Alex is a rockstar!

Today started off like an ordinary day. I got up, showered, went to work, had breakfast, and prepared to go through the motions of an ordinary day.

Then I got a text message from Alex. Her water had broken.

We were at the hospital just after 10:00, and admitted to maternity triage. This is normal procedure, as you need to know if everything is ready to go into delivery. And broken water isn’t quite enough on its own.

In fact, as you’ve already read, we pretty much expected to have to go back home — Alex wasn’t actually having contractions. Yet somehow, things seemed to go our way anyway. We were held back for observation. Six hours in triage, to be specific.

I have to say, six hours in triage kinda sucks. It’s small, boring, and really devoid of things that supposedly help with labour. But because Alex was under observation, and orders not to walk around, we pretty much had to stay put. I did manage to duck out a couple of times to get things for Alex and make a couple of phone calls, but poor Alex was trapped in the room the whole time.

One worry we had was how quickly time would pass. Would it go by in minute increments, or would we see hours pass before our eyes? Thankfully, more the latter.

Full-on labour kicked in around 13:00. There wasn’t much I could do due to Alex’s position (lying or sitting down), so I felt largely useless. I rubbed her back as often as I could, but I’m sure that wasn’t enough.

When the doctor checked on us later in the afternoon, it was official: we were being kept. Alex was almost ready. She had a little further to go, but it was going well. And it was going quickly. And by quickly, when she woke up that morning, nothing had started. A scant nine hours later, she was in the delivery room.

The upgrade from triage to delivery was something else! Instead of a small, dank room, we had a rather spacious room with windows overlooking the reservoir. Not that we really got to spend any relaxing time in there. No sooner than she got in the room, she started getting the urge to push.

And it moved quickly. It looked more painful than it really was. Alex tells me that the pushing part was actually easier than the labour part. It certainly didn’t look that easy. Admittedly, it’s my first birthing, so it’s entirely possible I’m just extremely naive.

Everything went swimmingly right up until the end, when there was some confusion of heart beats. The baby had been on a monitor most of the day, checking for heart rate amidst Alex’s contractions. Normally, it’s not hard to separate the baby’s from the mother’s — the baby’s rate is a lot higher.

Alex’s rate spiked, and suddenly there was a worry that the baby was under too much strain. At this point, a routine delivery became almost a rescue operation. With assistance from our doctor, a suction cup, and a pair of scissors (though I’m sure there’s a more appropriate medical name), our daughter was born at 18:24.

Although I was supposed to cut the cord, things were now moving very quickly. The doctor cut the cord, and the baby was swept over to a warming table for an immediate check-up, to make sure she was alright and that the birth hadn’t done anything adverse. (Normally, the baby would be immediately placed on the mother.) I could only stand and watch. There were so many people in the room, I didn’t know what to do.

But before I knew it, I was holding my daughter in my arms. Like we’d been told in our pre-natal classes, babies recognise their parents’ voices, and will turn to look at you. It was something else to actually experience.

Alex was being attended to, waiting for the placenta to pass, then stitch up and assist with the after birth. I have to admit that while we knew about this from the classes, I still wasn’t prepared for all that happened. I was worried, but put faith in the doctors’ abilities.

I ducked out to inform the family of the good news. Baby is here! Alex was feeling a bit more normal when I got back, though her hunger (and mine) was setting in. I ducked out again to Booster Juice for some blended fruit to keep us both going.

When I got back, we moved to Post Partum, where Alex and baby will spend the night before they come home.   All three of us are tired. (I’m a little too wound up to go to sleep, though…)

Alex was unbelievable through all this. She asked for very little. She barely showed discomfort, going through the entire process without any distress. She did the entire day, from the moment she rose until the time I left, without any drugs. None. Not even laughing gas. She cracked jokes between pushing, and laughed even as the doctors cleaned her up from delivery. Several needles for blood tests, blood pressure cuffs, and other monitors went without complaint.

Alex is a total rockstar. I am so impressed by her. I hope our daughter picks up her fortitude. ‘Cuz she sure doesn’t want her dad’s…

So here’s Baby Sowrey. A couple of things:

  1. I will never mention her name online.
  2. This is the only picture I’ll ever post.

Newborn Sowrey, Rockyview Hospital, Calgary, Alberta, 22 August 2007