Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Insert Witty Title About Sidney's Birth Here...

As those of you that followed the Twitter feed already know, Sidney arrived on January 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm (and for those of you that didn’t follow the feed, he still arrived at that time).  I give the date and time not only because I am a proud new father who cannot help himself, but because today we will be discussing what I learned during Sidney’s birth (the highlights, anyhow), a series of lessons that began at roughly 8:20pm on January 18, 2012 (now you see why the time was important … 42 hours these lessons took.).  So without further ado (in this paragraph at least), here's (some of) what Dad learned on the day(s) he met Sidney.

1) There is labor and there is labor.  To be precise, there is passive labor and there is active labor.  Now, at the time, we (and by “we” I mean “me”; you know, the one who was not about to pass the medicine ball through his nether-regions) had no idea there were two types of labor, and more importantly, just how the two differed.  Passive labor started at 8:20pm on January 18 with  contractions that My Wife (at the time) described as strong and steady.  These went on, getting stronger, for the next 24 hours.  With each passing one she'd grimace just a bit more and then around 7pm on January 19, she had what she thought was a really painful contraction, and we headed to the hospital (for the second time, we’ll touch on this later).  After being admitted and brought to a birthing room, we thought birth would come soon ... after all, this had been going on for 24 hours.  It was at this point that we were informed that My Wife was in passive labor, and that she needed to get into active labor before the real party started.  The contractions, however, were bad enough to warrant an epidural (more below), so that was administered.  The pain kept ramping up and around 8am, January 20, My Wife made a sound I had never heard from her and followed it up with "YOWZERS."  Yes, the pain of reaching active labor is sufficient to knock the ability to curse out of a woman.  From that point to about 1:40 pm, it was a geometrically increasing curve of pain (she was hooked up to a monitor that graphed the contractions ... yes I was doing math during my Wife's labor).  At 1:40pm? Well, at that point the contractions started going off the chart, quite literally.  We reached the screaming, grunting, making deals with the devil portion of labor.  Then, at 1:49, after one final heroic push, Sidney was in the world.

2) I now know why kids end up getting born in cabs.  At about 11am on January 19, My Wife had a series of contractions that convinced us she was ready to go to the hospital.  She called her OBGYN's office and they advised that she wait an hour or so and then head in.  So we wait the hour or so, the contractions continued, we run down, hail a cab and go to the hospital (15 minute ride downtown).  Once there, a doctor whom appeared to be 15 (let's call her Doogette Howser) hooked My Wife up to a contraction monitor (I am telling you, this thing is cool), and after about 30 minutes announced that we were not anywhere near "ready" and should go home.  So hail another cab, go back uptown.  Fast forward to around 7pm and the aforementioned "serious" contraction hits ... hard.  We call the doctor, doctor hears the pain level in My Wife's voice and we are told to come back on down.  Hail another cab ... and proceed to have 3 huge contractions on the ride down.  As I sit here today I realize that we were still several long hours away from the baby coming, but during those contractions we thought Sidney was not going to wait for the hospital (and a few of you joked we should name the kid after the cabbie or some cab themed name had he come then).  Now, we were "lucky" in that Sidney was still hours away when we got in that cab, but given the "we are going to send you home until you are closer to giving birth" rule, and more importantly the inexact science of determining "you are closer to giving birth", some women are not going to make it to the hospital.  The point of my rambling? I can now very easily see how women end up popping out babies in cabs and subways.

3) The hospital at which Sidney was born sucks.  I am going to refrain from naming names (partly out of my gentlemanly nature, mostly because I don't want a letter from their lawyers), but that does not mean I am going to water this down.  From the moment My Wife was admitted at 8pm on January 19 to the moment we were discharged with Sidney at 3pm on January 22, the parade of incompetence would make for a Comedy of Errors but for the facts that: (a) none of it involved mistaking twins for each other (the Lit majors should at least be chuckling); and (b) THIS IS MY SON, WHAT ARE YOU IDIOTS DOING.  Keeping this brief, but accurate, the following happened: (a) the anesthesiologist needed 3 tries to get the epidural into My Wife ... 3 painful tries; (b) while we are on the epidural, they gave her the wrong dosage and drug cocktail on the epidural. Yeah, this one is a biggie, and they explained it several hours later as a "labeling mistake" (we're following up on this one because I am a pissed off Dad that happens to have a license to practice law). Luckily Sidney is fine, as is My Wife, so we are thankful for that, but JESUS CHRIST YOU MORONS; (c) My Wife's OBGYN never saw her (another doctor from her practice group did the delivery).  Three days, not one visit from the primary care physician ... brilliant; (d) they "forgot" to give Sidney his hearing test and perform his circumcision until just a few hours before we were supposed to be discharged ... seriously people?;  (e) the "deluxe" room we checked My Wife into was more along the lines of a seedy motel.  The water coming out of the faucets in the room was brown ... BROWN.  This is a hospital for crying out loud.  Moreover, the "Daddy Bed", the reason we went "deluxe" so I could stay with My Wife and Sidney, was designed by DeSade - seriously, a bed should not assault you (I am still bruised from the "springs"); and (f) did I mention the medication f*ck up?  Because that one is kind of annoying.  I know "things happen", and yes, we are all ok and that is all that matters, and platitude platitude, polite adage, grateful for what we have, if you can't say something nice ... blah blah too polite to be honest blah, but this is a goddamn hospital and having this many things to legitimately complain about is unacceptable.  The place is horrid, and if we are lucky enough to get pregnant again, our second child will not be born anywhere near, period.  So, the take-away from this one is GODDAMN HOSPITAL SUCKED.

4) There are no words to describe holding your new born child.  This is not hyperbole.  I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to describe what it felt like to hold Sidney just moments after he was born.  I cannot even come close.  Elated, over-joyed, overwhelmed, proud, serene, euphoric ... they all cover a corner of it, but even combined the totality of the moment is barely scratched.  In that instant, as I looked into his face and felt him close on my chest, every single thing in my life made sense.  An instant of clarity, a moment of Zen, an overdose of serotonin and dopamine ... call it what you like or will, but I felt it and I still feel it every time he looks up at me.  I am guessing this is an evolutionary mechanism, designed to keep me from killing him in 16 years when he wrecks the car.

More later, but for now I am going to pass out because there is a fifth thing I have learned: sleep comes not for parents of new borns.


  1. Awwww!! Congrats on the birth of your son!! I could only imagine what that feels like..Sucks that you guys had to go through all of that especially the ordeal with the hospital. That's just sick. But again, congrats on your new bundle of joy!

    1. Thank you so much. I hope you keep enjoying the blog!