Our sweet little boy is almost 2-months-old and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t relive at least one moment of the day he was born. Constantly running back through those moments in my head had me wondering if my husband felt the same. What does he remember of that day? Does he remember the little details the way I do or did he see them differently? I thought it would be great to let him share for himself what he remembers about the day our lives changed forever. So without further ado, here is Wyatt’s birth story from the perspective of my baby daddy.
Warning: What follows are the birth story observations and experiences of yours truly, the husband of the Big Blonde Brain.
It all started with me, knee deep in the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas, fly fishing for bonefish, or tarpon, or something like that. My aqua blue-striped center-console fishing boat bobbing 15 yards off of my left shoulder. And I had one too, fish that is, until I was abruptly shaken back into the real world, Casey standing over me with a deer-in-the-headlights look on her face and her pajamas in her hands.
“What’s wrong?” I managed to mumble, all the while shaking the fog off and remembering where I had my gun, just in case. There were only two reasons for her to wake me up at 1:45 a.m. It was either an intruder or…
“I…I think…I’m pretty sure my water just broke.” She said, half unsure of herself.
“It better have broken.”
I thought, still half asleep and trying to grasp the words that had just passed through my ears. Were we prepared? Sure (I think?). Did I think it would actually happen in the middle of the night (morning) just like in the movies? Not a chance. I’m not actually sure how I thought it would happen, but I didn’t think it would be like this.
“Really??” I asked.
“Yes!” she laughed. “Feel!” she said, thrusting her PJ’s towards me.
Um. “How about I take your word for it? So…what do we do now?”
Come on Tyler, don’t you remember what the teacher in the birthing class said?!
Time the contractions. Can she talk through them? The 5-1-1 rule! Every five minutes a one-minute long contraction will happen for one hour! If the criteria are met, call somebody…or go to the hospital? Which was it?!
“I think I need to call the doctor,” she said, half statement, half question.
At this point, I finally decided that this probably wasn’t a drill, so I got out of bed and made myself look presentable, brushed my teeth, etc. I like to be prepared for any scenario, so I grabbed my dad-bag that I pre-packed for the hospital just for me and laid it out on the bed for final inspection. The birthing class instructor said that they don’t feed the dads in the hospital since we aren’t the “patient,” so it was stocked with buffalo-cranberry and wild boar and bacon bars from Epic Bars, as well as, a pair of shorts, an extra shirt, phone charger and other essentials.
Casey was on the phone with the OB and I could hear her answering questions in the bathroom.
“They’re around 7-8 minutes apart.”
“Yes ma’am, my PJ’s and my side of the bed are soaked.”
“Okay, talk to you soon.”
Can you believe it? They were going to call us back in about 15 minutes after they talked to the doctor. Didn’t they understand the gravity of the situation?! Of course, they did. They deal with this all day every day. I don’t.
My wife proceeds to get into the shower and then gets out and starts to put on makeup.
Didn’t SHE understand the gravity of the situation? Was I the only sane person awake at this hour?! I later learned that she had read that this whole day was about to get crazy so, if you have the time, the best thing you could do is to make yourself feel as human as possible. Whether that’s showering, putting on makeup, or wearing more than sweats and a hoodie. Because pretty soon, you had ZERO privacy. There weren’t any no-no spots in the hospital and the doctors and nurses would know just as much, physically, about my wife as I did. So she wants to take a few minutes to look and feel nice? Go for it babe.
The OB nurse called back and said that she had talked to Dr. Brown (Casey’s favorite), who was on call and, given all of the information, she said that we should start making our way to the hospital. It was go-time, folks and I had just been shown the green flag at the Daytona 500.
If she was going about her usual morning routine, then so was I. I went downstairs, put SportsCenter on and made a cup of coffee. This was going to be a long day and I needed all the help I could get. After I put some fuel in the tank, I made sure the car seat was securely strapped into the backseat of my truck. I couldn’t believe that I was looking at a car seat in the back of my truck and soon, there would be a little human that looked like me sitting in it.
I went back inside and picked up my mom’s Pandora bracelet that I kept draped over a picture of her and I dancing at our wedding and held it for a while, wishing that I could call and wake her up, telling her that her grandson was on his way. I thought about what her and my dad might have been going through when I was making my appearance and teared up a little bit. Casey coming down the stairs snapped me out of it, so I put the bracelet back, kissed the picture and went back upstairs to grab the hospital bag(s).
