OK, here we go…
A Ticking Time Bomb
Kelly had been walking around dilated to five centimeters, five weeks before the due date. A bit early, so she stopped walking and took it REALLY easy. Then, as time came closer to two weeks before (normal for her to give birth) she picked up the activity. At the checkup on Monday, she was ready to go. So we went home, settled the kids in, ate and headed over the
Once there, she started going in to labor on her own, which was perfect. Although we arrived at the hospital at 4ish, the Dr. didn’t come until about 9:45. He showed up, broke her water and said, “I’ll be in the Dr. lounge. When it starts happening, let me know,” and he left. Perfectly normal – for any other woman giving birth. Kelly asked, “Don’t you want to stay around?” She had already told him how quickly she goes after the water is broken. “Nope, just page me.”
He left and the contractions, although very apparent before, shot up to a 10 on the pain scale. The first six or so she was able to handle – barely. Then the next one came and it was too much (she didn’t have any drugs). So, to take the edge off I rubbed her back and she pretended to eat a Baskin & Robbins mint chocolate chip ice cream cone, complete with licking and turning the cone to get the drip on the other side. And it worked! Until it didn’t. Three contractions of that and the 4th (10 or so in all after the water break) she turned on her side and said, “I’m going to push.” I knew what that meant, but the nurse did not. She sat in her chair and said, “OK, go ahead.” Kelly looked at me and said, “No really, I’m pushing.” Add a little bit of screaming and the nurse stood up. We took back the sheet and the baby’s head was half way out. No Doctor. No breaking down of the bed. No setting up of instruments. Just Kelly, the nurse and I.
The nurse told Kelly to stop pushing. Normally, we would count that a most inconsiderate request. The bowling ball is at the most painful point and she has to stop. But we understood – we were totally unprepared for this. The nurse ran over and grabbed some gloves. In the mean time, Kelly is working her way off the top of the bed – trying to run away from the pain. I had to support her head with my right hand as it hung out in space and my left pulled her leg back.
The nurse could only get one glove on before the head was out. She threw the second one at me. “Put it on my hand.” Very unskillfully given the circumstances, I tried to get it on her out-stretched hand as the other held the baby’s head. I didn’t do so well and she said, “That’s good enough” as the palm was covered but not one of her fingers were in the right place in the glove.
“The head is out.”
Somewhere about this time the nurse hit the Nurse Call button. “Hello, this is the nurse’s station, can we help you?”
“We need some help – Now,” the nurse said with intensity but calmly to not freak Kelly out.
“OK, we’ll send someone down.” Obviously, the intensity didn’t translate over the mono-speakers on the other side. (I’m thinking of taking up donations for a surround sound system for the nurse’s station so they can understand, beyond the simple words, what is happening.) But you think Kelly’s screaming would have given it away.
Assuming my position supporting the head and legs, I tell Kelly, “The head is out.” This helps her as she knows the body is the easy(er) part.
“Stop,” the nurse says. “The cord is wrapped around his neck.” She reaches around with her finger and lifts the snug cord up and over his head. Another push and the body came shooting out (no, I mean that very literally). The nurse, with one swift motion and using the momentum of the baby’s forward movements, quickly guided his small body out and to the bed and then quickly ran away to go get the suction, clamp and scissors which were across the room. Imagine this: Mother at the top of the bed, dad supporting the head and leg still. Nurse across the room. New baby flopping around at the other end of the bed by himself. A very unique sight.
Kelly couldn’t tell what was happening exactly because of the pain and the fact that the bed was flat and she could not see the other end of the bed – she was in a state of limbo. “He’s out. You’re done,” I said.
“But why isn’t he crying?”
“He’s just fine,” the nurse said from the other side of the room as she quickly tried to get everything from the instrument cart. She quickly came back and suctioned out his face and we heard the first little attempt at a cry – a big relief for Kelly. Once the cord was clamped, cut and the baby in a blanket (which she had to go back and get) She placed the baby on Kelly. She went back to work doing something (we were focusing on the baby) and then took the baby again to get him all checked out.
The Doctor Appears
It was about that time that the first nurse saunters into the room. “Oh. Oh my.” Soon after that the next nurse. “Page the doctor. They do, and a few minutes later he appears. When he does, and sees what happens, he looks a little annoyed. He comes over, finishes all the fun after-birth activities.
The nurse is the hero of this story. She was incredible. Kelly was the woman of the hour and I was the bystander, soaking it all in so I could tell you this story.
A.B. – After Birth
The baby’s head came out so quickly that it was beat up – it was black and blue (or so they tell me) and very swollen (I could tell that part). Besides that, he is perfect. Kelly has healed more quickly than she ever has thus far.
Although she was glad she did it without pain medication, she would not suggest it to anyone else.
And thus the Jones family is complete. Eight healthy kids, two very blessed and thankful parents and a neighborhood that has never been the same.