Wednesday, February 02, 2005

"Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!"

Happy Groundhog Day everyone! It's hard to believe that it's this time of year again already, but it's true.
In celebration, I read Groundhog on Evergreen Road to Saren and Harper. Then Harper read it back to me. It was interesting to learn that another name that groundhogs are known by is "whistle-pig". Hee! Whistle pig.

And, it turned out that apparently the Groundhog did not see his shadow today, which, according to legend means six more weeks of winter. So, um, better luck next year?


In non-groundhog news, Stephanie has already documented the birth story of Irina from her point of view, now here's mine. Between the two of us, I think everyone reading will be able to viacariously live out the birth of our third daughter. [grin]

So, since Steph began her story on the 31st, I'll do the same. While at work, just before leaving, I had a quick conversation with Tina. She mentioned that her sister had gone into labor with one of her children while at a Wal-Mart. (Birth stories have been pretty popular this last week or so at my work.) I said that that was kind of funny, since, except for TV and movies, I'd never seen a woman's water break in public. But, yeah, apparently it does happen. I jokingly said, "Well, we're going shopping tonight, so maybe Steph'll have the baby at Smith's."

So when Steph mentioned that she had bloody show at the Smith's restroom, we finished the grocery shopping as quickly as possible.

Went to sleep on the 31st, with the alarm set for 6 am. I don't normally have to wake up until 7, but I was going to take the bus to work the next day, due to our brakes being less than perfect. (Good thing I didn't. Imagine if Steph had gone into labor while I was at work. She'd've had Irina long before I would've managed to ride the bus back home!) Anywhat- I woke up around 5:30 and realized that Stephanie wasn't in the bed. Part of me considered getting up and checking on her, but the more selfish (and more tired) part logiced that the alarm would be going off in 30 minutes, so I fell back asleep.

As soon as the clock hit six, I jumped up, and walked into the living room. There was an air about my wife, and I knew the answer before I asked, but I asked anyway. "Do you want me to stay home?" She hesitated for about three seconds before saying, "Yes."

I smiled happily and called Tina. Of course she wasn't in the office yet, so I got her voicemail. I left a message saying that today would be the day, wish us luck, and I'll call you back later.

Stephanie then wanted something to eat. I wondered if she'd be able to stomach it - in the hospital they never let women eat anything more than ice chips - but I made her the toast and orange juice, and she ate it all.

The TV news was on, but I honestly can't recall any of the stories. I was too focused on Steph. I asked, "What can I do?" and she told me, "Don't watch me." Heh.
Steph then got up to take her shower, and I cleaned up the living room. Once she was done showering, she brought out the birthing blankets and set them beside the small couch. She knelt down, and let the contractions do their work.

At some point shortly thereafter, Saren woke up and came out. Like Steph said, at first she looked groggy, but when she realized what was going on, she had a look of intense awe on her face. She asked me, "Is the baby going to come soon?" I said, "Yes." and she got a huge smile.

I got Saren her breakfast, and she tried to eat, but Stephanie was sort of screaming, and it was pretty distracting to her. We comforted her, though, letting her know that Mama was okay and not to worry.

Harper woke up from the noise and as I was going to get her her cereal, Stephanie yelled out, "Pat, I need you!" I ran back in and asked what, she responded, "Baby!" and then things happened very very fast.

I helped Steph up slightly, and I saw that her water had already broken. I looked down and could see the baby crowning already. "It's coming!" I reported, and I was dimly aware of Saren and Harper standing behind me watching as well.

Two more pushes, and she was born. I said, "Oh my goodness!" about a gabillion times, as my daughter slid from my wife into my arms. Catching a baby is fucking awesome. Feeling the gooey newborn, all warm and It's like nothing else ever. The baby was already colorful, not purple, like I remember seeing with Saren and Harper, and not like I was expecting. She did have some mucus in her cry, so we put her bellydown on Steph's leg and we rubbed her back for a bit. I don't know when I reported, "It's a girl!" but I know it was very soon after her entire body was out.

