Monday, April 07, 2008

Labor of Love

Betty's labor was nothing like I expected it to be. I pictured her having contractions for a few hours, us timing their frequency and duration, then calling the doctor, and finally the mad rush to the hospital with me avoiding potholes and other dangers of Baton Rouge roads (such as other drivers).

I even pictured myself having to deliver my own baby in the back seat of the car if the light at Airline and Perkins went out and traffic backed up too far. Hey, it's been known to happen - even our governor had to deliver his own child.

But it was nothing like that at all.

We went in for a scheduled appointment on Friday at 10:15. The doctor saw us around 10:30 and said Betty was 4 centimeters dilated. He said there was no reason why she couldn't have the baby that day and so Betty was wheeled over from the Women's clinic to the hospital, which is conveniently located right next door.

There were seven other babies born that morning, so things were a little hectic. Several nurses come and went, and at first there seemed to be a lot of confusion. But we finally got a nurse dedicated to Betty, and from there things went extremely well.

They put Betty on Pitocin to help speed along the delivery. They told us that she would dilate 1 centimeter per hour from that point, so I thought I had 6 hours to go. At this point it had been a while since I had last eaten, and we had plenty of time before the pushing started, so I went downstairs with my dad and with Betty's dad to get some food. The cafeteria was closed but the grill was open, and the grill-meister told me that the best thing on the menu was the French Dip.

So French Dip it was.

In the time it took me to eat my French Dip, Betty dilated 5.5 centimeters. Someone called my cellphone and told me, and at first I was shocked but then my body went into overdrive. I ran down the hallway to the elevator, swiping small children out of the way as I barreled through the hallways, and drop-kicked the door of the delivery room open.

Baby time!

Betty would push and the baby would drop, but when the pushing stopped the baby went back up into Betty's belly. It wouldn't stay down. We found out that the baby was turned on her side, which made it impossible for the baby to come out that way. We were scared that Betty would need a C Section, but the nurses assured us that she was past that point. The nurses helped get Betty on her side, and pushing that way helped the baby to turn to the proper position.

Then the doctor came, Betty pushed twice, and out popped the baby! I teared up a little as emotions overcame me, then I snapped into complete calmness. Betty was alright, the baby was perfect, now all that was left was for Daddy to not pass out in the corner.

I can't describe what it feels like to see your baby born. It's surreal. I also can't describe looking at your little girl and seeing her smile, cry, or burp - everything she does is amazing and totally beyond words.

The best I can do is quote the song Heaven from my favorite band, Live, when they sing, "I don't need no one to tell me about Heaven / I look at my daughter and I believe."

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