Saturday, November 12, 2016

Baby Erik's Birth Story

I wanted to sit down and write the story about the day Mrs. Noisewater gave birth to Baby Erik because I thought it would be cool to have it all on record to look at years down the line. Two months have gone by, and I'm finally sitting down to write it. I figured out that I couldn't wait until I would have lots of time or when I'm not super tired because I NEVER have any time, and I'm ALWAYS super tired. So while he takes an hour nap right now, this is the time to write it all down. It's a long a long one so I understand if you skim through it.

Our doctor kept telling us every visit that the baby was basically ready to go because Mrs. Noisewater was dilating, and the baby's head was right there, knocking on the door. She told us just to come in on Thursday, September 8th and she could induce, even though the due date was on the 12th. We thought it would be a good idea to go out for dinner the night before the induction so that we would have a nice night out together, just the two of us, before the baby came. We had Tapas, so who knows which item it was because you sample so many with that type of cuisine, but something likely gave Mrs. Noisewater food poisoning. Bad idea eating anything risky around the time of labor. Now we know. Our appointment was around 8AM, but at 5AM Mrs. Noisewater was throwing up and had daihrrea. I called up the hospital, and they said to get her in right away so that they could get her on an IV so that she wouldn't get dehydrated. I was in a panic when I drove her into the hospital, but it was go time.

Here's my big homie at 2 months old.
It turns out all those stomach problems induced the labor on its own. Erik was due on the 11th, but he was coming out on the 8th one way or another. Things were very, very scary for quite a while because Mrs. Noisewater was still having to get up to go to the bathroom to throw up and go number two quite often, and even after multiple IV bags had pumped into her, the nurses were surprised that she wasn't more hydrated. We could see the heart rate of mommy and baby up on the screens, and both of them were too high. I was a nervous wreck watching those monitors and spoon feeding my wife ice chips. Mrs. Noiswater's body temperature and heart rate eventually came back down to normal levels, and so did baby's.

Our doctor is a really laid back cool hippy type of doctor. She makes you feel very relaxed when you're around her. I felt like I have known her all my life, and she seems like the kind of gal you just want to sit on a back porch with and drink wine all night and contemplate the universe. We had a baby birthing mix on, and when the doctor heard a Wilco song, she said, "Oh, I can't believe you have this Wilco song on here. I delivered both of Jeff Tweedy's kids." What!? How amazing is that?

This is us out for some tiny beers. We are starting to have lives again.
The doctor said, "Okay, dad. It's time for mom to start pushing. You'll be grabbing that leg and pushing her knee back towards her shoulders each time she pushes." What? I mean, I know it's not the old days where the men smoke cigars in the lobby, but I had no idea that the daddies got so hands on nowadays! Mrs. Noisewater was to push as much as she could for the duration of each contraction when the monitor said a contraction was coming (because we couldn't tell at all if she was having contractions because she an epidural. Get one of those by the way, everyone. It's the only way to have a baby). Mommy is really fit, so she was good at doing a stomach crunch/sit-up while the nurse and I pushed her legs up, and baby came out quite quick once she started pushing.

Once the head is out, the rest just slides right out because the shoulders can wiggle from side to side. I just remember seeing how long his torso was and how his legs just kept going and going as the doctor slid him out. A number of people said, "What a big boy!" He was 9 pounds and 20 and 1/2 inches long at birth. We didn't know going in if we were having a boy or a girl, and I remember looking at his beautiful little face, not even having taken a glance towards his genitals when the doctor announced, "It's a boy!" God damn. Everyone always says it's the best moment of your life, and it is. No doubt.

But then they said there was fluid in his lungs, and they had to rush him to the NICU to get that taken care of. I thought that would be a quick process, and they would bring him back. It turns out Erik stayed the night of the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th before finally going home the afternoon of the 12th (his actual due date). We would sleep in our room in the hospital, but every other minute we could, we were with little Erik in the NICU, holding his hand, rocking him, and feeding him. I remember the first time Mrs. Noisewater saw him with all those tubes hooked up to him, she started crying. I wanted to be strong for everyone, but when she cried I wanted to as well. Erik's breaths per minute were still a little high, so he had to get some assistance with his breathing for a while. Even when that finally came down, he still wasn't eating enough. They wanted him to reach a certain number of milliliters, and if he didn't get it all down, they shot it up his nose. This was just a sad process to see our little guy go through. It made me think of a force fed farm animal or something.

Remember how I said that his mommy saw him  in the NICU, and it made her cry? Well, when I put him in this Halloween costume and came out of the bedroom, she cried again - only from cuteness! 
We got an extra day to stay after the usual time allowed for new mothers because of Mrs. Noisewater's illness - they had to keep giving her antibiotics through an IV. Then that day ran out and they still didn't want to release Erik. So they found a little room on another wing that only had a single bed, but at least we could be in the same room with Erik and all the machines he was hooked up to. For that last night, Mrs. Noisewater stayed in the room with him in the single bed, and because there was no room for me, I drove home, slept for 4 hours, and came right back. It was unusual to have a baby of Erik's size in there because all of his neighbors in the NICU were very undersized. Any time I was getting too down about the situation, I would look around to some of the babies around him who couldn't have weighed more than 3 pounds, and their visitors could only stick their hands into the sides of the incubators when they would visit (they couldn't even hold their baby).

Erik's grandma was too scared to pick him up with all the tubes hooked up, but look how thrilled she was to hold him for the first time. This is one of the best pictures I've ever taken.
I'm not a real doctor, you may know by now, but I had to play the part of Dr. Hardass to get my boy sprung from the joint. The doctors only make the rounds once a day, and I essentially had to say, "Listen, can you get the doctor over here? Because our boy's levels are all good, right? He's just not breast feeding quite enough, but we are fine supplementing with formula. If the doctor isn't going to be coming by, we'll just be unhooking him and walking out of this joint." That worked. The doctor came by to clear him, and off we went.

My heart goes out to anyone who has complications with their babies. I vowed to become a better friend to anyone who is in that situation. I'll be johnny-on-the-spot with anything I can do for those families because it really is a stressful situation where you feel totally powerless and helpless when all you want to do is protect your new little person.

The night we got home, 9/11/2016, Kyle Hendricks of the Chicago Cubs had a perfect game going until the 9th inning. I was bummed he didn't finish that one out for Erik's first night, but then the Cubs won their first world series in over 100 years a couple months later in his first year of life, so that's still pretty damn awesome.

Go Cubs Go! This was his good luck onesie.
People ask me all the time what it's like to be a father, and what I tell them now is that I've never been so tired, but I've never been so happy. And it's hard to explain, but everything I do now is for a purpose. I had all this freedom before, but all that freedom afforded me time to sit around get worried about dumb shit. Now I'm just on the go and getting things done for my beautiful wife and cute little man, and I'm good at it. I don't always feel like I'm good at much, but it turns out I'm a good dad. So far. And I enjoy it. Being a dad is way more fun than I thought it would be. I absolutely love it.

By the looks of it, Erik seems to think I'm doing an okay job. Look at us in our matching sweatshirts! Thanks for reading, friends.