Baby Levi – Birth to Day 2
At around 5:45 AM Monday morning the familiar sound of the dreaded alarm begins crowing, letting me know that it’s time for work. I look over and Charmaine who is resting unfazed, the big belly of hers is still round and bulging. A thought flickered through my mind ‘damn I have to go to work again’. I really thought the baby would announce himself on the weekend, after all it was nearly a week overdue and the thought of Charmaine requiring to be rushed to the hospital while I am on the other side of Sydney was not the ideal scenario.
But alas I had to leave, we kiss our goodbyes and I depart to work. At work I followed the accustomed routine; make a coffee, update all the curious with the usual “still waiting, no baby yet” and begin to flicker through emails for the odd requests. It was not much more than an hour into my day when the phone rings with a recognisable number on the screen, it was Charmaine ringing through. With a reserved and uncertain tone I answer to see what is wrong. No baby was in her arms *relief* however she asks me to come home as a series of rather painful contractions began to occur every 10 minutes. I recall her saying “I think today is the day”. We visited the hospital three days earlier to reassure Charmaine the baby was fine after he wasn’t moving as vigorously as expected. It was all clear and we were sent home that day. So I wondered whether this may be another short term change in Charmaine’s body not requiring any alarms to be raised. I decided to slip-out of the office as inconspicuously as possible, without shouting “THE BABY IS COMING!” Didn’t work! As I was heading out letting my manager know, several co-workers got a whiff of my departure and the reason for it, next thing I know half the floor is aware of me making an early exit.
When I arrived home the contractions have slowed down, yet the pain lingered. I helplessly encouraged Charmaine, but could not do much else, as the hospital will send everyone back unless the contractions are at least every five minutes. To be useful around the house I gave the summer grass a needed cut and spent the afternoon indoors with my wife. With that several more hours rolled-over and the day faded to night. With desperation Charmaine took a hot shower to relieve the pain and surprisingly she felt better, but the relief was fleeting, unbearable jolt of pains were making a vengeful return as I watched her be crippled by her own body. They say babies give you many sleepless nights, but no one tells you that the sleepless nights can begin much earlier. The pregnancy didn’t do any favours for Charmaine’s sleep habits, now with the searing pain sleep was out of the question altogether.
Then just before midnight after her toilet break, I heard “I think I’ll give the hospital a ring”. With a few questions answered, the nurse asked us to come in. We looked at each other and without saying anything knew that the pieces are falling into place.
We knew that the 21st wouldn’t be the day as we arrived at the hospital just before midnight, but would it be the following day? That was still shrouded in mystery.
I felt that a detailed account of the following chain of events is not required. Bullet points will suffice and still convey the drama and excitement of the big event:
- Charmaine was hooked up and monitored for about 30-45 minutes.
- Nurse announced that it’s time to break her water (this is the point of no return, it’s the crossing of the Rubicon, what’s done cannot be undone). For all you curious a surgical hook is used for the procedure. I was told by my significant other that the breaking of water mimics the sensation of you peeing your pants over and over again. You think you got nothing left in you, nope here is another puddle enjoy.
- We were then moved to a delivery room consisting of all the equipment required for a natural birth. Labor is not like a 1 hour photo kiosk. It’s a long and unpredictable time.
- The contractions continued to haunt Charmaine mercilessly. The nurse offered some happy gas (if I am not mistaken nitrous oxide) for the pain, but a few lungs full didn’t seem to help.
- It was time for the big pain-relieving guns – Epidural. The doctor who administers the epidural came around, and shoved a massive needle somewhere in Charmaine’s back. I am told that you become numb from the bottom half of your body. I guess you have to experience it to know how that feels.
- Do you want to hear an oxymoron (a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms)? Dignified pregnancy. There is no modesty or dignity left after you go through a pregnancy. A woman is poked, prodded, examined, spread, and left at the mercy of bodily functions by a dozen doctors and nurses.
- Other doctors did some tests said everything is good with Charmaine, but were a bit concerned with the babies heart rate. Earlier on when the water was broken they found that the baby did a poop in the sack which may be a sign of distress.
- After further monitoring of the heart rate monitor the doctor said that a Caesarian will most probably have to be performed. That was definitely unexpected. A C-section didn’t cross our minds, and when they started reading out possible complications it really jolted Charmaine.
- Around 6 AM they took Charmaine into the operating theatre with me following behind. Just before the theatre a nurse asked me to wait in a little room as they “prepare” Charmaine. In the mean time I was given a doctor’s gown including a shower cap and a surgical mask and instructed to put it on. Your sense of time warped in moments like those, but it was no more than 15 minutes when a nurse comes out and gestures to “come with me”. I scrambled to get the camera out and ran after her expecting Charmaine to be ready to be operated on. I walk into the theatre just as they are pulling the baby out. I couldn’t believe was I was seeing, it’s all happening so fast. One minute I am waiting next minute I can see the baby. Someone tells me “photo, take a photo”. So I begin to quickly snap a few shots. Then I smile at the teary Charmaine, which makes me water. She asks me whose nose does he have? I laugh.Then just as quickly I am asked to cut the cord ceremonially. The nurse snaps pictures of me cutting that thing. It’s tougher than I thought, I needed to cut twice.
- After a quick rub down of the baby one of the nurses gives me my son (still sounds weird) and I am led out of the operating room into a corridor for some father and son bonding time. Then everyone just scatters leaving us in our own little world. It was surreal and difficult to accept but a beautiful moment that will remain etched in my memory.
- I wanted Charmaine to join us, I barely saw her through the whole operation. Thinking back on it, I think the doctors purposely made me miss the cutting open of the stomach as it may have been too much for some people. I would imagine the stitching up was not much prettier.
- Finally after a few congratulations and handshakes from the doctors a nurse took us to a nursery where they weighted the little man and did some quick tests on him. Everything looked healthy, I was overjoyed.
- Must have been 45 minutes later Charmaine re-emerges still in her operating bed waving. They take us all to the post-natal ward were we will remain until at least Friday as a new growing family.
So here are some facts on the baby:
Date of birth: 22/01/2013
Time: 6:26 AM
Birth Weight: 3.444 Kgs
Length: 50 cm
Name: Levi Alexzander
Here are some photos:
Charmaine had the idea to use baby blocks to create his name. When the nurse first saw us with the blocks she must have been thinking do these people know that the baby won’t use these blocks for a while still, she probably thought we were ignorant buffoons.
The nurse helped us bathe him on the second day. We were told the babies love to be on the stomach when they get bathed. He seems to be enjoying himself.
Pst, Shhh. That’s him sleeping