His and Hers: Millie's Birth Story




Donna called me just after my class had ended at 6:15 to tell me that her water had begun to break (while she & A were having dinner at Boston Market). So D told me to get right on the next train, the 6:45. I called a couple of times as I commuted home, talking first with Donna and then with Linda, the doula. I got home by a little after 9, to find that Donna was just beginning to start her contractions. Her parents were there as well. For all our worries, that Donna would go into labor while I was in NYC, it worked out.



Donna was putting Anna to bed. She had calmly given her a bath before the contractions began! Once I got home, in between contractions Donna did the last packing (or at least supervised me to ensure that I didn't miss anything). She got Anna's things packed for school the next morning (on Friday Anna just goes for the morning) and even made sure to leave a door unlocked so that Chuck could get in on Saturday to finish work on Anna's new room. Donna's parents spent the night and got Anna to and from school the next day.



The contractions got steadier and more intense over the next couple of hours. At 10 Donna called her OB; no one from her practice was on call, there was another doctor from an allied practice. That doctor wanted us to come in right away but Linda suggested we wait, so we didn't get in the car until about 11. Linda was able to suggest different positions and turns to keep the baby moving and turning downward.



Donna got in Linda's car while I drove behind with our things (suitcases, birthing ball, etc). We got to the hospital at 11:35, where a security guard helped Donna get out while Linda and I parked the cars.



By now Donna's contractions were coming hard: very painful and overwhelming. She doesn't like to be touched while the pain rises up. A couple times she knelt down over the ball, which helped her but made some of the hospital staff nervous! They get antsy when a woman is groaning on the floor even though Linda and I reassured them.



We got up to L&D to find that they first wanted us to fill out some paperwork - I guess most women come in earlier in their labor! But we convinced them to expedite us to a room. It was a busy night, apparently there were lots of other babies too.



Donna's labor got harder for the next 90 minutes, with contractions longer, steadier, and tighter together. Linda tried reminding her about breathing exercises. Donna didn't want an epidural but asked for a shot of Demoral (or something in that class). She agreed to get in the shower, to sit on the ball under a spray of hot water, to see if that helped. She stayed there for maybe 20 minutes before getting out because she felt like she really had to start to push.



We had one nurse who stayed with us for the evening, Nancy, while others floated in and out. Nancy was very good and helpful. Then there was a circus-ful of doctors who bungeed in & out, some asking the most bizarre questions (a young ER resident asked "so what brought you here tonight?" which is probably textbook-correct for the ER but really out of place in L&D!).



Once Donna started to push, she moved along pretty fast. She started pushing at 1:30; at 2:27 she delivered Emilia. We finally had one OB doctor (an older woman with a thick accent from the allied practice) who coached Donna through the pushing. She stayed with us even as nurses came in bringing reports of others' stages of labor. Donna began to tear so the doctor cut an episiotomy.



When Millie's head poked out, the doctor had to cut the umbilical cord from around her neck (later I trimmed the cord). I couldn't see much through my tears of joy, although Donna seemed better able to keep cool. To go through labor and delivery without any drugs -- Amazing!



When the nurse put Millie on the scale, nobody believed she was just 7 lbs 9 oz -- everybody was looking for 8.5-9 lbs. Maybe she'll always punch above her weight.



After Donna delivered the placenta and the doctor sewed her up, they put Millie onto her breast so that the two of them could bond skin-to-skin. We took a couple of pictures to document the event (a wailing bloody baby on an exam table!).



They took a while to move us into the maternity ward. It was a busy night so they didn't get a chance to worry about any of us patients who weren't screaming or moaning.



We were collecting and banking the cord blood, which gave us a bit of trouble. The guy who was supposed to come collect it (and they are adamant that it must be collected very soon!) got lost so it took about 2 hours to get him there rather than the 90 minutes promised. Then this guy barges into the Maternity Ward at about 5:30 am and is yelling at us to give him the package immediately, since he was trying to catch a flight in 20 minutes. We hadn't sealed the box yet, since we wanted to check that we had everything properly prepared, which got the guy even more worked up. He yelled into his Nextel and screamed at us. He was just very unprofessional. The next morning even the nurses mentioned it to us if it was odd even to them, then we can be sure it wasn't just the hyper-sensitivity of new parents.