This post (like seemingly everything on this site) is past-due, as my lil’ squatch just turned 6 months old. Here’s the story of how she arrived.
Kim woke me up just after 3 in the morning. She was 9+ months pregnant and rarely sleeping for more than an hour or two at a time – so her waking me up didn’t come as much of a surprise. So, I did what I did every night: rolled over to get a couple more hours of sleep before having to go to work.
But then, 3 words jolted me awake like someone plunged me into a bath of ice water: I’m having contractions.
So many thoughts and emotions ran through my mind in that moment. Oddly, the one thing I remember more than anything else was feeling like I should act like some early-90s sitcom dad and start frantically running around, grabbing bags, throwing them into the car and racing off to the hospital only to realize halfway there that I left Kim standing on the porch.
As the echoes of the laugh track faded in my head, I decided that a calm, rational approach would be the best course. Thinking back to the birth classes we took, I knew I could judge how far along Kim was in labor (and how much more I could sleep) by how close her contractions were.
If they were 15 or more minutes apart, I could go back to sleep – there was still probably 24 hours to go. At 10 minutes apart, I could still sleep for another hour or two. If they were, 8 minutes apart: go make coffee and get ready to board the labor roller coaster.
How far apart are they? I asked, selfishly wishing for 15+ minutes. A little under 5 minutes, Kim responded.
My calm and rational approach was promptly tossed out the window. Contractions 5 minutes apart is like that moment on a roller coaster when you’ve finished climbing and you have that split second of staring down the hill – just long enough to catch a glimpse of what’s to come before the world becomes a stomach-dropping blur. The “easy” part was over and the real fun was about to begin.
Do I have time to make coffee? I asked as I jumped out of bed and starting pulling my pants on.
And so began the most exciting, terrifying, surreal and, without a doubt, very best day of my life.
Kim’s labor had started fast – it normally takes about 12 hours for contractions to get to 5 minutes apart. But then again, Kim isn’t someone who I would describe as “patient”, so she decided to cut the crap and just get things started.
By 5 a.m., her contractions were getting significantly stronger and closer together. We decided it was time – so the texts and emails went out telling everyone that we were on our way to the hospital. In lieu of wildly throwing bags into the car, I did my best to calmly drink the last of my coffee before helping my wife down the porch steps and into the car.
At the hospital, things (thankfully) slowed down quite a bit and the bureaucracy of medical events took over. Insurance cards were provided, many forms were filled out, tests were run, discussed, and then run again. Kim was ordered to a bed by her doctor and her contractions monitored. After about three hours, her labor hadn’t progressed at all, so we decided to leave. More forms were filled out, and we left to go home.
On the way home, Kim said the last thing I thought I would hear from her: I’m hungry.
Which is how I ended up discovering a recipe for magical French toast.
You see, to the casual breakfaster, the French toast I made that morning wasn’t anything special. But to the trained observer, the ratio of egg, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and just a hint of nutmeg was the perfect recipe to create a miracle.
That’s right – I made the mythical batch of labor inducing French toast.
Sure, you may have never heard of labor inducing French toast before, but that’s only because there’s no record of it. You can’t even find it by googling it. (My theory is that the OBGYN lobbyist group uses their political clout to suppress this recipe for their own financial benefit. But I digress). I’m here to tell you that there is such a recipe – and it works.
How do I know this? Because Kim had barely set down her fork when her contractions really kicked in. Within 30 minutes of eating my magical breakfast, her contractions went from 5 minutes apart to under 2 minutes apart. And she had quit talking altogether – a sure sign that our baby was on her way.
Now was the time to run around like an early-90s sitcom dad, because panic was setting in.
I ran around the house, grabbing bags (for some reason I had decided to bring them inside after our first trip to the hospital) and threw them into the car, got Kim in the car, and drove white-knuckled to the hospital.
It would normally take us about 12 minutes to get to the hospital (not that I researched that or test drove it or anything), but now it was the middle of the lunch rush – and for some reason everyone in the city had decided that they wanted to eat lunch right next to the hospital that day. I nearly caused more than one accident as I sped to the hospital because, as much as I am a do-it-yourselfer, delivering a baby is best left to the professionals.
I pulled up to the hospital, tires nearly screeching, parked haphazardly, and set about getting my wife inside, up 9 stories, and into the labor & delivery department. This might sound like a simple task, but it was the most stressful 15 minutes of my life. We couldn’t walk fast, had to stop what seemed like every 17 seconds for a contraction, and had to cover about half a mile – all while a baby could be born at any moment.
I’ll spare you all the details of what child birth is really like (there’s plenty of youtube delivery videos, if you really want to see them). What I will tell you is that my wife is a total badass – there were no drugs and no medical intervention at all. It was just Kim doing the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, and only needing three – THREE – pushes to do it (I told you she wasn’t a patient person).
An hour after arriving at the hospital, Juniper made her appearance in this world.
In that moment, life came into focus like I have never experienced before. My daughter was now here for me to hold and touch and kiss and fawn over endlessly. The entire world faded away as I looked into her amazingly blue eyes and she held my finger for the first time, and for a few blissful moments, nothing in this world existed in this world except for the two of us. My entire being exploded with love and joy. In that moment, I realized what selfless love was all about.
Once I could stop crying long enough to see, I went down to move the car. It was still erratically parked in front of the hospital with the hazard lights flashing – with only a minor traffic jam behind it. It was a beautiful day outside, the first day of autumn, so I made a few calls and delivered the good news to friends and family while enjoying the sun and fresh air.
After making the last call, I headed in for our first night together as a family. I’d love to say that the sun shined a little brighter, that the air smelled a little sweeter, and the birds sang a little prettier – but they didn’t. It was the same beautiful day as it was before.
But my world had grown in a way that was totally unexpected. No amount of time – 9 months or otherwise – truly prepares you for seeing your first kid for the first time. I was awash in pure joy like I have never experienced. And this new world seemed like such a better place now that my lil’ squatch was in it.