BIRTH STORY

I believe every child deserves to know the details of his or her birth and how that arrival changed the lives of the people who welcomed their special little one into the world. This page is intended to share Aidan’s birth story from my perspective as events unfolded in May 2005. I try to capture the moments leading up to her delivery from my thoughts at that time without judgment as the experienced dad I am now. Welcome to our adventure!

Monday May 16, 2005

It’s 13 days before Aidan’s due date and I accompanied Bonnie to her latest doctor’s appointment.   We expected it to be a routine visit, but her doctor observed Bonnie’s swelling and her higher-than-normal blood pressure and ordered Bonnie to go directly to St. Luke’s Hospital. We didn’t go home, like Bonnie wanted to, and instead following her doctor’s orders. She was admitted fairly quickly and settled into her room, albeit without anything she had on her birth plan list.

I went home to pack a bag and bring some comforts from home back with me, including several books. It helped very little. The two of us were anxious, confused, concerned and a variety of other adjectives that fit any situation where the outcome is completely unpredictable.  We did know that we would have a baby to care for very soon but method of arrival seemed to be the issue.

Tuesday May 17, 2005

We spent another marathon day at St. Luke’s wondering when our baby would be born. Bonnie’s doctor supported her wish to have a natural birth initially. As hours passed, and Bonnie’s blood pressure dropped, the likelihood of a delivery by Caesarean section seemed high.

The pending c-section became the only conversation we had that lasted more than a few moments. On occasion, one of us would be in the bathroom and reminded of earlier chats about a water birth.

Nurses constantly monitored Bonnie’s vital signs, interrupting any sleep she managed to get. Napping on a small, uncomfortable couch didn’t allow me much rest either. We both became delirious. Bonnie sent me home in the middle of the night to take care of the cats. Powder, Annie, Buster and Easter had no idea about how their lives would change soon. They just wondered why there was no food in their dish.

The drive to our house on Mt. Vernon from the Medical Center is a short one, but add the walk from Bonnie’s room to the parking garage, and the drive out of the garage, I probably got home 30 minutes after leaving her room. After feeding the cats, I got on the computer and planned to get a bit of rest before driving back in a couple hours.

It didn’t work out that way. I was still on the computer when Bonnie called and told me the doctor was coming to deliver the baby. I raced back to the hospital, but by the time I arrived, the plans changed. The doctor-on-duty made the call to deliver the baby but Bonnie’s own doctor overruled that plan.

Wednesday May 18, 2005

Tuesday rolled into Wednesday without as much as a pause.  The uncertainty of when Aidan would arrive was stressful. The room that looked inviting on Monday now looked small and irritating.

While natural childbirth was no longer an option, Bonnie received an epidural late morning. She held out as long as she could but then they gave her an ultimatum: get it now or accept general anesthesia. It was a strange experience to watch an anesthesiologist administer the epidural, and the look of relaxation on Bonnie’s face, along with her slower speech, told me the drugs were doing their job.

I strolled out of there at 2 in the afternoon for a short break, intending to kill time in the hospital gift shop. I got as far as the elevator when my phone rang. Bonnie caught me in time before I was all the way downstairs. Doctors had come to deliver the baby.

I ran back to her room and she was already loaded up for a ride to the OR. A nurse gave me a GIANT pair of fake scrubs that a 500 pound wrestler could have worn comfortably. I was confused, maybe alarmed, but trusted the medical team to handle the mission of getting my baby out.

Bonnie may have been in the OR for 2 minutes but it felt like 20 minutes while I waited outside. Once the room was prepped, a nurse brought me in and I stood near her head. It didn’t take long. Once the incision was made, Aidan was delivered very quickly. She appeared to be bright yellow, with jaundice present, but she wasn’t crying.

I lost track of time wondering if she would start breathing. Mind-blowing and agonizing moments. Of course, the team tended to her and within 20 seconds she was breathing. Breathing and screaming!

The most amazing thing happened next. As a nurse brought Aidan to her mom, I could see Aidan’s facial expression change as she seemed calmed by her mother’s voice. Once set on her mother’s chest, Aidan was perfectly quiet. I know it registered at the time, but the transition was more profound when I later looked at the pics I took of those moments.

Bonnie got moved to another room and I joined her. Aidan was placed in a small covered cart of some kind and a few feet away from me. Bonnie kept saying, “don’t leave my baby alone.” Clearly she was feeling stressed about not being able to hold Aidan, but I was dedicated to staying with Aidan for the next couple hours while Bonnie was moved to the room she would occupy the rest of the week.

As Aidan and I arrived at the maternity ward, I watched her in awe, and enjoyed the Active Alert stage I had learned about in childbirth classes. Aidan stared at me and I stared right back, fascinated by her every move and expression. I watched as a nurse bathed her in a sink. She looked so fragile yet so perfect.

Thursday May 19-Sunday May 22, 2005

We remained in the hospital for several days, although I should say Aidan and Bonnie remained in the hospital. I spent every possible moment there, only breaking away to check on things at home, work on pre-production for a TV series I was producing that was about to start shooting , and audition for a local TV commercial.

The day we brought her home was a taste of reality hitting with sudden impact. Yes, we knew we had a baby to take home, but it felt very different on the day it actually happened. A nurse brought Bonnie and Aidan down to the car, and stayed to ensure we had a carseat properly installed in the vehicle. There was another agonizing few minutes spent as I felt that  I couldn’t get it securely locked into place.  Bonnie helped make it right, and soon we were on the road home.

More than eight months of pregnancy followed by six days in the hospital, a time of tremendous joys and unprecedented stress, would quickly be set aside as Aidan’s mom and I began what she now affectionately refers to as BABY BOOT CAMP.


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