2nd of June 2015, the arrival day is upon us.
It was early… I’d know, I watched the clock all night! A midwife made her way into our room to undertake some routine checks to ensure everything was on track. I must have looked like a site, tracksuit pants on with the seam off to the side, no shirt on and bed hair… Morning ladies!!! The sleepless night thoughts were short lived with the green light given for Alana to head down to the birthing ward.
The midwife brought in a wheelchair for Alana, but being the trooper she is, she was happy to walk from our small temporary room down to the birthing suite. It’s hard to explain what is going through my head at this point as I begin the walk down the hospital corridor with every limb carrying something. This is the day I would have a daughter, how it was all going to play out was all just talk up until this point, this is now for real. We still didn’t know a time or any of that. It was all up to our little girl to decide when she was ready. All I knew is that this daddy was very excited and eagerly waiting to meet his baby girl.
We had previously seen a birthing suite in our brief tour of the hospital during the birthing classes, so we had a bit of an idea of what it looked like, however we were put into one of the recently refurbished suites. This was like the Rolls Royce of hospital rooms. Big screen TV with heaps of channels, mini kitchen, big bathroom, huge birthing bed which had multiple gadgets attached to it, machines everywhere all ready to serve a purpose at some point through the day, a lounge suite that I wouldn’t sit on and the bedside chair, which was just a basic desk chair which I would spend most of the day in.
At this point it was 8am, the next procedure was for Alana to have her waters broken to get this little baby on the way. Without going into the details it was exactly like I’d seen in the movies, the waters came rushing out, hospital was a good place for it to happen though! We were lucky it didn’t happen to Alana in the middle of an outing somewhere like a few stories we had heard in birthing class. Once that part had been done we just had to wait until the contractions came along. We could see when they started happening as Alana had heart rate monitors placed on her stomach monitoring our little girls’ movements. Each time the beats quickened meant a contraction was occurring.
In the early stages there was no pain with them so Alana was happy just riding through it. Alana isn’t really supposed to move from the bed unless it is for the bathroom so we were just talking and taking in what was on TV. I remember looking up at the TV at one point and seeing Bruce Jenner officially becoming Caitlin Jenner... yeah it was a big day on TV, daytime trash TV at its finest. I had my video camera with me so decided to take some more video.
Thoughts women have when giving birth. Post continues after video...
I had both mine and Alana’s parents on the text messages to me asking for updates as it was all very exciting, especially when this would be the first grandchild for both families. I was on borrowed time using the mobile device in front of Alana… but for now I was providing progress reports.
It got to lunch time and still no movement from our little girl, well, not that I could see, though the contractions were starting to hit Alana a little heavier, so that’s when the gas was brought into play. Now this gas is awesome! The daddies are not supposed to have any…. but as there was no further movement yet and the effects of the gas only last for a few seconds, I thought I would have a bit of a go… just a bit of harmless fun on this exciting day.
It’s a hard feeling to explain but I guess if I had to give it a feeling I would describe it as having a drinking session with the boys sitting at a table for 2 or 3 pints then getting up to go to the toilet and the drinks just hitting you. That’s how I would describe it. Don’t take my word for it though, but it’s pretty good stuff. I only did it once. Okay, twice, but not in front of the midwife.
As the waiting game went on so did Alana’s contractions. They were gaining momentum and also gaining in pain. The gas had been doing the job up until this point but the hand squeeze was getting harder and the contractions were lasting longer. Alana was a trooper but she had said right from the start of pregnancy she did not want to feel anything painful, so we got the midwife to bring in the doctor to administer an epidural.
I had said in the lead up to the day if there was anything Alana wanted me to do for her, I would action it straight away… well this was one of those moments. The daddy’s have a very important job this day. Action all requests made by the mummy, quickly. The midwife was off somewhere so I hunted her down and asked her to get an epidural ordered and put the jets on it as well please! Well it arrived pretty quickly and just as Alana was having another contraction.
The doctor has to put in the epidural in between the contractions so he had to be quick. It’s quite a tricky little device to place as he needs to get it right on the spot otherwise the effect of the epidural doesn’t have the desired effect. Here I was initially thinking an epidural was a tablet to remove the pain… that was pre-birthing class though! When the Doctor is placing the epidural, Alana has to remain still as any jolting or sudden movements will hinder getting the needle in the right position. Now this needle was as thick as a tree branch (not really, but it was big) so when it first went into Alana she jolted.
