Dad's birth story part two: Trying to pass the time

by Ray Chen in


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I was awoken around 1:30 when Yilin told me that she was now really feeling her contractions and that they were 4-5 minutes apart lasting about 45 seconds. With my official Bradley class certificate of completion, I had a hunch that this was the real deal. The contractions were long enough and consistent enough to indicate early labor and the fact that Yilin didn't want to talk during her contractions made it a lot more obvious.

I called our midwife who suggested Yilin take a warm shower. This was consistent with the Bradley recommendation of taking a warm bath to see if the contractions go away or become inconsistent. For us, the contractions got a little more intense and became a little more frequent occuring every 2-3 minutes.

During the bath, I was once again packing and getting ready. Toothbrush, chargers, granola, protein bars, water, Lucy's food, Lucy's medicine, and on and on and on. You would think that having packed twice before, the third time would be a lot easier, but I was filled with so much adrenaline that I had a hard time focusing. To all future fathers, I highly recommend having a checklist of things to bring so you don't forget anything and can easily stay focused on what needs to get done.

At 2:30, I called the midwife back to report the situation to her. She confirmed that we should start heading to the hospital and have a baby!

I packed the last few items into the car, fired off an email to mark the start of our blogging adventure, and we were off to my parents' house to drop off Lucy. I gave my parents a call from the car to let them know we were on our way and let my sister know that she would likely be an aunt before she woke up on the west coast.

The drive to the hospital was probably the fastest 40 minutes ever. I was so anxious that I had to consciously prevent myself from pushing the accelerator all the way to the floor. That night also happened to be ridiculously foggy. At some parts of the drive, we couldn't see more than 5 or 10 feet in front of us.

I pulled up to the maternity entrance of the hospital and rang the night bell for someone to let us in. What amazes me what the fact that the guard asked us what we were doing there? I mean, what would two people -- one with a large round tummy -- be doing at the maternity entrance in the middle of the night? He didn't give us a hard time. I just feel that his question was a little redundant.

We walked to the labor and delivery ward, stopping once for Yilin to have a contraction. We rang another bell and, again, someone asked us what were doing. Uhh??? Another observation I had, the distance you have to walk from the car to the labor and delivery area is pretty far. It didn't seem all that far during our tour, but once you have a laboring woman with you, it feels like a quarter mile away. They should really consider putting the labor ward a lot closer to the entrance. While on the topic of putting things closer, they should also consider putting the NICU and mother/baby ward a lot closer together as well.

The nurses checked us into a triage room where they monitored the baby's heartrate and Yilin's contractions. The nurse was really friendly and definitely knew what she was doing. She told us that they already knew we were coming and that she already went over the birth plan that we established with the midwife. This was great news since this meant everyone was going to be on the same page.

The nurse monitored Yilin for a few contractions and then called the midwife in who did a quick internal exam and found that Yilin was already 5cm dilated 90% effaced. They moved us into our swank delivery room and went over a few basic things with us. I don't really remember what they told us as I was kind of tired at that point, but I do remember Yilin continued to have contractions and while they looked really uncomfortable, I couldn't tell how much they hurt. In fact, I would routinely go and do other things during her contractions like having a drink, using the bathroom, updating the blog, and playing a game (not really).

I tried to settle myself in and prepare for the 8-12 hour delivery estimate. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do for 8-12 hours while my wife suffered, so I started thinking of ways that I'd want to encourage her as the pain intensified and the option of an epidural looked more and more appealing. We decided some time around the end of the first/beginning of the second trimester to have a natural delivery and I knew it was going to be tough, but no class or book or blog could have ever prepared me for what I was going to go through.

Since it was still really early on during the labor process, I decided to go get some food and drinks for us. The staff at the 24 hour cafeteria were pretty incompetent and weren't able to help me find something as simple as Gatorade, so I ended up walking around the cafeteria until I stumbled upon a fridge full of Gatorade. I go to try to open the door, but the door won't slide open. I try for a little while, probably looking like Ben Stiller in Zoolander, when I realize that it's locked. Uhh??? Oh well, I walked around a bit more, trying to kill as much time as I can, and finally find a small stash of blue Gatorade. I pick up a few other things and head back at my leisurely pace.

Stay tuned for part three...