The Arrival of Pepper

As you might know if you’ve been following facebook or Twitter, my wife’s water broke about a week and a half ago, and we’ve been in the hospital almost a week. Well, she has been, but I have only been away from her for a few hours out of the last week or so.

We’ve had a completely different experience from the last time we had a child, about 11 years ago. Then it felt like we were being cranked out of a machine, we went in pregnant and the rest is foggy, but we were out in 3 days with a baby who was so tiny.

Well, so we got here on Thursday night because of a change in my wife’s condition that prompted her to seek advice from her midwife and then they said that she should go in to the hospital. The hospital monitored her condition and Pepper’s condition, and everything was going great, except that usually when your water is broken you are in labor. We weren’t, but since we have so much time to go, it wasn’t a big deal. However, Sukie had to be on bed-rest and wouldn’t be leaving the hospital until after the baby was born. So, yeah, we got admitted to the hospital and on Friday morning we were cleared to move ‘upstairs’ which actually feels a lot less tense than ‘downstairs’ where people have babies. So we settled in, I went home and got some clothes and things after having a list dictated to me by Sukie.

So we spent the next couple of days having people visit, I’d go home about once a day to take care of business and clean up, all the while feeling horrible because Sukie can’t go anywhere. My sleeping schedule got all whacked out as well, I kept waking up around 2:30 am or so and staying up until 5 or 6:00 am and then sleeping until 10:00 am or so. So it was on Monday morning, but on Tuesday morning I was being woken up by Sukie telling me her contractions were getting regular.

I sat down in the rocking chair beside her and looked over at the couch / bed and asked if I could go back to sleep, but my brain already knew that wasn’t going to happen. So we were watching TV (Sukie had already let a nurse know of her regular contractions) and we watched an episode of Robot Chicken before there were a bunch of people swarming around Sukie and checking the situation out. We got moved back downstairs to what I’m pretty sure is the first room we were in when we got there, we talked to a doctor from the NICU, one from delivery, they called the mid-wives and it was on like Donkey Kong.

As for the contractions, they were getting more intense. I tried to help Sukie relax through them as much as possible, but you try telling someone who is going through pain that they need to relax, and you be careful as you get the death stare. I pretty much knew it would be like that going in, that Sukie would not always like my ‘Wudan-isms’ and I tried to keep it to a minimum. She let me know that she did like that I was telling her how far along the contraction has gone (pain destroys all accounting of time) and that she was almost out of it.

She was feeling them pretty bad and feeling the pressure to push. She had them check her and she was dilated at 8 cm which, if you don’t know, is just about showtime for delivering babies. Well, she decided she wanted an epidural so the anesthesiologist came in and did his thing. Anesthesiologists always seem like they are rock-stars. Some things never change. So we had a pretty late epidural. It really took the edge of the contractions but there were only 3 or 4 until we were in the delivery room, which was actually an O.R. since there’s a window for passing the baby through to the NICU.

It seemed like that O.R. in particular was just crammed with stuff, and we sort of just parked the bed in there and delivered a baby on the bed. I did let the midwife know that I wasn’t going to cut the cord before the baby came out, which I didn’t do for my son.

So, remember how late we had the epidural? Yeah, takes the edge off the contractions, but Sukie really felt the delivery. It was painful but she stuck with it. They offered to get the anesthesiologist back in but we all knew that by the time any more pain meds were introduced we’d have a baby. So she pushed through it like a rock-star.

Pepper was put on Sukie’s stomach and she cried right away and we saw her for a second before she was passed off to the NICU. We wouldn’t know for about 40 minutes or so how Pepper was, but as I told Sukie, the midwife, and the nurse, “In my completely uneducated opinion she seemed really awesome” which the nurse and the midwife conceded was a pretty good estimate. The image of baby Pepper on Sukie’s stomach, crying, to let us know she was golden will forever be emblazoned in my memory, just as well as I remember seeing my son for the first time, before he was passed through a magic window to the NICU.

Unlike my son, she is staying in the NICU, but she was breathing ‘room air’ right away, and she has an IV and tons of monitors, and will need to be able to keep her body temp up and eat before we can take her home, but waiting is the easy part. It is only a matter of time until baby Pepper comes to live at home with the rest of the family.

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