(March 10, 2007): Wed, March 7, Susie and I went to the doctor’s office for her 41-week checkup. I took off work that morning to attend. The doc, however, was unable to attend. Susie had to go back later that afternoon, while I returned to work. I was pretty upset that no one called us to tell us. I understand that doctors have to go and deliver twins sometimes, but I don’t understand the underlying lack of professionalism his staff team portrayed. They couldn’t call us? Of course not. They couldn’t even find Susie’s chart.
Susie went back that afternoon, and the doctor decided our little Beet was ripe enough for delivery, and would be plucked from the womb March 9th. So I began making my preparations to take my leave beginning on March 9, including calling our NJ office to have them initiate my paternity leave, sending out emails to coworkers to assist in jobs while I was gone, etc.
Thursday morning, Susie had another stress test at Hoag. She went early because the baby wasn’t moving much. I decided I had better go to work. Little did I know that the Beet, fully ignoring her due date for over a week now, also did not want to come on a schedule. At this point, I must admit I was not very happy with her. I had to work a full busy-season week longer than I wanted to, and it was exhausting. Though I had been able to help out a lot that week at work, I was really looking forward to my two weeks off. Any sense of eternal perspective is completely washed away in the post-due date phase of life. It’s as if waiting nine months was no biggie; but whatever you do, please don’t ask me to wait another week.
So Thursday morning I arrived at work at 8 am, tied up some loose ends in preparation for the following day, and vigorously involved myself in re-tying out the a client's tax provision. At 9:45 am, Susie called to say that inducement looked imminent. Harrumph. I asked her to call back when she was sure. I had a day, after all. By 10 am it was official, we needed to induce a day early. So I wrapped up what I was doing, and began making the rounds.
Next I went home to change. I also packed up some things for myself and Susie, and shoved the baby seat in the car. I called Susie again, and she had just arrived in her delivery room. So I decided I had better start thinking like the Eagle Scout dad I am—be prepared. I ran to the ATM and took out some money. I also ran across the street to Target (against Susie’s wishes) and purchased some DVDs (“Alice in Wonderland” & “50 First Dates”) to watch and some batteries for the camera, because dads can never have too many batteries.
I arrived at the hospital just past 11 am, right in time to witness Susie be induced with hormones. So I didn’t miss a beat, or the Beet. Now we wait. Unlike Susie, I knew that inducing is a long process, especially for the father. So we settled down and watched a movie. We had the most awesome view of the harbor, including Balboa peninsula, the island, the PCH, and the water. It was quite serene and helped calm us both down.
At 1 pm the doc broke her water. Luckily I was having lunch in the hospital cafeteria at the time; otherwise, I would have had my lunch and lost it too. My worst fears were confirmed: my angel was swimming in meconium, a fancy word for poopies. Both Susie and I showed much concern for our darling, and the nurse only laughed. She said our meconium fears were irrational, but I still beg to differ. Heck, they close a pool every time a kid poops in it; how could this be a good thing for her?
Susie took to the early contractions well, which was both good and bad. Labor did not get intense until around 8 pm, when she finally dilated to 2 centimeters and requested her epidural. Epidurals are miracles. Susie tried to wait before the epidural and use the alternative stuff, but all it did was make her vomit up 5 grape and cherry popsicles. The epidural, though a little scary to witness, worked like a wonder.
By this time the Woot had arrived. She and I watched “Mobsters & Mormons” while we waited. Around 11 pm we learned that Susie was dilated 5 centimeters. This meant only two things to me: firstly, we were finally making progress. Secondly, we were in for a late-night harvest.
By midnight Susie was fully dilated, and it was time to push. By this time, the soil was no longer providing fruitions for our little babe, as her heart rate was slightly erratic. So the doc was called and we began pushing. Susie did awesome. I held one leg, and starting watching my baby’s head come towards me. She was face-up, but our new nurse was able to successfully turn her. Finally, after only an hour of pushing, the baby was in position.
Our doctor, however, was not in the position to catch her. The nurse had basically called Susie’s pushing wussy, for reasons I can’t now understand, given the fact that Susie had to hold in the baby for the next 4 or so contractions until the doc arrived.
So once the hospital staff finally was in position to bless this birth, it was time. They turned on the headlights, and Susie gave one big push. Out came a head, a lot of blood, and a collective gasp from both doctor and nurse alike. Being a proud father at this point, I naturally assumed the gasps were because my little girl was the most breathtaking thing they’d ever seen. While the above statement is not without its merits, our little Beet came out with hands firmly attached to her head. So not only was the head out, but so were the hands, arms, and shoulders. One more push was all it took for the rest to come slipping out.
