Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Flood Your Kitchen While Your Wife Is In Labour. Cause, Why Not? (The Birthing Story: Part 3 of 4)

Quick Recap of the first two parts of this story….
-We (and by we I really mean Colleen) were planning on having a natural (see: drug-free) home-birth in water
- Colleen was in labour
-There were 2 midwives (1 more to come) and a doula present
- I had just been tasked with filling the birthing pool in our living room as we were reaching “push-for-real-cause-this-human-is-coming-out-whether-you-like-it-or-not” time
- All people’s names outside of my wife and I have had their names changed to characters from Sex and The City. I am sure they would not have wanted it any other way

As the clock approached midnight, things were only starting to get more intense. Colleen was rotating her time between the couch in the living room and sitting on the toilet trying to be as comfortable as possible during her contractions. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that these also happen to my two favourite places in the house. The midwives and doula were coaching (is that the right word?) Colleen through her screams which rotated between sounding like an exorcism was taking place and some weird tribal chanting. By this point, Colleen was a sweaty mess, but powering through it like the boss she is. I’d be lying if between the screams and moans there wasn’t the occasional comment of “I can’t do this anymore!”, “I need drugs!” or “how much longer!?”, but I must say the ladies on-hand did a great job of diffusing the situation and never answering any of her questions!

While all this was going on, I had been tasked with filling the birthing pool, which as previously mentioned was basically like a large-scale kiddy pool with “oh-shit” handles that we had inflated in our living room.  Since we live in a newer build house, many all of our taps in the house do not have regular attachments. Because of this, I had to buy an adapter for the hose to hook on to our kitchen tap when we were filling the pool.  When I had originally purchased it a couple of weeks earlier, I had quickly made sure that it fit over our tap so that there would be no problems when it was go time. I never actually turned the water on, but everything seemed pretty simple: or so I thought.

Once I got the hose hooked up and the water running, it became quite clear that something was not right with the water pressure. The tub was filling… but it was filling at a really slow rate. When you consider that there was a woman about to give birth who really wanted that fuckin’ tub filled, it looked like molasses coming out of the hose! Somewhere in the first 30 minutes or so of trying to get the tub filled I believe Colleen’s water broke. Thankfully it happened over the toilet, so I was spared having to rent a carpet cleaner the following day. It was around this time that our student midwife, Charlotte, walked into the kitchen and figured out why the tub was filling at such a slow rate: we had a flood on our hands! We quickly came to discover that in the 30 minutes since we had started to fill the tub, only about half the water was going into the tub, while the other half was backing up into our faucet and flooding the area underneath our sink. This eventually spilled out onto the kitchen floor and by the time we knew what the fuck was going on the kitchen floor was flooded, the cabinets underneath the sink had flooded, and water was dripping down through our vents into the basement. Charlotte and I quickly grabbed every towel we could find in the house and attempted to right the ship in the kitchen.
Since Colleen had issues of her own to deal with at this time, we decided it would be best not to tell her that her less than one-year old kitchen was sinking like the Titanic while she was in the worse pain of her life.  As if there wasn’t enough shit (pun intended)n happening, Colleen yelled out in frightening agony “I HAVE TO POO!” which meant baby was coming ASAP! After a quick check from our midwife, it was confirmed that it was go time. During all of this panic, our midwife, Samantha, made the executive decision that we were not going to be able to get the tub filled in time given our current status and that we would be moving this show along without the birthing pool. Being told that your wife’s birthing plan of many months was literally in shambles in the exact moment that you are attempting to clean your semi-flooded kitchen was definitely a “FML” moment for me. How in God’s name where we going to tell Colleen this? If I remember correctly we started to skirt around the issue a bit while Colleen kept asking, “is the tub ready"?  Eventually we caved and told her that we couldn’t get the tub filled up in time and that she was not going to have the water birth she had been dreaming of. It was at this time that Colleen looked at me with an almost “defeated-exhausted-you-got-to-be-fucking-kidding-me-look” and I felt like the worst tub-filler in the world! And to think my high school guidance counselor told me I could be whatever I wanted when I grew up.

As Colleen kept going through her contractions and the midwives were prepping for the birth, our doula, Carrie, decided to take Colleen into the master bathroom. At this point we decided we might as well try and fill the bathtub and see if we couldn’t get that filled in time for the birth, although we were really starting to come down to crunch time. While it was significantly smaller and more cramped than our original birthing station we had set-up in the living room, it was worth a shot as Colleen was dead set on having a water birth. With that in mind Carrie started running the water while the two of us comforted Colleen through her contractions. In keeping with the comedy of errors theme, about 30 seconds after she started filling the bathtub Carrie looked over at me (while trying to not let Colleen see) and mouthed the words “there’s no hot water left”.  Are you kidding me?! As it turned out we had used all of the hot water to simultaneously flood our kitchen and fill the birthing tub to about 20% capacity. Here was my wife, mere minutes away from pushing a tiny human out of her hoo-hah, and we had no access to drugs, no water, and there were five people standing around in my bathroom trying to figure out what the hell to do! Since we still had a bit of time, we quickly devised a plan to transfer the only hot water available; and that happened to be in the birthing tub. So while, Samantha and Carrie attended to the now near-ready-to-pop Colleen, Charlotte and I gathered up a couple of salad bowls and literally started bailing water one bowl at a time from my living room to the 100 or so feet to our master bathroom. We looked like we belonged in a Three Two Stooges sketch. During all this commotion, another midwife, Miranda, showed up as two midwives were required for the birth (Charlotte was a student so she didn’t count). This meant only one thing: it was show time!

