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Disclaimer: I am not as good a writer as my wife.
My Incredible Wife
First of all I would like to talk about my amazing wife. When she puts her mind to it she can do anything she wants. When she came to me towards the end of the pregnancy and told me she wanted to do the Bradley method, I was nervous. The method meant more responsibility on my shoulders and I had to basically be a coach slash Drill Sargent in the delivery room. Well I LOVE control, but all the horror stories I have heard all my life about that room made me scared. I sure you all know the story off when and how we started the training for Bradley so I won’t go into it, but my wife was determined.
She began to read and train, and tell me to read and help her train and she never looked back. The most amazing thing about the pregnancy part was the fact that even with all the criticism, her conviction that she could accomplish the natural childbirth never wavered. I can not even count the times we tried to explain the Bradley Method to someone and they said “wait till the contractions start and then we will see how NATURAL you want it to be” or “yeah my wife said the same thing, she got the drugs at 3 centimeters”. To be honest I was sure that Em could do it but in the back of my mind there were doubts. Once the process started going, however, the unbelievable women my wife is came out.
Routine Brake Down
This is how it all began. Anyone who has been pregnant and is honest with themselves or any man who has lived with a pregnant women knows what the title of this paragraph is all about. Every once in a while a pregnant women just brakes down. Its not their fault, its not your fault, it just happens. They are hidden like landmines in a overgrown cornfield. You can not see where you are going already (pregnancy is hard to navigate through), and on top of that you have these mines. The best way to deal with them, not that I am a pro, is to just get out of its way, let it do its damage, and then recover.
Well on March 4, 2009, one struck. Thank goodness it was not directed at me. Nevertheless, I felt so bad for Em. She just was excited to have her baby in her arms. She was doing all the right things, but it just wasn’t happening. I came home to console her, calmed her down by saying we could go on a mini-vacation and to look up some places. I left to go to my next group meeting and when we (Chip Chapel was working with me that day) turned left onto North Valdosta Road from 41 my phone rang.
To Go or Not To Go
Em said, “I think my water just broke but its OK you keep working I will call you later.” AHHHHH yeah right. I told Chip to turn the car around and take me home. Like I was going to just keep on working with my wife in labor.
Chip has already had a child and he was on the phone with his wife so I had him ask her a few questions to make sure Em was in labor. Well, I didn’t need his wife advice for long because Em could tell the contractions were stronger. Chip left and I began THE LIST. Anyone who knows Em knows she is organized to the max, me………not so much. I tell her if there is something that needs to be done just to make a list so I won’t have to hear her tell me every 20 min that I need to do this or that before work or whatever. Well THE LIST was not any ordinary list IT was five pages long. Thank goodness we had already done some of it.
As I was doing the list and Em was trying to contribute but at the same time having contractions I told her I thought they were getting kinda close. We timed them and they were like a minute and a half long and 2 minutes apart. Well that sounds like we should probably get to the hospital, but noooooooooo Em had go get “READY.” I was freaking out on the inside trying to remember how those doctors on the videos in the birthing classes delivered the babies, because I thought I may have to. I kept saying we should probably go, and she kept saying no. Well she is the one birthing the child so I let her have her way. Finally around 1:30 I convinced her to go. And yes it was right about the time she finished getting ready.
South GA Medical Center Duecsh Bags
It’s amazing to me that you can go to the Emergancy Room and say, “my wife is in labor can you please get me a wheelchair,” that about 8 people look at you like you asked them to get alein space craft. They honestly just looked around at each other like they didn’t know what a wheelchair was. I am sure my wife is not the first peorson to have a child in Valdosta, REALLY. Thank the Lord Aunt Karen is such a control freak, she walked in right behind me and just opened the door to thier little reception booth thing and grabbed a chair.
While I checked in (what is the point of pre-registering if it still takes forever?), they took Em to a check-in room. When I got there, she was still not relaxing well enough and there were two nurses asking her 1000 questions, dumb ones at that. She really wanted to just get to a room and be with me so I could coach her alone. She was so embarrased about going to the hospital when she was 4 cm dialated. I tried to tell her that she waited two hours after her water broke and 4 cm was kinda far along. She is just insecure and of course did not listen to me she just kept saying “they think I am stupid, they think I am stupid.”
