Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, Rowan

It was a whirlwind of events on Friday night / Saturday morning, but 36 hours after rushing into the hospital, we were back home with baby Rowan. Jen had been feeling the usual Braxton Hicks contractions through the day on Friday, and some extra cramping after visiting with the midwife for a checkup in the afternoon. Around 8pm Jen felt that the contractions were starting to become stronger, and eventually to a point that she had to focus until each one passed. It wasn't long until we were timing the contraction length and frequency. By 11pm they were 1 minute long on a 3 minute frequency. This was progressing faster than expected, so we called Debbie, the midwife. After a few minutes of talking with Jen, Debbie agreed that we should come straight in to Yale-New Haven hospital. We were off to the races.

Grabbing our bags, we headed to the car. The contractions continued predictably for the 30 minute journey to New Haven. About half way there, Jen's waters broke, and luckily we had prepared for this with the necessary protection for the car seat. Since it was now just after midnight, we knew that the main hospital entrance was closed and we had to find the Children's hospital entrance. It took two attempts, but we got there. Jen got out of the car and was immediately approached by a valet driver who wanted information, like our names. He quickly became aware that Jen was in no mood for chit chat, when another contraction came on, so he quickly turned to me instead. I grabbed the ticket, told him the keys were in the car, and we headed inside. It was 12.15am

We were directed to the admitting desk, where they were expecting us. What they weren't expecting I guess, was computer problems, so the receptionist thought it was a good idea to get on the phone with tech support as we stood there. Once that next contraction came, she realized her mistake. Jen's mutterings of profanity probably clued her in too. She hung up the phone and we followed her to the elevator without being admitted. There were several stops along the way to lean against walls and handrails as the contractions continued. There really was no need for us to go to the triage area, so we went straight past and into labor and delivery. Our midwife Debbie was waiting for us at the nurses station. She was in her street clothes and sipping coffee. Another contraction, and Jen leaned against the desk, obviously in pain. Debbie said, "I better get changed!" We were led to the delivery room by Amelia, our nurse, and Debbie was there within minutes.

Our room had a bathtub for laboring in, but there wasn't going to be a chance that we would need that. With some discomfort, Jen managed to get onto the bed and positioned for the delivery. Debbie and Amelia were ready and I was at the head of the bed. Jen was fully dilated and ready to push. It only took about five strong pushes and Rowan's head was crowning.  Several more and the head was out. A few more, and at 12.44am Rowan was born and onto mom's chest. Well actually, he had a short umbilical cord, so he could only reach half way. It was a bit of a bungee cord moment. The cord was clamped and once I cut it, Rowan was free.

This was Rowan's first picture, just a couple of minutes old. he didn't really have time to get a squashed head during the process.
Jen and Rowan getting to know each other. We had requested that the baby weighing and checking process was to be done later so Jen and baby had some good bonding time. 
Meanwhile, at the other end of the bed, some realities of childbirth were going on. There's no need for details here, but it suffices to say, it took 40 minutes and at least three suture kits were involved. There was no emergency, just a normal, slightly complicated repair job. As Jen said, "My arse is in tatters."
Rowan tries out his lungs, which seem to be working just fine.
Photo of proud parents, kindly taken by Amelia.
Debbie and Amelia performed flawlessly through it all. This is Amelia on the left and Debbie in the middle.

Next, we were headed to the postpartum floor. Jen got to ride in a wheelchair while I wheeled a clear plastic bassinet with Rowan lying in it. We had a private room on the 10th floor. We got officially admitted to the hospital at this time, since we didn't have time for the paperwork when we first arrived. While Jen got situated, Rowan was checked over and weighed. He passed all his tests, he measured 20.5" long and the scale read 3.175kg. Apparently it didn't do the conversion to imperial automatically, so the nurse was going to have to go and calculate it. Which she did, and incorrectly the first time. If it weren't for us double checking on Google, we may have had a 7lb 11oz baby.

Here is Rowan on the baby warmer. You'll also notice he has been fitted with his lo-jack device which puts the hospital on lock down if someone were to try to carry him out of the postpartum floor.
Within hours of being born, Rowan was already online and had his first Skype call with his grandparents in Ireland. Shortly after that, he got to meet Grandma and Grandad Brunton, who had driven down from Boston.
By the time the sun was coming up, we were tired and hungry. Since the hospital had room service, Jen picked her breakfast items from the menu and 45 minutes later had a hearty breakfast.

Rowan's Pediatrician visited in the morning to give him a checkup, which he passed with flying colors. It was also time for Rowan's first bath. The nurse bathed him on the baby warmer in the room, and as you can see, it wasn't his favorite thing. He likes to turn bright red when he's crying.
Rowan spent his whole stay with us in our room wrapped up in blankets and waking occasionally to be fed. Yale provides a pull out bed for partners, so I got to stay too.
Usually, after a normal delivery, we would stay in the hospital for 48 hours. Since Rowan was technically born on Saturday, we could have stayed in the hospital until Monday. Everything was going well and we wanted to leave a day early, on Sunday. Rowan and Jen simply had to pass their final checkups to be approved for discharge. For Rowan this included a trip to the nursery for a hearing test. For the test he had to wear a tiny set of headphones and a couple of electrodes that would sense brain activity when sounds were made. Once again he breezed through the test.
On our way out of the nursery we spotted this torture device. I made sure Rowan didn't see it. This is a restraint for performing circumcisions. It's missing some straps, which I think would make it look even more gruesome. The name "Olympic Circumstraint" makes it sound like some sort of sport, but I can't imagine the babies feel like they're winning any prizes here. Generally, circumcision rates are high in the USA (57%), and most common within the Jewish and Muslim religions. By comparison, circumcisions are much more rare in the UK (16%).
We were now ready to pack our gear and head home. As is required, we had our car seat ready to go. We had our identifying tags cut off and we were released into the world. 36 hours after his birth, Rowan was home, and wearing a hat knitted for him by his Grandma Brunton.


joan said...

A lovely record of events. I knew you wouldn't go without your camera even in the event of an emergency.

The Beneficial Bee said...

Loved the birth story! The picture of the three of you together is so great. Thank you for the email update option!

Andrea said...

I love the story! Happy it went the way it did and can't wait to meet the little guy. His cheeks are sooo cute in the hearing test pics!

Rodney said...

He has the cutest cheeks around, Andrea