So I’ve been wanting to get this down while it’s fresh in my head. The only problem is that I don’t know where to begin. Such a live altering moment — and so much more amazing than I anticipated. It seems like there’s no way I’ll be able to explain what the day was like for me. But I’ll try.
Be warned. This is going to be LONG. Feel free to skip to the photos at the end. My apologies in advance :)
It started at 4am on the 28th of September. We had laid down to get some sleep around 2am, so 4am came very early. Still, you’re waking up to go and have your son, so… it’s kind of like Christmas. Lindsay couldn’t eat any breakfast — so I didn’t really want to either. I knew she’d have a hungry, hungry day ahead of her, and it made me feel a little better if I stayed hungry with her. Still, driving past the 24 hour drive thrus in the early morning was a bit difficult for us.
We got to the hospital 5 minutes early. Only problem was that I took us to the 2nd floor and walked around looking for someone. Anyone. Come to find out, we needed to be on the 5th floor! And now we’re 5 minutes late. Whoops. We checked in and the hospital didn’t have all of Lindsay’s records, so we had to wait until 7:30 to get the induction going. We were a bit nervous about the induction. Not a lot — just a little. We’ve heard horror story after horror story about induction. But I took a little refuge in the fact that most of them were coming from people who also believed that induction is bad solely because “it isn’t natural” — and that, for many reasons, made me think “I bet they don’t know what they’re talking about and I bet it’ll be just fine“.
What happened from then on absolutely blew my mind.
Not only did induction not hit Lindsay like a ton of bricks — as if you were combining 20 hours worth of contractions into 20 minutes (which was what we were told by many women over and over and over again) — it was actually very slow and subtle. 12 hours after induction she still wasn’t even two centimeters dilated. If anything, we were starting to become okay with more severe contractions (that we were warned about) if it meant we would get this ball rolling.
By now, Lindsay was starving. She was getting restless wondering when our (amazing) doctor would come in to break the water. She was getting a little more defeated each time hearing that she was still in the 1cm arena. That was when she had a little meltdown. I hugged her and she cried quietly “I’m just so hungry…“. I felt terrible for her since we just didn’t know when she’d be able to eat. Within minutes, Dr. Kohatsu walks into the room and Lindsay’s spirits were immediately lifted. She breaks the water and it just looked like someone spilled a big cup of water. It was crazy! Up until that point, Lindsay had been putting the epidural off. Not because of what many people think — that she didn’t want it to “wear off” (something that doesn’t actually happen since epidurals don’t work that way) — but because once you get your epidural you have to stay in the bed. So she wanted to be able to walk around and go to the bathroom until it was just too uncomfortable. So once her water was broken, Lindsay summoned for the epidural.
The epidural process was fascinating. And the Doctor, an older woman named Dr. Mitchell, was amazingly sweet throughout the entire process. Explaining everything in detail as it was happening — and making it very clear that the moment we had any questions, she wanted us to ask so she could answer anything at all. Dr. Mitchell obviously did amazing because from then on out Lindsay felt amazing.
Having only slept about two hours the night before, we decided it’d be a good idea for Lindsay to get some rest. Yeah. Sleep during labor. Crazy, right? Nope. The epidural calmed her body down and she went out like a light. That was around 8pm. Friends and family were there, and Lindsay wanted to make sure everyone was happy and comfy, so I hung out with everyone to make sure it was familial for everyone while she slept through LABOR! Around 10pm, the nurse checked her to find out that she was about 3cm to 4cm’s dilated. Lindsay basically slept through them checking her! I asked her how she was feeling and she said that she felt amazing. She also said that her hunger pains were completely gone — that she wasn’t even hungry — and told me she really wanted me to eat something. So my dad ran out within the next hour or two and grabbed me some In-N-Out — probably the best In-N-Out I’ve eaten in years. I was so freaking hungry!
Around midnight, our parents had gone home and I went to the room to get some sleep with Lindsay. The nurse came in around 1am to check on Lindsay and she was at 9cm’s. Let me say that again, she was sound asleep at 9 cm’s! The nurse told me that we could go back to sleep as it would still be a while. In like 20 minutes, I woke up to Lindsay saying “Dr. Kohatsu is coming in!”
Now I’m excited. Like really excited.
