My baby son Callum came into the world kicking, screaming and bright pink at 1.29 pm on December 8th, 2010. And changed my life forever, writes Ian.
It seems every birth story is tinged with drama, panic and lots of pain. And ours is no different. As HollyBaby.com‘s resident HollyDad, I’m here to share with you all the joys and wonder of a first-time father’s adventure into parenting. I hope you enjoy the ride!
I’ve often wondered where I’d be when I got the call to tell me my partner Jill’s water had broken. I didn’t imagine it would be at 3:30 in the morning and in the form of an elbow in my side during a deep, alcohol-fueled slumber!
Just hours earlier I’d been celebrating the 1st anniversary of HollywoodLife.com, HollyBaby.com‘s big sister site. And here I was, now, just hours from becoming a father!
Once the reality of what was happening had sunk in, we both quickly realized we’d forgotten everything we’d learned in 9 months of OB/GYN appointments and $400 worth of parenting classes. So we spent the first hour of labor bleary-eyed and wrapped in a comforter, watching a “Preparing for Labor” DVD we’d been given by Jill’s doctor!
We were reluctant to call Jill’s excellent OB/GYN, Dr. Sidney Wu just yet. It somehow didn’t feel right waking her up in the middle of the night. So we timed the contractions and waited. By 6am, they were only 7 or 8 minutes apart, and pretty irregular, but we phoned Dr Wu to tell her what was happening.
Dr Wu told us to drop everything and head to the hospital. We rushed around, packing up a bag full of things Jill would need in the hospital – plus two bags of things she wouldn’t ever use – and set off for our last journey as a family of 2!
By the time we reached the hospital – a short 10 minute drive from our home - Jill was already 6 centimeters dilated and in excruciating pain. In fact the next hour would convince me that every mother deserves a medal for giving birth and that you’d have to be crazy to go through it all unmedicated!
Jill’s contractions were now becoming more regular and strong. So strong the Lamaze breathing exercises we’d both learned and my encouraging words were having little effect. She was doing all the hard work, but it was tough watching her in so much pain and with no way of helping.
We needed an epidural!
The drugs took a little while to kick in, but the anesthetist hit the sweet spot and before long she was numb entirely from the waist down. And then she fell asleep! I wasn’t expecting that – particularly after all the drama of the previous few hours! But apparently it’s perfectly normal, and even encouraged, because it gives moms-in-labor the chance to recharge their batteries ahead of the big push!
While Jill slept, I took the opportunity to do what men in a hospital do best; I paced the room and plundered the hospital vending machines for snacks (I needed my strength too!).
By the time Jill woke up, it was midday and time for another examination. She was now 10 centimeters dilated. It was time to push!
My job? I was the official cheerleader. I was prepared to do hand holding, shoulder-gripping and I was armed with a catalog of positive chants and words of encouragement. Just so long as I didn’t have to stand or look “down there!”
After a few half-hearted pushes, it was decided Jill wasn’t trying hard enough. The epidural had left her too numb! As a result, she wasn’t squeezing the baby far enough down the birth canal, and he was slipping back up after every contraction.
So she pushed harder, and harder still. And then suddenly, after one mighty push, the medical staff robed up and grabbed a utensil table and leaped into action. A push later, and the doctor was summoning Jill and I to ‘look, look’. I reluctantly broke my resolve and lifted my eyes from Jill.
And there he was! A red, angry screaming little man — furious he had been disturbed from his peaceful sleep in Jill’s tummy. He was born at 1:29pm after approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes of pushing and 10 hours exactly after Jill’s water broke.
The doctor laid the baby on Jill’s chest and summoned me to cut the cord. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it, but I didn’t hesitate. It took me two goes, my hands were shaking so much.
I then watched as a nurse cleaned the baby up and weighed and measured him. He was a little over seven pounds and 20 inches long. She then wrapped him up into a little fat burrito of sheets and popped a beanie on his head. His eyes looked puffy and swollen and he was screaming and squirming a lot.
One of his eyes opened more than the other and he looked up at me.
The next few hours were a surreal mixture of emotions. We cuddled our son, reflected on what had happened, called family and friends to share the news. And just stared at him. A lot.
We’ve been home a few weeks now and I already have a stack of photos, videos, experiences and adventures that I’m dying to share with you through this blog.
In return I want the parents out there – new and old – to join in. Send me your labor and baby tales and any tips and advice you think will help us look after baby Callum!