn announced that she was craving a decaf iced coffee from an Athens original, Donkey Coffee. As I pulled into a parallel spot, Michelyn began crying and then stated that she had to use the restroom! I was told in a panicked tone of voice to put the pedal down and forget the coffee. LoL.
We arrived home and Mom Darlene was up and ready for the day. Michelyn, on the other hand, was experiencing excruciating pain again, and at 8:00am, I made the trip to Walmart to exchange the electric heating pad. See, the electric heating pad decided to stop working the day Michelyn went into labor – go figure! I arrived at Walmart only to find that exchanges/returns are only allowed during regular working hours and not during the night shift. I explained the predicament to the staff and they kindly decided to do the exchange. As you could probably imagine, it took the manager about 20 minutes to get to the front. I made the exchange and returned to the house.
When I returned home, we learned that that the new heating pad did not work either! Needless to say, it has now been returned
10:00am – 1:00pm
By 10:00 in the morning, we had seen some of the signs we learned about in birthing class that made us believe that this was DEFINITELY the real thing. We called the doctor and we were instructed to come back to the hospital immediately.
Michelyn was again checked into triage at 10:30am and was checked to be between 1-2 centimeters…again.
We waited an hour.
The same nurse checked again and got the same result. At this point, we were really getting frustrated. Michelyn’s pain was only increasing and to think that she was not dilating was frustrating.
Right when we thought we would return home…
A more experienced nurse decided to check it out and immediately stated that Michelyn was well beyond 4 centimeters. She announced that it was time to admit us into the labor and delivery room! I called Mom Darlene and told here to head over to the hospital.
1:00pm – 4:30pm
We spent a considerable amount of this time monitoring Michelyn’s contractions as the baby moved down the birth canal. As they became more intense, long, and frequent, the basketball coach in me allowed to quickly strategize how to support Michelyn through the intense contractions…
Instead of counting for longer than 10 seconds, I counted 10 seconds really slow. REALLY SLOW. Her contractions were more like 20-30 seconds. This allowed Michelyn to focus on the numbers and not the duration of the contraction.
By the way, Michelyn doesn’t know this so don’t tell!!!
At around 2:00pm, Michelyn had reached a measurement of seven centimeters, a very impressive accomplishment considering most mothers in labor desire an epidural long before that. After waiting for the anesthesiologist for about 30 minutes, patience for all of us started to run thin.
Leading up to the delivery, Michelyn consulted with the anesthesiologist to put together a plan in the event she would need an epidural…when the ultimate planner is ready to tap out, the doctor MUST be ready!
Mom Darlene politely inquired with the nurses to see if the anesthesiologist went on lunch break since it was taking so long and Michelyn's contractions were VERY intense!
Michelyn was up to her eyeballs in pain and had her only major “freak out moment” of the delivery. She looked toward the door and yelled “ where is the f*#kin’ anesthesiologist!?!?
I knew that it would not be a good idea to laugh out loud, but I couldn’t help but to giggle as the anesthesiologist moseyed in and proceeded to ask Michelyn a final test’s worth of questions.
Eventually, Michelyn got her epidural, a little later than she would have liked. Once the epidural was placed, Michelyn measured at 8 centimeters and things progressed uneventfully since she was no longer in any pain.
4:00pm - 5:28pm
By 4:00pm, Michelyn had reached 9 centimeters and the doctor made his way over to the hospital. It was just about time to push.
At 4:58pm the delivering doctor instructed Michelyn and I coached her on her pushing and relaxing. About 15 minutes later I saw my daughter’s head for the first time.
A couple intense pushes and they pulled her out, at 5:28pm.
For so many years, it’s been just Michelyn and I. My first instinct was to make sure my wife was ok. I stood right by her side in excitement. It hit me when the nurse said, “Dad, do you want to see your baby?” I moved over by the table and was by Violet’s side to hear her first cry. I immediately realized that I was now a husband, father, protector, and hero.
She was born at six pounds and 13 ounces and 21 inches long.
I waited a long time to be a dad. Oftentimes I wondered what the big deal was when my friends who had kids immediately following college would brag about their little ones. As I raced through my twenties I wondered when my time was coming. Now that it’s here, I have experienced all of the emotions that being a father can bring. Of all of them, the strongest would be how much I care for my little girl. Here’s to Little Miss Violet!
Shout out to Mommy Michelyn for an awesome experience with carrying and delivering our first child…and for predicting the exact time Violet would be born…Well, almost.