For me, Sam’s delivery was full of awe, with a bit of fear. Each time there was a blip on the monitor, I was scared that something bad was happening to Jonna or Sam. I basically held my breath until she was out.
Allie’s delivery was instantaneous. There was no time for any real emotion, except when she refused to cry when she came out. She still refuses to cry, even after breaking her leg!
Josh was our first scheduled induction. Jonna’s blood pressure was high, and with her, ahem, “advanced age,” this put her in the “high risk” category. So, for the first time, we knew — or thought we knew — the day our baby was going to be delivered.
Things started to get a little strange the day before the scheduled induction, when Jonna told me that I didn’t need to go with her to hospital in the morning. She was told that the induction process would take 6-12 hours, so I could hang with the kids, then arrive later in the day. I hated this idea, as I didn’t want to miss my son’s birth, but figured the doctors knew what they were talking about.
I spent the day hanging out with Sam and Allie, then dropped them off at their respective foster homes for the next day or two. Sam was staying at her friend Gracie’s house, and Allie at my cousin’s house. I hated separating them, or even leaving them, but I figured it’d be a couple days at the most.
By the time I arrived at the hospital it was 4p. Jonna was nowhere close to labor. In fact, by 8p, they told us to go home and come back the next day. Home?! Yes, home. Since our girls were being cared for, we decided to make a night of it, and went out for a nice dinner. During the dinner, my VERY pregnant wife decided to order a cocktail. Apparently, at that stage of pregnancy, one drink is a non issue, but both I and the waitress gave her some very strange looks. I asked if she wanted an ashtray too.
The next day, we went back to the hospital. More of the same. Hours and hours of absolute nothing. Every time a nurse came into the room, Jonna would end up chatting with them about pop culture for an hour, then they’d leave. Finally, I lost my mind and barked, “Sorry, but can we stay on topic here? Can we discuss, you know, how to deliver this baby?” They looked at me like I was crazy. “In due time,” the nurse said, “the medicine needs to soften the cervix first.”
That night Jonna stayed in the hospital, but nothing was happening, so I went home to sleep. Still no baby. By day three, things were finally progressing, but 8p came and we still had no baby. Sitting on this shitty chair, in the sterile environment for hours on end, made me a bit punchy. I began pushing random buttons on the monitor, taking long walks down strange corridors, and getting into minor spats with an angry old nurse. I wasn’t the doting husband taking care of my wife’s every need. I wasn’t the anxious dad-to-be. I was the asshole who interrupted every conversation with, “OK, so who wants to have this baby now?”
Finally, by 9p, things began to kick into high gear. At one point, a nurse asked if I wanted to hold a light. “I can do that!” I thought to myself, and reached out to the lamp. As it turned out, she’d really asked if I wanted to hold a leg. Everyone looked at me, standing by the lamp, like I was crazy.
After 20-30m of pushing, I watched as my son took his first breath. Magical — even for the third time around. However, similar to Allie, Josh didn’t cry. I wasn’t disturbed by this, having been through it before, until they called doctor Jackass into the room. Doctor Jackass made no attempt to reassure me that things were OK. Instead, he just poked Josh and shook his head. Constantly. For fifteen minutes.
Jonna kept asking, “Is he OK?” I kept putting on my fake smile and saying, “Yup.” Then doctor Jackass said they needed to take our new son “upstairs.” At this point, Jonna became alpha mom, protective of her cub. She lit into doctor Jackass. The nurses reassured us he’d be fine, and he’d likely be back down in “a day or two,” but he needed help breathing.
I typically do a good job keeping my shit together. I’m usually the rock. But I lost my marbles when Josh left the room. I told Jonna I needed to run home quickly to walk to the dog (she’d be in a crate the entire day). I didn’t really care about the dog, I just needed some space. I stumbled out of the hospital, got in the car, and punched the steering wheel. As I drove home, a million thoughts raced through my head. I’m not religious, but I pleaded with someone/something to make my son OK.
Thirty minutes passed, and just as I was pulling into our driveway, Jonna called and said she’d heard from the nurses that Josh was doing much better. Thirty minutes after that, he was back in the room, in his mother’s arms. At that point, I exhaled. I raced back to the hospital and held my perfect baby boy.
Our family is complete!
No, really, we’re all done!!