Finally we got put in the delivery room. They were still asking questions (I mean it was at least an hour and 1/2 of questions) and Em was doing better until the first women I ever hit in the face walked in the door. Well I did not hit her for legal reasons but man oh man I wanted to. She strolled in the door and started talking about the IV. Em hates needles and also wanted to make sure she did not get any drugs. Em told the women about her fear and the fact that she wanted to do it natural with no drugs and the women started making fun of her. I gave her the meanest look I could muster but she was relentless. If she was a man I probably would have asked her to go outside. She just kept going and going. Then Em said she wanted to use the restroom and started to get up. That piece of trash said, “No, you can’t.” We explained to her our birth plan and she said, “Well your plan is now changing.” I looked at the other nurse and said that they needed to get her out of their as soon as they could or I was going to lose it. Finally she got the IV in (after 15 minutes of failing at her only job) and she left. Em did tell her she was glad she was leaving.
YOU BETTER NOT MAKE ANY JOKES
Everyone who has every spent 15 seconds around me knows I like attention. Well, I usually try to joke a lot to obtain that attention. The first time we started talking about the delivery room Em made it clear NO JOKES. I asked so many times, “what about early on, or between contractions” she said no and that I could not even laugh. I was very worried about this because it would have taken a monumental effort to keep my mouth shut.
If you know Em well at all you know she is not to fond of jokes any way and she rarely tries to be funny. To my surprise the same woman who told me NO JOKES put on one of the funniest displays of comedy, and it was during her delivery. It is difficult to describe the way she was funny, but some of it was intentional and some unintentional. She would look at the nurses and say “I suck at this don’t I?” over and over and then suddenly she would say “I am doing good aren’t I?” She had the entire room cracking up. One time in the middle of the contraction she looked at me and said “just give me the meds……just kidding.” Definitely the funniest thing she has ever said. Truly it was like I was in a sitcom and she had some invisible teleprompter feeding her these hilarious lines.
Quick Dilation, Slow push, Nervous Husband
As all the question asking nurses left the room Em began to really dial in and perform just like an athlete who had been training for years for this one event. She relaxed great and even the pictures do not due her justice. She would look at me and tell me another one was coming, She would get ready and focused and just relax through each one. She did not realize how awesome she was doing until she saw the pictures. She kept saying that she was not relaxing enough, but she didn’t realize that you can’t relax as good as you can at home when you are practicing without an actual contraction. She was doing so great I was truly amazed. She made the experience such a blessing to me because I was not freaking out about how painful the contractions were.
OK, we both thought that Em was going to be in labor for at least 12 hours. Most of the first time mothers usually are. Well when we got to the hospital and she was 4 cm, I was pretty sure it was going to happen a little faster. When they checked her again and she was five in about an hours time, I thought to myself that a cm an hour was not that bad. The next time they measured her she was 7 cm. That was so fast. I can’t remember exactly how much time but it was around an hour. When she hit eight and looked at me and said, “Well I did it, I can’t get meds now.” I started to shed a few tears. I have never been so proud of my wife. Almost every women I know who has given birth talks about the horror of the pain and how bad it hurts. Em said she was going to do it natural. She didn’t listen to all the naysayers. She set her mind to it and did it. All the times in football when I played through the pain or got injured and toughed it out, she made me look like a sissy. She truly is a solider. Em was doing so well with the contractions the time just flew by. 30 min later Em was ten and it was time to push. I was thinking holy crap that was quick. They said the baby could be here in 30 min and I started getting excited.
Em started pushing during the contractions and I was amazed. She was pushing so hard, but from a non-experts point of view it seemed she was making little progress. The nurses kept saying the baby would move little by little. I almost compare it to riding a 10 speed bike with the setting on one. You can peddle really fast but the wheels move slow. I was thinking to myself “how can she keep this up?” 5:30 rolled around and the baby was no where in sight. I was not concerned because the nurses were saying that she was making progress. 6 o’clock came and baby was still not in sight, just the nurses could see the head while Em was pushing. I was still not worried because I though it would be a little difficult because Em was small. Em was pushing so hard and never once complained about being tired.
One of the funniest things about Em were the ice chips and the blessed I-Fan. Between every contraction and every push, if I did not have the fan on her she would say “FAN.” It was harder than it sounds. For one, I held it over her face from 2 o’clock to 6:55 (Kinda long). Secondly, she would ask me to do other things like fix her IV cord or get ice chips or text someone. Then the second I would go to do the other thing she would say, “Where is the fan?” Obviously a lose lose situation, but very humorous.
