Wednesday, May 20, 2009


My take on the birth of Silas:

On Sunday, the 17th, Steph was having contractions throughout the day, with them increasing in intensity, but not really getting any more frequent. However, she must have known that that day was going to be the day, because she set up her "nest" (old blankets and towels) and birth candles and CDs in the bedroom around 2 in the afternoon, and more or less waited it out as the contractions started to happen more frequently.

Around 6:30, Steph called for us to come in, and we did.

During the labor, Steph was in a lot of pain. Several times she said that she didn't want to do it anymore, that it was too difficult. I asked her if she wanted me to call an ambulance so we could go to the doctor, but she said she didn't know. (Saren was against this idea quite strongly) Steph said that she was worried that he was facing the wrong way (although she said "the baby", since we didn't know it was a boy yet) which worried me a great deal.
Soon, though, he began to crown, and we knew that it was going to happen at home. (there was a rather embarrasing moment where when his head was first coming through, there was a glob of blood on him that I mistook for a penis. I'm sure that didn't help matters any with my announcing that the baby was being delivered the wrong way)
With the head starting to crown, Steph pushed several times - I believe it took four pushes to get his head completely out, which is unusual for her. All the other births have been one push for the head, and one push for the body - or in Irina's case, simply one push for the whole baby.
After his entire body came out with the next push, I caught him, and was amazed again at how slimy and tiny and amazing newborn humans are.
The cord was draped over his neck, but he started crying right away, which was a great sound to hear. Irina, however, was standing on the bed with her hands over her ears. Poor girl.
I set the baby on Steph's leg and got a towel to wrap him up in.
Saren got the camera and took some pictures.

He had a lot of hair, which was also unlike the other births. His head was also much larger than I remember any of the girls' being. His eyes were open and looking around very shortly after being born, just taking in his new surroundings.

Steph took Silas and nursed him for a bit, as we all huddled around looking at the newest member of our family.

Once he was out, I asked what time it was, and Harper reported back to me - 7:37. (We later remembered/found out that the clock in the bedroom is five minutes fast, so his official birth time was 7:32pm)

We called Steph's mom, and my family as well, and told them the good news. Stephanie's mother said she was on her way over - but that she would give us some time so that Steph could deliver the afterbirth, and so that we could get things cleaned up a bit.

Silas, the girls, and I all went out to the living room, and we turned on the finale of Survivor (what? We wanted to see how it ended) while I put some frozen pizzas in the oven for dinner. Steph stayed in the bedroom, waiting out the delivery of the placenta.

Once Steph's mom showed up, she looked over Silas while I went back in to check on Steph, who was still not out of the bedroom. I was dismayed at what I saw - there was a LOT of blood on the nest, and Steph's face was really pale. She was sitting up, and saying she couldn't get the placenta to come out. She said that she had stood up to take a shower, and that she had started seeing black spots and her ears were ringing. That was when the option of calling an ambulance for help with this part of the birth was brought up for the first time. Steph at that point said she didn't know.

I left her there to continue working on it, figuring that she simply needed some time (Irina's placenta had taken a while to deliver as well), and joined everyone back in the living room. The girls turned Survivor off so that we could use the Wii Fit's balance board to weigh the baby. :)

According to Wii Fit, he weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces. We were all like, "Holy crap!" Since the other three children had all been around six pounders.

Another ten minutes or so passed, and Steph still wasn't able to get the afterbirth out. When I went back there again, the amount of blood on the ground was ...not good. Steph went through a contraction while I was there, and she pushed, and all that emerged was more blood.

I got her mom, who came back to talk to Steph, and we talked about calling for help again, and this time Steph agreed. I called 911 and the operator told me to have Steph lie flat on her back, and deeply massage her belly, and that the paramedics were on their way. I set the phone down to go do as instructed, and Steph was deeply upset at the idea of going to the hospital. She was terrified that they were going to hurt her, or that they would admit Silas.

We assured her that neither thing was going to happen, and continued to try to get the placenta out. I went back to the operator, who told me to leave the front door open for the paramedics when they arrived so they could have easier access to Steph. I did so, and hung up with 911, and then went back to help comfort Steph.

As we heard the sirens of the ambulance pull up, Steph pushed extra hard, crying, "Just get out!" A large bloody lump about the size and shape of a softball emerged. I thought it was the placenta and I said, "It's out!" Stephanie was super relieved, saying that she didn't want to go - they could still check her out, but she didn't want to actually be taken anywhere.

