Saturday, February 21, 2009

Part II: Pa-pa-pa Push it - Push it - Push it real good.

In an effort to carry the momentum from all the positive feedback after last week, I decided to watch Friday Night Lights (I had no idea there were other fans!) on our DVR this Saturday night and pick up where we left off on Greta's arrival. Meanwhile, my baby mama is serving a vanilla milk shake to the bambino. And off we go -

Well before the arrival of my beautiful daughter, Shell and I took a birthing class. I also read bits and pieces of The Expectant Father and other birth-related books. More importantly, I got pointers from every one of my male buddies and cousins with children for their advice. None of them, however, entirely prepared me for the labor experience.

By 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 7, 2009, I witnessed around 11 different people as they became intimately involved with my wife's business at various points of the day. This topic was never addressed in our class, the books, or by my buddies so I was unsure about the proper protocol for my positioning during these examinations. Do I stare ahead from wherever I'm sitting and act like this happens all the time? Or am I supposed to look from the same angle of the, um, penetrator? Fortunately, my role was clearly defined during the actual labor.

8:38 p.m. Tim Riggins is possibly the only high school student in America that I envy. Truth be told, it's a complete man crush. In real life, that dude probably pulls more wool than an Irish sheep farmer. I digress.

After Hannibal gave us the "go" sign, Nurse Kelli instructed me to use my right arm to hold Michelle's right leg and my left arm to support her neck. She had Michelle's left leg.

NK: As you feel a contraction coming on, push while holding your breath as I count to 10 backwards.

Me: (Nodding. At a loss for words after the weight of the moment began to sink in.)

NK: You'll do this three separate times and then you can take a rest.

Me: You can do it, honey! C'mon - FOCUS! You GOT this, Shell. Bring the baby home to papa!

NK: (Looking at me funny.)

Me: You're doing great Shell. (The actual only true quote.)

Michelle attacked the pushing like nothing I've ever witnessed. She was a rock star. At the beginning, I thought her eyes my literally pop out of her sockets a la Total Recall. (I asked her to please close her eyes.) In between pushes, I'd massage her back or bring water sips - whatever she instructed. At one point, Nurse Kelli even fastened a bar to the bed that resembled some type of snow or water ski tow for hard core pushing. It went on like this for some time.

My support for Shell was vigorous in the first sixty minutes or so. But 0f course, as time progressed, the adrenaline waned and the caffeine from my coffees and cokes ran its course. My inner thoughts began to drift towards the cramp in my hand that I was feeling with every deep massage that Shell requested for her neck and shoulders. My back kind of ached, too. Come to think of it, I didn't really get too much sleep last night. It was also really challenging to text my mom one-handed in between contractions to update her on the progress.

8:42 p.m. Holy schnikes, Lila Garrity! Why does Riggins want to go to a house party instead of hanging out with Lila for the night? (I know I'm creepy but she's actually 26 in real life.)

8:43 p.m. Cash is lying, Tyra. Get the hell away from him. You know this relationship will not end up well.

All kidding aside, Michelle pushed for two and a half hours. Eventually, the baby's heart rate was above the level deemed safe and she had reached a point in the canal where she seemed to have just stopped. Michelle also had a fever. The doctor recommended a c-section and we consented. They moved Michelle to the operating room and told me to wait until someone came for me.

I knew the procedure was routine. This hospital probably banged out as many c-sections in one day that a Mass. Pike rest area Dangelos kicks out lobster rolls. Nevertheless, I was scared. Was the doctor really telling us everything about the baby's condition or was there something more serious? More importantly, was my wife/best friend/confidante/partner-for-life/person who-often-knows-me-better-than-myself going to be okay?

While dressing in the scrubs given to me by an indifferent nurse, I quietly reflected and prayed asking my version of God to ensure the safety of my wife and child. The nurse returned, said they were ready, and reminded me to bring the camera.

I entered the O.R. and intentionally avoided looking toward Shell's abdomen, which was open and on display for the approximately 10 other medical staff with us. I sat behind a sheet near Michelle's head and held her hand. The doctors and nurses might as well have been discussing the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy but I was tense enough for all of them. They were tugging Michelle's body in different directions as I squirmed silently.

