Written on 8/23/2005
The wife went to her midwife for an afternoon visit. She asked her midwife to “check” her and saw that she was some centimeters dilated, so she asked the midwife to perform some medieval birth inducing procedure on her which I will not repeat. The outcome of the procedure is that labor is supposed to start eight to twelve hours later.
Eight to twelve hours later the Tribe had just about finished up trouncing the devil rays. It was at this moment that I decided that if it was a boy child and it showed up today, I would name him Coco. But alas, the fates would conspire against me.
At 9:27 the wife had her first real contraction. After having them on and off for the past two months I’m not sure what the difference is between a real one and a fake one, but she told me this one was real. She confirmed this observation with some colorful language over the next half hour. They seem to know real ones from fake ones.
The sister-in-law from Cincinnati was already in route and the rest of the supporting staff of women and grandparents were alerted. The closest, my sister-in-law from Westlake, met us at the house and followed us to the hospital after grandpa arrived to make sure the kids were going to be ok in the morning.
The contractions were pretty bad, heavy, whatever word you use to describe them. I don’t think I pushed for us to head to the hospital as soon this time, I knew she wanted to get through as much as possible at home. But, for as much as I don’t like hospitals, I prefer to be in them when the wife is in acute pain and pushing another organism out of her body.
We got there right after midnight. It was raining gently, for some reason I remember the soft falling moisture and the entrance to the hospital acutely. The nurses were very nice, respecting the wife’s birthing decisions (although I’m informed they were “our” birthing decisions). The midwife was great too. The wife seemed to do really well in the shower, it helped lessen the contractions. She labored along for a couple of hours as the entire support cast and crew showed up from varied locations.
At some time after two in the morning the cursing reached new levels and it was obvious that something else was going on entirely. I perched on the top of the bed near the wife’s head like a mideval gargoyle surveying its domain, trying to stay out of harms way and tell her something encouraging. I debated telling her facts like: The Indians were only a half game out, the browns were 2-0 in the preseason, I think I know why the brake light was coming on, our DSL has been really stable now, etc. but I decided on:
“You’re doing great baby.”
I don’t know if it helped, but she wasn’t attempting to bite me anymore. Thankfully one of her friends from Cincinnati (who has been at all of the kids births) bore the brunt of the wife’s destructive fingernails for a bit. I concentrated on my hawkish position and on not looking downtown.
At about 2:30 things are getting serious, nurses were gathering, the midwife was donning gloves, all the obvious end-game clues. In a room with eight women, a room where I was the only man, there was a lot of discussion about things I did not and do not want to learn about, hear about, discuss, or have to think about in the future. I checked out the wall a lot, looked at the clock, calculated orbital speeds of spatial objects, that kind of stuff.
“You’re doing great baby.”
At 2:50 Maeve was born. I’m not sure how the wife did it, no drugs, no real monitoring stuff (the computer that shows her contractions was really cool but not connected, this was a really helpful distraction with the other two). It was just her and the midwife and the nurses and she was pushing and grunting and swearing. Right before she was born the wife reached down to touch her head, to be the first human contact with the baby. As the baby had been inside her for nine months, I didn’t think that really counted, but I got the gist of it.
When Maeve was finally ready to make her grand appearance, the wife, in accordance with her wishes, was able to get into enough of a position to actually catch Maeve and bring her right up on to her belly. There she was on my wife’s rapidly reducing belly, bloody and just seconds alive and she opened her eyes. And she looked directly at me, the wife got to touch her first but I will never, ever forget that first look, when my baby girl opened her eyes and looked directly at me. It was kind of an accusing, pissed off look, as if to say “So you are the one that put me through all of this shit?” but at least she was looking at me. Girls don’t do that very often.
We quickly deduced that it was a girl. Those things are fairly obvious. That would be nine females in the room now if you are still counting. The wife cut the umbilical cord. I kept myself safely away from everything, I had no desire to witness the procedure, let alone perform some medical snippery. Finally the wife was able to hold Maeve for a good long while.
After a few minutes the birthing process continued, I didn’t pay much attention now that I had something else to focus on, right there in front of me, quite a bit mad, but finally out. My little Maeve. No one knew that was her name yet, except for me. It was parental perfection.
So, as is my paternal right, I got her next and I held for for a long time. She was much bigger than the other two had been, almost eight pounds. She was also very alert and interested in what was going on.
We still needed to formally decide on a name at this point so we had a brief closed door meeting. I had decided some months before that if it was going to be a girl child that we would call her Maeve. This was the top girls name on the wife’s list and as I worked it over in my head I liked the uniqueness of it more and more. I decided I wouldn’t tell the wife until the day of Maeve’s birth as a gift to her. If it was a boy I think we would have named him Harrison although Samuel was in the running as well.
The wife asked “So what should we call her. . . Meredith?”. This was our agreed upon girl name.
To which I responded “What about Maeve?”
The wife seemed pleased. The entire female population of the room seemed pleased. She was Maeve the whole time.
Eventually I gave Maeve up and all the ladies got their chance to hold her and cry and then started to filter out. They came and weighed and measured her and we headed up to the other room. The “aftershocks” or whatever they are called were pretty bad for the wife, but she finally took some drugs to help dull the pain. These pains are apparently worse with each child.
The required phone calls were made. I went home when everyone was settled to try to be there when the boy and the girl woke up. I made it just in time, first to talk to the girl and then to the boy. They were very excited. Grandpa came back to take them down to their house and I sent out the obligatory electronic missives and caught an hour of sleep.
I picked up the kids to see the baby. tThey were very excited. The girl was not happy to find out that they were not going to come home with us, but is content with them coming home tomorrow now.
I’m exhausted and being too grumpy with the kids now. need to get them to bed and get some shut eye myself.