Alright, so I guess I should start, well, at the beginning and we can just work our way forward.
The day my daughter was born was the most magical, most incredible, most eye-opening day of my life in more ways than one:
First– my girlfriend and I lived through something we never pictured we would live through together when we first started dating four-and-a-half years prior.
Second– I got to meet the love of my life literally seconds after she was born.
Third– I was suddenly thrust into fatherhood and realized that I was now responsible for a tiny little life and it scared the hell out of me.
Fourth– I got to see what my girlfriend’s insides look like.
Seriously. Now enough with the overview; let’s get to the good stuff:
The Good Stuff:
My girlfriend, Kayleigh, and I arrived at the hospital for induction at 7pm on November 15, 2016, extremely excited, nervous, and scared out of our minds. We first went to the administration office where we had to check in and let them know that we had arrived ready to effin’ party. They assured us that we had a room ready and waiting upstairs; all we had to do was remember how to find our way to the Birthing Center and we’d be all set. Good to go. Baby in hand in no time.
We meandered through the hospital, into an elevator, and eventually made our way to the locked doors that held the room where our lives would change forever. We picked up a phone located just outside of said doors, said something like “Hi, we’re here to pop one out,” and Open Sesame, the wooden gates to our future swung wide, admitting us into the ward.
Next came the getting settled portion of what eventually turned into our five-day stay. We were led down a long hallway and into a room just past a monitoring desk—room 2409—and were urged to make ourselves at home because we were in it for the long haul. We did, stowing away everything we brought with us in closets, drawers, and the small refrigerator below the outdated television. We then sat back, tried to relax, and recognized the fact that we were finally there and the realization that it was all happening hit us like a ton of bricks.
About fifteen minutes after we got settled in, a nurse that seemed seasoned and battle-hardened arrived, along with a nurse that appeared newer, and a little zanier. The pair set up a monitor next to Kayleigh’s bedside—the monitor that would become our little insight into what was happening in the womb—and began preparing an IV. Warning: if you’re at all squeamish, now’s the time to skip ahead.
Guess who got tasked with inserting the IV into my girlfriend’s arm, the seasoned nurse or the newbie? That’s right… the newbie. So, this particular newbie apparently hadn’t inserted an IV into anybody in her lifetime, or that’s what I believe now after how things went. She tried, and tried, and tried to get it right, the poor girl really did, but it’s my opinion, I guess, that there’s not supposed to be blood squirting everywhere when you get an IV, but like I said, that’s just my opinion.
So there was blood, there was pain, there was Kayleigh about to pass out every two seconds because the IV in her arm was obviously in incorrectly and because she’s absolutely terrified of needles. It looked as though the new nurse had no idea how a vein flows through a person’s arm. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think an IV should be in basically perpendicular to the arm itself. Hell, what do I know? I’m not a doctor.
After the whole IV debacle, it was time for us to relax, or at least try to because we had a long night and an even longer next day ahead. So we did, as much as we could at least, once Kayleigh finally complained to the elder nurse about her IV and had it redone correctly. She was given Pitocin through her IV to get things moving along, but at a low dose because they didn’t want to be dealing with a screaming baby just yet. The nurses explained to me how my ghetto chair/bed folded out, made sure that Kayleigh was comfortable as could be, then left us to fend for ourselves for a little while, wishing us luck on our pre-baby sleeping endeavors.
We slept, only a little but we slept. My fold-out chair was a piece-and-a-half and I was anxious as all hell to meet my daughter but I managed to catch just a few zzz’s before the big show the next day. Throughout the night the nurses came in and checked the monitors, waking us up nearly every time as they did so, —so much for sleep, right?—and basically just kept a close eye on us because the time was near.
In the early morning hours, there was a shift change; the nurses we had begun our journey with ended their shifts and left us with new, fresh faces to begin the next part of our quest into parenthood. The doc also made an appearance on the morning of; she came in bright and early to check on progress and to let us know that she’d be around in case things started happening, which they eventually did, and boy were we glad that good ol’ doc was nearby. She also let us know that Kayleigh had been having contractions all night,—really strong, intense-looking contractions—which we didn’t even know she had been having because she hadn’t felt a thing!
The Pitocin was cranked up to really get things going and within minutes Kayleigh was pacing the floor in our suite, huffing and puffing like she wanted to blow the house down. She tried everything from sitting in a rocking chair and working on her breathing to bouncing around on an exercise ball to make the pain just a little less intense. Eventually, the nurses reappeared and turned down the medicine slightly so that Kayleigh could at least relax a little and one of the new faces checked her dilation. To our surprise, she was well on her way to a baby ready cervix and that’s when we really got excited.
After a few hours of some minor contractions and a lot of waiting, the doc rearrived to survey the land for herself to see what we were working with. By this point, Kayleigh had dilated even more and the doc ordered the Pitocin be turned back up because it was go-time. Almost immediately, Kayleigh was back doing her impression of the Big Bad Wolf and our doctor told us that she was going down the hall to check on a few of her other rooms, but she’d be back soon to hopefully get the real pushing started.
Here’s where things got fun: the contractions continued to get more and more intense and Kayleigh got more and more crazy with her breathing/movements/etc. and that’s when the screaming began. No, it wasn’t my tough little girlfriend screaming, but the woman next door to us. It sounded as though she was being ripped apart from the inside out by some sort of alien creature trying to dig its way out of her stomach, which is basically what was happening and it did nothing to quell our fears of what was soon to come.
Now, Kayleigh had sworn that she was going to do this thing drug-free—she didn’t want the epidural and for months had convinced me, the doc, and herself that she was going to accomplish this whole feat without one. Let me tell you: when that screaming started and she heard the sounds being emitted from the woman next door, Kayleigh’s mind changed faster than one could even say “give me the fuckin’ drugs.” To make matters worse, our doctor came running into our room coffee in hand, nearly biting the dust as she slammed her way through our door and announced her presence. “Don’t worry, I’m here!” she yelled, surveying the scene in front of her. “This isn’t the right room, is it?” she asked. “Uh, I think you want to be next door,” I said, pointing to the wall, through which it sounded as though the alien had broken through and was proceeding to eat its way out of its host. The screams were even louder and more blood-curdling than they’d been minutes earlier, a feat I didn’t even know could be possible.
The doctor turned back around and ran out, coffee sloshing about as she made the mad dash for the poor soul next door. It was the last time she left our room before our own intense, prolonged, and bloody birthing session began. It was also the last time we were left alone before we transitioned from just the two of us—a couple, baby-less and lacking major responsibility—to parents. If we had known what we were about to go through to meet our wonderful daughter, we would have taken some time to say a little prayer, because although we’re not religious, what we were about to live through was crazy and terrifying. Looking back on it now, we wouldn’t have wanted things to go any other way.
To be continued…