All I wanted to hear was my baby's beautiful cry for the first time - a cry that will ultimately morph into a piercing alarm whistle that accelerates my pulse into immediate action but in that moment would sound like a chorus of angels singing my favorite Cake or Weezer song. Please, doctors, for the love of all that is good and right in this world, hurry up and deliver our baby.

8:52 p.m. Yeah, Matt Saracen! Get some action with the daughter of the coach who benched you. Sweet revenge - yeehaw. Wait a second, though, they spent the entire night out - AND there's no confrontation with her parents when she got home? (If Greta ever pulled a stunt like that, she'd be grounded! AND banished for that matter! Plus, I'd, I'd - um ... ok, I'm just going to continue gaining weight and losing hair while I think of ways to prevent Gigi from meeting anyone who remotely resembles me or my buddies at 16.)

Finally, I know the baby is out. The neo-natal doctors who were huddled in a corner have moved over to the table. A woman said something like, "Okay, are you ready to meet your baby?" Michelle and I, after nine and a half months of waiting, worrying, celebrating, and preparing answer in unison, desperately and exhausted, "YES!"

Woman: You have a baby girl! Does she have a name?

Me: (Crying behind the surgical mask.) Greta Jane Teravainen.

Sunday, February 8, 2009 - 1:55 a.m.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Running Diary of the Birth - Part I

Friday, February 6, 2009: In the spirit of Bill Simmons, I thought I’d do a running diary of our recent events. My original post for last week was about how I hate being late and how Michelle is hardly ever on time, which suggested to me that the baby was going to be more like his/her mom because the arrival was overdue as of Super Bowl Sunday. Now I find myself typing from Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston watching Friday Night Lights with my baby mama lying next to me without any underwear on. None of this is an unusual Friday night experience except of course for the hospital part.

Michelle called me at work around 10:30 a.m. this morning to say that it was game time! After a visit to her doctor earlier this week, we received an appointment for Michelle to be induced on Saturday night if she had not yet begun labor. After she thought her water may have broken while driving on I-93, we decided it was better to be safe than sorry.

Since then, we packed, grabbed lunch, drove to the hospital, confirmed she was not in labor, decided to be induced since we were there already, sat through some tests, left for our “last supper”, and returned for admission.

Truth be told, Michelle was leaning towards becoming induced today so she can deliver before February 8 because she read some horoscope that said kids born on that date are spooky or something like that. I was hoping she’d deliver before Monday the 9th because it’s a full moon and I was worred we might spawn a werewolf. Here’s hoping the Pitocin does its job!

Michelle’s contractions are getting stronger and more frequent by the hour. We are getting excited! We texted family and friends around 5 p.m. The feedback was really encouraging and thoughtful. Now, on to the diary:

9:27 p.m. Michelle's contractions are increasing but she's taking it like a trooper.

9:30 p.m. Jeff Bridges just did a voiceover for a Hyundai auto commercial. I can't help but think of the Big Lebowski whenever I hear Jeff's voice. I wish the Dude did commercials for Kahlua instead.

9:34 p.m. Coach Taylor is going to start freshman J.D. over the struggling seniorMatt. Tyra is choosing a cowboy over Landry. Shocker!

9:38 p.m. Jerod commercial. I’m ready to punch myself in the face.

9:43 p.m. The anesthesiologist came in.
Doctor: Have you decided yet about an epidural when you begin la-
Michelle: Yes!

9:54 p.m. Jane Seymour is trying to make us believe she paints strange shaped hearts, which inspired Kay Jewelers to release her necklace just in time for Valentine’s Day. Not sure I believe it.

9:56 p.m. Smash Williams is in at Texas A&M. Nice. Shell and I love his mom.

10:01 p.m. Nurse Kelley came in to attach the fetal heart monitor. This is our 3rd time today. Whenever Shell has a contraction, the baby’s heart rate decreases and then when the contraction dissipates, the baby’s heart pitterpatters back up to sometimes as high as 180 per minute! Freaky.

10:22 p.m. Dr. Baker came in to follow up. 2nd dose of Cytotec. Shell is bummed because Dr. Baker’s shift ends at 8 a.m. Then, we have Dr. Lechter. No joke. I haven’t pointed out that he starred in Silence of the Lambs yet.

