Saturday, September 22, 2012

What Happened???

I was updating regularly, working on projects and generally being a good little blogger.

Then, poof gone.  Nothing for almost three weeks.

Two days old and already a deep thinker.
Well this is the reason:

This is my daughter, Lily Elizabeth Drew.

Born September 10, 2012 at 6:04am

9 lbs, 1.6 oz 19.1 inches long.

Full head of hair and happy as can be.

My wife and I heard, read, and watched all the horror stories about labor and delivery.  We didn't experience anything like that.  Keep reading for our story, be warned its long.

Our favorite picture from our wedding.
Our photographer,Eric Krebs, was fantastic. 
My wife and I were married in 2010.

We knew before we got married that we eventually wanted a family which meant kids.

We had some goals to reach first before starting, namely paying off all of our unsecured debt and getting our budget on track.  My wife is a spreadsheet wizard and in less than a year, we only had the house and her car hanging over our heads.

In August of 2011 we decided to "pull the goalie" and stop trying to not get pregnant.

By November, we were tracking things in apps and really trying to make things happen.  We went on vacation in December, and on our way my wife started getting some signs that it was that time of the month again, needless to say I was starting to get frustrated at this point.  Sure some folks try for years and never make any progress, but that doesn't quiet the inner voice casting doubt onto the worthiness of our baby making bits.  When the day came and went, and aunt flo failed to call, we started to get suspicious.  On Christmas day 2011 we bought a test and found out all our bits were in fine working order.

Fast forward 9 months, the pregnancy was without significant complication, some mild gestational diabetes(which was a blessing in disguise really since I dropped 20 lbs over the course of the pregnancy) but otherwise no issues.
It's a Cantelope!

We hired a Doula, attended a two day birthing class that she taught as well, read the books, watched the movies (Business of Being Born), talked about what we wanted our experience to be, and wrote up a birth plan.  It was all very touchy feely and made my inner machismo squirm a little, but at the same time I made it a point to be involved.  I think I only missed one pre-natal doctors appointment and the glucose testing stuff but otherwise I was present the entire time.

With the gestational diabetes, one of the risks is for a larger than normal baby.  This is important because big babies can lead to higher rates of Cesarean births as well as post birth complications due to blood sugar issues for the baby.

We did NOT want a Cesarean.  My wife wanted to go natural, no epidural, no narcotics.  We basically trained for it, talked to our doctor about timelines, interventions, what if scenarios.  We took lots of notes and brought them with us to appointments.  We knew what we wanted, but were prepared if we didn't get it.

Our due date (September 4th) came and went, my wife was growing more concerned with each passing day that due to our baby being late, our labor would become complicated and possibly lead to a C-section.

On Friday, the 7th, we had a visit with our OB.
We were a "loose" 1cm dilated, almost 2cm.  Being 3 days past our date, my wife was getting a little frustrated that things were not moving.  Our OB scheduled a non-stress test to make sure baby was doing well, and she also scheduled our induction for the 17th.  We both knew that this was going to happen today, so it wasn't too much of a shock, but we didn't like thinking about having her induced.

On Saturday evening, I got a little hint that things might be moving when my wife declined to join my parents and sister, who were in town for the baby, on a walk.

I woke on Sunday morning to the sound of my wife breathing through contractions. 

 I rolled over and made this face.

I knew that we were on the way to meeting our boy or girl.

I didn't mention that we had no idea if we were having a boy or a girl.  We decided it would be a lot more fun and a motivating factor if we didn't know ahead of time.

So we called our doula and let her know that things were rolling, called my family and told them to go find something else to do that day because we were hunkered down finding our quiet place.

I did some seat of my pants app research and found a nice contraction timer app so that we could keep track of things.  I focused on tracking her contractions and making her as comfortable as possible.

They woke her up at 2am, so by 3pm she had been at it for more than 12 hours.  About this time the contractions slowed down and she was able to get about 40 minutes of sleep.  Throughout the day her contractions were pretty consistent at around 6 minutes apart lasting around a minute or so.