We started our journey to the hospital and I was somehow supposed to drive safe and focus. Yeah, right. At this point, the contractions were starting to follow the 5-1-1 rule I mentioned earlier. I started to time them myself and they were coming EXACTLY 5 minutes apart. I started watching the clock and in between our conversations of “can you believe this is actually happening?”, I would reach my hand over at the 5-minute mark so Casey could squeeze. Just rinse and repeat, all the way to the hospital. I really couldn’t tell you what we talked about. I was doing at least 20 over the speed limit and it was 3:00 in the morning. No cops, please.
Like I said earlier, I like to be prepared so I had already filled out the sheet for the valet parking at the hospital. We pull up out front and I grab the bags and go to help the mama get out. The lobby is deserted so we make our way up to reception. I’m proudly waving my valet sheet to the lady and she’s looking at it like it’s written in Mandarin. The security guard then proceeds to tell me I couldn’t park my truck where it was! In my head, I’m thinking,
“that’s what I filled the sheet out for! You can park it wherever the hell you want!”
I run out and pull it up 20 feet to where they said I could leave it for the valet when he gets in. Whatever, people. My wife is in the throes of labor. Can we just get to wherever we need to get to?
We get escorted up to Triage and they take Casey back to be probed while I get to wait in the Triage waiting room for what seems like two days. Turns out it was actually an hour before a nurse told me I could go back and see her. She’s in a hospital gown, fitted with attachments that are monitoring her contractions. I don’t remember if I witnessed this myself, or if Casey told me about it when I got back there, but the nurse said that they needed to check to make sure that her water did actually break.
Lady, if it didn’t, we have a whooole other problem going on.
After Triage, we were taken back to the actual birth room, which was the size of our kitchen and living room combined. In one corner I see the hospital bed (something that I’ve recently grown to hate the sight of, given what went on with my mom just a few months before this and my dad a few years before that) and I see the little baby warmer table thing, an enormous couch, computers, a TV, bathroom and all of the other amenities one would see in a hotel room. If we were going to be here awhile, I could dig it.
I forgot to mention that in Triage, they took Casey’s blood to make sure her platelets were up to snuff in order to be able to get an epidural. Every nurse that comes in gets asked by Casey to say a prayer that they are where they needed to be. Within 10 minutes Casey had that whole floor praying for her blood platelet count. Weird, I know. We get the pleasantries out of the way and Dr. Brown comes in to see Casey. It was pretty cool having first met her when Wyatt was just a little ball of cells suspended in the womb, to now be here with him literally pushing his way out to be with us. She knew just what to say to say to calm Casey down and she left to page the lab to check on the platelet results. She was also ending her shift at this time, so she assured Casey that she was in good hands and that this was the day that we had been preparing for.
It had to be just around 8:00 a.m. and I hadn’t sent a text or anything to my in-laws, so I figured it was time to let them know what was going on. I called my mother-in-law and she answered with a “Hey, Ty…?” Mind you, they had just been at our house for dinner the night before. They literally left our house a little over two hours before Casey’s water broke (remember when I said I was tired?) and nothing was out of the ordinary besides Casey saying that the baby felt super low.
“I bet you can guess why I’m calling you,” I joked.
She happily notifies Pops (Casey’s dad) and I told her that I would call her back when there was more to report. I also passed along Casey’s prayer request…
For the next 7-8 hours we stayed in this room, the usual ebb and flow of nurses and “checking”. Dr. Brown ended up making one last appearance before her shift ended and made Casey feel a lot calmer about what was going on. About an hour, hour and a half into it, and after multiple calls to the lab, we finally got word that Casey’s platelets were 109! We needed them to be over 100 in order to get the epidural. The Eighth Floor Crew’s prayers had been answered. It took a little while longer, but the anesthesiologist finally showed to administer the epidural.
I ended up watching the sunrise from our window and smashing 3 of the Epic bars I told you about earlier. I had a lot of time to think. I thought about how, as incredible as these moments were, they were nowhere near how I always thought they would go. I had envisioned that before I made that call to Casey’s parents that I would have called my own mom and told her that her baby boy was getting ready to have a baby. That her and dad should go ahead and start making their way to the hospital from where they would have retired together, back where they were from at the beach most likely. In the breaks between nurse check-in’s and Casey’s naps, I had myself a good cry. Not too proud to admit it. But moments like that find me often. Certain songs, places, or smells can bring them on. Anyways… I’ve got a talent for reading slight changes in people’s composure, or when things just “change” in a room and at one point when they were checking Casey I saw the nurse look almost surprised. I didn’t really think anything about it. The nurse also didn’t mention anything, so back to my Epic bars. But I saw you nurse…I saw you.
