April 30, 2012
- 3:00 AM CT - Contractions begin. Kathleen experiences moderate cramps, but the timing isn't consistent. Since we're 17 days from due, she decides they're just part of being pregnant and in her last trimester. Kathleen gets rest here and there, I sleep through the night.
- 8:00 AM CT - I cook us eggs and tortilla with salsa for breakfast. Kathleen notices bleeding (a bit more than spotting) and is worried about a detached placenta or some other complications (Internet searches make us all self-diagnosing, paranoid freaks). After paging her doctor, we're advised to check into triage for a once-over. Kathleen eats a light meal of bread and water, in the unlikely event she's in labor. I eat the eggs and tortilla in the kitchen to reduce the torture of Kathleen's hunger pangs. We're still pretty confident that we'll be released back into public; after all, we're still 17 days from due.
- 10:00 AM CT - We check into triage. Once the sensors are attached, we're told that Kathleen is having contractions. Another check shows that her contractions are about 6 minutes apart and she is 3cm dilated. Maybe we'll be asked to come back when the contractions are under 5 minutes and she is more dilated. Wait, does this mean the baby is coming now, and not in over two weeks from now?
- 11:15 AM CT - No time like the present to get my Tdap! I've been trying for two weeks to get this vaccination; my doctor's office ran out. When I called this morning at 9 AM, I learned a new batch had arrived, and I scheduled an appointment (thinking I'd simply drop by after our quick visit to the hospital). Instead, it's a near sprint back-and-forth to the appointment. Thankfully, the office is just down the street. It's starting to really set in for me. I think, "Wow! I'm going to be father!"
- 3:00 PM CT - An ultrasound is ordered to check the position of the baby: all looks good for birth. Contractions are about 4 minutes apart and she is 5cm dilated. We're admitted into the ward, officially going from Early Labor into Active Labor. Although I had a big breakfast, I'm feeling a bit hungry.
- 3:30 PM CT - I am tasked with getting the luggage from the car. Taking advantage of the time, I head over to Chipotle to grab a quick bite; who knows if I'll be able to eat a full meal tonight. I also drop into the apartment to grab some movies to pass the time. How is it that Kathleen has never seen Ella Enchanted?!
- 4:00 PM CT - We're only at 6.5cm dilation and the doctor recommends we push Pitocin to get the delivery back on track or even speed it up. Kathleen is apprehensive because of the added pressure and pain as a side-effect. She wants to proceed without an epidural; if we go with Pitocin, she decides she'll definitely get an epidural. For now we wait and monitor her progress, hoping it picks up again.
- 7:20 PM CT - A little bit of progress in labor, but not as much as we hoped. The choice of Pitocin is almost a given, so specialists are brought in to start the epidural process. As they check her body, her bag breaks. Labor is back on track! Pitocin is no longer necessary. However, the decision is made to proceed with the epidural because of the intensity of current contractions. I assure her that there is no right or wrong decision here; I let her know why I think that both decisions are good and support her. I can see the tiredness setting in like slow torture.
- 8:30 PM CT - She's at 7cm dilation, and the pain is ever increasing. Right before the epidural takes effect, she rates the contraction 8/10 but really cannot take any more (meaning it's 10/10). Despite the power of Chipotle, I'm about running on empty. The cafeteria is closed, but luckily the nurses are willing to share their coffee pot with me!
- 11:59 PM CT - The doctor is called in to help with the birth. Kathleen spikes a temperature of 101.7 (101.4 is the threshold). Pushing is delayed while antibiotics are pushed into Kathleen's system. It's all just a game of hurry-up and wait.
May 1, 2012
- 1:00 AM CT - After just 10 big pushes, Alexis is pushed into this air-breathing world. She lets out a scream as soon as she is pulled out! The doctors and nurses are taken aback by her quick adaption to breathing our air. I cut the cord. She is given a quick rub down before being placed into her mother's awaiting arms. Kathleen is near tears of joy. "She's so beautiful! I love her!" We cuddle her for several minutes. Her temperature is 102.7, and the tentative decision is made to bring her into the nursery to bring her temperature under control. But while she is cleaned and measured, her temperatures drops to the normal range; she came out hot because of Kathleen's fever. She is allowed to stay in our room, foregoing the nursery. We're now a family of three!