Daddy Duty

Sleep, Eat, Diaper Change. Repeat.

What’s a contraction?

on January 16, 2012

After reading the books, attending the classes, and regularly seeing the Doctor, we felt prepared to have our baby. At our last scheduled Doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, he told us that he expected Claire to go into labor by the weekend and that if she didn’t, he would probably induce labor on Monday, December 5th.

As you can guess, we didn’t make it until Monday. On Friday, December 2nd, we were in our new house taking measurements for furniture.
I know a lot of you didn’t know we moved into a new house. Ta da, we did. I had everything planned to close before Thanksgiving to ensure the house would be ready for the baby’s arrival. However, liens on the title, lawyers, and banks got in the way of that ultimately delaying our move until December 18th. Having a baby and moving are 2 of life’s biggest stressors and we did both at the same time. Throw in Christmas family dinner at our house 1 week after moving and we’re talking real Craziness. We did it.

We decided to move from our old house to find a more kid friendly neighborhood with a different floor plan. While pregnant, Claire and I embarked on a house hunting frenzy reviewing 20-30 properties a day. We originally wanted a one story house with a 3+ car garage located within 15 minutes of the strip that could close fast. As it turns out after submitting a million rejected offers, everyone wants that.

So, we opened our criteria a bit and fell in love with our new house. The close to the Strip community is literally out of a storybook complete with lush trees, a gated, cobblestone entry, community workout, pool, bbq, play ground and work out areas and even picket white fences. Kids are at play, parents are smiling, and the sun is always shining. You get the idea. We love it and can’t wait for you to visit us!

Suddenly, Claire told me that she thought her water had broken. I must point out that having your water break is NOTHING like what they show in the movies. If a flood was on the floor, we would know it had happened. However, there was no water showing anywhere. As you’ll learn in birthing class, when the mucus plug falls and the water breaks, the baby’s head will typically fill the hole limiting the amount of amniotic fluid expelled.

We were constantly wondering if she was having a contraction or not. Not having had one before, we had no idea what one felt like or what to look out for. Now that Claire has experienced contractions and I’ve seen her suffer through them, I will know the next time she has one for sure. They’re unmistakable. The pain is nothing like getting hit, cut, stubbing your toe, or whatever. They are and look painful.

In not knowing at the time, we called the hospital and they said to come on in, but without any contractions or other symptoms, this may not be the day. Not feeling any panic or alarm, we decided to stop by Starbucks to get some Apple Cider for our wait in the hospital, which happens to be the same hospital I was born 29 years ago. We should have gotten food because once you’re admitted in for labor, you can’t eat until after birth.

After being admitted to the hospital, we were taken to triage (think multiple beds in a room separated by sliding sheets for minimal privacy) to be examined. While waiting, we overheard sheer craziness from our triage-mates ranging from a woman who didn’t know she was pregnant to a teenager in tears complaining about the IV “burning” her. We were calms as clams.

After labor was confirmed around 7:30 PM, we were taken to our own birthing room complete with WIFI, TV, and hospital pastels. I proceeded to unpack our birthing bag and set up aromatherapy oil, tripods, iPads, laptops, etc in preparation for birth. As it turned out, the hospital doesn’t allow any video recording due to fears of lawsuits, liability, etc. I ended up having to run home real quick to bring a copy of Claire’s Will, Advanced Directive, and Power of Attorney. So, bring these to labor if you have them, and if you don’t have them, prepare them!

When I returned, Claire was calm as could be. The Doctor was on call and visited us to tell us to relax and expect to have the baby before 7 AM. To my surprise, instead of watching movies or surfing the net, we ended up simply talking through our excitement and nervousness through the entire labor. Claire got to 5 cm (you can have an epidural once you get to 4 cm and at 10 cm you begin to push) dilated before she began to feel the pain of the contractions. We had planned to get an epidural and when the pain was at its peak the Anesthesiologist could not have come soon enough.

Unfortunately, it took 3 shots to finally numb Claire’s lower half (more on this in another post). Full of meds and fully dilated, it became time to push around 2 AM on Saturday, December 3, 2011. The room was prepped and our Doctor and 2 nurses were present to get this show on the road. The final pushing process ended up taking about an hour and a half, which were told is relatively quick for a first time mother. With an epidural, it’s hard to push since you can’t feel anything and therefore lack the muscle response and confirmation that you are actually doing anything. My job was to keep Claire’s neck propped up and coach her words of encouragement, breathing techniques, etc in her ear. We pushed for 10 seconds at a time at the start of contractions and rested in between until the next one started. I also forgot to mention that the contraction monitor timed and measured the degree of the contractions eliminating the old dad with a stop watch and a note pad method. The Dr. just looked at the screen and would say to start pushing in 3…2…1…

Finally, at 3:28 AM, JJ entered the world much to all of our relief. He was given Apgar scores of 9 at both the 1 minute and 5 minute checks (FYI AKA he came out just fine. We spent the rest of the day relaxing with our baby without a care in the world as the nurses took care of everything for us. However, all of that changed the next day as the nurses prepared us to go home and suddenly made us do the diaper changing, cleaning, etc. The only concern that arose after he was born was his eating. JJ simply wasn’t staying awake to feed and subsequently wasn’t filling any diapers, a prerequisite for being released from the hospital. Despite the help of a lactation consultant and multiple nurses, JJ simply would sleep while eating. We suspect that this was a side effect from the epidural unfortunately. We were given a deadline of night time on Sunday, 12/4/2011, for him to eat and process regularly or he would probably need to be admitted to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit.

To our relief, that wasn’t necessary as he suddenly became more hungry and active in the afternoon and was ok’ed to be released around 6 PM. With baby in hand, Claire and I happily left the hospital to begin our new life together with our baby!


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