10:30 p.m. Shell just told Nurse Kelley she’s worried she may poop herself during delivery because she hasn’t gone # 2 yet today. Time will tell. We all wait anxiously - for the baby, not a poop.

10:59 p.m. The nutcase woman who had octuplets recently came on for a brief interview with Ann on Dateline. Her botox lips were so distracting that I can’t remember anything she said. Total kook.

Saturday, February 7, 2009
12:00 a.m. We are going to sleep.

3:00 a.m. Dr. Baker and Nurse Kelley came in. Michelle received a 3rd dose of Cytotec. I stayed half-asleep in my cot.

5:30 a.m. Dr. Quant checks Shell’s vajayjay. She’s 2 centimeters.

7:00 a.m. Shell is about to receive Pitocin for the 1st time. Overall, she hasn’t had any significant pain. My jobs have included holding her hand, pressing the button for her bed to move up and down, and running errands. Her contractions are increasing in strength and frequency again.

7:22 a.m. We are relieved to discover that Dr. Lichter will deliver the baby. Not Hannibal Lechter. Phew.

7:31 a.m. Nurse Kelley’s shift just ended. She predicts a girl at 8 pounds. She was awesome.

7:45 a.m. Nurse Nicole just arrived. She’s from NH so obviously she’s cool.

7:59 a.m. Nurse Laura came by to say hello. She admitted us yesterday when we first arrived. She is from the Cape. We love her.

8:06 a.m. Okay, no more joking. Shell is really nauseous and uncomfortable. The Pitocin seems to be taking effect.

10:09 a.m. After two hours of abdominal pain and vomiting and dry heaving, Shell opted for the epidural. She was worried about not being able to sit still due to progressively worsening discomfort so she erred on the side of caution. She is noticeably more relaxed. Three more increases in Pitocin to go…

10:48 a.m. Shell is groggy. Hopefully, she falls asleep.

12:05 p.m. The first epidural didn’t take. The anesthesiologist was poking her in several spots around her abdomen and Michelle felt all of the pokes. Now she’s going through round 2 and a spinal to ensure maximum comfort.

2:30 p.m. Epidural part deux is a success. Shell is much more relaxed. She’ll try to sleep now so I won’t distract her by banging on the computer keys.

4:05 p.m. Still feeling sick to her stomach, Shell received an anti-nausea medication.

5:43 p.m. Up and down day. The baby’s heart rate was concerning the doctor a little bit but it appears to have stabilized after Shell received more hydration intravenously. The other problem is that the mama to be is still only dilated at 3 cm. Shell is now mentally prepared for a c-section if necessary, although she's not happy about it. Her health and that of the baby are primary, while her desire to deliver vaginally is secondary. Dr. Lichter to return by 6:00 p.m.

On a side note, the staff have all been pretty wonderful. The nursing staff in particular couldn’t be more supportive and enthusiastic. Really refreshing and appreciated.

5:50 p.m. Shell is sleeping with her Us Weekly and People laying on top of her. She looks so cute. The wait continues. I'm thinking the c-section is around the corner.

6:00 p.m. Hold on a second. Shell is at 4 cm. No need for a c-section yet.

8:00 p.m. I am bored out of my mind. I've read everything we brought with us except my Almanac. I don’t want to complain because I don't want to hurt Shell’s spirits. This baby is already driving me crazy and he/she is still in utero. Let’s get it going already. I’m still in yesterday’s underwear. I hate seeing Shell in pain.

9:10 p.m. Nurse Kelli (different spelling from our prior one) is in the house now. Yet another solid personality! She rocks. Dr. L just announced that the baby is rimming (delivery jargon for 9.5 cm) and we are so fired up for a sign of major progress.

10:40 p.m. We finally heard what we've been waiting for all day: "Are you ready to push?"

To be continued...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Introducing ... Greta Jane Teravainen!

She's here! Mama T introduced Baby T to the world on Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 1:55 a.m. She is 20 1/2 inches long and 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

Greta, Mama T, and Daddio are resting and enjoying each other's company. All are healthy and happy.

Enjoy a few pics. Blog entries to follow this week...