Sunday, September 14, 2008

All About Reagan, Part VI: The Birth (by Bill!)

Part I: Introduction
Part II: Conception
Part III: The First Trimester
Part IV: The Second Trimester
Part V: The Third Trimester

It's been a while since my last "All About Reagan" post. I left you with going into the doctor's office and hearing that the baby was going to have to come quickly as they could get it scheduled. Most of what happened after that point was a blur to me. So, I have something very special to offer today. My wonderful husband, Bill, graciously agreed to write the birth story from his perspective. He really put a lot of thought and effort into this. I really appreciate it and I know Reagan will too, oneday.

I love you, Bill! Thank you for writing your side of the story.
So without further ado, here are Bill's words...

It was May 4th and Bridget had another one of her twice-weekly checkups at her OB’s office. She had been going in for these checkups for several weeks now because of general health issues, e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes, stuff like that, all pregnancy related. These checkups usually went pretty smoothly as far as I could tell. On this particular day the doctor performed a non-stress test and she didn’t like the results. Apparently Reagan’s heart wasn’t accelerating (or was it decelerating? I forget.) like it was supposed to and she had decided that something needed to be done about it.

Bridget called me at my work sometime in the mid-afternoon. She was very upset and crying. My male intuition immediately told me something was wrong. Naturally I asked if she had wrecked the brand-new van or bounced a check but she just told me “no”, that it was a little more serious than that. Bridget told me to get to the hospital ASAP because we were having a baby that very day! Needless to say I wasn’t mentally prepared for that little piece of news and I immediately started to get both nervous and excited at the same time.

Well, being the super-organized family that we were at the time of course we had not packed either of our hospital bags. It was too late for that now. I told my boss what was going on and then I jumped in the truck and headed to the hospital. I think it was a Thursday.

I got to the hospital and found Bridget in a bed in one of the rooms in the Women’s Center. She looked terrible. I could tell she had been crying and she was extremely nervous about the upcoming emergency c-section. I calmed her down as best I could. I’m pretty sure I have her a hug and a kiss and said some comforting things like “it will be OK”, and “the baby’s only 3.5 weeks early, which is not too bad for a girl”, and “the doctor has done a bunch of these c-sections before so I’m sure it will work out all right.” Honestly, I was trying to calm and reassure both of us at this point because I was starting to get pretty nervous myself. I’m pretty sure I didn’t tell Bridget she looked terrible. If I did tell her that I don’t remember doing it, so she can’t really hold it against me.

Anyway, after sitting in the room with Bridget for a little while we both started to relax and it was then that we realized that we didn’t have a camera. We wanted to take pictures of Reagan’s birth and we were missing a somewhat critical component. I called my good friend Dave and asked if I could borrow his camera and if he would mind bringing it by the hospital. I explained what had happened and what was going to happen and he was more than happy to help us out. I promised Dave I would try to get as little of the birth-goo on his camera as I could. He laughed and looked at me funny, but he still let me borrow his camera. Did I mention what a good friend Dave is?

At some point in the process the anesthesiologist came in to the room to brief us on what was going to happen and to make sure Bridget was prepared. He gave Bridget some nasty looking goo and told her to drink it all down. It was supposed to stop Bridget from vomiting in the operating room while she was under anesthesia. From the face that Bridget made it tasted even worse than it looked. I was just glad that they didn’t ask me to drink any of that stuff.

I remember asking the doctor about how much longer it would be before it was show time and he said we were only about 30 minutes away. Everything was happening so quickly. I started to get nervous again but I tried to hide it. I didn’t want Bridget to get any more upset than she already was.

Soon after that a nurse brought in one of those blue disposable paper suits and handed it to me. I would need to wear that to go into the operating room. I didn’t have to take off my regular clothes, I just had to wear this paper suit over my regular clothes. Apparently it represses germs. I think they made me wear it just to make me look goofy. Regardless, I quickly dressed and Dave took a few pictures of me. I looked so silly. Like a 6’ tall smurf. I don’t know how many apples that is but it’s a lot. About that time Dave decided he’d had enough fun and wished us luck and left.

Soon after that the nurse came in to take Bridget to the operating room for her spinal block and to get her ready for the grand finale. She helped Bridget out of bed and noticed that Bridget wasn’t wearing any socks. I thought that was funny. I mean, how did the nurse not see Bridget’s butt all hanging out the back of that hospital gown? But no, all she cared about was that Bridget wasn’t wearing any socks. I guess you get desensitized to bare rump after working in a hospital after a while. The nurse went and got Bridget some socks, which I helped put on her feet since Bridget wasn’t really in much condition to do it herself. In fact, I’m pretty sure Bridget hadn’t even seen her feet in several weeks at that point. But I digress.

So the nurse walked Bridget and I down to the OR and then they made me wait outside while they put the spinal block in and then got Bridget all strapped down. It took about 2 hours, but the clock on the wall must have been running slow because it said only about 15 minutes went by. I was really starting to get nervous and excited at this point.

