From the day we learned the due date for our third child was 10 Aug 2007, we pretty much knew the baby would be born 3 Aug 2007. Why? We live in the sticks - Farmville, VA. Although Farmville has a regional hospital with a brand new birthing center, I did not want my wife and child to patronize the facility. Bad reputation is one thing, bad experience is another. My father nearly died at Farmville Hospital while doctors debated whether he had a kidney stone or appendicitis (he had both).
So we knew we were going to Richmond or Lynchburg to have this baby.
Our first two children - Stevie Ray and Emma Grace - were born in Jacksonville, Florida. They were delivered by the same doctor at the same hospital and, as fate would have it, in the same delivery room.
We got everything at the house ready in the two weeks before Riley's scheduled arrival. I am very fortunate to work with the people I work with. Solid Qulaity was awesome about understanding our schedule. I worked from home starting 23 Jul 2007, planned paternity leave for three weeks, followed by a couple / three more work-from-home weeks before returning to the road.
Christy is such a great organizer. She had ideas about what needed to be done when and a logical flow and order. It was easy for me: get one thing done, then find out what was next. :)
We got a room ready for her mother, who is staying with us for a couple weeks. We re-arranged the car-seats in the Odyssey. Stevie Ray went from behind the passenger seat to the third row. Emma moved from behind the driver to behind the passenger - a "promotion" to Stevie's old spot. Riley's seat sits behind the driver. Odyssey's have the frame-mounted clips for car seats - even in the third row for Stevie's seat - gotta love that for safety.
I slept maybe 2 1/2 hours the night/morning of 2/3 Aug. I awoke at 2:30 AM and couldn't get back to sleep. I blogged some, worked a little, and mostly tried to keep busy waiting for 5:00 AM when we would leave for the induction in Richmond.
5:00 AM arrived and we loaded up and left. We arrived around 6:20 AM - early for our 6:45 AM appointment. The nurses ushered us to a quiet corner birthing suite in The Atrium - a newer part of Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond.
I overheard someone say there were seven inductions scheduled for this day - it was gonna be busy!
We got settled in and Christy was IV'd and ready. In no time at all, a doctor popped in and broke her water. Next the Pitocin started and we were off to the races. Christy had a nice measured labor for a couple hours and then the pain started, so we paged the anesthesiologist for the epidural. After that, things slowed down a bit and Christy even napped some.
I was also able to catch a nap and eat a bit. At lunch I was able to catch up on a little business (not everyone realized I was at the hospital today) - making a few calls in between bites of a Subway turkey sub.
Pushing time started around 4:30 PM. Christy did a great job, but the baby wasn't moving past station 0. He would move down some, rather, then retreat. After 20 good minutes of pushing this way, the doctor decided to use suction.
Have you ever seen the suction device? It's small - about 1.5 inches in diameter at the suction end. That end is attached to the body by about 1/4-inch a steel cable surrounded by a vacuum hose. The suction end is attached to the head of the baby. And then there's pulling.
Riley "rounded the corner" after one suction-assisted contraction. The reason for the lack of progress became clear nearly immediately - the cord was draped around the front of Riley's neck, and very tight.
The doctor tried to work with it, couldn't, and cut it right there. Riley was born about 10 seconds later.
But he was ash gray from head to toe.
And he wasn't breathing.
The baby nurse took over and started suctioning out his airways and some fairly vigorous massage. After about a minute of this work - while maintaining a focused, non-panicked expression - the baby nurse brought Riley around.
That was, hands down, the longest minute of my life to date.
Christy got to hold Riley for less than a minute and I got a few pictures while they were wiping him down, and then he was rushed out of the room.
Christy is amazing. My oldest daughter Manda stopped by to visit a few hours later. She looked at Christy and said "You just had a baby?!?" Christy is the strongest person I know.
Manda is a chaplain at the hospital where Riley was born. She made sure we knew we could visit him in the nursery any time we wanted, we just may not be able to touch him or hold him. They had been in a hurry when they left with Riley, and left us thinking they would get back to us when we could see him, but it may be 12 hours or more.
No one came back to tell us anything.
The nursery nurse brought Riley in around 1:00 AM the next morning and we got to hold him for the first time. He'd just had his first bath and his hair was brushed and he had that baby smell. We got to visit with him for about 90 minutes.
I got to hold him for the first time and Christy took this picture of the event.
(Yes, I'm wearing a ThinkGeek t-shirt: the "Select * From users Where clue > 0" one...)
Riley is fine now. In hindsight we got all worked up for nothing, but at the time we didn't know if it was all for nothing or if our son was going to have trouble breathing for the rest of his life. Not hearing anything from the folks who knew didn't help.
Manda really helped. She actually called her Mom (my ex-wife) who also works at the hospital. She told Manda to let us know we could see Riley anytime we wanted.
Other than a touch of jaundice Riley's fine now. He's busy spoiling his grandparents and learning to get along with his brother and sisters. He has a good disposition and likes to sleep a lot - thank goodness.