Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dad's Take on This Whole Birth Thing

Well Elise did a great job recapping the birth, but I thought I should share my perspective too. I figure since she's already touched on how it all went down I'll just keep mine to more free-form comments than a step-by-step timeline.

First off, mom is a rock star! 53 hours of labor, and never once did she yell "You did this to me!" By the time we were, I dunno, 36 hours or so into this, by body started shutting down. I hadn't been eating and obviously hadn't slept, and I felt like I had the flu. After they gave Elise the little bit of narcotics to help her get a little sleep I was able to get an hour of sleep myself, then take a shower and grab a bite to eat. Later, at the end of labor (before the pushing) I was so tired again that I could barely function, and our doula Victoria and I took turns passing out on the fold-out chair for 20 minutes at a time or so. The amazing thing is that I felt like I was on the verge of collapse, and I wasn't going through any contractions... how Elise managed to get through all that is beyond me!

Second, for any moms and dads to-be out there, get yourself a doula! Our experience was obviously a more difficult one than average, but even if it had been a "mere" 24 hours of labor, having that extra person who can provide experienced support and let dad have a moment to eat or sleep without leaving mom alone is invaluable.

Third, I have to say that for anyone wanting to go the natural route for childbirth, if you are using an OB you're shooting yourself in the foot (high risk prenancies aside). If we had been at a different hospital or hadn't been with midwives, Elise would have been almost guaranteed to have gotten a c-section. Even with her water broken, the midwives stuck with their philosphy of "let nature take its course". She wasn't running a fever or showing any other signs of infection or fetal distress, so there was no need to go to drastic medical interventions, but in many practices they would have sent her off to get sliced open as policy after so many hours of having the baby exposed.

All told, despite the difficult labor the experience we had was pretty darned positive, considering the circumstances. The exception being the nurses! I was about ready to start slapping the nurses who came in while Elise was having tough contractions to just poke through drawers looking for something they needed elsewhere, and if one more nurse came in and then left the door open after going out again I might have lost it. They seemed to be, by and large, very blaze about something very difficult and momentous for us, with the exception of a few very caring nurses. Luckily the midwives and our doula were all from a very different cut of cloth, and all ended well.

As Elise mentioned, I got to catch Leo as he was born, which was an absolutely amazing, if slippery and slimy experience. When his head was crowning the midwife said she thought the next push would be "the one" and had me put my hands over hers, and sure enough on the next contraction out he came and into my hands. It's hard to imagine I wouldn't have been deliriously happy anyway, but I was already deliriously tired so it was a short trip!

Our little man is impossibly cute (especially when he yawns), and he's sleeping longer and longer as mom's full milk is coming in, so hopefully the three of us can get a little more sleep during the night... so far it's been tough trying to catch up on all the missed sleep from labor while being up with Leo at all hours of the night, but we're doing well enough and it gets a little easier every day.

Anyway, that's dad's quick-ish perspective on this whole thing!

1 comment:

Victor said...

He is just beautiful!