I run to the waiting room where two of our best friends, Leslie and Deb, had been waiting. They were going to be in the room with us as Lindsay and I both wanted to share the experience with them so badly (and with a lot of other people too, to be honest, but they only allow for one person besides the father and Dr. Kohatsu was nice enough to allow one extra person for us). That takes 20 seconds so I figure I have enough time to go pee, right? Well I do and I’m back in the room in like a minute and a half — tops! I walk in and the nurse is with Lindsay and she’s PUSHING!!!!!!!!!
I panicked a bit thinking I was missing something — scared he was already born, or something. A few months ago, I had a dream that Lindsay didn’t want to wake me when Clive was born — and I was so bummed! I had a moment of irrational freakout — and I think Lindsay saw it on my face because as she’s doing her first push, she also says (in a funny sounding voice :P) “it’s okay, it’s okay…” I thought I was excited a few minutes earlier — and now I can’t even contain myself. I called Lindsay’s parents first as they were staying a bit farther. Then I called my parents. “She’s pushing so hurry down!”
What happened next was like nothing I could have ever imagined.
Lindsay is as calm as if she were having her nails done. No signs of pain. No signs of grogginess. Completely alert, even able to move her legs. Dr. Kohatsu walks in and immediately continues on where our nurse (Charis) had left off. One big push and his head is showing a tiny bit. I am jaw-dropped and I look back and forth at Lindsay, Deb, and Leslie just saying “this is insane!!!” Between pushes, Lindsay is focused, but totally with the three of us. She isn’t squeezing my hand to death while she goes off to her own little happy place. She pushes again and now I can see so much of his head. I tell Lindsay that “he’s got dark hair!!” Lindsay just smiles in between pushes. I cannot — CANNOT — overemphasize how enjoyable this made pregnancy for me as a man. To know my wife was with me — and not in the greatest pain of her life? Priceless. I’ll be writing a pro-epidural blog post for helping dads enjoy pregnancy in the near future ;) But I’ll save that for another time. The next push was a BIG one. I was helping her posture by lifting her shoulders — but I was still in a position to where I could see Clive perfectly.
Lindsay at that point had a moment of fear — I think one that many women have. “You don’t have to watch…” she said. I actually think there is NOTHING wrong with a guy if labor freaks him out. Or if he thinks it might effect him later (after the birth). Nothing at all. I just so happen to not be one of those guys. I looked at her and she saw the amazement in my eyes as I responded “this is freaking incredible!” I think her nerves about that were immediately squashed. But again, for different couples out there, similar to how screaming or remaining silent during a loud crash isn’t a matter of right/wrong, our reactions to something like child birth aren’t right or wrong either.
This led into Clive’s head coming out. That was a big push. Still, Lindsay was as calm and normal as can be. I couldn’t decide what was more amazing. The fact that my son was being born or the fact that Lindsay was enjoying this experience with a smile on her face! Now there was a moment of fear. Once the doctor twisted Clive’s head around, I thought I saw the cord wrapped around his neck. I decided to wait and see what Dr. Kohatsu would do. She just kept delivering and asked for one more BIG push — and a matter of minutes after Lindsay started pushing, Clive came out with that one big push!
Now it’s official. He’s here. Now I get to FINALLY know what it feels like to look at your son for the first time. It’s very, very different than everyone described. I didn’t feel like my world was turned upside down. I didn’t feel like I never knew what love was until that moment. I didn’t even feel like a real dad yet. At this point, I’m just plain silly with excitement. And I didn’t feel overwhelmed, either. Internally, when I sort of examined how I felt about this, I just felt content. Like it was meant to be. Not nervous or scared. But at the same time, I didn’t feel completely attached. You know how in the movies, if a parent and child are separated at birth, later to come in contact without knowing that they are parent and child, the movie shows them feeling a connection — but not knowing why? Well, if that existed, I would imagine that that is how I was feeling. Except the fact that i knew that the child I was looking at was mine (or I was pretty sure he was mine, at least :P). I felt a curious connection — one that I was very excited about settling into. Very excited about spending some time with this new human and seeing where that strange connection will take us.
Still a quick moment of fear. The cord was wrapped around his head not once but twice. And he was a little blue. Lindsay was unaware about the cord until this point, so I knew I had to stop her from getting terrified before it started. The doctor unwrapped it and counted “one… two…” so they could document it. Lindsay is very aware about the dangers of this so she looked at me with panicking eyes. I told Lindsay “don’t worry, I heard him cry BEFORE they unwrapped the cord“… which I did. I looked her right in the eyes and told her as confidently as I believed it, “he’s going to be totally fine.” I wasn’t being optimistic — in that moment I just believed completely that he was fine. I wasn’t even worried. Lindsay calmed down immediately. Moments like that make me realize that the connection I have with my wife is truly special. I just love how much we trust each other.