By 7pm she was getting tired.  We called our doula who suggested a warm bath might help her relax and could slow things down enough to get a little sleep.  It worked like a charm.  The contractions moved out to 8 minutes apart, and I was able to get her into the bed where she was able to get some rest.  This is the part where I adopted a strategy that felt completely foolish at the time.  We were laying in bed, and I started doing some relaxation coaching in my best soothing hypnosis voice.  I started with "Breathe in, and slowly breathe out, with every breath becoming more relaxed than before" and "The tension washes over your body like waves breaking on a beach, flowing over you, through you, and then down out your toes" during the contractions and then as the contraction ebbed I moved into a "As the tension leaves your body, each breath leaving you more relaxed than the last, you find yourself on a warm tropical beach.  With each breath you sink into the sand, you feel as if you are floating.  The sounds of the surf, the crescent moon reflecting off the water.  Palm trees swaying and creaking in the warm wind".   I felt TOTALLY ridiculous and expected my wife to tell me to shut up at any moment, but she never did.  What did happen however is she fell asleep within seconds of each contraction ending.  In my head I was going holy crap I feel like a monumental dork but  I don't care because its working, and its working WELL.  My wife was able to get about an hour and a half of good sleep, I am not completely sure she woke up during each contraction either.

At 11:30 on Sunday the 9th, She got up to use the restroom and said I think I am ready to go to the hospital now.  So we pack up the party and head to the hospital.  As luck would have it, our OB was on call that night and when we arrived we got checked and found we were at 5cm.  Many of the discussions we had about interventions were predicated with "as long as you're progressing, you can do whatever you want" so to find out that we were halfway there was a big relief for my wife.  Our OB said that she would check on us around 5 to see where we were at.  While we were preparing to move from admitting to our room, my wifes water broke.  Our Doula had joined us shortly before and was a huge help getting us to the room and situated.  She helped my wife while I got our bags, set up our music and filled the soaking tub that was in our room.  My wife climbed into the tub and I went back to work with my relaxation therapy.  I felt even more self conscious now and I made it a point not to look at anyone other than my wife.  We hung out in the tub for about an hour or so before she had a contraction that she couldn't breathe through.  Our doula said "Did you just push?  do you feel like you need to push?" and my wife was like "I did, I couldn't help it".  At this point we moved from the tub to the bed.  Our OB came in and checked her dilation.  9cm, it was go time.  Our doctor was surprised to see things progressing so well.

We switched into push mode.  This lasted about two-two and a half hours.  It was an amazing experience.  The first time she got the urge to push it took me by surprise and I lost a little composure because for the first time in the whole experience my wife looked at me and she was scared and in pain.  I don't know what made me suck it up and switch gears but somehow I instinctively knew what I needed to say.  I ditched the beach, kept up with the breathing and instead told her "Listen to your body, it knows what to do.  Breathe in and out and relax.  Trust your body " 
When it came time to push I helped her count out the pushing and then reminded her to relax and breathe after each one.  In between contractions.  She was completely calm, eyes closed gently with a half smile on her face.  The nurses kept remarking at about how well she was doing and that women on epidurals make more noise than she did.  She made continual progress until all at once our daughter was brought into this world.  She immediately pooped all over the place.  I cut the cord, my wife nursed Lily a little, and the grandparents waited (im)patiently to see her.

Happy Parents
The hospital has a photographer that comes in and takes pictures.  Initially I was like no way, but after seeing the results and thinking about "when the heck will we have time to set this all up" we got them.  In hind sight it was totally worth it.


  1. Wow, thanks for telling the story Zach! I really liked learning about the details of the birth. :-D

  2. You are an amazing husband, a supportive, motivating partner and already a wonderful father to our daughter. I love you more than mere words could ever express. Thank you for giving me the honor of being your wife and for the most precious gift of all, our Lily!

  3. Congratulations to you both! Lily is just simply adorable!