When 6:30 hit I began to become very concerned. The woman I love more than anyone on earth was pushing as hard as she could and I knew that 2 hours was the magic number. I did not want Em to get a C-section because she did not want one and she had done so well up to this point and she would be devastated if she did not deliver vaginally. She would always blame herself even though it was not her fault. I secretly as possible kept asking the nurse if she was going to make it and the nurse said “I think so.” So reassuring. Then Debbie ( THE MIDWIFE) said she needed to have the Dr come in. She made some lame excuse of why, I could tell it was bull. That’s when I started to freak on the inside. I did not show it to Em. I stayed positive and kept coaching.
Finally the Baby Comes
At around 6:40 Debbie started to get the syringe ready for the episiotomy. It gave me hope. Then soon after I saw the babies head poke out a bit. It did go back in after Em stopped pushing but I was so excited. The nurse looked at Em and said “Come on Emily, if this is a good push we might can get his head out.” The next contraction came, and Em gave it a huge push. I saw the head come out then whoosh his entire body came out really quick. It was so unexpected because usually the head comes and on the next push the baby comes all the way.
I didn’t even have time to process the fact that the baby was there and all of a sudden Elizabeth jumps up and says “it’s a boy.” Music to my ears. I looked at Em and said you did it, you did it. She said to me, “you have a son.” Now don’t get me wrong, I would be thrilled with a girl as well, but the entire pregnancy Em (and just about everyone else) thought it was a girl so I had mentally prepared for a girl. There is also just something special about that father son relationship. I have a great one with my dad.
I had planned on cutting the cord all along. The doctor looked at me and asked me if I wanted to. I said, “Yes” and she handed me the scissors. When I cut into it, it was like cutting a big strip of rubber. Very different than you would expect.
They took the baby and cleaned him off and finally I got to hold him. It was a great experience. I felt bad that Em couldn’t hold him for awhile because she was getting stitched up, but I will never forget those 30 min with him and how I felt just looking at him. I could not stop smiling and even at this moment as I write this I can’t believe I have a SON! He was working his mouth in a sucking motion almost the entire time. I told the nurse this and that I thought he wanted to feed, but she said “no that is just a natural reaction.” Well no duh, its a natural reaction because a baby has the instinct to nurse. Don’t they go to school for a few years for this stuff?
One thing I did see that was weird was the placenta. It was pretty gross. I was walking around holding Kye and I glance down at the doctors work station and Bam! A 16 oz steak covered in ketchup. That is exactly what it looked like. But no worries I will not have trouble eating a steak, they are too good.
Announcing the Name
It was really cool that the name was a surprise. The family had to wait like 1 hour or so while Em got stitched up and then feed the baby. I had to go into the waiting room to get some bags and stuff and they swarmed me with questions. I told them to wait a little longer they would get to see in a minute. When they finally got to come in, it was cool. They did not know the sex or the name. Em announced that it was a boy, and everyone cheered and Dad gave me a high five (he was pumped to have a Parker grandson). Then I announced the name. Before I could make a joke, someone shouted, “don’t joke now tell us the real one.” So that ruined my joke. So I said his name is Candler Kye Parker. Em then said we are going to call him Kye.
We fellow shipped with those that were there for a while then we got transferred to the overnight room. I slept pretty well. I felt bad for Em because she was so weak. Imagine working out your arms for 3 straight hours repeating every 2 to 3 minutes. Yeah, her arms were unusable. I had to place Kye in just the right position to feed. She had trouble getting up to go to the bathroom because of the stitches, but she remember every moment of the delivery because she was not drugged up and that was priceless.
Going Home and Being a Daddy
There were so many people who came to visit us at the hospital and probably more to visit Kye. It was very nice and I appreciate all the flowers and gifts. It was extremely fun to dress him for the first time in his blue hoodie outfit and see what he looked like in real clothes. It was awesome to go home though.
It was an unsure feeling at first. There is no real transition phase. You are not parents, then you are. You question how good you will be and are not sure if you are doing things right. The most surprising thing to me was how natural it all comes. I love, I mean love being a dad. I just seem to know what to do. Em is just as good. I am so blessed to have such a great wife who is going to be an awesome mother. I already respected Em, but after the 9 months of carrying the baby, and then the delivery I hold her on the highest pedestal possible. She truly is an incredible woman. I am so glad we held on to each other because a woman like Em only comes around so often.
I want to thank my wife for everything she has done. I love you baby. I want to thank all of you who have helped Em with ideas and little things throughout the process. So many times Em would tell me she got advice from this person or that person and it helped us a lot in most occasions.