The day began slowly enough. My wife went to work as scheduled. Rebecca and I played in the back yard as long as the shade of the house would allow. I should have known something was off; she hasn’t wanted to play in the back yard more than five minutes since her kitchen set was destroyed by high winds.
At 11:30, Rebecca was settling down to eat an early lunch and I went into the office to update an old web page with my new code.
At 11:31, my wife called to say: “I think my water just broke.”
I told her I’d come get her, but she insisted she would drive to Metroplex Hospital by herself… It’s less than 10 minutes from her job, whereas it would take me at least 15 minutes to drive from the house to her job and then another 10 minutes to Metroplex.
I called my parents to give them a status update. Rebecca wet herself while I was on the phone. Dad assured me she’ll do that more often over the next couple of weeks.
11:53 a.m.: Marline called me to say she’d arrived at labor & delivery at Metroplex and was awaiting further info. I forgot to ask about contractions.
I began prepping for going to the hospital — got the infant seat into the van, got my camera ready and a notepad with it, and forced myself to eat lunch and made sure Rebecca had enough to eat. I put my phone on the charger, washed some dishes I should have washed earlier in the day, loaded the dishwasher and took out the trash… Busywork, but you never know how long you’ll be away. I didn’t want to return to a house full of ants or other pests.
During all this, I calmly explained to Rebecca — who’s known for months that a baby is growing in Mommy’s tummy — that Mommy was going to the hospital and that Benjamin might be born today or tomorrow. She said: “I’m ready for Bennamin. Daddy, you get ready.” Sigh. Such clarity sometimes comes from children.
I asked her if she knew what a hospital was. “Eet where Mommy has Bennamin,” she replied knowledgeably.
12:22 p.m.: I called MF and learned she was in Room #1 at Metroplex’s L&D, hooked up to a heartbeat monitor for the baby and having her first contractions.
12:40 p.m.: I managed to get Rebecca down for a nap. I figured if I had to leave her with a neighbor, it would be better for her to be well-rested than napless — which can be a terror.
12:43 p.m.: Called Mom again. She was looking at flights for later today. I remember in the old days you could just walk into an airport and buy a ticket for the next flight. Now since most flights are purposefully overbooked, it’s a little more difficult. She said she’d think about it and call me back. (Dad was in the next town over, attending a couple of court hearings that interest our family.)
RLF had a full nap, ending with an accident. Put sheets in the wash.
2:46 p.m.: Talked to MF. She was on oxygen; I couldn’t fully understand her. Something about the oxygen helping with the baby’s heart rate. Asked me to bring pajamas & underwear, including nursing bras. Said she’d probably give birth today, but was only dilated to 4.5 cm.
I asked Rebecca if she wanted to go see Mommy at the hospital; she said she wanted to play in Benjamin’s crib and act like a baby.
2:56 p.m.: Mom called to say Dad was back from the courthouse and that they’re planning to drive down, arriving late this evening.
RLF had another accident… It seems she recognized that something important was happening, but was trying to ignore it.
3:30 p.m.: Finally, Rebecca said she wanted to see Mommy in the hospital. We drove to Metroplex, got into MF’s room by 4 p.m. Rebecca was shy for just a second, seeing the oxygen mask and various wires and tubes hooked up to Mommy, but only for a second. She quickly grew acclimated to the room, played with her toy trains, ate crackers, watched Spongebob on TV.
A minute later, our doctor came in, examined MF. She was dilated to 7 cm. Benjamin’s heartbeat was at 130-140 bpm. They were telling my wife to lie back, but she convinced them that B’s heartbeat was more stable when she sat up straight, so they raised the back of the bed for her.
Made some calls.
When we finally decided to leave at 6 p.m., Rebecca cried. But no progress was happening on the baby front, and I couldn’t stay in the room anyway since I’d have to take Rebecca out if delivery began.
6:00 p.m.: left, got McD’s drivethru, got home at 6:30. Rebecca seemed better after some french fries and milk.
6:55 p.m.: called parents; they were leaving Denton — halfway here.
7 p.m.: Benjamin is born! MF called me to tell me. BWF cried to me over the phone. MF said she “only pushed twice and he came right out. It was easier than with Rebecca”. No stitches were required this time.
Because it happened at exactly 7 p.m., which is shift change, and because he had some respiratory difficulty, he wasn’t weighed and measured immediately. We found out soon enough that he was 6 lbs. 1.8 oz. and 20 inches long. He has dark brown (almost black) hair and dark brown eyes. Unlike Rebecca, who’s been lightly tanned since birth, Benjamin appears very fair skinned. (“He looks like a white baby” — my wife.)
He was taken somewhere to get his lungs cleared out (I’m not clear exactly what happened during that time) and brought back to my wife by 9 p.m. or so for his first breastfeeding.
During the evening hours, I stayed home with Rebecca. We played outside as the sun went down, had our bath (her) and shower (me) and then I got her to bed by 9:20 p.m.
My parents arrived at 9:50, making the trip in record time (for them) of six hours and three minutes. I got them situated and then went to the hospital — left the house at 10:30; arrived at 10:50; waited 20 minutes for someone to let me through the emergency room into the postpartum wing. Finally saw my wife and son at 11:10 p.m.
He was tiny. When I first picked him up, I thought it was just a blanket. (I’d carried Rebecca earlier in the day; my arms ached after two minutes).
He seemed to recognize my voice and tried to open his eyes. He grabbed my finger and tried to put it in his mouth, so I gave him to Mommy for another supper.
The nurse brought in a pillow and blanket for me to stay the night, but my wife insisted that she was fine and sent me home at 12:35 a.m. or so, saying I’d get better sleep at home and wanting me to be there when Rebecca woke up.
(Updated to add photos.)