 I can honestly say in all of the wildest birthing situations I could have imagined this was not one of them! Miraculously we were able to get all of the water out of the one tub and into the other tub using our deft salad bowl carrying skills and we were back in business! Colleen was going to have a water birth after all!

And with that, Colleen was in the tub in her birthday suit, five of us were egging her on and little baby Moreau was going to be coming into the world Michael Phelps style!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Those Contraction Things? Look Like A Piece of Cake To Me (The Birthing Story: Part 2 of 4)

*** 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...

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Should We Include Water Wings In The Birthing Kit? (The Birthing Story: Part 1 of 4)

So I have not written in a blog post in a few years. In fact the last thing I wrote about was my engagement to my now wife/baby mama/woman who lately keeps putting this strange tasting milk in my fridge in little bottles. In fact, that series of posts was much better received than any of my travel pieces, so I should have been writing romance novels the whole time. On that note, if this seems like it was written by your 6-year old nephew who sticks crayons up his nose and eats glue off of Popsicle sticks during arts and crafts time I apologize. 

Having said all that, I am approaching ten years of blogging and am looking to head in a new direction. Life has changed greatly (and for the better I might add!). Gone are the days of months-long traveling expeditions, sleeping in hostels with a bunch of white people with greasy dreadlocks, and drunken nights in exotic locales. Alas, now I am an old-married man who loves nothing more than sitting on his couch with his amazing wife, beautiful daughter, Netflix and dog, Milo, who has a strange fascination with humping any blanket that has a cheetah or leopard print pattern. I’m going out on a limb here, but I think he failed sex education.

Not gonna lie...this one took a few takes
Over the next couple of blog posts, I will attempt to capture the magic (pretty sure that was what my wife was calling it while she was cranking a baby out of her hoo-ha) of the recent birth of our lovely daughter Adeline. I will attempt to leave out the most graphic stuff, but hey if I was able to stomach it, I’m sure you can too.

So, where to start? Well, nine or so months ago I looked at my wife and the next thing I knew she announced, “I think I’m pregnant”. Actually, I am pretty sure that she said “I know I’m pregnant”. I will forever remember this night because we happened to be about the town that evening and all my wife was concerned about was buying a stick to piss on when she got home so that she could prove me that she was in fact “with child” as the sophisticated people say. Well, wouldn’t you know it but we came home and the next thing I know the two of us are hovering over a little piece of plastic in our bathroom that my wife just happened to relieve herself on.  And that my friend is where babies from. This led to my wife crying tears of happiness and me standing there in shock looking like someone who just invited ALF and E.T. to a dinner party and actually had both of them show up. This was of course all verified by a highly trained medical professional in due time. Yes, it would seem that parenthood was imminent.



I will not bore you with the too many details about the next nine or so months. The quick version goes like this:
- My wife’s belly grew (if she asks tell her it was hardly noticeable)
- We spent a lot of money on maternity clothes that she never wore
- We spent a lot of money on baby clothes that my daughter will probably never wear and baby accessories that she will probably never need or use
- Gender reveal (yes, this is a thing!) and baby shower parties were had
- Photos were taken
- A doula was hired (I will admit I had no idea what this was prior to this)
- The decision was made to use a mid-wife instead of a doctor
- Many appointments were had with said mid-wife
- I made frequent trips to the store to buy very specific things that my wife would crave (salsa runs at 11pm anyone!?)
- Milo would get jealous of the unborn child and deposit feces around our living quarters

You get the idea.

Who doesn't love a good baby shower?!
 Somewhere along the way the decision was made by my wife that she wanted to have a homebirth. I thought this was something that was only done because people couldn’t get to the hospital in time. Nope, it’s a REAL THING I was informed.  Now I know most people associate things such as homebirths to the pioneer age or maybe to the more “granola” types (of which Colleen is not), but we were told that it was perfectly safe and in the event that anything were to appear abnormal with the pregnancy and/or birth we would be immediately taken to the hospital. The decision to have a homebirth is one that everyone seems to have an opinion on, so we did not tell too many people beforehand because every Tom, Dick, and Harry thinks because they watch Grey’s Anatomy they are medical experts. Newsflash: If you work in a grocery store give me tips on buying produce, not on birthing matters. Sorry, rant over. 

By the way baby...did we tell you about our birth plan?

OH YEAH…AND DID I MENTION WE WERE PLANNING TO HAVE A HOMEBIRTH IN WATER!? WITHOUT DRUGS! Here I was a mere few months removed from believing that no baby could ever possibly be born anywhere but a hospital.  Next thing I knew I was mapping out space in my living room for an inflatable pool. If anyone is feeling really brave just go watch some water-birthing clips on Youtube (and those are the ones that are safe for public consumption).

If Vegas had set odds at the beginning of our pregnancy that my wife would want to birth her child at home, in an inflatable pool, and drug-free I would bet that the odds would have been somewhere in the 10,000 to 1 range. And that’s probably low-balling it.

And with that we waited. Our birthing kit was set, the inflatable rental pool was on standby (think a larger, more durable kiddy pool), and the nursery complete.  Now we just had to wait for the tiny human…Well at least I imagine they feel tiny coming out. Isn’t that right ladies?

Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope you enjoyed it!


NEXT BLOG: The birth of a baby!