So I’m not fully caught up, but because it’s Redflare’s birthday I want to give her a little something that comes straight from the heart.
It was the night of the 28th of December and Redflare was already starting to feel contractions. They were regular, they weren’t increasing in intensity, but they were steady.
She called the hospital and they told her not to come in yet. They wanted contractions about 5 minutes apart before she came in.
At around 4 or 5 AM (things start to blur when you wake up really early and aren’t used to it) Redflare apologizes profusely (something she really didn’t need to do) and said it was time. Her contractions weren’t 5 minutes apart yet, but she knew then was the right time.
I got ready, started packing the hospital bag, and fortunately knew that the kids had already packed a “fun” bag for themselves and their younger siblings.
She called labor and delivery and told them she was on her way.
We’d also had the kids set aside “baby is coming” clothes so they could immediately pop into them and go. Well, as immediately as you can ask of a troupe of tired younglings.
The weather was lousy that morning night of the 29th. The wind was howling, the snow was blowing… and the contractions were powerful.
Like I said, time wasn’t really something I cared that much about at this point. I just needed to get my wife to the hospital safely.
They got Redflare set up, had her sign a few refusal items (she really didn’t want an IV during birth, for instance) and away the contractions rode!
Supposedly I was of great help. The nurse that was with us to help barely had to do anything as Redflare suffered through her contractions. She usually has back labor, so what that means is all the pressure is felt in the muscles of her back. Constant pressure is needed back there. Constant support. I knelt next to my wonderful Redflare for quite a long time, feeling my arms weaken and shake… this was my job though. Keep her as comfortable as I could.
Keep her feeling safe.
At one point the nurse asked if I was a chiropractor or masseuse. I was showing a very intuitive knowledge of Redflare’s back and applying “just the right” amount of pressure from her point of view.
Nope, that’s just how well I know Redflare’s body after knowing her for 24 years (as of this summer).
Time passed, and she was just barely out of reach of the goal of 10 cm dialation. She was starting to feel frustrated, hopeless. I offered what encouragement I could. As did the nurse.
During a small lull in the contractions I helped Redflare to the bathroom. It’d been a while, and supposedly a full bladder can get in the way of things.
Something emptied all right!
It was just like the movies. Something that hasn’t been true for any of our other children.
Redflare’s water broke on the floor of the bathroom.
It was clear!
She’d explained to me that one medically reasonable cause for a c-section was if there was any meconium (black baby poop) in the water, because that means baby could start accidentally infecting herself with it.
The fact that was clear was a massive relief.
Redflare hobbled back to the bed. They checked again she was finally to the 10 cm point… and then Redflare’s body said it was time to push, to hell with if the doctor was ready or not!
He barely was ready in time, that’s for sure. I can’t imagine what we’d have done if we’d waited until the contractions were 5 minutes apart! She’d have been born on the drive there.
On her hands and knees… one… two… three, maybe four pushes and out slid a beautiful baby girl.
An angry baby girl.
She needed a bit of cleanup, as they all do. There she was though. Safe and sound. At 10:29AM… the same time I scheduled this post to go live, three weeks ago.
Hard to believe she’s three weeks old now.
Once the placenta was done passing the last of “the good stuff” to Thunderer they clamped her and I got to cut the cord. The doctor ran out of the room to check on the next patient but was quick to comment:
“Text me with the official weight!”
As you can see above, the official weight was immense!
Our oldest, while being masterfully patient all morning began expressing his desire for some food. We were approaching 1:30PM and we’d naturally missed lunch.
Tension had started to grow in the room.
Redflare’s bleeding wasn’t slowing down.
Accepting two shots after she was assured it was safe for a breastfeeding mother those were intended to help trigger everything to start closing up again. Nurses assured me that they’d keep an eye on her and that we’d be fine to go down to the cafeteria.
Hospital food is awful.
Some fries, personal pan pizzas, and sodas later we were headed back up. It’s hard corralling four younglings in a new place that they want to explore. Fortunately three of the four are in school at this point so even Superman at five was familiar with how to behave in a cafeteria.
Newbie tried to give me trouble and run a few times, but overall was angelic. Given the last who knows how many hours had been dedicated to Redflare and Thunderer it’s really no surprise little Newbie was dying for some run around and be an almost three year old time.
Back in the elevator we went. I had to be patient. I snarfed my cardboard food and wanted to head back up ASAP. The younger two… well, they wanted to taste their food and send me back for multiple ketchup runs.
Back at the room though they had the audacity to ask me to wait outside.
You do not ask a new daddy and worried husband to wait outside.
I think they realized their mistake and somebody quickly stepped out.
Redflare was still losing blood.
We could lose her.
This was said quietly, to me. They attempted to be as vague as possible to not alarm the younglings.
Looking back on it now. I appreciate it.
I wanted them to get the hell out of my way so I could be at my wife’s side.
Redflare is a pale woman normally. She’s an Irish redhead after all. In the sunlight she doesn’t tan, her freckles just get darker.
She was ghostly.
There was now an IV in her arm. The main reason she hadn’t wanted one is because she knew how hard it always was for them to find a vein. This time was no different. Her arm had been poked multiple times, finally finding one much farther up than what you usually see (forearm rather than hand).
Thunderer was happy and healthy though.
Eventually she stopped bleeding so much. It was more like a normal post birth bleeding. The problem there was the fact that she couldn’t really afford to lose much more blood.
The afternoon passed in a blur and it began to grow dark. They assured me Redflare was finally out of danger and she insisted I get the kids home so they could have dinner and get to bed.
Leaving Mommy at the hospital was a highly traumatic experience for Newbie. She cried herself to sleep on the van ride home.
I ordered pizza.
Then Superman joined his sister in falling asleep in the van.
Thank God for small towns.
I called ahead and let them know I’d be sending my oldest to get the pizza, with my card. He and Little Miss walked in, grabbed a 2-litre of Sprite, and paid. TJ even had to “sign” for me at the register.
I watched it all from the van. There was fortunately a parking spot that let me see the whole store through their front window. I didn’t want to leave the smaller two alone sleeping in the van though. I couldn’t afford them being further traumatized by finding Daddy not in the van with Mommy already not there.
Redflare gave me a note with a status post I put onto facebook on her behalf.
As they ate, and we watched “Jackie Chan Adventures” on Netflix, I posted, and typoed Redflare’s status post. I had better luck with mine. Her keyboard was on the fritz and I hadn’t had a chance to fix it yet at that point.
We went to bed very quickly after dinner.
My arms ached. You know that good ache of a satisfying day of working hard with your body? It was like that. I’d done as much as I could to help Redflare.
It would soon be time for day two.