I relayed the message to Steph's mom that she had just gotten the placenta out, and the paramedics arrived and stormed inside at that moment. Holy cow, there were suddenly a lot of people in our house. I swear about 8 or 9 different officials paraded into our bedroom, and I have no idea who they all were, or why there were that many people there. However, one of the EMTs (I think) took a look at Steph and gave us the bad news - the lump that Steph had just delivered? Not the placenta. It was simply a blood clot. (Which still amazes me. That thing was gigantic!)

Anyway. A whole lot of chaos happened, and much of those ten minutes or so are a blur. I was told by an EMT to put an old sheet on the couch so that they could move Steph there, rather than in the bedroom, because there was more room out there. I also remember the same head EMT lady asking us, "Did you plan on having a home delivery?" ("Yes") and then "If you planned on it, then why did you call 911?" ("Arched eyebrow" [okay, that was implied. Our real answer was]"Because of the blood loss.")
The EMTs also, of course, wanted to check out Silas. We informed them that he was fine, and didn't need to be admitted, but Steph wanted to bring him along in case he got hungry, so she could feed him. They agreed to that.

During this chaos, I lost track of Harper completely - I think she was in the living room with her grandmother. Saren was in the hallway with me - neither of us could get into the bedroom because there were, as I said, about a dozen people there, and the room is crowded enough when there are just four of us. I did see that Irina was standing on the bed, looking terrified of the entire scene. Saren was able to go into the bedroom and get her.

With the aid of the EMTs, Steph was able to make her way to the couch. She waited for the wheeled stretcher to carry her out to the ambulance to show up (apparently in the vehicles that first arrived, they didn't have one of the stretchers, and needed to call another ambulance onto the scene).

There was a two minute window where things seemed pretty calm. They asked us some more questions (I don't remember what, other than the fact that us weighing Silas on the Wii Fit board resulted in a large laugh from the head EMT lady, which ...I don't know if I should be insulted about that or not. I felt like she was laughing due to amusement, but also like she was mocking us. Eh. Whatever.) and then there was a lot of chaos again, as they loaded Steph onto the stretcher. Irina began to cry, and I gave her a hug, telling her things were going to be okay. I got Steph's mom's cell phone number, and promised to call them once we got there and knew more info. This was around 10:40 or so.

They loaded Steph and Silas up into the ambulance, and I thought I'd be able to ride in the back with them (that's how it goes in the movies!), but they instructed me to sit shotgun. I climbed into the passenger seat, and fretted during the entire ride to Sunrise Hospital. The only thing I remember about the ride there, really, was that the AC was cranked and it was really cold.

Once we got to the hospital, they unloaded Steph's stretcher, and I took her hand. She still looked pale, and scared. She had a breathing tube in her nose, which she said she hated, and she had an IV in her arm as well. Silas was sleeping peacefully. Heh. Babies. :)

As we got to a hallway we were separated - Steph would go to Labor & Delivery (L&D), while Silas would have to stay with me, and would be looked at by the doctors in the pediatrician ward. Steph instructed me to not allow them to admit Silas - or at least not to do anything intrusive to him test-wise. And then she was wheeled away to go be taken care of.

I was taken to the pediatrician area where I was asked a round of questions about Silas by about three different people (rolleyes) and the nurses took Silas and placed a device on his foot to get his pulse (and blood pressure?) and then took his temperature (anally, which I didn't like, and really, neither did Silas, but I didn't object too hard because, how else were they going to do it?) They weighed him - and their scale said 8 pounds, 12 ounces. Which means either our Wii is miscalibrated, or he gained some weight. (Or, I guess, maybe the hospital's scales are wrong) Anyway, 8.12 is what we've been going with ever since.

They didn't measure him, which was surprising to me. But I didn't think of it at the time. (We measured him the next day, and he was 19 and a half inches long)

They did conduct a blood sugar test, which was done by poking his foot with a pin to get a drop of blood. I made a Marge noise, but was still not strongly objecting to his tests at this point.

They turned on a heater/incubator type thing and had him lie down under it (despite the fact that his temp was plenty warm, I had him coddled in a blanket to begin with, and holding him next to me was much more ...humane than being placed on a flat bed under a heatlamp) but I stood right by him the whole time. The nurses went to get him some socks, and a homemade hat (which didn't really fit him) and a onesie. They also put a few ID badges on him, just so he couldn't be stolen, I guess.

Then, a nurse put a plastic clamp on his umbilical cord, despite the fact that a) I had tied it off just fine b) I said that it didn't need to be done and c) there was not really any room for the clamp to go.
God, this is the thing that irritated me the most out of all the action that the hospital staff did. I so should have spoken up more and demanded that they NOT put it on him. Irina's cord had been done the same way - tied off with string, cut with scissors - and had been perfectly fine. Silas' would have been as well. But they fed me some bullshit line about not wanting to have "circulation problems", and I cowed to their authority. Sigh.

