They start inching closer to five. At 7 minutes apart, we “activate”. We called a friend of the family, M, to put her on standby to come over for O’s sake. We call V’s parents and they start the drive in from Houston. I packed the car. I canceled my appointments for Tuesday. We were ready.
The contractions continued, but not becoming closer. Then, they reach about six minutes apart. Progress. It took time though. V’s parents arrived. Still, six minutes apart. Then, nothing. … … … Labor did a full-stop. It was a false alarm.
We went to V’s OB who confirmed—it could restart later that day or next week. V’s parents stayed in town a short bit to make sure it was a false alarm and headed back to Houston on Wednesday. I started resetting appointments and filling out the rest of my week.
Thursday, 1:45 a.m. V wakes me up with “My water just broke” after we had been asleep about 90 minutes. We re-activate. Put M on notice. Called V’s parents. Waited a few minutes. After all, after one false alarm (or was it a drill?) after calling in all the troops, we wanted to confirm. 15 minutes pass. Without a doubt, there’s no way this was anything other than her water breaking. Ready… Go.
M and her mom came by to watch O. V’s parents started the drive down Highway 290 again. We head to the hospital.
Sometime around 4 or 4:30 a.m., we arrived at St. D’s L&D ward on the 3rd floor and was taken to Room L&D 7—where O was born 17 months ago. Met the night nurse, Katie, and Dr. Love dropped by. Indeed, it was go-time.
With O, V’s water broke, we called the doctor who told us to come in. By the time we arrived at St. D’s, we were already at 7 cm. At least one nurse thought we were a botched home birth. There was a lot more frantic action. We didn’t have a chance to get our bearings. The stress of it all slowed V’s labor dramatically. She didn’t advance past 7 cm in the next 9 hours.
This time, it was different. We arrived 3-4 cm. We took our time, explored the room a bit. Relaxed. It wasn’t terribly stressful or rushed.
Time passes by quickly—at least from the guy’s perspective. For most of the time, we were basically hanging out with V becoming quiet for increasing amounts of time. The night nurse left for the day and the day crew come on. Sonia was technically our nurse, but Aspen was going to do most of the work. Aspen was coming back to L&D and was still getting “accustomed” to the ward. To round out the nursing staff was Katie, a RN student shadowing along for the ride.
But yes, time passes quickly. It’s already a blur, less than 24 hours later, but at some point, we realized that she was starting to stall. We hit 7 cm and, while contractions and whatnot continued, progress had ceased. With O, V had more trouble dealing with the contractions. Dr. Love, then, was worried that she would be too tired to push when the time came. In O’s case, we hadn’t progressed virtually at all since we had arrived at St. D’s and we went with his suggestion for some medical assistance.
We thought that maybe it was time for this again, but one huge difference, V handled and continued to handle the contractions like a champ, but they had just stopped being productive. We consulted with the nursing staff and opted to change positions. That did it. It was time to push. This is where V struggled this time. The idea of pushing was not something she wanted to think about at this moment.
The doctor gave her a stern “you can do this”, Sonia promised her it would be just one set of pushes, and I started doing whatever it was I was told to do. One set of pushes (something like three or four sets without resting) and Maria Catalina was welcomed into the world at 1:30 p.m.
For me, it is such an incredible rush of emotion. After watching both O and MC being born, it’s remarkable to see your child emerge into the world, but it all hits the moment of the first cry. Even when she’s almost all of the way out, you’re so focused on what’s going on to pay attention to the new reality. Each time and equally so, the rush of emotion is the strongest wave of any feeling I’ve ever had.
I can’t explain it. There’s noting to explain, I suppose.