When things don’t go according to plan

DSCF0019 (2)“Something is wrong…we need to go to the hospital now”…that was my wife’s anxious phone call to me at 1:49 PM. At 2:18 PM my son was born by emergency c-section but those 29 minutes in the middle are the story here. I was just a couple of minutes from home when she called and I rushed in where my wife who was 37 weeks pregnant was crying, on the phone with the hospital and in a panic. We rushed to the hospital and I kept trying to reassure her that this was all normal, that when we got there the doctor would say “Oh this happens all the time” with a big smile on her face.

When we got there and the doctor examined her I could tell by the doctor’s expression that this was definitely not normal. They quickly put a fetal monitor on my wife and also were monitoring her blood pressure as well. The doctor explained that the baby was okay but my wife’s placenta was hemorrhaging and they needed to get the baby out fast. I held my wife’s hand as the doctor explained that she would need to go into emergency surgery…and I couldn’t go in because they would need to knock her out. As she continued explaining the procedure more and more nurses suddenly arrived and began buzzing around my wife connecting her to machines, asking her questions, getting her prepped for surgery. As more and more nurses came in I was forced to take a step back as they got my wife ready for surgery. Within seconds the nurses and doctor wheeled my wife out to surgery and I was left alone in the empty labor room with a lounge chair in the corner and droplets of my wife’s blood all over the floor.

The next few minutes seemed like hours as I paced back and forth in the room. Finally a nurse came in to tell me that my little boy was okay. “We had a boy?” I asked. You see we hadn’t found out the sex of our baby yet. “How is my wife?” I quickly asked and the nurse told me that she did great but would be in recovery for several hours. With that I wept. Hard. I may have cried on that nurse’s shoulder like a 6 year old who fell off a bicycle and got a scraped knee. Whoever you were dear nurse…thank you.

At around 2:45 PM I got introduced to my son Lil’ E for the first time out of delivery on his way to the nursery and at around 4:30 PM I finally got to see my wife in the recovery room of the ER. She hadn’t even seen our son yet so all I had was a picture of him that one of the kind nurses had taken & printed to show her. At 6:22 PM we finally got to be together for the first time as a family.

Our birthing class instructor several weeks earlier had repeatedly said over and over again that “Sometimes things don’t go according to plan”. That was an understatement. During the entire birthing class my wife and I gave each other knowing glances as if to say “That won’t happen to us”. Little did we know. I know we were lucky; the hospital, the doctors and nurses all did a phenomenal job. Had this been 50 years ago there would most likely have been a much different ending for my son, my wife or both and I am very aware of that. Others even today with all the wonders of modern medicine aren’t as lucky as we were.

Why am I telling you all this? As a husband for over 5 years at the time, I was used to being a rock of stability for my wife whenever she needed me. In sickness and in health, for better or worse. When the nurses started buzzing around and asked me to step aside, suddenly things weren’t going according to our plan and I felt completely out of control. I felt useless. Here was my wonderful wife carrying our child scared and in need of support…and I could do nothing as she was wheeled away from me. It was a horrible feeling.

I know I’m not the only Dad who has felt this and I’m sure there are other Dad’s out there that have had similar or worse experiences.

What about you? What was your birth experience like as a Dad?

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