The doctor was quite snippy and told her to remain still and gave what I thought was a sigh… HANG ON DOC!!! DON'T BRING YOUR SHIT DAY INTO THIS ROOM! I didn’t say anything just muttered “piss off mate” under my breath. He was moody, had he have been a cheery fella and made Alana feel more at ease he might have got the desired result. Anyway goes to show his moody placement didn’t work; he needed to be called back an hour or so later to re-place it.
When he came in this time around I gave him ‘the look’ as in the look of ‘don’t cause my fiancé any more pain, mate!’ sort of look. Not that he was paying attention to me but Alana saw ‘the look’ and it gave her a bit of a reason to smile. At least this time the epidural was in place so the contractions were still occurring but Alana could not feel the pain of them.
Before we knew it, it was 5.20 pm… I remember 5.20 because I thought to myself footy training is just about to start! Sorry lads, bit busy tonight! It was a long day but it was push time, our little girl was ready and had taken position to make her way out. Pushing did not look easy! As a bloke there isn’t really much we can do to assist at this point. I was just telling Alana she was doing a good job, talking to her through the pushing and just riding it out with her.
Parents confess the first things they thought upon seeing their baby. Post continues after video...
Now, and error on my part was texting the family and updating them on the current situation. If I knew then what I know now, that phone would have been turned off at lunch time. Alana saw me on the phone and told me to “put the fucking phone away” “I’m just letting everyone know wh.…” “PUT IT AWAY!”. Away it went. I didn’t bother finishing the message, was not worth risking my life over.
I had lost count at the amount of pushes Alana had given or how many different positions she tried, but our little girl was close, the midwife said she could see the top of the head. She asked if I wanted to see, initially I didn’t know, do I really want to see this? It was a short-lived thought as I had a quick glimpse. It was pretty amazing to see the top of our baby’s head. The midwife had told Alana to really start to push now, not that she hadn’t been already but the baby couldn’t just sit in the current position, it needed to be delivered now!
As there was not much movement or change when Alana was pushing, the doctor on shift, who we had previous appointments with and we both liked and happened to be working this day, advised that he may need to use a suction cup to just help with delivering our baby. I wasn’t a massive fan of this procedure, it is literally a metal half-cup placed on top of our baby’s head, the air then sucked out of it so it can grip, it is connected to a chain in which the doctor pulls on.
It was either that or the forceps. I thought to myself our little girl is not a sausage on the barbeque so I put my thoughts forward on using the suction cup to Alana and she agreed.
‘May need to use’ turned into ‘will need to use’ the suction cup... I think I said to the doc “Don’t hurt our girl” as he was prepping the device. This was my over protectiveness coming out. But I liked this doctor. He made both myself and Alana feel at ease with it.
It was just before 7pm, in a matter of minutes our little girl would be taking her first breath. I was excited and nervous and about twelve other feelings. The suction cup was in position on our baby’s head, the doctor was ready to give our baby some assistance coming out and two midwives and a midwifery student all ready to help with the delivery. Alana was instructed to give a couple big pushes! Two big pushes with all she had left in her at that point, what an amazing effort!
Everything for me just started to happen in slow motion. I was in the room but I felt like I was in a dream as I was watching our girl come into this world. The suction cup was released from her beautiful head and very quickly the midwife team went about doing their thing. I say ‘thing’ because I cant remember what they did I was just looking on in amazement. The time in between our girl coming out and then being placed on Alana chest was in all of about 5 seconds.
In that time, the doctor asked me to check that it was a girl (he was a funny man) and I had seen her take her first breath and start crying which was a great first sign. They place our baby on Alana to start that bond straight away. My eyes just filled with tears, happy of course. I gave Alana a kiss and she just looked at me, also teary eyed and she said to me “she is gorgeous”. I cannot take my eyes off my daughter, she is amazing, so tiny, so beautiful, so new. I tell Alana how much of an amazing job she did and that I love her. We posed for a quick family photo that the midwife kindly took for us. I then got to cut the umbilical cord, which we decided I would do prior to this day.
Alana and myself could not take our eyes off our beautiful girl. We had spoken about a first and second name for her previously so we knew exactly what we were going to call her. I asked Alana “Does she look like an Alexandria Rose?” “Oh Yes!” Well there is was, we had a little daughter, Alexandria Rose Billings, born at 7.04pm weighing 3.14kg. Two of us had become three.
I was on top of the world! What an amazing experience, it has certainly been the best experience of my life to date. It was time for me to pop out into the waiting area and give my parents and Alana’s parents the good news. I didn’t get to far into the saying “She’s here” before tearing up. There wasn’t too many dry eyes in that waiting room at the point. A very special moment I will cherish forever.
This post originally appeared on The Unexpected Daddy.