Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Is That A Mop Head On Your Lady Bits? No, It's Just An Unconscious Woman (The Birthing Story: Part 4 of 4)

In case you missed or feel like a refresher, the first three parts of the story are linked below.... 

Quick Recap of the story so far…
- We failed miserably at our initial attempt to fill a birthing tub in our living room and my wife was now very close to giving birth in our bath tub after I almost flooded our house
- Baby Moreau was just about ready to enter the world!
- 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

It was officially go-time as Colleen was in the water, albeit in our bathroom, and there were three midwives, myself, and a doula all crammed in to our not-so large bathroom with her. As Colleen entered the final 45 minutes or so, fatigue was definitely starting to set in. It was now well after 1:00a.m and the midwives and doula were working their magic. In between pushes, my now exhausted wife was constantly asking “how many more pushes!?” and proclaiming that she couldn’t go on. The other ladies in attendance were great at giving her vague answers and offering her words of encouragement. Our doula Carrie had also been tasked with photographing the experience by my wife so she was pulling double duty while all of this was carnage was going on. The cycle of insanely loud screams for a minute or two followed by my wife going dead silent and looking like she was going to pass out were in full-on mode now.

And what was I doing during all of this you ask? Why I was of course sitting on the toilet seat beside the tub with one of those little nets you use to scoop dead fish out of your aquarium. And what was that net for you ask? Why it was of course used for scooping the poo-floaters out of the water that inevitably arise as a result of trying to push a human out of your vagina! Yes, my job was to try and scoop up the poops! This is the part you don’t see in the movies. I always just thought that the women give a couple pushes and voila(!), a baby is born. Nope, it can be a messy affair.  As a kid I had always wanted to be a marine biologist (true story), until I had my own fish tank and discovered that I didn’t like touching fish, even with a net. So here I was, all these years later and fish-phobia still very present, but now I was using one of those feared nets for something I never thought I would do. Surprising (or maybe not to women who have given birth!) is the fact that the poo, or in this case poo water just becomes kind of an afterthought.

After a few minutes of trying to capture floaters I gave up as we were now getting very close to delivering the sister our fur-son Milo never wanted and would come to be jealous of. Colleen was rotating between pushing, screaming and appearing to almost pass out, while the midwives and doula did their part to make sure everything went smoothly. And there I was: holding my poo net. In all seriousness I was super-proud of my wife and watching a woman give birth will definitely give you a new-found respect for them.  The pain that a woman’s body goes through is truly something that I think no man would survive. If we men were the ones who had to give birth the human race would have been extinct a long-time ago (see: one generation)!

Shortly after 2:00am on December 1, 2016, Colleen’s contraction screams were reaching Biblical proportions. I will admit that things started to get really blurry around here, but all of a sudden, there was my wife in the bathtub and one of the midwives was telling us that our baby’s head was starting to emerge.  Sure as shit, I looked down and there was a tuft of hair that wasn’t there a couple of minutes prior in the tub!  As the midwives got in their positions, it was time for one final push.  I vaguely remember one of them telling Colleen that she was going to “catch the baby” herself and Colleen just kind of saying “ok”. This was definitely not something we had planned on, but then again we didn’t plan on having this all go down in our 50 square foot bathroom with 6 people in it. And with that….the final push. Within a matter of moments Colleen was having her final contraction and then in what to this point was the most emotional moment of my life, Adeline Kennedy Moreau was in my wife’s arms!!! It all happened so fast, but sure enough Colleen pushed out our amazingly beautiful daughter and even made the catch unassisted! For the record, she was 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and was born at 2:14am. She also looked like she had recently hit a tanning bed and an all-you-can-eat buffet inside my wife’s belly.

Photographic evidence that it did in fact happen in da club tub (sorry, Dad jokes). Still crazy to think that that happened!
 As Colleen kneeled in the tub, holding her new found love, Adeline (aka Squishy Moreau), I started shaking and crying.  I will admit, I normally only cry at sad movies (real sucker for Nicholas Sparks), but seeing our daughter and my wife brought out a whole new set of emotions in me that I didn’t know were there. It truly was the most magical thing and even just thinking about it four-and-a-half months later brings a big smile to my face.  But alas, no time for me to cry, there was still work to do. 
Tough day being born. Better hit the hay.
 Another one of those things that I feel you just do not learn via the magic of Hollywood Sex Education is the fact that a woman has to birth a placenta after the fact. Yes, for those not in the know, you have to basically birth the thing that has been providing nutrient’s to your baby inside you. For this, the midwives decided to move Colleen onto our bed and out of the blood-soaked bathtub.  By this time Colleen was exhausted beyond belief and not enjoying the fact that she had to birth this mutant-pizza looking thing out of her. All we wanted to do was snuggle our baby and get it over with.  Sparing the gory details, Colleen was able to push out the placenta, at which point Miranda (the most senior of the midwives) remarked that it was the second largest one she had ever seen! This was a woman who has done hundreds of births, and she said the only placenta she had ever seen that was larger than Colleen’s was from a baby that was like 12 pounds! We never did figure out why Colleen’s body was attempting to set a Guinness World Record, but I am going to go with the fact that the reason it was so large was to feed our adorable daughter’s squishiness.

