18 June 2012

9 years ago tonight...

...from Daddy's perspective.  He wrote this while we were in the hospital that night.  I wanted to track this down to share with Kayci today.  :)  Happy Father's Day a little late, Boy-o, and Happy Birthday, Bitty--I love you both bigger than the world.

Kayci Journal 6-18-03

So we went in to Dr. Thompson’s office this afternoon at 3pm for our final prenatal appointment.  After sitting in the little room for what seemed like three hours (it was actually on two and a half), Dr. Thompson came in to see us.  She did her thing down there under the sheet and said that Kristi was 3cm dilated.  Cool.  But she was concerned because Kayci hasn’t been very active the last couple of days and there was something about a lack of membranes. 

Then all of a sudden an ultrasound machine appeared.  Dr. Thompson looked inside and said that there wasn’t much fluid left in there and that there might be a slow leak.  She couldn’t tell much so she decided to send us over to the hospital to monitor Kayci’s heartbeat and to do a more precise ultrasound.

So we went over to the hospital and they hooked Kristi up to some machines.  It was like a little baby seismograph.  We watched Kayci’s heartbeat and Kristi have some little contractions.  The best part was that we got to watch VH1.

Then we went down to Radiology and they looked around with the ultrasound.  This ultrasound was nothing like the last one in February.  No real baby parts- just lots of blobby things.  That’s not exactly true.  We did see her hand clutching her little foot, which was still right in front of her face.  In fact, it was so much in front of her face that we couldn’t get a good look at her face.

So the radiologist called Dr. Thompson, and she decided that it would be best for Kayci to be born tonight due to the lack of fluid in the uterus.


It’s actually kind of weird because in the baby journal on today’s date there’s a little picture of a ladybug.  We joked about how ironic it would be if she were born today because of that.  Also, it’s Kristi’s half-birthday.  Today is the day that she always wished was her birthday growing up and now it looks as if Kayci will have that birthday.

The next several hours are really a blur.  It seems like only about 15 minutes, but as I’m writing this, Kayci is four hours old and it’s almost two in the morning.

The nurses took Kristi off for her epidural and I stayed in a little room to watch TV.  They gave me some paper scrubs to wear, which was cool.  I looked just like a really frugal doctor.  I could almost feel my net worth increase as I put the scrubs on.  Anyway, they told me that the epidural would take about 20-30 minutes and that they would come and get me when I was time.  I had time to watch a whole hour long documentary on Garth Brooks while I waited.  I went out to the waiting room at one point to talk to my dad and Kristi’s parents and I honestly thought, “well hell… I missed it.  They probably came to get me and I wasn’t there.  They’re probably delivering Kayci right now and I’m sitting here missing it, learning about Garth Brooks."  As time went by, I started to get really nervous.  Finally a nurse came down and got me.  It was time!  I only remember being flustered.  In fact, I was so flustered and shaky the entire evening that I was having trouble speaking in complete sentences.  I’m glad the parking attendant spoke Neanderthal because I basically just pointed and grunted.  

Being there in the delivery room was a really strange experience.  I walked in and there was Kristi, lying on the operating table with lots of doctor-type people all around her, including one guy sitting behind a big computer and the machine that goes “BING!”  It was really weird because no one gave me any instruction at all- not where to stand, not when to take pictures, not to quit playing with the scalpels- nothing.  So I just stood there next to Kristi’s head because that’s where the Daddy stood in the video we watched in childbirth class.  Kristi was really drugged up, but she was very happy- her eyes showed it.  I just hoped I didn’t pass out halfway through.

I watched as the made the incision, opened up Kristi’s belly, pried the muscles apart and opened the uterus.  I was told that I wouldn’t be able to see any of that, but from where I was, I got a pretty good look at just about everything.  Birthing babies is messy business.  Pretty soon they reached inside and pulled out this little white gooey thing.  It took me a second to realize that was my baby’s little feet and bottom.  They left her head inside for a second or two while they prepared to suction the stuff out of her.  I started clicking pictures because nobody told me I couldn’t.  When they finally pulled Kayci out, she was this little wrinkled up white thing covered in what looked like cream cheese.  She kinda looked like E.T. when he got sick in the bottom of the creek bed.  For a long moment, Kayci didn’t make a sound.  I’m sure my heart skipped and I know I didn’t breathe.  Then, all of a sudden, she started crying- strike that- screaming.  It was the sweetest sound I had ever heard in my life.  I was listening to her little voice- that sweet little voice I had been imagining for the past nine months.  I’m sure I was grinning like an idiot.  I vaguely remember touching Kristi and stroking her hair and feeling a lump in my throat.  I didn’t cry!

