I was at work in the lab alone on Friday night. My phone buzzed, letting me know I had a text. It said, "I just had the strongest contraction I have ever had!" I had been waiting for this message for a couple weeks now. I had to finish up my work in the lab. I finished around nine o'clock, calling Jami whenever I had stopping point. I had walked to school that day, so I had to walk home, a journey of about two miles or twenty-five minutes. I called the parents first. None answered. Typical for a situation like this. I got a hold of Jami's brother Jeremy and let him know. I called and let the other siblings know. When I was well on my way home, Jami told me she needed me home right then. I said I would be home in about twenty minutes on my own, but she let me know that would not be soon enough. So McKenzie gave me a ride home.
When I got home, I was excited. But my first glance at Jami, told me that this was for real. She was in pain, or "discomfort" as we say in Hypnobabies. I tried to help her relax. She was taking a bath. Our bath tub developed a leak a couple weeks previous. Despite the steadily increasing water that was all over the bathroom floor and spreading substantially to the computer room, I didn't say a word about it. Even though Jami was in visible discomfort, more than I have ever seen her in, I was amazed at how well she was handling it--and I'm not just saying that to appear to be a nice husband to all of Jami's friends, it really was amazing!
I had heard from some of our friends (props to the Disparte's and the Thayer's) how they (the women) had done so well with natural childbirth. I had hoped that Jami would be able to do a fraction as well as they had, but I had my fears as Jami is not known for her ability to handle pain. But Jami's months of practice and preparation paid off, and she was doing great. She was handling the discomfort within herself, and was not demanding to hold my hand in a crushing grip as I have seen on so many television shows. Little did we know at that time just how far along she really was and well she really was doing.
We timed contractions. Anywhere from forty-five seconds to a minute, and two minutes from the start of one to the start of the next. Jami told me to call the midwives. Why had I not found her number and put it somewhere I could find it in the crucial moment? After a few wasted minutes, I realized I had the women's center phone number on my phone. After listening to the automated voice, pressing "1" for English, going through list of options, and so forth, I was finally able to page the mid-wife. She called right away. She asked how Jami was doing. I reported her contraction rates. She asked if Jami could talk through contractions. "Yes, a little bit." "Well," she replied, "Have her stay at home as long as she can. It's more comfortable. Call me back in an hour."
Jami mercifully had moved to the bed, and I could drain the water. I had been packing a few last things into our hospital bag that Jami had on her checklist. I was glad that Jami had been so insistent on having everything ready to go--car seat in the Jeep, full tank of gas, house cleaned, hospital checklist, etc., etc. With everything ready to go, I was stuffing my face with corndogs and fruit and nut bars to prepare myself for a twenty-four hour birth. Over an hour later I still hadn't called the midwife back. Jen the midwife called to see how it was going. I told her it was all the same. She wanted to know if Jami could feel the baby moving down. She couldn't. So Jen suggested that we come to the hospital so they could see what was going on.
Easier said than done. With only one minute between contractions, it was hard to get Jami dressed, and of course she would not settle for baggy pajamas. She wanted to be looking cute in the hospital. So we struggled in between contractions ("pressure waves") to get her jeans and socks on. Eventually we did. And we were off!
The only thing Jami had not gotten around to preparing: a snack for the nurses. Hypnobabies suggests this, I think probably because for the hospital staff it is a big hassle to deal with all these special requests that go along with mothers who want a "natural" childbirth. I tried to get Jami to give this idea up, but she insisted that I stop and buy some cookies for them. So I went in and bought some bakery cookies.
I had the Youtube videos of Hypnobabies' births going through my head. The births were so awesome. The women were strangely quiet and controlled. A few quiet grunts, and suddenly a baby would appear. Could Jami be so controlled? I didn't know.
We went to American Fork hospital. I dropped Jami off at the front door, and she went up alone. I got the hospital bag, CD player, and of course the cookies. I headed up, and by the time I got there they had Jami getting into her hospital gown. Jami didn't quite make it that far. She told them, "I feel like I need to push right now." "Really?," the nurses asked. So they got Jami on the bed, checked her, and yep, she was fully dilated! That was such a relief, to know that Jami had succeeded in handling the worst part. Jami smiled, and I knew she was thinking the same thing. All of the nurses became super complimentary of Jami because she was being such a Spartan about quietly handling the pain. Jami just said, "Hypnobabies." The nurses who have seen many other mothers doing the same thing, said skeptically, "Yes, but it is you too." And surely it was Jami herself doing a great job too. The nurses then started getting frantic. I think there were about six nurses in the room hurriedly hooking Jami up to tubes, putting monitors on her, and getting her basic info. They called for the midwife to come, who was helping a second woman give birth that night. She was very surprised too, because we had been so calm about things on the phone.
"You're having a baby right now!," the nurses told Jami. So the transition phase began. Jami started pushing. Everything was happening so fast. The nurses were all busy. They didn't have time to read Jami's "Birth Plan" that she had taken weeks to prepare. So much for that. But all of the nurses there were very familiar with the types of things that women who want natural childbirths request. I sent a text to the parents and siblings saying, "We are at the hospital."
Of course we couldn't have packed our bag without forgetting something. I don't know what the worst thing to forget could be for a time like this, but we forgot the camera card and that has got to be near the top on such a list. We had even bought extra batteries on eBay and had been charging them for weeks to be all ready for the big day. Such is life. Thank goodness we had our cell phones to get something.
I asked if I could help catch the baby. They got me some gloves. Pretty soon I could see the head coming. It looked like a giant raisin, and I was getting worried our baby was going to have a really wrinkly head. I didn't tell Jami that though. Jami asked what color his hair was, it looked brown, but Jen told her it looked red--probably just to motivate her to push harder. Midwives are smart like that, just kidding. Jami kept pushing. She was grunting pretty loud, not because of discomfort, just because she was giving a powerful effort to push the baby out.
The baby's heart rate started to drop, and Jen gave Jami two more tries to push the baby out. Jami said she couldn't do it, but all the nurses especially Jen were really positive and they encouraged her that she could. Jami tried, but the effort was futile. The midwife had to give Jami an episiotomy. "Dang it!," Jami said. But we realized that was only a small thing. For those of you who think giving birth to a baby naturally would be easy, just imagine having to get a three inch long cut through layers of your skin and muscle with no anesthetic! And that is a very, very small part of the challenge. The episiotomy was the only part that really made feel a little woozy. Jami only winced when she was cut, but the baby's head came right out.
Instantly one arm, then two, then the whole body seemed to instantly pop out. Lincoln came out so fast, I caught half of him and Jen caught the other half, we put him right up on Jami's chest. Jami was so happy and smiling so big! I loved seeing her so happy like that. She didn't even notice Jen sewing up her cut and deep internal tears. And his head was actually quite nicely shaped. :) I then sent another text that said, "The baby is born." They sent lots of texts back that questioned if I was being serious, but I didn't want to be texting at a moment like that. It was awesome to be there and see our son's first few moments of life.
The birth was very much like the ones we had seen on Youtube. I was so glad that Jami was able to do it all naturally like she wanted, and that Lincoln came to us safe and sound. He is very lucky to have a mom who loves him so much.