Welcome to yet another triumphant return of Chris Lackie – The Blog!
You’re probably saying “Chris, where did you go?”
Well, I didn’t go anywhere. I’ve just been busy with other little things that I hope one day I’ll be able to share with you, but… only time will tell.
Anyway, how about I tell you what I’ve been up to in the meantime? Here goes…
Just before 3 AM on February 22, my uber-pregnant wife, Sarah, reached across our bed and gently touched my shoulder, waking me from sleep.
“Hun,” she said. “I think my contractions have started.”
We had been waiting for this moment for what seemed like a long time. I leapt out of bed and pulled my pants on, almost falling in the process. Sarah laughed at me. “I don’t think we’re in that big a rush.”
“How far apart are your contractions?” I asked, continuing to put on my clothes.
“A few minutes, I think,” replied my wife, as if it was no big deal.
I, on the other hand, thought it was a very big deal. “‘A few minutes?” I parroted just before rumbling down the stairs to get my watch. I returned to our bedroom and handed it to Sarah. Every second she looked at it seemed to take an eternity.
“So? How far apart are they?” I asked, hoping they were more than five minutes apart so I could eat some breakfast before heading to the hospital.
“About three minutes,” Sarah replied, again, like it was no big deal.
My thoughts? Shitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshit!
“I guess we should head to the hospital,” I said, trying not to sound as though my nerves were climbing up out of my stomach and out of my mouth.
“Yeah, probably,” said my wife, as if she wasn’t about to have a human being pop out of her.
So off we went.
We arrived at the hospital a little before 4 AM. The place seemed empty, except for the birthing unit where it seemed like every pregnant woman in Ottawa decided that morning was the time to push out a baby. Luckily, we beat the rush and were admitted promptly.
Once admitted, one of the nurses checked Sarah to see how far along she was. When the nurse found that my wife was eight centimetres dilated, the expression on her face was priceless. She couldn’t believe that someone that far along had just walked in and could carry a conversation. Word got around, and everyone was impressed with how well Sarah was handling her labour.
Shortly after the initial exam, we were moved to a birthing room. It was quickly decided that the best course of action would be to break Sarah’s water, the sound of which was… gross. It was like listening to a giant juice box being squeezed without a straw. At this point Sarah started feeling a fair bit of pain, but she handled it like the champion she is.
A few minutes later, our baby’s heart rate began to slow, so it was decided that the delivery should happen as soon as possible.
Listening to nurses and doctors encourage a mother-to-be to push is fascinating. The first time we went through this with our son, Fox, the room was full of women, all of them aggressively telling Sarah push the baby out. This time, there was a male doctor who took a different approach.
Male Doctor: “Okay Sarah, on the next contraction I want you to push as hard as you can.”
Female Doctors/Nurses: “PUUUUUUSH! GET MADDDD!!!!!”
Male Doctor: “Doing great, Sarah, keep doing your best.”
Female Doctors/Nurses: “DIG DEEEEEP! PUSH OUT THE PAINNNNN!”
Male Doctor: “Keep breathing, keep pushing.”
Female Doctors/Nurses: “PUUUUUUSH! GET THAT PARASITE OUT OF YOU!”
It went something like that. I can’t remember exactly.
Once our little guy’s head was out, they found his umbilical cord tied around his neck three times, which they expected to be the reason for the drop in heart rate.
With that bit of drama aside, at 5:36 AM, our son Grayson was born.
I’m not going to lie. When I saw my son for the first time, resting on my wife’s chest (in all his slimy glory), I cried. A lot. I’ve thought about why that is. I was glassy-eyed when my first son was born, but I didn’t actually cry, so why would I completely sob this time around? I was definitely happy to see my son, but I think my excessive tears were due to the fact that I was just so relieved that it was over, and that my wife wasn’t going to have to go through the 36 hour labour (and everything that accompanied it) as she did with our first child.
While our little boy rested on Sarah, someone (a doctor, I believe) asked if I wanted to cut his cord. It is a completely legitimate question. Father’s cut their children’s umbilical cord all the time. My response however, was completely unreasonable.
“I DIDN’T CUT MY FIRST SON’S CORD SO I’M NOT GOING TO CUT THIS ONE!” I screamed for absolutely no reason.
