Monday, March 12, 2012

Life - The Day Before The 2012 Ris Van Bethel

I suppose the time to start the report on the promoter's side of the 2012 Ris Van Bethel is about 11:58 PM on Friday night. That's about the time that the Missus, after a second check, realized that her water broke. She leaned over me on the bed, nudging me awake.

"Honey, I think my water broke."

Instantly awake, although unable to see because I was squinting against the bright-to-me light in the room, I turned towards her voice.

"Did you do COAT?"

COAT is an acronym for what to check when you think your water broke - Color, Odor, Amount, Time.

I guess the child birth classes helped.

We packed our bags, which, ironically, we'd unpacked just days earlier. We had already been to the hospital for two days, the prior Thursday and Friday, because they thought they needed to induce. After a pretty stressful 30 hours or so they decided the kid wasn't ready. As friends in the know put it, he wanted to sit in just a bit longer.

That made for a very stressful first Bethel, but that's already in the past. For this one we thought we'd be clear. The doc had told us that they'd induce the day after the due date, March 19th, and we kind of took it for granted that that was when she'd have the baby.

Extremely late on March 9th little Koichi decided for us. He'd arrive just a touch earlier.

We got to the hospital about 12:40 AM.

"Hi, I'm having a baby, can I come in?"

The powers that be wanted to verify that the Missus's water had in fact broke. Unlike my idea of water breaking (until that point) it's basically a non-event. It's not like a huge water balloon popped, leaving everything in a two foot radius soaking wet. It's more like you left your bottle in your gear bag and it slow leaked into your clothes, finally getting the bottom of the bag a bit damp, something you discover only when you get home from the race.

"Daggummit, the bottle leaked Powerade everywhere."

At some point they did, indeed, confirm that the water had broken. In absence of an exploded water balloon, they did a simple check - see what's left inside. If the balloon was still full, it didn't break.

It was empty.

So they started to induce labor. For the second time.

I should point out about this time that we're both Cat 5 parents. We tried to be good. We spent time going to child birth classes ("COAT" etc), we went to a nursing class (no live models, but they do show videos and pictures), took a tour of the maternity ward, and went together for a bunch of ultrasounds and such. We read some books. We perused websites. The Missus showed me some graphic birth videos, knowing how squeamish I can be, and hoping that such previews would help prevent me from fainting when the little guy popped out.

But just like driving, sex, or even racing a bike, you simply cannot know until you do it.

Therefore we were and basically still are Cat 5 parents.

The Missus in the birthing room.

I have to admit this picture is from the prior visit, the week prior. We developed an afinity to that room so we requested it the second time we came to the hospital. They let us have the room, and we settled in like we were pros.

Before things got too crazy the Missus told me that if Koichi popped out earlier than later, with no complications (no c-section, no other weirdness), that I had to go to Bethel. There was a sense of finality in her proclamation.

In birthing class they said that you can't count what a woman in labor screams or yells because she gets a pass due to extenuating circumstances. For me, though, the Missus just said it in her normal voice.

I guess it counted.

During the birth process, after the doc arrives (they arrive late in the game, for those of you who don't know, like us at that time), the Missus asked him something we never asked before.

"How many babies have you delivered?"

His paused made me blurt out something.

"Don't tell me this is your second."

He laughed.

"5,000. Maybe 6,000."

Properly appeased we continued on. After some edited events (birth stuff is very biological and not really a public thing), Koichi popped out just before 10 AM.

I did not faint.

In fact, my first instinct was to reach out and catch his left arm, but without a sterile blue glove on my hand, I held back.

And the doc handled it for me.

I will say that I got to cut the umbilical cord (this is apparently a thing they do nowadays - it was news to me when the Missus mentioned it during one of our many birth talks months prior). It was touch and go since said cord was wrapped around Koichi's neck, but the doc, quick as a flash, clamped two clamps, jammed my hands in a third clamp (which ended up being scissors, not a clamp), and said, "You can cut now."

Everything focused into about two square inches. I could see the ends of the scissor-like clamps, the scissors I held, and the very thick (to me) cord.

A couple snips and it was done. We now had a son independent of our own bodies (her body, to be precise).

They cleaned up all the stuff you never knew about until you're in a birthing room, cleaned up the baby, swaddled him in they way only a Cat 1 nurse can swaddle a baby (swaddling is where they wrap the little tyke up like a buritto, the kid loves it for some reason), and handed him to the Missus.

Cat 1 swaddle.

I took pictures. The Missus's mom (MM?) took pictures. No helmet cam since no videos allowed, just pictures.

We moved to a maternity room (now that the Missus suddenly became a Mom), which meant me dragging all the computer stuff for Bethel over to another room.


Yeah. See, it was Saturday morning, barely, when we left for the hospital. And because the next Bethel was Sunday... yes, I grabbed the computer bag with the laptops (finishline and registration) and all the various electronics we use to try and make the Bethel Spring Series a good race.

Missus's bag, check. My bag, check. Bethel bag, check.
This was just after midnight March 10th.

So, once settled in the maternity room, early afternoon Saturday, the Missus and I had to have a little discussion.

"You should go to Bethel."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. You should go. The baby will be fine here. My mom is here. You can come back Sunday."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. Is everything ready? Did you get the spreadsheet done? Numbers?"
"Um... let me work on that."

My last shot of him before I left. He's about 6 hours old here.

I called my dad's house to let them know I'd be down in that area about 6:30 PM (it's a 1.5 hour drive down). As usual they wanted to meet up at Kazu, my dad's favorite Japanese restaurant, one that introduced our first nephew to the outside world (I think he was two days old when he first visited Kazu).

I headed home and packed the car with Bethel bins and hit the road.

On the way down the adrenaline of the day started to wear off. I'd gotten to bed about 10 or 10:30 the night before. I woke up basically at midnight, and other than an hour in the birthing room and maybe 30 or 45 minutes in birthing triage (where they checked balloon status), I'd been up since then.

I had to really focus on driving. I was a dad. I couldn't be careless. I called my dad's, told them that I couldn't make it to the restaurant, that I'd just head straight to the house. With three nephews living there they understood.

I got to the empty house (my childhood house - in fact we sleep in "my" room when we go there) and set up camp in the kitchen, plugging in the radios, finish line cameras, my helmet cam, laptops, cell phone, power meter, wireless broadband, and I don't know what else.

The family arrived home shortly after and I couldn't help but stay up a bit to tell the stories they already knew so well, the worries, the excitement, the wonder of birth.

I set the alarm for 5:15 the next morning, daylight savings robbing me and everyone else of an hour of sleep. I hoped adrenaline would help get me up. It'd be a long day, but at the end of it I'd be able to go back to the hospital and visit the Missus and the little tyke.


Mike R. said...

I was doing alright till you mentioned the lack of helmet cam footage. The mental image of a heavily revised birth video complete with subtitles caused me to lose it about there. Congratulations to you and the missus.

Echelon Health Coaching said...

I wonder what cat I am as a dad now? Congratulations again, you two are going to be great parents.

Aki said...

Mike - I told the Missus I really wanted to get some thoughts down in font before I forgot them, and this made me realize I forgot something. But I'll remember now :) And thanks!

Anonymous said...

Satosan - thoughts and prayers with the Pauling Rider who went down today in the 3/4