*** All people mentioned in this story outside of Colleen and I have had their names changed. And yes, their fake names are from Sex and the City. Don’t be such a Samantha; deal with it. ***
The birth of a child: one of the greatest (if not the greatest), most spectacular moments of your life. This is a statement I will not argue with. I was truly weeping like a baby the moment my daughter was born. I was feeling feelings I didn’t know existed….
…. What they don’t tell you about in the world of sitcoms and Hallmark movies is that the whole experience also happens to be pretty fuckin’ insane. Now maybe I would have been better equipped if I had read some of the material that my wife purchased so lovingly for me, but alas all I read in the nine months leading up to the birth of my daughter was some pregnancy book written by ex-Playmate/current whack job Jenny McCarthy, who last I checked was not qualified to be instructing me on parenting. So I failed in the preparation category. Sue me.
By the time November 30 rolled around, Colleen was starting to wonder if she actually was going to give birth or whether there was just an alien life form that was permanently hibernating in her womb. At this point we were ten days overdue, and while I can’t speak from personal experience (unless food babies count) she really just wanted to get the baby the hell out! The afternoon started off like any ordinary Wednesday: a visit to the midwife so Colleen could get a “membrane sweep”. In the name of good taste I will not go any further into this; but for those of you who don’t know what is, consider yourself lucky!
|Unborn child has the nicest room in the house. Figures.|
That evening we went over to my mother-in-law’s house for dinner and we both proceeded to eat spaghetti like a couple of starving Italians at an Olive Garden going-out-of-business sale. Shortly thereafter while we were contemplating our poor life choices and lounging on the couch, Colleen started to feel a little “uncomfortable”. She was insisting that this was not your ordinary spaghetti cramp and it was not long after 7pm when suddenly our dreams of watching Modern Family reruns appeared to be dashed. Fearing that that this may be the start of these so-called “contraction things”, we packed up our pasta-infused asses and headed home. Now that would have been all fine and dandy, except that we were a half hour from our house and we had two separate cars. We decided it would be best if I tailed behind Colleen’s car, just in case we had to have one of those television-style births in the bathroom of a truck stop or one of those magical movie moments where the woman’s water bursts in the car. So along we went, and just when it appeared that we were going to make it home unscathed, Colleen quickly pulled her car over about ten minutes from our house. Figuring that I might be viewed as an asshole if I just drove by, I also pulled over and made sure she was okay. Well, she was okay, minus the fact that her body was preparing to usher out a human and she was in unbearable pain. I instructed our daughter to stay inside her mother a little while longer, and thankfully she listened.
Once we arrived home, it was time to get the party started (I’m guessing that’s how it feels right ladies!?). Quick update: for those that did not read part one of this blog, we were planning to have a home birth in water.
By now it was around 8pm and things were escalating quickly. When you are a first time mother, you hear all different timelines from all sorts of women about how long your birth/labor is going to be. Some women tell you it’s going to be days, others tell you it is mere minutes, and then there is everything in between. The thing is, you just don’t know; and when you have never experienced this before it is downright terrifying (again, speaking for my wife). Seeing as how things weren’t getting any less intense, we ended up calling our doula, Carrie, to come over. She arrived a short-time later and seemed fairly positive that she would just stop in for a bit that night, help get Colleen get comfortable, and then be on her way for the evening. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Shit started getting crazy, and by crazy I mean it seemed like our daughter was going to shoot out the birthing channel (this is a thing, right?) at any second. Since Colleen’s contractions were ratcheting up, she decided to have a bath to try and soothe some of the pain. Since this was early in the night and she was still feeling conservative around Carrie, this involved her wearing a bathing suit. Things got decidedly less conservative as the night went on!
While Colleen was handling her business in the bathtub, I was enlisted with inflating the “birthing pool” in our living room. I can honestly say when we bought the house about a year earlier and we were laying out our furniture I never imagined that that is what I would be using the space in front of our television for. For those of you, who were like me and can’t imagine what such a thing is, just think of a slightly deeper, more durable kiddy pool with some “oh shit” handles on the side of it and voila(!) you have a birthing pool. Thanks to my trusty air mattress pump, the pool was now ready to be filled, although the adding of water would have to wait as this does not happen until closer to the actual birth so that the water remains warm.
My next task was getting our noisy, personal-space invading, forever attention-seeking dog Milos out of the house. We had decided it would be better to not have him at home during the birth as I’m sure it would result in far too much chaos. All of the pregnancy screaming from his mom (Colleen insists he is her son) would have led to constant barking and I would have bet money that at some point he would have ended up in the birthing tub sans doggy lifejacket. Thankfully, Milos' foster mom had agreed to take him in for a couple of nights. I packed our confused fur baby up into the car, drove him over to his foster mom’s house, and told him, “I’m sorry you jealous bastard: you are really going to hate us when you come home in a couple of days and are no longer our baby”.
|He'll still always be my first-born son who likes heating pads and being talked to like a human baby!|
Back home, things were in full swing. Carrie had realized that this baby was coming sooner than later and after a couple of calls to our midwife where Colleen explained her contraction times, pain level (getting higher by the minute), etc. it became pretty clear that they had better their asses over to our house as our daughter was probably going to be making her grand entrance that evening.
By the time our midwife, Samantha, and her student assistant Charlotte arrived (somewhere in the 10pm -11pm range) Colleen had decidedly become a little less conservative with her clothing options. Now anyone who knows my wife knows that she is generally fairly conservative and a mere couple hours earlier she had been carefully putting her bathing suit on to take a bath. Well, I can now speak from personal visual experience when I say that there is nothing that will make a woman lose her inhibitions like labor contractions. Maybe cheap tequila, but that never worked for me.
|Happy times! (until the next contraction started!)|
The next couple of hours were admittedly a blur, as it involved lots of screaming/contractions; moving between the bathroom, the kitchen and the couch for different positions that were comfortable; other women telling my wife she was “doing a good job”; and well you get the idea. Colleen was becoming super fatigued from the contractions, and seeing as how the pool was still sitting empty, I was starting to think that we were settling in for a long night. Just when Colleen thought she might die from the contractions, I was given the go-ahead to start filling the pool. It was time to take this show to the next level! Shit was about to get real...