The people in the room must of thought I was crazy, and they were probably right. I have no idea why I reacted the way I did, but I would like to chalk it up to being overwhelmed by the joy of seeing my son for the first time. Or, you know… lack of sleep.
After about a minute of mother/baby cuddle time, our son was taken to a nearby table to clear the gunk out of his lungs and whatnot. This was expected, as they did the same thing to our first son. Unfortunately, they found that Grayson was working too hard to breath, so he was taken away to the intensive care unit.
This, of course, was a little scary. And upsetting. In part because my little guy had a tube shoved down his throat and a breathing mask stuck to his face, but also because the nurses who were there when Grayson was born started asking me if they had done certain things in the delivery room:
“Did he have a delayed cord clamping?”
My response: “I don’t even know what you just said to me, man.”
“Has he had his vitamin K shot yet?”
Another nurse’s response: “Yyyyyyyyyyes?”
Yipes. Just yipes.
After a few minutes of holding the breathing mask on Grayson’s face, they decided to move him to a machine that does the same thing, but doesn’t require anyone to hold anything. This also involved moving him to an incubator. After a few minutes of Grayson’s breathing improving, one of the nurses looked at him quizzically.
“Oh,” she said.
“Oh?” I asked.
“See the tube on your son’s nose?”
“It’s not actually in his nose.”
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“It means the improvements your son is making has nothing to do with the machine. It’s all him.”
Oy vay. I know these folks work hard and are very busy, but… c’mon.
Even though he was taken off the machine (which he was never really on), he still had to spend some time in the ICU, which meant it was a while before he could be with us in the mother-baby unit.
But it was totally worth the wait.
Look at how adorable this kid is.
Now, I would like to tell you that everything was hunky-dory from this point on… but… unfortunately… I can’t.
Right after he was born, Grayson had an x-ray of his lungs taken, and before the pediatrician would sign off on our son’s release from the hospital he wanted another lung x-ray taken to see if things had improved. Because it was so late in the day that it was done, that meant we had to spend another night in the hospital. That night, one of the nurses performed a routine check on Grayson’s vitals and found he had an irregular heartbeat, so he was sent back to the ICU.
This was very upsetting. We thought were going to be able to bring our little guy home, but now he was going to have to spend more time in the hospital. Away from us.
This is about the time I cried again. All Sarah and I wanted was for our little guy to be healthy and to bring him home, but things kept popping up that kept this from happening. In my sleep-deprived state, it all seemed really unfair.
I went to feed Grayson in the ICU while Sarah slept in her room (she was even more tired than I was). While I was there the doctors were doing their rounds, going over the other patients in the same room as my little guy, and I couldn’t help overhear while they talked about one baby in particular. It went something like this:
“This is <insert baby’s name here>. They were born at 28 weeks and is currently 2 weeks old. Today we increased baby’s morphine and caffeine, and the social worker tried to get a hold of baby’s parents, but was unable to.”
My heart sank. I thought Grayson was having a rough start, but THAT poor child was having a ROUGH start.
The next time Grayson was due to be fed, both Sarah and I went to the ICU to spend some time with the little guy.
And we were greeted with wonderful news.
“Oh, that was fast,” said the nurse.
“Huh?” I replied in my typical elegant fashion.
The nurse smiled. “You didn’t hear? You guys get to go home today.”
A couple hours later, we did just that.
And now we’re all very happy… and exhausted.
Grayson’s two weeks old at this point, and this is what I’ve learned about him:
- He is hungry all the time.
- If you change his diaper, he will pee on you.
- Have you ever watched a movie where someone lets out a comically loud fart? THAT’S the sound Grayson makes when he poops.
- He may have my wife’s eyes, but he has my shoulder hair.
And what about big brother? People have asked how Fox gets along with his little brother.
The truth is Fox didn’t pay much mind to Grayson until we brought out the baby toys. This made his little brother much more interesting.
Also, Grayson’s crying is, according to Fox, “very noisy”. The irony is completely lost on him.
Well, that’s it for now. Now that I’m on parental leave I’d like to think I have more time for writing, but based on the first couple weeks, I’m not sure that’s going to happen. Regardless, I hope to write again soon.
In the meantime, I will leave you with this: