Birth Stories Part 2: Josh’s account of Henry’s birth (and some thoughts on the next few days)
One minute you’re pregnant, the next minute you’re something entirely different (or, how the cat’s life changed forever).
The sleeplessness began Tuesday night. Often, when I’m woken up in the night, I don’t fire on all three cylinders. I remember looking over at Latisha next to me on the bed on her hands and knees in considerable discomfort and saying, “what are you doing?” Then I fell back asleep.
Wednesday I went home at 2pm and started counting the minutes between contractions. Next time, I’m getting a stopwatch. After an hour of contractions about 3-5 minutes apart, we decided we should go to the hospital. I remember thinking about waiting cause they didn’t seem that bad, and the whole thing was a little surreal. I went out to the car to put the car seat in (that’s a story for another day, thanks to the concept of “compact sedans”) and Latisha went to call her sister Larissa so she could meet us at the hospital. I came in to find Latisha fallen over on the couch crying with her phone lying open next to her. I tried to help her breathe and then explained to Larissa, who had been on the phone when the contraction hit, that we were leaving. I thought,
“Whoa, she’s really in labor.”
The drive to the hospital I was on the phone. I had about 6 phone calls to make (I had the list memorized) and about 7 minutes of drive time to make them. Two contractions in the car. One as we got out at the hospital valet parking. Three in the admissions office. One on the way to the elevator.
I quickly sent a text message to Larissa: “COME NOW.”
They checked Latisha around 4ish, and she was at 8 centimeters. I thought, “whoa.”
It started to get a little scary when a really bad contraction hit and Latisha was crying out for the promised epidural. Her eyes searched the ceiling for some reprieve from the pain and I felt powerless. Larissa was, I think, cowering in the corner. I think that’s when my mom said she would just wait in the waiting room. From then until the “angel of numbness” (anesthesiologist) came I was able to help Latisha through the contractions. I’ve never looked so intensely into someone’s eyes. Especially not while my hand or arm or whatever was available was being squeezed that hard.
About 7:15PM it was time to push (nice and calmly thanks to our angel friend). Every push, as the baby’s head crowned a little more, I said “whoa.” It really does happen quickly, I thought, hey, they have a little smidge of his head out, it’s gonna take a while to get the rest, and then all of a sudden his whole head was out. At this point I couldn’t even say anything, my jaw hit the floor and the midwife turned his head around and I saw my son’s face for the first time. Calm and serene, his eyes were still closed and he hadn’t taken his first breath. The midwife guided my hands to his little head and he took his first breath as we “caught” the rest of his body.
Right from the womb to Latisha’s arms, and the picture below was taken moments after. Henry Lincoln Collier, about 45 seconds old.
3:50AM July something or other. Cold coffee from this morning. Or would that be yesterday morning? The “later” of “I’ll sleep later” floats away into distant fantasy visions, joining a savings account that grows instead of shrinks and dreams of growing up to be a fireman. Finally,
Now it’s July 3rd and Henry is doing well. He lost a little too much weight the first couple of days, but now it is coming back. I wish he wouldn’t stay awake for several fussy hours in the middle of the night, but I guess he takes after his night owl father. Wow, it’s weird to think that that’s me. Thanks to technology we are able to send videos to my own Daddy who’s in Africa helping a whole ton of kids who don’t have daddies – but I wish he was here. I’m becoming sure that the rest of my time off from work will fly by. I started writing this email on Friday and it’s finally getting out. Welcome to fatherhood, I guess. Thanks to everyone who is helping us out with meals and who gave us so many clothes that we have surplus to share. How amazing it is to be a part of such a huge family. We believe that we are experiencing the blessing that God intended His family to give.
Thank you Josh and Latisha for sharing the e-mail that you sent to friends and family sharing your experience when Henry was born.