Finally the nurse came out and said it was OK for me to come in to the OR. I walked in and it was pretty much just like on TV, except the room was smaller and the nurses were bigger. Someone told me to stand up at the top of the table, up near Bridget’s head. They put up a screen that was about 6’ wide and maybe 2’ tall, and it kept Bridget from being able to look down and see anything. That was a portent of things to come, as I would find out soon enough. Someone slid on of those little round chairs you see in a doctors office my way, but I decided I was going to stand so that I could see the action. I’ve been deer hunting a few times and have seen more than a couple of deer get field dressed so I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to pass out at the sight of blood.

The doctors came into the OR at that point, and started poking and prodding and smearing some antibiotic liquid all over Bridget’s stomach. Then they put some sort of sticky plastic coating on her stomach, I guess to help prevent the skin from tearing. It sounds gross, but it didn’t really look all that bad.

So the doctors get out a scalpel and they start cutting into Bridget’s lower stomach region, making fairly delicate incisions. They were using some sort of hot glue gun looking thing after each cut, and from the god-awful smell that thing was making I could tell they were using it to cauterize the surgical site to help reduce bleeding. Holy cow does burnt flesh smell terrible.
So the doctors are cutting away slowly but surely, stinking up the room as they go, and before too long they get to the point where it’s time to cut Reagan out of the uterus.

At this point I’m standing at the head of the table, looking down to where the doctors are doing their work, and everything seems like it’s been easy as pie. So the doctor makes the cute into the uterus, and OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! there is a freaking HUGE rush of fluid and what appears to be watery blood that come absolutely pouring out from Bridget. It looks like there are gallons of this stuff. I have never in my entire life seen anything close to anything like this. I am holding on to the top of that little barrier that prevents Bridget from see anything, and I go absolutely white knuckled. My heart stops. My breathing stops. I am sure that something has gone horribly wrong and I am now watching my wife and baby die right in front of me.

I almost, almost shout out “Oh my God is that normal?!”, but then I remember Bridget lying there on the table and I don’t want her to panic. I manage to hold my tongue and I pray that either this is normal or, if it’s not, that the medical staff will know how to handle it and they’ll save my family.

Well, apparently what I saw –is- normal, because the staff just started cleaning up the fluid and then started working on getting Reagan out from inside Bridget. I started to relax. My heart started beating again. I’m not sure when I actually started breathing again.

One of the doctors worked on positioning Reagan’s head for exit while the other doctor started trying to push the baby out. Apparently you push the baby out by having a doctor push down as hard as they can on the chest/upper stomach region of the mother. I could tell it was really putting Bridget in a lot of pain because she started groaning and making a lot of noise. I just hoped that it wouldn’t take too much longer, because I was sure that Bridget was going to have either some cracked ribs or a crushed chest.

After only a few seconds I could see Reagan’s head, and after that it was only a few more seconds until they had Reagan completely delivered. She looked like a little gooey alien. But she was mine and she was beautiful.

Reagan Laura Fitzgerald
May 4, 2006 8:02 PM
6lbs 2oz, 18.5 inches

No, this isn't the end, this is merely the beginning. To be continued...


Samantha said...

That was awesome. Birth stories always me tear up alittle. And to read it from the dad's point of view was beautiful.

Maria said...

Wow, good job, Bill. What a scary experience that must have been. I was tearing up until the "big gush of fluid" part which made me chuckle, only because I knew what it was. So glad everything worked out well in the end. Reagan is so cute.

Erin said...

That was a beautiful birth story! Bill did such a great job narrating it. I was definitely tearing up.

Jen said...

Oh, I can't wait to see what happens next. What a good story, I really liked the guest writer.

Deanna said...

What a great idea to have Dad tell the story. That is so beautiful!

Janet said...

This story is just amazing. I look forward to more. I really enjoyed this part from Bill's point of view!

Rebecca said...

I loved hearing Bill's perspective! Thanks for making me tear up before lunch!
Great job Bill! I can't wait to read more.

MomMega said...

What a great story! I had a c-section and don't remember a thing (and neither does the hubs oddly enough) so this was very educational for me. AND emotional!

Kelly Deneen said...

It made me laugh! It made me cry!

Well done, Bill. :) I look forward to the sequel.

Michelle said...

Wow. This is really interesting to read. I had an unexpected c-section with Mister Man, and the experience I had was VERY different. No gel, no soldering, no dad going anywhere near that curtain separating the lower part of me, no pushing on me to get the baby out... and thankfully no pain.

And for me, it was amazing how fast it went. I was wheeled into the operating room just after 11. At 11:09, they did the first incision. At 11:15, Mister Man was out and being sucked to get the mecomium out of his nose. Oddly, I was the only one watching the clock and the doctor had to ask me what time it all happened.

Such a surreal feeling the entire time though, no? I'm so glad that it turned out well for all of you though! She's so adorable now!

Robin said...

You have a really nice blog here. Just stoppin over to give you some comment love. Hope you will do the same. Have a wonderful day.

mommyto3kiddos said...

I don't think I've commented very much on your blog, but I wanted to let you know that I've enjoyed getting to know Reagan more through your stories. This one written by your husband is wonderful and I'm sure something Reagan will cherish when she's older.

Joanna said...

I love the fact that Bill told this part of the story. I'm still not sure what Andy experienced when Michael was born. He survived, so I'm happy.

LOL about comparing a c-section to watching someone field dress a deer. That's not something you read every day.

I would also love to see pictures of a 6 foot smurf.

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