At that point, a nurse took him away and put an oxygen mask over his face so I told Lindsay I was going to go check on him. I asked the nurse calmly if everything was alright. I figured the more calm I was, the more honest she’d be in letting me know. She said “he’s fine” — but wouldn’t take her eyes off of him — so I had my doubts and wondered if she was doing what she was trained to do (tell parents that their baby is fine unless blatantly obvious that the baby is actually not fine). But within no time, color came to him and the blue that was there was being rushed away. The nurse said “oh good, see the blue leaving his body now? See the pink coming in? He’s going to be fine…”
Now to some brutal honesty. This might sound morbid, but I love open and honest accounts for things like this (so other people can feel less abnormal if they were to feel the same thing). As Clive was being worked on by the nurse, I had a moment where I thought “what if things went south? What would I feel? What would Lindsay feel?” I knew that Lindsay would be heartbroken. But myself? I thought that, at that point, I’d probably be okay. So I knew that as excited I was with having him, I didn’t fully “get it” yet. I’ll add that I don’t believe there is a wrong/right way to feel or react to a new baby. Many people go months without feeling a connection to their baby — and I want those people to know that they are perfectly normal and have NOTHING to feel guilty about. I figured sharing such an honest moment in my life might help people realize that people have all different kinds of reactions to childbirth — none of which are right or wrong.
So now with the nurse saying Clive was okay, I rushed back to Lindsay to tell her that he’s great and we just looked at each other in amazement. We just had our son. And you know how so many people say “there’s no WE are pregnant! Only the woman is pregnant!!!“? I firmly believe that we experienced a different birth than those people do. I hope that doesn’t sound more than what I mean by it. I just mean that if you walk into pregnancy as a team effort — as if you BOTH are integral parts to this whole — then you will have a different experience than if you think that only the woman is pregnant, that the man can never understand, he’s not a necessary part of the delivery, and so on. Lindsay pushed that baby out perfectly, but we were so connected as it happened (because we were a team all the way up to that point BEFORE we ever went to the hospital). We both felt like we were in it together. And that was amazing.
Leslie and Deb were crying at this point (as they were throughout the whole thing :) and then Lindsay says, out of nowhere, “that was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done.” Not in a braggy way. She said it completely in shock. We both expected something so much different. So much more intense. So much more difficult. She couldn’t believe how easy it was (from a pain standpoint). She even added “I could do it again right now,” with a smile. Crazy.
Sidenote: Now I know there might be some people getting annoyed at this point. That Lindsay is one of the “lucky” ones. But that, in at least some regard, isn’t the case. I think the fact that she pushed him out in a few minutes is unique to her — but the rest? I think it can be more common than most think so long as you take the right steps. For example, eating right and exercising. I don’t know how many people would tell Lindsay “just get the chocolate sundae… you’re pregnant, for God’s sake!” Or how people would almost freak out when they found out she kicked butt at the gym every other day. Our doctor told us time and time again that these steps that Lindsay took very seriously would help her in labor — and they did! And Lindsay WANTED that chocolate sundae. And she would have LOVED to stay home and watch Jersey Shores instead of going to the gym. But she knew 9 months later she’d be glad she put in the work. Looking back at her pregnancy, I’m so proud of how serious she took it. How much she wanted to take care of her body and her son (who would be affected by her body). It wasn’t easy but it clearly paid off.
Immediately after Clive is born, my sister and parents get to the hospital. At that same time, I called Lindsay’s parents to see how far they were. As it was ringing, I thought it might be fun for Elise (Lindsay’s mom) to talk directly to Lindsay just a minute after she gave birth :) So Lindsay asks “are you guys almost here? Clive’s out!” It was so fun to watch.
My parents and sister had to be let in (the doors are closed that late), so Deb ran down and opened the door. My parents waited in the waiting room — not wanting to see Clive before Ben and Elise, but rather together as grandparents (that’s how awesome my parents are) — but my sister came right in. They had just laid Clive down on Lindsay’s chest seconds before April walked in. She immediately started crying. And at that point, as a new father, I finally “got it”. I understood why she had been pushing (and pushing, and pushing, and pushing, and pushing :) for us to have a baby. And I realized why she was so insanely excited for us. I didn’t know before, because I’d never had a child before. But now? I get it. I started thinking about our friends Andy and Maren and Will and Tanya who are expecting babies any time and got SOOOOOOOO excited for them. I thought “they have NO idea what their about to experience!” I mean, I was happy for them before — but I was THRILLED for them at that point.
The hospital has something called “the golden hour” where everyone leaves immediately after the childbirth and mom and dad have an hour of quiet bonding time with their new baby. As AMAZING as that sounded, we wanted our parents to come in as soon as possible. The hospital is very serious about this — but I begged the nurses if we could rush our parents in for just a few minutes first. I guess my batting eyes were enough because they said yes. Once they finished getting Lindsay decent (from a nudity standpoint ;), our parents came in. The “cool” factor of the day just kept growing and growing. I was obviously excited for my parents to have another grandson (the first official “Earle” grandson for them), but we all (my parents included) were extra excited for Ben and Elise (Lindsay’s parents) as this was their first grandbaby. I rushed Elise over to Lindsay’s side and I have a photo below of our parents and my sister all being excited together — looking at Lindsay and the new baby — that I know we’ll cherish for ever. It’s the moment they walked in and I just love it. After about ten minutes, we had to start the golden hour so off everyone went.
The golden hour. It was so incredible. So beautiful. So much soul, if that makes sense. I’m in a dim, quiet room, looking at my beautiful wife, and trying to believe that the perfect little baby on my wife’s chest is our son. It was breathtaking. We talked constantly about how amazing the labor was. How we both couldn’t believe how painless it was. How I was still in shock with how enjoyable it was for me (since I didn’t have to watch the person I love in terrible pain — without being able to do anything about it). How insane it was that this baby was OUR son! We were just repeating ourselves over and over. Breastfeeding for Lindsay was still a bit weird, as she described it. She actually wasn’t sure if she would breastfeed at all — but I kind of pushed her to try it first. I was immediately blown away with how amazing it was. My wife sustaining my son OUTSIDE of the womb through her body. Unreal. I’m pretty turned off to the pro-breastfeeding world (or the anti-formula world, I should say), but I couldn’t deny how incredible that was. Not to over-romanticize it — I would have had the EXACT same beautiful experience without the breastfeeding — I was just fascinated by the human body. During the golden hour, I held Clive for the first time. This was insane. Lindsay, thankfully, grabbed my camera and took a few photos. But I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I’ve never been one to hold infants. I’ve always been into kids. Very comfortable with them. But newborns are like the final frontier. I always wondered what it would be like with my own child. And now I finally new (sidenote: I just started typing this with one hand because Clive is sucking on my left pointer finger. It just keeps getting better :). My connection to him is already significantly stronger than it was just 30 minutes before. And I didn’t feel uneasy about holding him like I thought I would (like I always have with other newborns). I held him like it was “no thang”. I felt completely comfortable with him. Almost as if I’d done this many times (just got my finger back so now I can type with two hands :).
After the golden hour, we just rested. They bathed Clive, weighed him, measured him (7lbs 10oz and 20 inches long). And after that? I don’t remember much. I hadn’t slept in a couple days — so I was really, really exhausted. I laid down somewhere around 4 or 5am.
The next morning, I woke around 8 or 9 am to Lindsay being a mommy, full stop. She said Clive was awesome all night. Just sleeping and eating. The whole time with her on her chest. My feelings for Clive at this point are incredibly powerful. Lindsay needs a break to go to the bathroom, brush her teeth, move around, etc. — which was perfect because I REALLY wanted to steal him for a while :) I laid down with him on the “daddy” bed (a chair that folds out to a bed) and just fell asleep with him. It was so amazing. I just couldn’t believe that I was actually taking a nap with my new baby. I woke up to Lindsay taking pictures of us — and one of them (which you’ll see below), will be one of my favorite photos for the rest of my life.
That day we had tons of visitors. Lindsay hadn’t even given labor but a few hours before when we started having loved ones come in. People kept feeling bad — thinking we MUST want some rest — but we just loved sharing our excitement with our friends and family. Having everyone there… it just made an amazing experience even more amazing.
I really could go on and on — so I better wind down now. The last thing I want to say is how my feelings for Lindsay changed throughout this whole process. As far as I’m concerned, Lindsay and I have a special, unique bond. I think we both got so unbelievably lucky with how we just fit into the other. However, watching her go through this whole miraculous experience, and all the work she put into it… She’s not only the woman I married, she’s now the mother of my son. My baby mama, if you will :) It’s hard to explain, but I just see her differently now. I don’t know if I love her more, but I think my love for her is even deeper than it was before. I hope that makes sense.
One more thing. The hospital (Pomerado), the nurses (Charis, Diane, Chanda, Vicki, Lisa, and so many others), and Doctors Kohatsu and Mitchell… in a day and age where it sometimes can seem that doctors (and their motives) are questioned more than they are appreciated, please know that we so strongly appreciate your skills, gifts, years of studying, practicing, and so on. Without you guys, who knows how different things would have been. We were so lucky for each one of you to play such an important part in the healthy, safe birth of our son. God bless you all.
In ending, I love my wife and my son with all my heart. I’m so grateful to the doctors and nurses who made this childbirth so easy and painless. I feel so fortunate for having a healthy child. I’m just so incredibly happy. Thank you all so much for joining us on this journey. Having everyone along for the ride has made the celebration more joyous than it would have been. Now all I can do is ask for forgiveness in advance for clogging the blog up with post after post about Clive :) Hopefully a TON of photos from our first day with our new son is enough consolation…
4am. About to leave for the hospital. Lindsay’s last request before motherhood? To watch an Usher video… Or Usher just happened to be on vh1. You decide.
Our friend, Deb, took the following photos. She picked up my camera and shot for the first time ever. Not bad!
Love this one Deb shot. Very PJ, isn’t it?
In Deb’s last picture, the girls got Lindsay some comfort in the form of what I call female porn — US weekly.
Moments after Lindsay’s breakdown, Dr. Kohatsu shows up, breaks Lindsay’s water, and Lindsay is immediately much happier :)
Dr. Mitchell explaining how to posture up for the epidural.
Leslie shot this one during the delivery. As you can see, Lindsay has a smile on her face. And my hand? It’s not being crunched. It’s just being held. Crazy, right?
Here he is RIGHT after — before he even got cleaned off. So ugly — but so cute :)
Moments after delivery, Lindsay talks to her mom like nothing happened.
My sister and Lindsay getting all excited. Lindsay does NOT look like she JUST had a baby!
Leslie shot these two, as well. I think I’m talking about how cone shaped his head was :)
Lindsay’s dad, Ben :)
Love this one.
Lindsay’s parents :)
Golden hour. Beautiful.
Clive latching on for some food for the first time.
Being weighed and measured… and sleeping through it.
Holding my son for the very first time.
No words for this one.
Taking a nap the following day. Getting ready for visitors :)
Love this one of Lindsay’s parents.
Our friend, April (from Chick-fil-a!), got some wide eyes out of Clive!
And then Ali (also from Chick-fil-a) did the same thing :)
My mom :)
My son’s reaction… much like my own to my mom :P
Both grandmas :)
Two of my favorites. Look how TINY he looks! Thanks so much to our awesome friend (and photographer), Cindy, for taking these two on my camera :)
The hospital filled up so we had to change rooms. Thanks to Cindy again for the photo!
The last morning at the hospital with the grandparents.
Mearl (sp?). You don’t find ‘em much sweeter. Lindsay told him that she was fine to walk out — he insisted saying that his favorite part of the day is seeing the little ones off ;)
We’ve been talking about how crazy it’ll be to drive home with our baby for YEARS. It was even crazier than we imagined. It was also much less scary than I had always anticipated.
Lindsay giving Clive the finger :P to keep him happy in his car seat.
The very first image of Clive at home. The moment we got out of the car. So exciting.
We tell ourselves that Mo, our nephew, is saying “when you ain’t lookin’ I’m gonna get a permanent marker and draw on his face… riiiight there…”
Izzi, our other nephew, was in tears when he found out that he wouldn’t be allowed to go to the hospital to see his cousin, Clive. He’s 5yrs now, and was very much so looking forward to seeing him. When he got home from school, he brought him the picture he drew (of me, “Auntie” [aka Lindsay], himself, and baby Clive) and demanded to hold him immediately. So cute.
Well if you made it this far, WOW! Sorry for the in depth post, but I knew I’d want to have it down for myself — before I forget it. Now I can’t wait to post photos of him and the dogs together!