Gabriel’s Birth Story

Note: This birth story is accompanied by the messages that I posted to Twitter during the course of the day in order to keep my friends and family up-to-date on what was happening.

We had no idea that we’d end up in Labor & Delivery on Thursday, March 26. Gabriel’s due-date was the 20th, so Christina’s doctor had scheduled an induction for Friday, the 27th. We wanted to wait until Monday the 30th, in hopes that labor would begin naturally over the weekend, so we agreed to have Christina and Gabriel undergo a non-stress test on Thursday, the 26th, thinking that if Gabriel failed, we’d agree to a Friday induction. In fact, the biggest thing we thought would happen that day was our mortgage refinance, scheduled for noon:

Long story short, Gabriel didn’t respond during the non-stress test. Christina chugged some Orange Crush and a few Capri-Suns, hoping to stimulate him with the sugar (or possibly give him brain freeze), but he was less active than the 30% of Americans who don’t get the recommended amount of vigorous exercise every week.

This was around 11am, and the doctor told us that we needed to head to the hospital as soon as possible. Considering that we had expected a Friday induction, not a Thursday one, we hadn’t packed yet, aside from a few towels in the trunk of our car in case Christina’s water broke. Additionally, our mortgage refinance was scheduled for noon, but for some reason, Christina’s doctor didn’t think that waiting an hour at the broker’s office for our refinance was acceptable.

Since we were less than a few miles away from the broker’s office, we called them and they were able to rush us through the refinance ahead of schedule. (The extra $280/month we have after refinancing definitely comes in handy with this little diaper-vortex around.) We drove home to pack up some clothes for the hospital, and then took off for Fairview-Southdale. And no matter what you hear, especially if you are Christina’s doctor, we did not stop for pizza on the way.

We got checked into Labor & Delivery, and they started Christina on a pitocin drip. At the same time, they manually broke her water. (At the request of Christina, I am omitting some details here regarding the water-breaking and subsequent flooding of our hospital room.)

I found the fetal monitor interesting, as I could tell Christina when she was about to feel a contraction. She did not appreciate the help.

Christina did well for the first few hours, enduring the contractions without any pain medication:

Soon enough though, she decided to get an epidural. Intense back pain combined with strong contractions every two minutes made it impossible for a normal human being to endure the pain without any “liquid courage.”

The anesthesiologist arrived and started administering the epidural. Christina had been worried about getting an epidural because of the possibility of getting a spinal headache. She asked the anesthesiologist what the chances were, and he literally said “Zero.” Christina asked him if he’d sign something to that effect, and he seriously agreed. (She didn’t hold him to it.) She never did have any complications from the epidural, so here’s to you, Overly Confident Anesthesiologist.

After she got the epidural, Christina was all smiles. We joked around, and she couldn’t feel her legs, which made for an interesting moment when she almost kicked a nurse in the face.

Later, we watched 30 Rock and The Office, killing time, waiting for something to happen. Christina was dilating about a centimeter every hour. (This sentence makes me realize that pregnancy and childbirth changes how comfortable people are with talking about bodily functions.)

The contractions never slowed down or sped up – they were about 2 minutes apart from the time her water broke until the birth. Christina was mostly oblivious to them, thanks to the epidural (she recalls feeling “floaty”), but at this point, she requested that they turn down her epidural drip so that she would have some feeling and control when the time came for pushing. The previous face-kicking incident did not inspire confidence for the time when she would have to push a human being out of her body.

We enjoyed a delicious meal, courtesy of Fairview-Southdale. (She was warned not to eat anything else, since it might come back up due to the medication she was on. I, having declined an epidural, had a Big Mac and fries. And I think also some granola bars. Maybe a Mountain Dew too.

This being Minnesota, the hospital provides some accoutrement that you might not get down south. (This picture doesn’t show the snow pants or the scarf, but they were darling.)

Christina was surprisingly calm throughout the entire delivery. She never panicked, and seemed to know exactly what to do at all times.

At 11:30 pm, the nurse told us that it was time for Christina to start “practice pushing.” Apparently, it takes some women a couple of hours before they learn which muscles to use, so they need to start practicing before it’s actually time.

Christina was so good at pushing, she apparently didn’t need any practice. An hour later, we had seen the head, and Christina’s doctor was on the way to deliver Gabriel for real.

Half an hour later, after a total of two hours of active labor, Gabriel was born. There was a bit of a scare towards the end: Gabriel had turned face-up (not ideal), and Christina had started to bleed from an internal tear, so her doctor recommended the use of a vacuum in order to speed things up. (The vacuum in this case is not to suck up the extra blood, but rather to “suck” the baby out. I use “suck” in quotes because I’m sure there is a technical medical term for what is happening, but hey, when you say “vacuum,” I think “suck.” To be honest though, it was more like the doctor was playing tug-of-war with Gabriel’s head.) We agreed, and maybe 30 seconds after Dr. Princ started using the vacuum, Gabriel popped out, and started doing everything he was supposed to do: crying. (That’s all babies are supposed to do, FYI.) They weighed (7 lb. 13 oz.), measured (22 inches), and tagged him (20 pointer), and by 2am, it was all over.


4 comments on “Gabriel’s Birth Story

  1. Wow! Amazing isn’t it? and what a little guy! He’s got ‘man hands’! A future Super Jock? or the ability to hold wads of cash? or give really great hugs :) So glad you shared your new family.

  2. Stephen Ryan says:

    Gaberiel’s A great name welcome to the planet little one.I had five children and was a single dad,raised them all up and there doing fine.Your boy has a great future,if you protect him,teach him at home as schools have lost their way,raise him up in the Lord as he is one of Gods right hands,I wish you and your wife long and happy days.Live them to their fullest,take Gabe fishing while hes young as it is a great time,take the time.You will never regret those moments together,and could you tell me ?what is twittering? and how do I do it?Thanks in advance, God bless you all.

  3. Buttonpusher says:

    Congrats, Wait till he gets to 2 and becomes little Mr.Hands, we have three all grown up now, Now when I see them something needs fixed. Boy do I miss the smaller days when everything was new and I could find my tools by mowing the lawn. God Bless.

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