The day we were eagerly waiting for was actually a night.
One hour after my previous post where my last comment was, “If not Sunday, well, I don’t think we’ll make it that far.”, we were going to sleep and Holly said to me, “Mike, I think my water just broke”. Immediately followed by, “Oh yeah! It broke.” That was at 11pm. So we had to decide if we wanted to take the 2 hour drive up to the hospital in the middle of the night on a road filled with hundreds of switchbacks and cliffs or stay at the house and then run over to the local health clinic and force them to help deliver a baby. We decided that we had plenty of time to make a safe drive up to the hospital.
I called Mary to let her know what had just happened and that we were going to head up to the hospital. Since no flights go inter-island in the middle of the night, Mary planned on taking the 9am flight over and meet us in the morning with the hope that Holly won’t have delivered yet. Having decided that, Mary went back to sleep, while Me, Gavin and Holly, hopped in the car and started our journey up to MMMC. Holly wearing nothing more than a dress and an Assurance underpad.
The drive up was mostly quiet with the voice of Jim Dale coming from the car speakers. Occasionally, I’d wake from my drivers focus and ask Holly how she was doing. She wasn’t making labor noises or breathing extremely heavy or in any real labor intensive pain that I could tell, but it’s best to be sure, right. Closer to the end of the ride, I did notice that her breathing became much heavier during the contractions. Meanwhile, Gavin still slept in the back seat.
A successful trip. We didn’t need any of our emergency kit with the exception of a few more of the Assurance underpads. And since it was midnight, there was no other drivers on the road, which allowed us to make great time. We arrived at the hospital at 1am.
It didn’t take long to check in. Holly got seated in a wheel chair while Gavin and I acquired name tags that would allow us to follow Holly up into the Labor and Delivery room. My tag was labeled “Michael – LAD”. After getting our paperwork in order, we were led up to the room where Holly would inevitably give birth. As we entered the L+D ward, the nurse told us that Gavin was not allowed into the ward because they don’t allow children. Then we assured her that we wouldn’t allow Gavin to not be in the ward because it’s just the three of us and I was not about to sit in the waiting room with Gavin while Holly was in giving birth. She didn’t say much and just led us to the room.
The room was small. It contained one hospital bed. Not much different than every other hospital bed in lets say the recovery room, or the I broke my leg room, or the x-ray room. There was one chair and one spinny stool, a baby warmer, an ultrasound machine, a small bathroom, a sink, and a very expensive, high-tech supply cabinet. So while Holly got settled into her generic hospital bed, Gavin found a spot on the floor to spread out a towel and dress for him to lay down, and I made home in the chair. And when I say Holly got settled in, what I mean is that she laid down and the nurses hooked her up to the machine that records her contractions and monitors the baby’s heartbeat. Holly continued her contractions, which were not all that close together, I intermittently slept in the chair next to the bed with my head crimped sideways against the sink, and Gavin remained on the floor sleeping. This was how it was until probably 5 am. There were breaks in between from the nurses who would come in and check the machines to see how Holly’s contractions were going. And there was the break at 4 am to call Mary and see if she could get there any earlier than she had planned. Which worked out because even though she had already try to book the second flight of the morning (it was cheaper than the first), there was a mistake and she actually booked the first flight of the day which landed her at the airport here at 8 am.
At around 6 am we were told that the day crew would not allow Gavin in the L+D ward at all. They were more strict. And they start at 7 am. So at 6:30, I took Gavin out to find some food for us all. They told Holly they didn’t want her to eat much if anything before the birth. But we found her some scrambled eggs and rice and bacon to eat. Gavin had a musubi and a donut, while I had a yummy grilled chicken sandwich. All bought at a deli we wanted to try. It turns out that a deli/bakery opens at about 5 am but does not sell ham, egg and cheese bagels. What’s with that. After choosing our breakfast wisely, we headed back to the hospital to give Holly her awesome meal. Just as we were told, the day shift wouldn’t let Gavin through the doors. But since Holly wasn’t super close to delivery, they let her come out in the waiting area. Despite their disapproval of her eating, she knarfed down her eggs and a little rice and, I think, a bite of bacon. Just then, we got a call from Mary saying that she had landed and was headed toward the baggage claim area. Holly headed back to her dismal room, while Gavin and I headed out to retrieve Mary.
We found her sitting near the rental car area. She hopped in the car and I told her we knew she would be hungary and had saved her some food. She had the choice between leftover dry rice from Holly’s eggs bento, and the second half of a fresh grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato, avocado, swiss cheese, and some mayo. For some reason she chose the old rice. With all the action to follow, the poor sandwich went bad sitting in the car. I should have eaten the second half of the sandwich just after eating the first half. Oh well.
It didn’t take us long to arrive back at the hospital. After deciding that delivery was not eminent, I let Mary enter the L+D ward to visit Holly for while. The plan was for her and I to switch off watching Gavin until it was time for Holly to deliver. Then I would go in with Holly for all the important stuff. And for support as well.