World Record Placenta (hope you're not squeamish!)
 As we moved into the post-birth stuff, it was time to get Colleen fixed up. I was lying beside Colleen in our bed with Adeline on my chest and a pile of meconium was slowly developing (Google definition: the earliest stool of a mammalian infant. Unlike later feces, meconium is composed of materials ingested during the time the infant spends in the uterus). As mentioned in previous blogs, one of our attending midwives was a student, Charlotte. The two other midwives were getting her to do a lot of the “work” on Colleen as she was learning and they were the teachers so-to-speak. Now Charlotte was not completely new to this, as she had told my wife in previous conversations that she had been a part of over forty births. She had been super-awesome throughout the delivery and everything was going as well as we could have hoped for. The next step in getting Colleen’s body back on the road to recovery was for her to receive a couple of stitches to repair any “tearing” that had been done. My God, I should just stop there, but I won’t. Sorry Honey. As Colleen lay there, beyond exhausted, the midwife team prepared her to get a couple of stitches done to her baby-making region.  I was kind of half-listening, and my understanding was that the midwives were getting Charlotte to do the first stitch or two and then the more senior ladies would take over. You know, just your classic 4:00am on a Thursday learning experience. So, Colleen assumed the “stirrups” position and it was officially go time on the stitching. With that, Charlotte leaned in to Colleen’s nether regions to start threading the needle and all of a sudden all Colleen felt was a big pile of hair on her hoo-hah and then…CRASH!!!  Before we knew what happened, Charlotte was passed out on the floor of our bedroom. Sure as shit, as she leaned in to stitch Colleen up she had fainted right into her lady bits and then crashed to the floor. This all happened rather quickly, and no one really knew what the hell was going on! Here we were at 4 or 5am in the morning, and we have an unconscious midwife on our bedroom floor. Samantha (our head midwife) started calling out to Miranda in the other room as she attempted to do whatever the hell it is you when your student midwife passes out. This also sent me in to a panic and I started screaming like a little bitch for Miranda.  Thankfully, Charlotte was not unconscious for too long and came to pretty quickly.  To say that she was mortified after an unconscious muff-dive session on my wife would be an understatement! It turns out that it was not the sight of my wife’s vajayjay that had caused her to pass out, but it was in fact exhaustion and the fact that she had not eaten all day. I mean, at least that it was she told us! We might never know the truth…

And with that, our family had a new plus one! The rest of the night and morning went off without a hitch (I think) and as I write this I cannot imagine my life without our daughter. It truly is life’s greatest gift. BEING A DAD IS THE GREATEST THING EVER; WELL AT LEAST UNTIL SHE STARTS SASSING ME IN A FEW YEARS!

And that my friend's is how you make your dog hate you.
 In adding to the comedy of errors that was the birth of our daughter, I would also just like to add this as a quick footnote. We discovered a couple of days after the birth that in all of the craziness and pandemonium of that night that we forgot to put a memory card in our beautiful SLR camera that we were having our doula take photos with. Naturally, the camera has no internal memory and all of the photos were lost. What made this even more painful is the fact that the midwives and doula were remarking during the birth how great the photos looked. This still chokes my wife up brutally to this day. A few photos were taken with a camera phone and I have shared some of those on here.

As a secondary footnote, a big, big thank you to the midwives and our doula. You guys were all amazing, professional, awesome, and on and on. Through all the craziness it was surprising how “smooth” everything went. I can’t imagine our life without Adeline. 

Lastly, thank you to YOU the readers! This blog series has far and away been the most read (or at least clicked on!) material I have posted in the 10+ years I have blogged and I appreciate all of the feedback. If I can make you chuckle even in the slightest I feel like it is mission accomplished. And yeah, I know a lot of my jokes are leaning towards the “shitty Dad joke” genre these days.


Fresh out the oven!
She'll grow into them (Update: has now outgrown all of them!)

Who's in charge of the sizing around here?!

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...