Matt Hackmann


The thoughts and goings-on of some programmer dude.

Bloggy Blog 20 - Partum, Part Two of a Three Part Series

In observance of all this happening eight weeks ago, let's continue that three part series.

Writing about the act of getting the wee baby out of my wife and into the world is a little more straight forward than any amount of waxing philisophical about taking care of a pregnant wife and/or post-pregnant wife + baby. It's merely a story. Kayla has suggested a few places on where to start the tale, but perhaps it should start at her last OB appointment where active measures were taken to start the whole process. Whether or not those measures actually did anything, we also took matters into our own hands in a couple ways.

The first way was Kayla's investment in a yoga ball and chilling out on that, trying to open up all the pathways in the hopes that he'd just slip out. The second way (and my favorite) was the introduction of "get the baby out" walks. There are a couple of really good spots for walking a very short drive from home, so we'd go out there in the evening and Kayla would waddle a mile plus in the hopes of making him slip out. The last of these we went on was a particularly gnarly hike that had a fair amount of verticality.

The wee baby kicked his bubble open the next morning.

Can we know for sure there was any correlation between these two events? Not really, but I choose to believe. Right, that water breaking thing...

If you've consumed any amount of mass media, you've seen a movie or TV show episode where the water breaks in some a dramatic fashion and all hell breaks loose. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but Kayla's situation wasn't that. We were having a pretty chill Saturday morning and Kayla got up to go to the bathroom. I think I was playing pokemon or something when I heard Kayla casually say "I think my water just broke?". Mass panic didn't break out, but more of a "okay... now what?". After confirming that the "bag of waters" had indeed been opened, a call to the labor and delivery department of our hospital was made and they advised us to come in for observation.

There's not really a lot to say about that trip. We went to the hospital and were admitted into a triage room. Kayla was hooked up to various machines, we hung around for an hour or so, and it was determined that she wasn't in active labor and stuff was otherwise fine. We were given the option of getting labor started then or going home, seeing if things would start on their own, and then returning that evening if they hadn't. We went home.

It's a strange sensation having had the "ticking time bomb" go off and then... you're just going around doing normal stuff. That's all we did. We did a couple of around the block walks and Kayla adopted the yoga ball as her new sitting spot. All of this was set to a backdrop of uncomfortable anticipation, at least for me. But nothing happend and, as we'd arranged, went to the hospital late that evening.

We were immediately escorted into the kingly suite that was the delivery room, and no that's not sarcasm. I've stayed in hotel rooms that were smaller than this place. But, that's good, because we were about to spend the next > 24 hours there.

There's not a whole lot of interestng things to talk about between being admitted and "the show". Kayla was started on some oral labor inducers, labor ramped up gradually throughout the day, and various pain relief actions were taken as things progressed. The entire time, she was hooked up to a baby heart rate monitor and I quickly became subconciously fixated on the sound of that monitor, keeping an ear out for any changes and getting nervous when it would (more hypochondria for baby). It wasn't until technically day number two at the hospital that things progressed enough that Kayla was given a crash course on pushing and told "okay, let's do a practice push".

I will sidebar to give quick kudos to the staff working labor and delivery that day: I never felt excluded. No, I wasn't the one going through the trauma of pushing a baby through my nethers, but I was never ignored. When things were being explained, I got an equal amount of eye contact and the opportunity to ask questions (or make stupid jokes). Active labor was treated the same, where I was given the quasi-meaningful task of helping hold one of Kayla's legs (in addition to giving lame attempts at encouragement). So, that was cool.

It also put me into a position that I'd said I'd avoid: watching the wee baby actually be born. And it didn't take long to for there to be something to see. That "practice push" pretty much turned immediately into timed pushes because, as it turns out, Kayla's a trained athlete and can command whatever group of muscles do whatever she wants. Suddenly, it was just have a baby time.

I'd actually spent much of that day pondering over what it would really feel like when go time hit. My only reference was - again - movies and TV, and we'd already seen how completely off base those are (to the point where I have to wonder if anybody in a writers room has ever had a child). That it would be me, my wife, and a nurse guiding her through pushing in a relatively quiet atmosphere was not what I was expected. Of the hour that Kayla was actively pushing, this was pretty much how about 75% that went. Occasionally, the midwife on duty would pop in, guide a pushing session, give the most genuine praise of just how much ass Kayla was kicking before dipping out to the other baby she was helping deliver.

Those last minutes are a bit of a blur, though. I don't recall the midwife coming back in the room and staying, or the throngs of support staff also showed up at some point, but I did become aware that we were only one or two pushes away from having a baby. Part of that was the top of his head just being there and the eventual realization of "oh, all these people are here now". With one final push (which Kayla had been told to wait on, trying to get the timing right), his head popped out, a quick twist for the shoulders, and he screamed into existance.

Plopped up on Kayla's belly, he let his lungs and vocal chords experience true freedom in a multi-minute, unblinking cry of protestation of having been evicted from his home. I was vaguely aware of the midwife stictching everything up while also calling around the room to get various weight counts to add up what the blood loss total was. I was too busy watching my child scream his way out of a pasty pallor and into a more normal skin tone, eventually calming down and just kind of looking around the room confused.

Time is a blur at this point, but the placenta was popped out and I cut the cord once it was confirmed that he was getting no more nutrient juice from it. I'd asked earlier what to expect in terms of feel when cutting through it, but never got a great answer. In thinking back on it, I'd say it's like cutting through a whole bunch of rubber bands twisted together.

Finally, he was freed and weighed and all the post-process stuff they do for babies, and Kayla was as put back together as she was going to be at that point in time. It was past 2am and we were given a little time to rest as a new family that'd just been through quite the experience. That didn't last long, though, becase around 4am, our original nurse told it was time to move.

Move from partum, to postpartum and the hardest part of our experience having a baby.