March 20, 2016 - 4 AM
After a night of tossing and turning (both of us, for some reason), Sarah gets up to use the bathroom and her water breaks. I wake up and start pacing throughout the house, packing up stuff to keep myself from freaking out.
At around 7 AM, I take this picture. Then we leave for the hospital.
We arrive there by 7:30 AM. We go through triage and get her into room. At around 10:30 AM, our parents arrive at the hospital, and then we begin the wait...
After figuring out that Sarah wasn't making much progress, we send our parents home that evening, and we both try to get some sleep. This is close to impossible, because a blood pressure sleeve checks Sarah's blood pressure every 15 minutes. Plus, if she moves at all, the heart monitors for both her and Grace go crazy, which means the nurse has to come back in to check on her.
March 21, 2016
2:00 AM - They decide to put her on a slow Pitocin drip to start the dilation, because up to that point, she had hardly made any progress at all. Also, Sarah's doctor, Dr. Wingo, had told the staff that he wanted to deliver the baby, but he wouldn't be there until later that morning.
6:30 AM - We wake up to blood-curdling screaming down the hall...we both look at each other like, "What have we done?!" and a few minutes later the nurse walks in. She asks how we are doing, and we say, "We were good until that happened!" The nurse tells us the lady made a bad choice in forgoing the epidural...which reassures Sarah that she made the right choice in getting one.
9:30 AM - I went with my father-in-law to Sonic to get some ice for Sarah and breakfast for myself. When we get back, I send her ice up with her dad, and then I go to the cafeteria to eat my breakfast and take a break for a bit.
When I get back into the room about 15 minutes later, I come into this. (She may look calm, but she's not!)
Her medicine had worn off, and she had gotten to 9.5 cm dilation....I had never seen her in that much pain before--she was gripping the hospital bed, and not allowing anyone to touch her. They decided to give her stronger dose of her epidural and some other narcotic pain killer, and after a few minutes the pain subsided for the most part. My mom and dad showed up and got to say hello right before everyone got kicked out except me...it was go time.
11 AM - We start pushing with a nurse named Elizabeth. She was sweet, but also had a drill sergeant quality to her. At one point she looked at me and said, "Do you like that shirt? Because the doctor is going to make you deliver this baby..." Yeah, I super freaked out a bit on the inside, but decided that I could handle it. I just knew I would regret not taking the chance to do so. So I changed my shirt and got ready for the "event".
Elizabeth got Sarah to push a few times, but had to make her stop because Dr. Wingo was nowhere to be found. They called in the hospitalist (doctor on staff) because they were worried that Sarah was going to have Grace before Dr. Wingo got there. Right after that doctor got there and we were talking through what we should to do, Dr. Wingo finally showed up.
Dr. Wingo puts on some scrubs, as the nurses are getting everything ready for the baby to come. He gets Sarah to push a little bit more, and says, "Come here, Dad." I walk over and he grabs the outside of my hands (no gloves or scrubs or anything, by the way), and puts them on Grace's head.
11:38 AM - In a split second Grace Elizabeth is in my hands, and in this world. I am crying like a baby, and Dr. Wingo says, "Ok Dad, let's cut the cord," but 1) I can't see, because I am crying so much, and 2) he hands me the scissors in my left hand (I am right-handed). I kept saying "I don't know where to cut! I can't see, I can't see..." I was so scared I was going to cut either the baby or Sarah. Somehow I get the job done.
They took Grace and set her directly on Sarah's chest to get her body temperature where it needed to be. I am still crying and Nurse Elizabeth looks at me and says, "PICTURES! PICTURES!" knowing that I was so caught up in the moment that I was just standing there crying in disbelief that I was a father. So I grab my camera and snap a few.
The nurses take Grace and weigh her and measure her, she was 8 lbs, 21 inches. Then they clean her up give her back to us. They tell us to spend some time settling down, and enjoying "us" time. I remember it being so peaceful for some reason, so surreal. My advice to anyone is to take this time to experience and reflect before the rest of your family comes in. It still gives me the warm and fuzzies a month later.
I think about an hour later we called our folks in. Heads up to future dads, be ready for your mom and mother-in-law to totally ignore you from then on. They were giddy.
Having a child has been the most humbling, yet empowering thing that has ever happened in my life. The miracle of the whole experience is just mind blowing, and the reward is amazing. Though I haven't gotten much sleep since this day, I wouldn't take anything back. Grace is just too dang cute, and seeing my wife be a mother is the best.