Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ooooh, Baby!

It's a girl! Catherine (Katya for short, Ekaterina pa russkie) weighed in at 7 lbs.11 oz.

What a weekend. Anya went to bed Friday night with a lot of back pain and cramping, and a little bloody show. We decided to check her Saturday morning; she was about 6 centimeters, which was kind of surprising, since in my experience with laboring patients, when you get to 6 centimeters, you are really and truly uncomfortable. But by Saturday morning, most everything had kind of settled down.

We decided to run a few errands, so it was off to Monroe. I kept wondering if we were going to catch a baby on the side of I-20. Anya somehow slowly waddled through Target and we got some last minute baby things (tub, bouncy seat). Back to the house and later to bed. I think she slept pretty well that night, although everything is beginning to blur a bit in my memory.

We got up Sunday, and just hung out lazily. We all got sleepy after lunch, and ended up drifting around the house. Emma and Eric went back to his place, and Nicole was parked on the computer playing an online Wizards game. I woke up about 3:30 pm, to find Anya in the tub, saying "I think I'm really in labor now."

Somehow, I felt calm--all the anxieties and fears that I had invested into this labor process just disappeared. I sat in a chair by the tub, and basically just watched my wife. I could tell she was uncomfortable, but after cracking a few lame jokes, I realized that it was just best for me to sit and be quietly supportive. Now in most deliveries I've done, I'm used to having a delivery table with all my instruments laid out for me. Here, in our bathroom, I've got 2 cord clamps from the delivery kit, and a couple of receiving blankets. That's it. I did use alcohol to sterilize some scissors to cut the cord. Kind of felt a little naked, you know?

So, I patiently watched my wife in second stage labor. Not a very useful feeling. After 1 or 2 pushes Anya moved around to squat in the tub. I knelt next to her as she pushed really hard; suddenly she stopped and said something like "I feel it." I looked down, and the top of the baby's head slid into view. We both reached down, and guided her out into the water, and then up onto Anya's chest, where the baby cried once and then settled down, squirming peacefully in my wife's arms.

I've probably delivered--I don't know--about 10,000 babies in my career. Some were more interesting, or terrifying, than others. But the intimacy and the emotional intensity of delivering Catherine, with Anya--that's not something that I can easily put into words. It was an incredible experience, to say the least.

I finally went out and got Nicole to come and see her new sister (she had been totally involved in casting spells the whole time); she was completely surprised. We called Eric and Emma to come. Emma was a little taken aback at first, but completely got into holding the baby, and making sure that she is comfortable. Eric took some great pictures, which we will try to get up online some where later today.

So--I assisted at a home water-birth. Yep. Me. Dr. Skeptic. I'll probably be cast out into the obstetrical darkness for this heresy. Heck--a few years ago, I would have excommunicated myself.

In fact--I was thinking about where my life has taken me the last few years. Exactly three years ago (if I am not mistaken) on February 15th, I was applying for a job at Barnes and Nobles. I was broke. Didn't have a house. Didn't really have a car. I had flushed my career away. My family relationships were broken. There was no way I could have possibly imagined that things would turn out the way they have.

If you would have told me, that I would be sitting here, in Rockettown, gazing at my beautiful wife and our beautiful daughter sitting on the couch in our living room, I would have just shook my head in disbelief. I do have so much to be grateful for.



Petronia said...

I'm all smiles! :) Thanks for telling the beautiful story. I'm so happy for you all!

Sarah said...

Congrats, Daddy! I'm so happy :)

Donna said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! I heard the news, and I can't wait to see her.

Eric Lincoln said...

That's really a beautiful and very honest post. I'm grateful you put it down so openly. You really have come a long way and you and Anya deserve the good that you have. I'm so glad I'm here to share it with you both. But ... 10,000 babies? Really? Catherine's entry was more of an experience for you than I even realized.