When Christmas is the Last Thing on Your Mind

One year ago, The Lovely Wife went into labour. At least we thought it was labour at the time. Younger son didn't come along until Christmas Eve, so as you can imagine, there's a bit of a story that takes us from the morning of the 23rd till the evening of the 24th.

Unlike when she went into labour with the (now) Toddler, Younger Son was approximating a week overdue, and TLW was scheduled to go in for induction assessment, basically the first step in getting labour induced. We sent The Toddler over to his grandparents' house, anticipating that the induction would take place that morning and things would be well underway. What we did not realise was that as Christmas Day approaches, the number of elective inductions increases astronomically (read: everyone's pushing out their kids before the 25th).

Dec 23rd: 0900 --
Assessment was a relatively quick process, with vitals being taken prior the first application of the Prostin (a hormone that induces labour, for anyone out there who's not gone through this lovely, lovely process). The nurse applied the prostin to TLW (I won't go into just how this occurs; use your imagination) and said to come back in three hours for another reading and application.

Dec 23rd: 1200 -- Three hours lapse and we go back in to be seen. The nurse takes vitals and evaluates TLW once again, saying that things are progressing along nicely and we should be expecting good things from the rest of the day. No more Prostin can be applied at this time because the wheels are in motion. We're told that labour should be coming along very soon and, well, we should be able to figure out the drill because we've already been through this once. We're very excited.

Dec 23rd: 2030 -- Labour is starting, there's no doubt about it. We go in to Early Assessment, which is where you're supposed to check in before getting assigned a room. Keep in mind this is a FRIDAY, and hospitals are always busy on Fridays, and we already know why the birthing ward is busier than usual at Christmas. We're told by a surly nurse that we're not far enough along to do anything about, and that we're basically wasting our time and theirs on a busy friday night. She let us know that this whole Prostin thing? Can take a few days to work -- basically that we could be having this kid after Christmas Day, which was definitely not our preference, as TLW's doctor was to be out of the country after Christmas. Also, they don't have any room in the birthing ward (no room at the inn, anyone?). We leave, a little upset about the night's events, thinking that we'll be back later that evening as the labour progresses.

But strangely enough, the labour stops and because the Toddler is out of the house for the night, we get a really, really good night's sleep. Probably because we weren't worrying about babies, and we'd already resigned ourselves to the fact that this kid wasn't coming around until after Christmas and we might as well have a merry, bloated Christmas day with our family.

Dec 24: 0830 --
We get the call from the clinic, asking how we were doing and if we would like to come in for another check-up. TLW was really not in the mood, but we went in anyway. We were decided we would forego the Prostin from now on and wait for things to come along naturally. It was confirmed that the previous night's labour was just contractions induced by the Prostin. The nurse in the clinic, bless her soul, offers to examine TLW once again, but just for good measure will call the resident to do the examination.

A few minutes later a young female resident enters, offering her best wishes for the festive season. Something about her sounds almost...familiar to me, but since I've only been in this city for a few years, I'm highly skeptical of any connection with this resident.

TLW and I go into the examination room and the curtain is pulled. The resident looks at the chart and turns to me and says, "Are you Mike". Incredulous, I say, "Uh, yeah. Are you Carla?". And it's settled: I graduated high school a year before she did, 6,000 km away from this seaside town. What's more, she has good news. TLW is ready to have her water broken and is about to get sent downstairs to the birthing ward. The estimate at this point is that we'll have this kid by suppertime.

We're stunned.

Barely ready for this news, I sprint out to the vehicle and grab the bags and the video camera (for after the arrival, not during, as per a prior agreement that involved some threat of bodily harm) and meet her down in the birthing ward. I make a couple of calls on the cell phone, telling people to stand by and that we should have some news by the dinner hour.

But things do not progress, and some hours later, she appears to be less dilated than before. Again, hopes are dashed and estimates are re-jigged. I go out and grab a couple of subs before all the restaurants close for the holiday weekend.

Dec 24: 1530 --
We've all but thrown out the idea of a natural birth when the contractions get tougher and tougher and we're not convinced this won't go on for a LOT longer. TLW endures some serious pain before the epidural takes hold, and I suffer sympathetically as she squeezes my finger to within an inch of its bony little life. As things calm down, TLW instructs me to call her parents and let them know the plans have changed. We're just hoping to have this kid by midnight.

I go out and talk to my mother, to a couple friends, and to TLW's parents and let them know what's been going on; fill them in on the emotional roller coaster we boarded the day before.

Dec 24: 1615 --
Returning to the birthing ward, I knock to announce my presence, only to hear "COME IN! We're PUSHING!"


And for whatever reason, she's fully dilated (and fully drugged, thankfully) and TLW's doctor arrives just in time to deliver the world's newest blue-eyed little boy.

I rush out to the payphone and dial the in-laws number. They nearly jump through the phone when I tell them --

"It's a boy."

And somewhere in there I managed to woozily excuse myself from the room to get a pop, only to make it to the doorway before I hit the floor and got more medical attention than my wife was getting. But I did manage to come to with plenty of time to welcome the little guy and cut the cord.

We stayed in the hospital until the afternoon of the 25th and went home. Luckily the Toddler was easily distracted until we could have a proper Christmas on the 26th. A very sleepy Christmas, it was. But pretty exciting.

Happy Birthday, little guy.

Posted bythemikestand at 2:25 PM  

2 stepped up to the mike:

Lesley said... 8:57 AM, December 24, 2006  

I love reading birth stories, and what a wonderful Christmas present!
Happy Birthday young man! (And happy BIRTH day to your lovely wife)
Merry Christmas

Steph said... 10:53 PM, December 27, 2006  

Happy belated birthday little guy!

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