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Props to all the women in the world...


Erin decided to be induced if she missed her due date of 12/8. During the last few weeks of her pregnancy our doc had us go for two more ultrasounds because based on her fundal measurements, the baby seemed to be rather small for his age. But based on the ultrasound measurements, the baby was about 7 pounds, 14 ounces give or take 1 pound. If it was one pound more, the doc was then worried that the baby would be too big for Erin to push out in a natural childbirth so he suggested that we not wait too long to induce.

Continue for the gritty details...


So bright and early 7am Monday morning we checked in to the Hackensack University Medical Center. Since Erin hadn't started dilating yet, they inserted a strip of Servadil to start softening the cervix and promote contractions. Erin was NOT happy with the internal exams that had to be performed to check on the dilation of the cervix. The baby's head was low down in her pelvis which was good, but the cervix itself, because of the baby's head, was now pointing rearward which meant the doc had to venture deeper in order to reach it. Not pleasant. This would eventually work itself out as the cervix dilated more but for the first day at least, internal exams were much more painful than normal. By Monday evening, her cervix was about 3 cm dilated and she was getting relatively painful contractions about 2 to 3 minutes apart. The doc was hoping that that would be all we needed as far as contraction drugs were concerned so he removed the Servadil. Unfortunately, throughout the night her contractions decreased to about once every 5-7 minutes and not being painful at all.

So Tuesday morning, the doc started her on oxytocin which is known to induce pretty severe contractions if not monitored carefully. It was pretty effective though as it kickstarted Erin's contractions again and made it even more painful than the previous evening. It was at this time that Erin requested some pain medication (forget the name at the moment) which was added to her IV. Was supposed to take the edge off of the contractions with the side effect of making her sleepy. Wasn't effective at all however as a painkiller. After just about an hour of use, the doc shut off the oxytocin cause he didn't want it affecting the flow of oxygenated blood to the baby since using oxytocin also decreases the mother's blood pressure. But the desired effect was achieved as the cervix was now opening as normal and the contractions were stronger. However the frequency eventually settled at one contraction every 5 minutes which is rather slow. It was also about this time that Erin requested the Epidural. Originally our doc was opposed to using one cause he said the risk of suffering headaches for months on afterwards was increased if the anesthesiologist wasn't good. Plus if too much was used, Erin wouldn't have enough feeling and control over the lower half of her body for a natural birth and a C-section would have to be done. I wasn't allowed to be in the room when they administered it but I returned to a much more mellow wife. I asked her about it afterwards and she said the application of the Epidural wasn't too bad because both the anesthesiologist was good and our nurse was very supportive as well so besides the initial twinge as the needle was punched into her back, it went pretty well. Since it was time-released, she also said she could feel the liquid painkiller slide into her body as it was rather cold and that it felt pretty good.

So after the Epidural, it proceeded to become a waiting game as we waited for her cervix to fully dilate. A bit after noon the time had come and the pushing commenced. Apparently Hackensack is a hands-on type of facility as I became directly involved during this process. Since it was only the doc, a nurse, and I in the room with Erin, I was enlisted to help push her left leg up and outwards whenever it was time to push. Contractions were coming once about every 5 minutes at this point and she was made to push about 3 times (sometimes 4) per contraction period. Every now and then the doc would tell me, "Look! The baby's head is right here!" and even though I really didn't want to, I looked anyway and all I could see was a lot of blood and some hair. Halfway through it the doc became concerned because after one particularly strenuous push period the baby's heartrate dropped by about half for about a minute. So he got the surgery room prepped for a C-section if necessary but we talked him into continuing with the promise that if it happened again then we would do the C-section. After a couple of more attempts the baby's heartrate was holding up ok so he also had the nurse get some forceps ready in case it was necessary. After a couple more tries, with the baby's head very close to crowning, the doc decided to do a slight episiotomy to give the baby a bit more room. And that pretty much did the trick as the kid slid right out after that.

Once the doc had the baby out, it took only one or two seconds for him to start bawling and that just increased as the doc handed him off to the pediatrician (who had come in on standby because they're mandatory if forceps are used) and nurse who immediately rubbed him down with towels, pinched off the umbilical cord, plopped a hat on him, and checked on his overall well-being. While the doc proceeded to remove the placenta and then sew up the episiotomy along with other minor tears, I moved over to take a look at my first son. =) He seemed almost like a toy doll as his skin was really pale and under the lights practically plastic-looking. His hands and feet were wrinkly and I thought surprisingly large. The nurse came by and handed me a pair of oddly-shaped scissors, giving me the honor of cutting the umbilical cord (which was incredibly white and kinda rubbery). Once he was cleaned and wrapped up I held him until the doc finished up with Erin. He was quietly alert, staring intently at me first with one eye and then two. Wasn't overly fussy as we waited as I guess he recognized my voice. After Erin was cleaned up, I followed the nurse upstairs with the baby to the nursery where they would weigh and measure him, give him a bit of sucrose to suck on, a shot of vitamin K, and smeared some eye ointment on to ward off any infection he might have picked up during the whole birthing process and then give him a bath. I headed back downstairs to the delivery room to check on Erin and we waited around until our recovery room was ready.

Anyway, if watching the miracle of childbirth doesn't give a guy a newfound appreciation and respect for their better halves, then you're a cold-hearted bastard. I mean that's some seriously whacked out shit happening to a human body. And as a guy, expect to feel completely useless at least once throughout the entire event. Sitting by your wife lending emotional support and a hand to squeeze is all fine and dandy early on in the process but once the pushing is going on (with or without Epidural), you're more likely to get a hissed "shut the hell up and get out of my way". It was nice that the nurse got me involved with the leg pushing though so I at least felt like I was contributing but of course my contribution is like a drop in the ocean compared to what Erin was doing. Some resentment during the process from the mother (of the "YOU did this to ME" variety) can be expected as well. I'm amazed that any woman is willing to have more than one kid really. Biology's a powerful force.

But it was definitely quite an experience. Sleep came in an hour or 2 stretches throughout the day and night as even before the arrival of the baby you'll constantly be awoken by the stream of nurses coming in to check on the mother's blood pressure every few hours. The odd thing was after we were settled into our recovery room, we fell asleep for what felt like a really long time but turned out to be only about 2 hours. So expect to be really freakin' tired. And apparently it's not going to get much better after this either.

At least the food here is pretty decent and there's free wi-fi. If you were to have a baby somewhere, the Hackensack University Medical Center isn't a bad place to be. The nurses have all been pretty darn good (I've never seen them not able to calm a baby down) and helpful and the facilities are all new (new Maternity and Children's facility just opened early this year). Security is pretty tight too as once the baby is born they slap 2 leg bands on him and then one around the mother's wrist and the other around the dad's. They won't hand the kid over to anyone except the mom and dad and will always match the numbers on the bands before doing so. And there's a nice gigantic saltwater wall aquarium down in the restaurant located in the Childrens Pavilion lobby. Pretty sweet.


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Comments (2)


I don't think I have ever read the description of a childbirth quite like this one, nor do I really know what to say other than... Ben you are hilarious. LOL.. congrats again. =)


Devon is totally cute and adorable! Congratulations to you and Erin. Way to go Erin!

From Quynh, former OHH Shanghai Organizer.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 14, 2006 2:59 PM.

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