First couple days home have been good. Hank is sleeping well, letting us know when he’s crapped his pants and he’s going after that teat like a High School freshman.
His head isn’t all wobbly like some inferior babies and he has actually rolled over from his back to his stomach twice now. He’s so advanced, our doctor says he is in the infinitieth percentile, which means that he is clearly the best baby that ever lived and there will be no babies better than him in the future. We modestly agree.
I don’t really want to go into the entire birth story here, but it was long, a lot of work, and ended in a C-section (which as you may know was not planned). If you have a real curiosity about our war stories, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll fill you in.
Regarding Hypnobirthing: I am really glad we approached our labor that way. In the end, there’s not a whole lot of breathing and relaxation techniques that will get you through a C-section, but for all of the early and mid labor, it was really helpful. PJ was able to relax and control a good amount of the discomfort of her contractions by using the relaxation techniques we learned. I can’t count the number of times I said “Deep breath in…Lonnnng breath out” but it was definitely helpful. I really wish that we had the same success that Matt and Jackie had, but I think our situation just would not allow it.
Things I’ll remember:
The elevators at U of M Hospital all chime with a note that sounds exactly like the first note of “No Surprises” by Radiohead, so every time the elevator doors opened, that song would roll through my head as a mantra. “No alarms and no surprises, please.”
Our birthing room was huge. Like roller skating rink huge. Apparently it used to be room 13 and 14, but nobody wanted to stay in room 13, so they knocked the wall down and made it into one huge room. It had a terrific tub that really helped with the relaxation early on, and the majority of the nurses were really great.
After a considerable number of hours, PJ and I decided that her body could not go any further with just breathing and relaxing and she needed an epidural. Shortly after they put it in, her eyes opened and she said “Oooh, warm and tingly.” This was the closest I came to crying throughout the whole experience. To see her shift from hours of forced concentration and obvious discomfort to smiling and tingling was such a relief to me I coulda cried.
There were many occasions when PJ and I were the only ones in the room during the pushing stage. Nurses would come and go, an occasional doctor would come in and see how we were doing, but for much of it it was just she and I. That was very different than I imagined it.
There were two young doctors that I started referring to as “The Popular Girls” because they seemed really sure of themselves and would kind of look at each other like “What-EVERRR” when we didn’t want to have PJ’s water broken with the crochet hook. They were pretty adamant on it, saying that the labor was not progressing as quicky as they would like and by rupturing the membrane it might speed things along. We said that as long as there was no medically necessary reason for it, we were fine with her water breaking naturally. They were all like “Pfffft. What-EVERRR” so we struck a deal with them: They would come back in an hour and if we weren’t dialated to 8 centimeters, they could break her water. They seemed to indicate that that was not going to happen, since we had been progressing so slowly but they were all like “OK, fine. We’ll come back at 3 o’clock and do it then. Sure enough when they came back we were at 8cm and she had to shut her mouth. Boo-Ya Obstetrician-In-Training. Don’t mess with the Johnsons! 10 minutes later the water broke (“The weirdest feeling ever” according to a close source of mine) and we were able to progress from there.
After we had accepted that we needed to do the C-Section, they loaded PJ up with dope and and brought me some scrubs. When they set them down I said “These are O.R. scrubs” and PJ in her drugged stupor said “Oh, Are they?” God Dammit I love this woman.
When they brought Hank out of his fleshy prison, he said “Ma Ma” clear as a bell. All of the doctors and anaethesiologists laughed. Another funny thing: When he was still in utero, he would get the hiccups every night at 10 pm. He was borned at 9:45, and at 10:00 he got the hiccups.
When we were waiting in recovery, he was fussing. I stood behind him and said “Henry, this is your father speaking” which I would always say when he was being a jerk in utero, and when I said it, he stopped crying and turned his head to look back at me. Attention expectant parents: Your embryo knows when you are watching Scarface and can hear what you are saying you when you are having sex.
I am totally totally in love with the standard hospital receiving blanket. You know the kind with the red and blue Italian racing stripes, made out of flannel that has been washed so many times it looks like it is pink and pale blue with the softest fraying edges imaginable. They are such a marvel of sleek graphic design and a perfect functionality that we stole as many as we could get our hands on. I may be waxing on about this because they hand you your newborn child wrapped up in one after being awake for way too many hours, but I really do love the way these look.
After the “procedure” we ended up in a room on the 7th floor that was set up for two patients. Luckily the first night we were in there by ourselves but the second day they moved somebody in. The good news was that they were really nice people with a good (quiet) baby and they didn’t seem to have any friends or family nearby to come and noisily visit them. The funny thing was that the U.S. Open tennis semifinals were on, and PJ and I are big fans. We had the Haas/Davydenko match on our TV quietly and as the woman who was our roommate was slowly shuffling by on her way to the bathroom, hunched over in her hospital gown with her hand on her back and leaning heavily on her i.v. pole. She looked up at the tv out of one eye and croaked “Oh look honey, Haas is losing to Davdyenko” to her husband. PJ and I looked at each other and our mouths dropped open. Apparently they were huge tennis fans and said that watching the Blake/Federer match was the only way they got through labor.
As we were leaving the hospital at like 10 at night, there were three wild chihuahuas roaming around by the ambulance entrance. I was not even on percoset at the time.
In conclusion: Babies are Awesome.
As I have time, I’ll try to put together a list of things that I found helpful, and things that I wish I had left at home, and now that Matt and I have two real live babies in the BabyRoadies Labs, we should be able to tell you which products rule and which ones suck with greater accuracy — Siskel & Ebert style (although we’ll have to fight over which one gets to be the gay one and which one gets to be the fat one).