3 Weeks

It is hard to believe that it has been three weeks and I haven’t had the chance to actually sit and write about what happened.  3 weeks ago tonight, we began the process of bringing Elliott into the world.  Susie and Uwe (Lili’s parents) had flown in from Cologne to spend the first weeks of Elliott’s life with us.  They arrived on Thursday and we were admitted into the hospital on Friday night.

Friday was a very interesting day.  I had decided that we would make a big grill full of ribs for the first big night of getting both families together.  My mom and dad were coming over and Susie and Uwe were here, so I decided that several racks of ribs were just what the doctor ordered.  I had originally bought two racks and decided we needed more, so we headed out to DoubleD Meats to get the extra racks of ribs.

Since we were there and close to Costco, we also decided to go there and do some shopping.  Lili seemed a little uncomfortable, so I tried to rush us through the shopping (I also needed to get home and marinate the additional ribs).  When we were driving home, Lili called the doctor to get the induction procedure scheduled.  They had to call her back.

When we got home, I started the marination process of getting the ribs ready for a slow smoke on the grill– they usually take about three hours.  My parents were due over about 5pm and I wanted to eat about 8, so I needed to get the ribs on the grill around 5.  After I was done marinating the ribs, Lili said quietly to me that she was “leaking” a bit more than she usually does and had been most of the day.  Right when she was telling me this, the Doctor’s office called to schedule the induction, scheduled for Monday Morning, 5am.  Friends had told me that was all you need to get the baby ball rolling — and it seemed to be very true!  Lili asked the scheduler if her water might have broken and she was advised to call the hospital– which we did right away.  They asked us to come in so she could be tested if there was cervical fluid present– and if so, it’s labor time!

We both thought that we would go to the hospital and it would turn out to be the third false alarm in a week!  We waited for my folks to arrive– and as soon as they arrived, we headed to the hospital, thinking we would be back within an hour.  When we got to the hospital, Lili did the test– and it was positive for amniotic fluid– the golden ticket into labor– but not into a rib dinner!

The ribs would have to be postponed, it was Elliott time.  At that time, I was a little beside myself as this was the moment where I was least expecting the moment to come.  It was a little underwhelming!  Over the months, I had throught about how it would happen– the water breaking in bed in the middle of night, Lili having huge labor contractions on the way to the hospital and barely getting there in time for the delivery– all of these were put to the wayside and she had more of a slow leak than a “gush” and Lili likes to put it.

Either way, we were in and the ribs were on ice.  We were admitted officially into Overlake Hospital at 7pm.  The nurses and on call doctor gave Lili petocin, hoping to move the labor process along– went on the course of a vaginal birth for 15 hours– 15 hours of increasing pain as Elliott kept trying to enter the world, trying to make his way through Lili’s birthing hips.  The late night was especially grueling.  Lili was in what I would think was a fairly high level of pain as the petocin was keeping the contractions in a fairly consistent pace.  By the time that the morning came, Lili was still only dilated by 3cm, not an acceptable level.  We got a new nurse, an Asian woman who was basically the game changer.  She came in around 5am and got everything ready to where we were sure Lili’s condition had changed significantly — she predicted that Elliott would be born by 1pm on Saturday.  It was like a whirlwind.  She checked Lili’s cervix, said the babies head wasnt straight and they would spend some time trying to get his head into position so it could just glide right out.  The next several hours were a matter of moving Lili back and fourth in different sitting positions as she had an epidural, trying to move Elliott into position.  Around 11am, the nurses were beginning to lose hope that it was going to happen the normal way and they began advising us of C-section– which was just fine with us– it becomes more surgical, but also becomes predictable.  We agreed that was the best course and I alerted the troops– Elliott was coming into the world as an October surprise!

Elliott was born at 2:22 by c-section.  I was allowed into the delivery room to be there as support for Lili and to watch over the procedure, which was stressful!  The hardest part was once Elliott was born–deciding which way to go– to watch while my wife is being sewn back together or go with my newborn son, who was going through the first moments of his life, getting the weigh in and getting warmed up.  I asked Lili what she wanted and she told me to stay with the baby– as if there would be so mix up.  So I followed the nurses as they brought him into the warming station.  He was just perfect– weighing in at 7lbs 12oz.. The numbers are pretty astonishing: born 10012011 weight 7lbs 7 x 16=112 + 12 oz.

That was the birth.  A joyous day.  The days following, while joyous, were all about learning how to become parents- and I have to say, it doesn’t matter how much people advise you or how many books or articles you read, when the reality of parenthood comes into perspective and you are hired, on the job and all the training helps, but once you are on the line, it’s all about how you react to each situation– and they are mostly stressful in those first couple of weeks because the baby is a constant.

But with all of it, there are simply moments of pure joy that I cannot even attempt to describe to people who have not had children and I don’t need to describe it to people who have been through the experience.  Every other milestone I have had in my life doesn’t equal to this one– mostly because with everything else, if it is exhausting, you question it– but with this, you don’t notice– it is a part of what you sign up for.  Of course there are different levels of discomfort for you and the baby, but it is all manageable and it has to be because this is yours.  It is yours today and for the rest of your life– nothing else that you have control over has that– everything else in the world lives and expires and you have nothing to do with it– but this baby– for us, this Elliott, his entire existence is all ours until he can manage to survive on his own.

The last three weeks of his life have been so busy it would be impossible to go try to remember everything that should be told, all the people that have come by to see Elliott and all of the people who have wished us well– we honestly can’t thank all of you enough– and it has made the time simply fly by.  It is really amazing that he is nearly a month old! Time is certainly flying by!  I will try to add more later, but it’s late and Elliott is still battling sleep.  Must.run.recon!