It now being around 9 am, the hospital was starting to pick up. There were quite a few people in the waiting area by now. Gavin and I sat in the waiting area with every one else. We had a bag of Krispy Kremes and my ipod. Gavin played a few games on the ipod while we waited. After a while, Mary came out and said that Holly wanted me in. She wasn’t ready just yet for the baby, but what she wanted was back-up. The doctor and just met with her and told her that she wasn’t in labor and that they would have to give her pitocin to move things along. That was out of the question. Especially since she hadn’t even been in labor for more than 12 hours. How they came up with the conclusion that Holly wasn’t in labor, I have no idea. The doctor was not off to a good start. He had gone by the time I got in there and didn’t return again for a couple of hours when Holly was ready to deliver.
Shortly after told she wasn’t in labor, Holly started having more painful contractions that were coming closer together. This was the beginning. I had a more active role in this birth than I did with Gavin. I was actually able to help Holly do things like get to the bathroom, get water, support her during contractions and so on. I felt useful. During Gavin’s birth, I felt so helpless the whole time. Including the delivery.
At this time, someone was in to check Holly quite frequently. She went from 3 cm to 5 cm over the course of the night. Now she was 7 cm and the nurse said she’d be back in about 15 minutes and we’d try to get this baby out. That kind of surprised me a bit. After all this waiting for her to say we’d be about over in like 15 minutes was so strange. It was the same kind of surprise that came after 9 months of waiting and starting to feel like Holly would be pregnant forever and then hearing Holly blurt out, “I think my water just broke”. It became very real.
About 20 minutes later that nurse came back in and felt around that now very popular area and told us that it was time and she was going to get the doctor. From here, things moved pretty quickly. They rolled in a scale for weighing the baby with and a table that was covered in a large blue cloth. The doctor came in as the nurse removed the blue cloth from the table revealing rows of shiny instruments that I hoped would not have to be used. He sat down on the one stool in the room, removed the bottom part of the table and replaced it with two plastic stirrup type things. He then placed a large blue tarp type cloth under the whole area that would keep the floor clean. Things were really getting ready to happen. The nurse did one final check on Holly. She poked and prodded and then told me that if I looked down far enough I could see the baby’s head. Now since Holly had not started the whole pushing process and the nurse’s eyes were at bed level, I decided that it wouldn’t be long before I would be able to see the baby’s head without having to go through the trouble that she had.
Everything was all set up now. It was time. They told Holly that on they next contraction they wanted her bring her knees up, hold on to them with her hands and push. This was as close to music to her ears as she could get at the moment. It was better than holding off pushing anyway. After that it all went so quickly. I felt very useful and happy. I know Holly wasn’t in the most comfortable position in the room here, but I was happy. It was finally happening. I held one leg and the nurse held the other. I didn’t get a good look at the nurse through all this, so I couldn’t tell if she was struggling as much as I was to not be thrown across the room by Holly’s pushing legs. Push after push, little by little, I started to see Leif’s head. “Holly, I think he has light colored hair. I think he’s a blonde”. I don’t think she really cared at the very moment. She would soon though. And although I certainly knew it was a head, I must say, it didn’t look quite like one. But there it was. A head with light colored hair.
It didn’t take long before his whole head was out. At which time the doctor told Holly to stop pushing. And I could see why. Leif’s umbilical cord was wrapped two times around his neck. The doctor didn’t show any signs of worry other than telling Holly to stop pushing. Which he did in a very casual voice. I watched as he put two clamps on the chord about 1 inch from each other and then used the pair of scissors from the table to make a cut in between. He quickly unwrapped the chord as he then described to Holly what had just occurred. Now on with the pushing.
Within the minute I watched Leif fall out into the doctor’s hands. I watched as the lifted Leif up and placed him on Holly’s stomach. And I just watched. I’ve never seen anything like it. Not even with Gavin. He looked exactly like a purple sac of water. He was so limp and squishy. The doctor rubbed his body to stimulate it. Again, I watched as they moved Leif to the baby warmer and held an oxygen mask up to his face as they rubbed him and jiggled him some more. It did not take long before we heard a cry come from him. And the instant I heard the cry, I saw his body solidify into a beautiful, wonderful looking child. My child. I could only stare. I glanced at Holly who seemed just as emotional as I was. She had a look on her face that I knew she would have. Her hands hesitantly were reaching out. We both wanted our baby. And they delivered. Again Leif was placed on Holly. This time, he was all ours. We got to touch him and stare at him and call him ours. Whether he was a Leif or a Victor, we weren’t just just yet.
After the doctor left and the nurse cleaned up all the mess and extra equipment, Gavin and Mary were led into the room where they met Leif for the first time. Gavin is officially a big brother. Holly is now a mother of two. I am now a father of two. We are now a family of four. Mike, Holly, Gavin and now Leif.