I’m not sure how long it took (time actually doesn’t exist when you’re in the hospital about to have a baby, fun fact), but it wasn’t too long before the nurse came back in to check on us. This time she wanted to check Casey and then have her training counterpart check her (abandon all modesty, ye who enter here). The nurse doing the training asked her trainee what she felt. The trainee looked puzzled for a moment and then said that she didn’t feel anything.
“That’s because she’s complete,” the nurse smiled.
Complete! That’s awesome! …what does that mean again?
Casey was fully effaced, fully dilated, at zero station and ready to rock-and-roll. The nurse looked at her and asked if she was ready to start pushing.
Wow, we were finally here. In, possibly, mere moments/minutes/hours, I would be a dad. It would go from “yeah, we’re having a baby,” to, “we’re having a BABY!” After about an hour and a half of a peanut ball and letting Wyatt get as low in the birth canal as he could, it really was time to push. Our two nurses came in and said that it was go time and asked if I was planning on watching.
Absolutely not, I thought, you’re not going to mess this up for me.
I told her that I wasn’t really sure and that I hadn’t planned on it. She told me that a lot of dads actually regret not watching.
“Don’t you want to be the first person to see your son into this world?” Cheap move, pulling on the heartstrings like that, lady. I thought long and hard about it in a span of about two seconds and said,
“ok, I’m in.”
Side note: I forgot to mention that there was a nurse that we had had all day (before the trainer/trainee duo) that stayed well past her shift’s end just because she had been with us all day and wanted to see the finished product. She was a saint and deserves a mention.
It was all really a blur from here. I remember that I went from an observer, to a nurse holding Casey’s left leg. I was telling her that she was doing great and doing my best to avert my eyes from looking. Really for Casey’s sake, not mine. I have a very strong stomach and wasn’t worried about fainting, or anything else you hear from other dad’s horror stories. About 45 minutes (?) into it, Wyatt was crowning to the point that they needed to call the doctor in to finish it all up. The doctor came in promptly followed by a S.W.A.T. team of nurses pushing all types of devices and tables. She took over without skipping a beat and continued to coax Wyatt out. The doctor at one point asked Casey if she wanted to see what was going on from our point-of-view via a mirror. Casey, like me, was a little standoff-ish about it at first, but the doctor told her a slight variation of what was said to me and Casey agreed.
Finally, Wyatt was getting closer and closer to making his appearance. It’s foggy, but I remember the doctor saying something about one more big push. Time no longer existed. Even more so than before. I somehow ended up right beside the doctor, relieved of my left leg holding duties. I could see the top of Wyatt’s head, hair slicked down.
Would it be the same color as mine? Casey’s? Would it keep its color as long as my dad, his Pawpaw’s did, or would it show its well-earned grey like my mom’s, his Nana’s?
Again, time slowed down.
He was almost out to his forehead and I saw the doctor raise her hand and grip around the exposed part of his head. “Push!!” Casey looked like she was fading from the strain and the pain. Her instinct to force her legs closed from the foreign body, now protruding from her lower half, starting to take over. “Push!!!”
Time slowed down again.
The doctor twisted Wyatt’s head 90 degrees and pulled. A rush of baby, fluid, and cord came spilling out (I’m sorry). Almost instantaneous crying filled the room. I’m staring at this purplish-white screaming alien baby in the doctor’s hands as she wipes him down and immediately lays him on Casey’s chest. My own hands have reached my temples as my brain tries to process the sensory overload that’s bombarding every synapse. The doctor clamps the cord. “Ready to cut the cord?”
Time slowed down.
The doctor hands me the curved scissors and I snipped the designated area. Wyatt gets placed on a scale, fully his own human. The nurse takes measurements and then gives him right back to Casey. I see his eyes.
His little hands gripping at the air.
What will those little hands do?
The nurses are flying around the room as I just stand there staring at my wife and son…MY son, and all I can think is…
“…time, please slow down.”