Saturday, May 7, 2016

Jubilee's Birth Story: Dad's Perspective

I got the email Tuesday at 8:23am, right at the end of 1st Period.

According to my contraction app I'm averaging one every ten minutes since you left for work.... Don't tell anyone or freak out cause I don't know if it will continue to increase, but fyi..  =)

“Don’t freak out.”  Like that was ever going to happen.

I did manage to teach the rest of my classes for the day, wholly distracted, incessantly checking my phone, and calling every chance I got.  When the bell rang at 2:25, I got on my bike and booked it home.

Alissa was a picture of peace and calm when I arrived.  She had done a few loads of laundry and had even graded some quizzes for me.  I was neither peaceful nor calm when I frantically burst in the door, but she assured me that there was no cause for panic.  Her contractions were still spaced far enough apart, and the pain wasn’t too intense.  We ate an early dinner, and she, in typical Alissa fashion, decided to bake some cookies.  But since she had been having contractions for most of the day, we called the hospital around 6:00, and they advised that we make the trip in.

We quickly got our things together, called a taxi, and headed to the hospital.  We left around 7:00, and traffic was still pretty bad.  But, things still didn’t seem all that urgent.  When we arrived after a 45 minute stop-and-go ride, we checked in at the birthing unit, and the nurses checked her dilation and contractions.  To Alissa’s dismay, she was told that she was not dilated even a centimeter, and that most of what she was experiencing probably weren’t even contractions.  The nurses scoffed and sent us home, saying that maybe labor would really kick in in the next day or two.

Frustrated, we got in a taxi to start the journey home.  All the while, Alissa still felt contractions coming on, seemingly stronger than the ones before, and she wondered aloud whether we should just stay in a hotel near the hospital.  But with the nurses knowing chides in our heads, we slumped back home.  Boy, do we wish that we would have trusted Alissa’s gut.  No pun intended.

We got home at 9:30, and Alissa went straight to bed.  Her hope was to try to sleep through some of the contractions and store up her strength.  Without much sense of urgency, I slowly got ready for bed, and got out my computer.  Then, all hell broke loose.

At about 10:30, Alissa shot up out of bed and instinctively ran to the toilet.  While she was scuttling on her way, she yelled out at me to clean something up.  Then, in an ignorant daze, I realize what had happened.  Her water had broken.  I immediately went to the bathroom and reached for some toilet paper.  Understandably annoyed, Alissa yelled, “What are you doing?? Get a towel!”  With my panic level elevating by the second, I grabbed a towel and looked to survey what had really happened.  Without being too graphic, let’s just say that quite a lot of liquid needed to be cleaned up - all over the bed and on the floor all the way to the bathroom.

The next five minutes were among the most stressful of my life.  Alissa was on the toilet and started getting the shakes.  Her contractions immediately began ramping up in intensity.  Totally unable to decide what to prioritize, I began cleaning the floor, ripping the sheets off the bed, ordering another taxi on my phone, making sure we still had everything packed, and calling our doctor to say we were coming back to the hospital.  When the taxi arrived in front of our house, I grabbed our bags, and Alissa grabbed a towel.  We threw the bags in the taxi, Alissa eased her way strategically on top of the towel, and I told our mind-mannered taxi driver in broken Thai: “Samitivej hospital. Baby coming now. Go fast.”

Alissa’s pain continued to elevate, and within a minute into the journey, she exclaimed that she wasn’t sure if she could make it to the hospital.  All I could do was panic and pray, and I managed to send a quick text to our family: “Water broke and we’re heading back now.  Pray we make it please.”  Then, in a scene fit for a movie, Alissa screamed out in periodic pain and I prayed unceasing terrified prayers as we careened through Bangkok’s crowded streets, both of us envisioning the horror of delivering a baby in the backseat of a taxi.  We thanked the Lord when we made it there at 11:15 after a record-breaking 25 minute taxi ride.

Needless to say, we arrived in a manner very different from our calm and unsure visit earlier that evening.  With Alissa in a wheelchair, we burst into the same birthing unit, and were met with startled looks from the same nurses we saw only two hours before.  Alissa got changed, and we quickly got things situated in the labor room.  When the nurse checked Alissa’s dilation once more, the nurse looked up wide-eyed and startledly exclaimed, “Unbelievable!”  She was 5 cm dilated.

For about 30 minutes, Alissa stayed on her feet and changed positions as she closed her eyes and quietly endured the increasingly painful contractions.  I did my best to help, encourage, and send a few scattered texts updating family.  She felt a lot of pain in her back, so the nurses eventually offered her the birthing tub to ease some of the pain.  This did the trick at first, but after awhile, she began to overheat in the hot water.  Then, already wearied and spent, she moved to the low-lying bed.  I applied a cold washcloth to her face and encouraged her to drink water, and an absolute champion of a nurse massaged her lower back.  Her dilation was soon checked once more, and we were pleased to hear that she had jumped to 7 cm.

Then, Alissa hit a wall. While laboring on the bed, she entered the worst of it - the “transition” stage of labor, which is said to be the most painful.  From my perspective, the only thing I can compare it to is an athlete utterly spent at the end of a marathon.  Her energy seemed completely drained, and the contractions were super intense.  She hit 8 cm, but struggled to move beyond this point.  For about two hours, she alternated lying on either side, with her eyes closed, in a meditative, near comatose state.  After awhile, she felt the urge to push, but the doctor encouraged her to fight the urge because she was not fully dilated.  Up until now, Alissa seemed confident in her strength, but she began to doubt herself, pleading with me that she wasn’t sure if she could do it.

Finally around 4:00am, after what seemed like an eternity of waiting, our doctor gave her the green light.  We helped her onto her back, and with a remarkably renewed sense of energy, Alissa began to push.  After the first push, the doctors and nurses seemed pleasantly surprised at what they saw, and they began to prep the room for the birth.  Then, after a few rounds of contractions and pushing, we got into a rhythm.  I counted 10 second intervals aloud during each contraction as our doctor, the two nurses, and I implored her to push hard.  After a mere 7 or 8 rounds, the head was visible, and from there, it happened in a veritable instant.  One push.  The head.  Another push.  The shoulders.  A final push. She was out.  A few seconds later, a whimpered crying filled the room.  Jubilee Way had entered the world.

1 comment:

  1. You say 'no pun intended' but I know for a FACT that a pun was intended. You can't fool us, daddy.

    Can't believe any of it. But completely believe all of it. Abbs and I are beaming. Buddy Boy, Buddy Girl and Buddy Baby, all together at last.