Steph had me get the string to tie the umbelical cord and some scissors - run under extremely hot water for several minutes - so that the cord could be cut. My only regret from the whole ordeal was that as I was cutting the cord, I sensed that Saren was behind me, and I didn't ask her if she wanted to do it.

Eventually Steph birthed the afterbirth (placenta, and lots of blood - although I remember it being a lot grosser at Saren and Harper's births - maybe I'm just getting desensitized to them), we cleaned up, and phone calls were made.

Some of the people I talked to were unaware that we were doing a homebirth (let alone unassisted). When it came out in the phone calls, the general reaction was supportive. As Steph's mom put it, "My friends are all in awe of you guys. They also think you're crazy."
Me: "Yeah. We get a lot of that."

After the inital phone calls, we still hadn't settled on a name. We had been so certain that the baby was a boy, and while she'd been in utero, no girl names had "clicked", that we just didn't have one for her. I hopped online, and found a baby name site and started doing some surfing. We had some potential names (Margaret, Delana, Irina, Ember, Apple Egg Delight) but we figured maybe the interweb would help strike the inspiration. Eventually, of course, we settled on Irina Zoey, and when we said it, it felt right. And it is.

The rest of the day - and today, too, for that matter - has been blissful goodness. Having been a part of the birth here at home, I really just don't understand why anyone has a baby at a hospital. It's so amazing, and I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. Irina is very peaceful - which is funny, since "Irina" means "peace" - and alert and smiley and just amazing. There's nothing like having a newborn fall asleep in your arms to reaffirm your belief in humanity.

I'm so happy right now. Life is good.


The birth from Oreo's perspective:

First, the big ugly cat that I kinda like [he means Steph - P@] started making strange noises. And everytime I tried to investigate the smells (they were so interesting), the big ugly cat that I kinda like would push me out of the way.
Later, the big ugly cat with short whiskers [that'd be me - P@] came out, and he'd push me away too. I tried to scratch the couches to relax myself, but that made the big ugly cat with short whiskers mad too. (It always does. If he'd only try it, then he would see how relaxing it is!)
The two small big ugly cats came out too, but they didn't pay any attention to me, which suited me just fine. I could take a hint of when I wasn't wanted, so I went back into the bedroom and slept.

Now there's a NEW ugly cat, but I can't bring myself to investigate it yet. Just as long as it doesn't eat my food, we're cool.


Anonymous said...



Katherine said...

Rad! Way to go!


"Catching a baby is fucking awesome."


Simon said...

I don't mind telling you, man, I was nearly crying there. And it was the bit about Oreo that made me feel that.

I don't know why, either. My best guess is that that bit showed me how good you're feeling right now.

I am so happy for Steph and yourself. So happy.

Finally, "Apple Egg Delight"! Hee hee!

Jess said...

Like Saren, I feel a bit like crying and a lot in awe.

(However, SPISH concerns aside, I'm glad you didn't choose Ember, because that's what our friends will name their kid if it's a girl. I'd always be getting mixed up. If it's a boy they're going for Orion, which I didn't tell them is the name of our other friends' dog.)

Anonymous said...



Annika said...


Best Entry ever.

And of course, your call on Tuesday was the best phone call ever.

Oh, man. I am getting all teary again. I am so insanely happy for you!

Amy said...

Yeah, "Catching a baby is fucking awesome" made me laugh and cry at the same time.

Also, I would like to propose that perhaps Irina just wanted you to think she was a boy. That way she could surprise you! Gotcha!

P@ said...

Jess - Orion is the name of my boss' dog as well! (I didn't know this until I called her back and filled her in on the whole birth story. I mentioned that we didn't have a name for the baby yet, because we were so sure it would be a boy. When I said that Orion was the intended boy's name, she told me that that was her dog's name.) Small world, I guess.

Amy said...

If you had known that, you could have just named the kid "Indiana"!

Heath said...

Wooooooo! Biggest of congrats to be had you crazy slime baby catcher!