Monday, March 12, 2012

Special Delivery

"Dr. Daddy" and Lydia at the hospital
Short version: Timothy delivered our daughter Lydia in our living room after 2.5 hours of labor. Not quite what we had planned.

Keep reading if you want the long version and aren’t afraid of blood (there are pictures at the end).

Shortly before 2:30am on February 1, 2012, Rebecca was woken up by a contraction. At 5 o'clock, Tim was holding the baby. So labor lasted barely over 2.5 hours from beginning to birth. There had been a few contractions the night before, but nothing very strong or regular. When the contractions woke Rebecca up, they were 10-12 minutes apart. When Tim woke up about an hour later, they were about 7 minutes apart. We sat in bed and asked ourselves, “Is this the real deal?” Since Ginny’s birth was a scheduled induction (10 days after due date), we didn’t really know for ourselves what going into labor naturally was like. But we figured we ought to get up, just in case.

As soon as Rebecca got out of bed (T-1:26), the contractions progressed abruptly from 6-7 minutes apart to 2-3 minutes apart. Rebecca rationalized that they were not regular yet (after all, the r2 value had to have been less than........) and other excuses. So we were not super sure about how in labor we were. After about a half hour of dressing and getting ready to go, the contractions had not let up at all, so we called Rebecca’s midwife, Ashlee. She said, “This sounds about right, so go ahead and get to the hospital.” We explained we have a friend coming to take care of our toddler and it would take 20 minutes for her to get there before we could leave. "These things take time,” she assured us, “and aren’t we glad they take time! You’ll be fine."

At that point it was 4:20 (T-0:40). We called our Relief Society president, Carol, who had offered to be our first contact to take care of Ginny. Rebecca’s contractions were now a regular 2 minutes apart. Tim started taking things out to the car. Rebecca couldn't do much anymore because the contractions were so close--at least 45 seconds long and getting pretty strong. One of the midwives had said to spend early labor on hands and knees to help the baby position correctly. So Rebecca spent most of the contractions on her knees supported by a chair and no longer wanted to get up.

The water broke around 4:40 (T-0:20). Now there was a big mess and Rebecca couldn't even get into new clothes so that she wouldn’t freeze in the car. "Why are they so close?!!!" "Where's the 5 minutes apart that I'm supposed to have?!!!" Carol arrived and Rebecca couldn't even get up, but Tim was still thinking we could get to the hospital. When it became clear to Carol that Rebecca was not going anywhere, she offered to call 911 (T-0:05). Somewhere in all of this excitement, Rebecca had started pushing. Carol called 911 and relayed instructions. Rebecca started to feel the baby’s head crowning, but couldn’t manage to get the right words out. All she could do was yell, "She's coming! Tim, she's coming!” Someone said to check if the baby was crowning, so Tim looked and indeed, she was crowning!

Tim dropped to his knees and put his hands out to play catcher. “Head’s out!” Since Rebecca was still kneeling, the baby was face up. Then Carol relayed a question from 911: "Is the umbilical cord around the neck?" For the first time, Rebecca felt truly afraid. Our first daughter’s cord was around her neck and the doctor had to cut the cord so that she could come out. Tim wasn’t about to run to the kitchen for the butcher’s knife. Fortunately, Tim ran his fingers around the baby’s neck and said, "No." Relief. The next push came and the baby slid all the way out into her father’s hands (5:00 AM).

“Well, hi! So good to see you!” he said while holding his daughter and covered in all manner of unspeakable bodily fluids (to say nothing of the condition of the carpet!). Rebecca turned around and got a glimpse of her face, a difficult feat since the cord was still attached and the placenta hadn’t yet been delivered. Carol, still relaying instructions, then asked if we had anything we could use to tie off the umbilical cord. Tim suggested a shoelace. At this moment, a policeman arrived and tied off the cord with the shoelace. A couple of minutes later, EMTs arrived and Tim handed off the baby. As he went off to change his clothes, Rebecca wondered, "How did you get so messy?" The EMTs got Rebecca onto the stretcher, handed the swaddled baby to her and took them out to the ambulance and, finally, to the hospital. 

Tim finally had the presence of mind to snap
 this picture after everyone was
 already in the ambulance.

Lydia Janet Knell. 9 pounds. 21 inches.