There is this unit in the hospital called NICU, standing for Newborn Intensive Care Unit. For some reason, I kept hearing “ICKY Nurse” instead of NICU nurse. I thought that was pretty lame to refer to the nurse that comes and cleans off the meconium as an ICKY nurse. I’m glad to discover that I heard wrong.
Having never been in a delivery room before, I suddenly became extremely concerned. My baby was slightly yellow, and seemed unreal. I seriously thought it possible she was not alive. But then they cleared her nostrils and I saw her eyes move. Yes. Both of my girls seemed safe.
I quickly washed my hands and began poking at the baby while the Apgar was administered. She passed with flying colors—a 9. Susie quickly became jealous that I was with the baby. But EVERYONE else was with her. The doctor and nurse were still with her, while she cleared out the placenta, excess fluids (really disgusting to watch I might add), and got stitched up. She tore a lot, thanks to Beet’s little surprise move with the hands. And she had the Woot by her side as well.
So I had to remind her that I still loved her. I also reminded her that she has been to Alaska, and Beet has not. But that may not be entirely a true statement….
Little Beet came out with a full head of brown hair. Very dark, even after the blood came out. It is a beautiful color. And her eyes are beginning to turn a marvelous blue to boot. Her skin is smooth and appealing, thanks to her mother. In fact, most people assume she was born via cesarean, given the fact that her skin is so beautiful and her head is properly shaped. Brag, brag, brag.
I hogged her for a while, and then took her over to Susie and the Woot. Susie tried unsuccessfully to feed her, so I got to give her a bottle. I held onto her for a very long time, and loved every minute of it. Well, almost every minute of it. The rocking chairs at Hoag are extremely uncomfortable. We moved upstairs (thanks to Rachel packing us up) to our new room, and lost our beautiful ocean view. But I’ll take a healthy Beet over an ocean view any day. My little Sugar Beet.
Maggie (it’s official now; the birth certificate has been processed) came out at 7 pounds, 4 ounces, 19.5 inches, and 100% adorable. She made her debut into the world at 1:44 am on Friday, March 9, 2007. And as the saying goes, Friday’s child is loving and giving.
We finally went to sleep at 4:30 am. Rachel went back to our place, and I slept on the couch-bed. The baby stayed with us that first night. By 7:30 it was time for me to change my first diaper. Shortly thereafter, Susie began the process of breast feeding again, and the onslaught of doctors and nurses hardly ceased. My hopes to salvage any more sleep out of the night were completely dashed by 8, when mom called. The phone calls never ended. Nor did the bragging.
What else is there to say, really? It was love at first sight. She sleeps awesome, loves to cuddle with her daddy, and I don’t even mind the diapers. The one hard part has been the feeding. She would rather sleep than eat. But if she’s gonna be a Chadwick, she’ll have an appetite before long.
She’s a snuggle-bum. She loves to lie against my chest, while I hold her bum in one hand and massage her head with the other. I like to give her Eskimo kisses. We both like to look at each other, though sometimes that makes her go cross-eyed.
The 9th, birthday of Margaret Susan Chadwick, was the longest day of my life. I went home and slept that night, so Rachel could stay with Susie. And the sugar beet slept with the nurses. I got home around 10 pm, went straight to sleep and never looked back. I awoke at 9 am on Saturday the 10th, feeling much better.
Back at the Hoag, we learned that fortune was on our side. Because Maggie was born after midnight, we have been booked for an extended stay until Sunday! We both thought we’d be on our own starting Saturday. Though I’m a little anxious to get home and to get established, I think we’ll greatly benefit from one more day of hospital support, and one more evening of sleep. For some reason, Susie and I both wanted either the 8th or the 10th (something about odd days) but the Beet knew to hold out until the 9th. So thank you, daughter.
I don’t think I’ve ever been happier! And the best part is, I think I’ll feel that way each and every day for the next few years. That’s why I am documenting this time. After all, she’ll be a teenager eventually….
I am also extremely grateful to EY—six weeks paternity leave is such an awesome benefit. Also, to the Hoag hospital staff. Not only are they proficient, they are also extremely smart. All of them agree that Maggie is the most adorable little girl born at Hoag in at least 10 years.
I love my little Sugar Beet!