They moved Kayci immediately over to a small table where they began cleaning her up and suctioning her out.  She was still crying very hard and I followed the nurses over to the table to watch.  That’s when the most amazing moment of my life happened.  It was like a religious experience and it’s when I felt like a Daddy for the first time.  I bent down and looked over her.  The nurses were talking to her and trying to quiet her and reassure her.  I said her name and then told her hello and introduced myself.  She immediately stopped crying, like someone turned off a switch, and just lay on the table looking up at me. She recognized my voice!  All that talking to the belly and reading stories had suddenly paid off in one beautiful moment that just hung there in time. So I kept talking, and she kept listening.  That went on for about twenty seconds until one of the nurses stuck a tube down her throat to suction more gunk out.  Even Daddy’s voice was no match for that.  That’s about the time I remembered that my camera took MPEG movies, so I started shooting.  That piece is on the video page.

Watching her those first few minutes were truly amazing.  I remembered to look over at Kristi, but when I did that had her uterus out and were looking it over, so I didn’t bother looking back any more.  I turned all my attention to Kayci.  They “pinked her up,” took her footprints and other stuff that I don’t really remember.  There was just a flurry of activity.  One thing that I remember clearly is that Kayci had her first pee and poop right there on the table, just four or five minutes old.  I was so proud of her.

They finally moved Kayci and let her lay on top of Kristi.  Kristi’s hands were numb and she was upset that she couldn’t feel Kayci, but they lay there looking at each other for a couple of minutes.  I got some good pictures of it. Then they whisked Kayci off and told me to come along- we were going to the nursery.  In the hallway I walked next to the cart, talking to her as we walked.  She wasn’t crying by this point, just looking up with big bright eyes and sticking her tongue out at me.  When we got to the elevator outside the waiting room, my dad was the first one out, followed by Kristi’s dad and then the slowpokes.  They all oohed and aahed until the elevator came and we went upstairs to the nursery.  I wasn’t allowed to go into the nursery, but we all watched through the window as they weighed her and took blood and gave her a bottle.  Her little legs looked like a frog’s- up around her head and out to the side.  She had some big feet and long toes; monkey toes like mine.  Her hair looked dark, but it was wet and there was a lot of gloopy stuff in it, so it was tough to tell what color it actually was.  We all stood there and watched her.  I just stood there, looking at my baby- my daughter.  That lasted about three hours.

Meanwhile, Kristi was in a recovery room.  Her epidural was taking a long time to wear off, so they had to monitor her and keep her warm.  I checked in on her and gave her updates on Kayci.  Having a digital camera and video camera came in really handy that night because I could show Kristi video and pictures of Kayci and what was happening to her.  It was killing her, not being able to see Kayci, and I felt bad too.

We finally went to a room around one-o-clock in the morning.  There were no private rooms available, so we had to share a room with a woman who was sleeping very soundly.  At almost 3am, they finally brought Kayci to our room.  We held her and loved on her and looked at her and loved every second of it.   When you don’t have a private room, no one but Mommy may stay the night.  Kayci had been in the room about twenty minutes when one of the nurses came in and told me I would have to leave and tried to enforce the no “sleep-over” policy.  That made my blood boil and I was pretty ugly to her.  She left and didn’t press the issue again.  After about an hour we sent Kayci back to the nursery so that we could try to get some sleep.  It was 4am, and everyone was exhausted.  Kristi slept in her room and I curled up on the couch down in the waiting room.  It was cold, and I had forgotten to pack any jeans.  I was so tired that it didn’t bother me much.  I slept for about three hours and went back upstairs.

Before long, the nurse brought Kayci back to nurse.  After she did, she went to sleep and Kristi was still very tired and went to sleep also.  So I held Kayci against my chest for over an hour.  She was so cuddly it amazed me.  She wrapped her little legs around my torso and put her head on my shoulder.  As she slept, she sang.  I sang to her and cried.  A flood of emotion swept over me.  It was the best thing I have ever felt- my newborn baby in my arms and just sitting there loving on her.  I was a father now and everything in my life- my perspective on everything- had suddenly shifted and nothing else in the world mattered.

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