Anyway. At some point after that, another nurse came in and turned off the heater/incubator thing and told me I could pick him up again. She then got me a chair to sit in while I waited. It was almost midnight at that point, and I had no idea how Stephanie was doing. I opened my cell phone to call home, to at least update them on how I was doing, and also to see how the girls were holding up, but I had no bars, so I simply took a few photos to store on my phone instead.

After about ten more minutes, a doctor came in, asked about giving Silas some eyedrops, to which I refused. He was actually cool with that, and nonjudgmental. He asked some questions about the home birth as well (some of the same questions I'd already answered a few times, but I really liked this guy. He was quite nice and had a great bedside manner) and then he said that he'd be letting me and Silas go in a little while, and that my wife was doing just fine. Yay!

After the doctor left, me and Silas sat for a bit. A nurse came in with some formula in a bottle, in case Silas got hungry while we were waiting. He had been fussing a bit, so I did offer him the bottle. He ended up drinking maybe three or four milliliters. Very little of it at all. But it did calm him down.

After another ten minutes or so of just waiting, a different nurse came in and said we'd have to take his temp again (grr!). We found out that he'd filled his diaper, so she went and got some wipes and a diaper for him, and we changed him up. She then took his temperature, and finally after about three or four more minutes, a different nurse walked me out to the station where I could leave. I had to provide my insurance information at that point, and, of cousre, I didn't have my insurance card on me. So, she got the rest of the info from me, and gave me a number to call later so that the billing information could be updated.

Then, FINALLY, at about 12:30am, I was able to go up to L&D to see Steph.

She was resting, and looked wiped out. But she was awake, and alert, and told me that they were able to get the placenta out right away, and that it had some sort of extra lobe on it, which was why it wasn't being delivered. Huh. Bodies are weird.

The nurses up there told Steph that she was just waiting on her results from her blood test to come back, and then she would be dismissed.

I finally got some bars and was able to call home. The girls were fine - Irina had fallen asleep, and Saren & Harper were playing MarioKart with their uncles.

I updated everyone on how things were going, and then Steph and I waited. About five minutes after hanging up my cell phone, Steph asked me, "So who won [Survivor]?" Hee.
I answered her, "J.T." And she rolled her eyes, "Figures."
We're such nerds.

After about half an hour, Steph suggested I go home, get her stuff, and come back, that way she'd be able to just go, once they released her. I called home, and had Steph's brother, Chance, come and get me. The older girls rode with him, and we all drove back home. I grabbed the car seat for Silas, and Steph's clothing, and then drove back to the hospital. By this time it was about 3 in the morning.

When I got there, there was still a little waiting to go through, and then she was able to go.

After I got the van and drove it around to pick Steph up, she set up the car seat and set Silas into it. She then got in the passenger seat and she said, "I'm so tired. I just want to go to sleep."

I had started to drive home, when Steph gave me the biggest (or one of) scare of hte night - her eyes rolled back and she kinda snored/snorted and twitched a little. I thought she was having a seizure of some sort, and I stopped the van and shook her, yelling her name, asking her if she was okay. I was about two seconds away from backing hte van up to the emergency room (luckily we were right there, so if something had been wrong, that was the place for it to happen) when she came to saying, "What? I just fell asleep."

I told her that she had passed out, and wasn't answering me. She apologized, and said, "Keep an eye on me". I drove home, shaking for a good portion of the drive.

We got home around 4:30 in the morning, and then we said our goodbyes (and thank yous) to Steph's mom and brothers.

And...just like Steph, I don't really have a good way of ending this. That's about all there is to say about Silas' birth. If you haven't already, you should check out Stephanie's version of the night. (And I think it would be cool if Chance and Sean and Saren and Harper all blogged their versions. It would be like a Rashomon type thing!)

It was most certainly a memorable night.


CosmicAvatar said...

Wow, dude. What a story! Congratulations to you all.

Annika said...

Your version made me cry. Because reading Steph's account I knew parts of it must have been really scary for you, but it was through the filter of her perspective.

Anonymous said...



Amy said...

You weren't kidding!

I'm glad the hospital people were for the most part not jerks, though. I know you feel like you caved on some stuff, but if he'd been born in the hospital, they probably would have done all those things and more without even asking you.

I wonder if Silas found Day 2 on the outside to be a bit of a letdown.

DropEdge said...

First, congratulations! I'm so happy for all of you!

Second, I'd like to apologize for being so late with my congrats. For some reason Google Reader won't accept your web address and says there's no such place, so I have to remember to check in since I don't get updates. I had no idea the tiny bundle had already arrived!