Well readers, it’s been a while to say the least. More than three months in fact. I would like to take a moment to apologize for not living up to this blog’s tag line of “Experience the adventure of fatherhood in real time,” as my blog posts have been anything but in real time. Now that the apology is out of the way, I have some exciting news to share… my wife and I had a baby! Now I know everyone says that nothing can truly prepare you for that day, but that was especially the case for us, as our little one decided to come three weeks early. That’s right, my wife and I were coming off the Thanksgiving long weekend and getting ready to start another week of work. Early in the morning my wife woke me and said, “I think my water just broke.” Now any normal expecting couple would jump into the car and race to the hospital. Not us. My wife called our mid-wife team and explained what had happened, and they advised us to meet them at another hospital where they were currently delivering another baby. My wife gave me the okay to go back to sleep for another hour, as she started to prepare herself for the trip to the hospital. Mistake number one.
I politely agreed with my wife’s suggestion and got in that extra hour of sleep. It was 5:00am after all! My wife had a shower and started to get herself and her things in order. By 6:00am my wife rushed over and said that something was wrong, it hurt too much and that the contractions were too close together. My poor wife I thought, here she wanted to avoid an epidural during the delivery, and she’s already complaining about the pain. Mistake number two.
I started to pack up my things when my wife grabbed me by my shirt and shuddered in pain screaming that something was wrong. We measured the contractions and sure enough this baby was coming, and coming quickly. Now fully awake and convinced of my wife’s impending delivery, I asked her what should I do. “Call 9-1-1-” she screamed. I grabbed the phone and dialed the number. A 9-1-1 operator answered the call, and I explained to her what was happening. She confirmed what I was most afraid of, the baby was indeed coming. She advised that an ambulance was dispatched, but I should place some blankets and towels on the ground, lay my wife down, and prepare for a delivery. I grabbed whatever I could get from our linen closet and laid my horrified wife on our en-suite bathroom floor.
I heard beeping coming from outside. Amazing, I thought. Those hard-earned tax dollars really are going towards a very responsive first response service. I rushed to the front window, and to my disappointment, it turned out to be a garbage truck. I had to break it to my wife that although there was a city vehicle was outside, it was not the one we were waiting for. What seemed like an eternity, finally ended with the sound of sirens. Two ambulances pulled up to the house, and I escorted a team of paramedics to our upstairs en-suite. They quickly and calmly assessed the situation and offered my wife the options of having the delivery at the house or at a nearby hospital. My wife, with minimal convincing, opted for the hospital option. A relief set in that I wouldn’t have to take on a delivery, but a deep sense of guilt ran through me. The thought that this could all have been avoided had we just left at the first sign of the delivery.
The paramedic team helped my wife down the stairs and to the ambulance. I will never forget my poor Tracey walking across the freshly cut grass of our front lawn, clutching a towel around her pant-less bottom, and screaming instructions back to me of objects that I was not to leave behind at the house. This was all done in front of our neighbours, most of them standing on their front steps eyeing to see what all the commotion was about. Side note: how impressive is it that even during the most traumatic of circumstances, women are able to remember things that I would have easily forgot on one of my best days. We’re very lucky to have them in this world.
My wife disappeared into the ambulance, while I was left with the aftermath. Our house looked like a war zone. Freshly cut grass bits and dirt was tracked throughout the house. Our miniature schnauzer, Winston, standing at the entrance of our en-suite bathroom crying, unable to comprehend what had just happened. And the things my wife had yelled to me to bring. Okay Mark old boy, don’t let the mother of your unborn/soon to be born child down was my exact thought. She is about to undergo the most painful experience of her life, so for the love of God, don’t forget her phone charger!
I grabbed everything; however, I unfortunately forgot the cord blood collection kit that we had planned to use post delivery. Only one object forgotten, not that bad! My poor wife forgot to yell that item to me as she boarded the ambulance, but don’t worry, I don’t hold it against her. I jumped into the car and raced over to the nearby hospital. A paramedic was waiting for me and led me to the delivery room. What a relief to see my wife propped up on a hospital bed surrounded by medical professionals and beeping machines. I’m all for natural home methods, but bringing a life into the world is best left with the professionals instead of myself.
Now keep in mind we didn’t have time to make it to our planned hospital or mid-wife team. We were quickly introduced to a doctor we had never met before and it was go time. I stood at the foot of the bed supporting my wife’s right leg and trying in vain to administer the pressure point techniques I was told to carefully study by my wife. My wife did amazing that morning, largely in part to my exquisitely applied pressure point skills I’d like to think. The paramedics that drove my wife to the hospital stayed for the majority of the delivery. Sabrina, the lead paramedic, held my wife’s hand and reassured and encouraged her the entire time. My wife was a rock star, and I will say it a million times over, that men have it so easy. What she underwent, epidural free I should add, is something that should be completely respected.
I’ll never forget seeing that head of black hair begin to emerge, until finally with one giant push, a face rushed past mine. A cry eventually erupted from that little creature, and I knew we had made it. We arrived at the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital as two people that morning, but we were now three. I watched as they laid our little girl on my wife’s chest for the first time, and it was one of the most beautiful and natural scenes I had ever seen in my life.
We had survived the first step of what could have been a much scarier start to our parenthood adventure. It’s amazing how this random group of people came together that morning to help us. My wife and I are truly indebted to the City of Hamilton first responders and the staff of the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. Our little Bria arrived healthy and ready to begin her life. And so the adventure begins.
Thanks for stopping by!