Thursday, October 6, 2011

When two becomes three

The evening before, when Janne and I were going to bed, at around 11, she complained about a pain in the stomach and got up to take a bath. I was mildly suspicious, but the last couple of weeks she'd had some painful practice contractions and trouble with the back. I was exhausted, having slept poorly the previous week, told myself that if true labor contractions had started, she would tell me, and continued to try to sleep poorly.

At around 6:00 in the morning, I finally wake up to a meak yell from the bath room - Ole, I think we need to hurry up. As I later discover, the light of my life has been in labour all night long, not thinking it was a big deal until she can feel the water break and the baby's head coming down. She gets out of the bath room, calls the hospital, they agree to see her at 7:00. As we later learns, she should have made clearer how far she was and they would have sent an ambulance.

Instead, on her request, I then call my parents who live nearby and get an awake and triumphant mother in the other end at the first ring; she had a bet with my sister on the birth being this very day. My father will come to pick up us. At this point, noone but Janne has any idea how far she is. Yet, my father hurries through the dark empty Sunday morning streets of Aalborg and we reach the hospital safely.

There we're greeted by first an assistant and then a midwife whose shift is ending. She decides to have a look at J. anyway and finds out the cervix is fully open, declares her the most tough and calm woman in labor she's seen so far and immediately walks her to the nearest delivery room.

Lots of pressing, sweating, leg-pulling (the midwife recommends a birth on the side so one leg has to be pulled up during contractions by J. and finally me) and about an hour later at 8:45, our son is fully born. Near the end, when the head is just out, there's a funny episode where the three non-labouring women in the room, the mid-wife, assistant and midwife student are rejoicing over the fine baby head and trying to persuade it into not breathing, which isn't possible as the torso is still not out and compressed by J.

But it is over. Janne gets the child, I cut the umbilical cord, we get to see the placenta and Janne gets some stitches while the midwife try to distract her by talking about breastfeeding.

The midwife assistant was kind enough to give us a good pull at the foot so we got all the mucus screamed out of the throat

One happy new mother a couple of hours after the birth (and some breakfast) - if the little guy looks somewhat baked, that's because somebody forgot to tell the new father who was ordered to dress him that he was supposed to turn off the heating lamp in the box after giving the boy outdoor clothes on, oops - this was after the father nearly managed to burn his own hair by sticking it into the heating lamp

Apple, Google, beware - they had a magic tablet, when we got in they wrote our names on it, and by magic, when the birth was over there were happy flags and everything on it, I swear I never saw anyone get near it (the text is "first child, fine boy :), pregnant for 41+0 [weeks/days], congratulations with him")

Afterwards, we were kindly allowed to stay for four days at a patient hotel as a special service for new parents. Four days of getting to know the little guy, the three of us alone, apart from occasional visitors, getting help from midwifes to get breastfeeding going (whoever said the nipple is the only intuitive interface obviously wasn't a mother), and lots of good food. It was fantastic!

One happy, and somewhat tired, new father

The little guy in a transportable cradle we used to get him to the hotel restaurant - the book of hypnosis is used to pacify him temporarily

It's 12 days ago today. We've already learned a lot, all three of us. He's now looking around, taking in the world, folding his little fingers, trying to use his limbs, practicing looking angry, smiling, grinning.

One thing that really surprised me, in addition to the enormous wave of happiness which so far has steered us through sleep deprivation, occasional moments of angry, nerve-wrecking screaming; what really surprised me is how funny such a little guy can be. For instance, at one critical moment in the middle of the night we both hold our breath at a pause in the crying, looking at him, his eye brows pulled together, mouth turned downwards, will he accept our attempt at comforting him? And then he farts loudly, gives us a quick happy grin and falls asleep.

Closeup of the little guy 6 days later, the red marks above the eyes are now fading, they probably come from J. who gave him a good squeeze when the head was half-way out (the midwife ordered a pause)

One of these days we're going to give him his first bath. And I can't wait to see what he will do.