Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Kylar's Birth- The Beginning

I can honestly say I'm a proud Papa now, but I should have written this blog sooner than this.  Shame on me.  But I will play the "busy card" and use that as my excuse haha.  For anyone who doesn't know, Kylar Marin Burns was born October 30, 2009.  The following is my version of the long journey to Kylar's birth

It was Thursday, October 29 and I had been off from work the entire day preparing for the long week ahead considering Mallorey and I would have a new addition to our family soon enough.  That morning started out just like any other but the back of my mind continuously swirled thoughts of what to expect later that night.  Even though Arby's was technically the last meal that we had together before our daughter was born, I must say our version of the "Last Supper" together was roughly a week before at El Caporal for Mexican food.  As always, it was simply delicious and, as usual, we got stuffed to the brim!  And all things considered, the Arby's wasn't that bad either.

As "Game Time" (8pm) drew closer and closer, the more anxious I got.  I specifically remember my nerves jumping all around my body like I was ready to run a marathon about 3 hours beforehand.  I don't think there is any foolproof advice I could give any other Dads-to-be out there.  What I mean by that statement is that there isn't anything you can do to calm yourself for what will unfold at the hospital or what might happen.  Just try to make the best of your anxious moments and go-with-the-flow.  But most importantly, be there for the one you love.

There was a sad moment that occurred, however, just before we left the house for the last time as a child-less married couple.  The hospital bags were packed and everything was in tow, but Mal had yet to say her goodbyes to our dogs Wiley and Lola.  They had no idea that their worlds were about to be turned upside down when we would eventually come home with a newborn.  Mal felt so awful that she sobbed as she hugged them, and told them we would be back home soon.  I made sure that I didn't rush her and in a matter of minutes we were off to the hospital.

Checking in and registering was a breeze.  We got to the delivery room and Mal slipped into her hospital gown that she would dawn for the next few days.  The nurse on duty administered the initial checkup and the first few I.V.'s and so our stay at the hospital had officially begun.  A few hours later, while Mal and I watched tv and talked, her parents made a quick visit as they drove down from the suburbs of Chicago to see their first grandchild.  Since they were staying at our place, I left Mal for a few minutes so they could follow me to the house.  In the past few months, we had enjoyed so many visits with Mal's obstetrician, I stopped off and picked up some Halloween style mini Reese cups as a small gift.  When I came back to the delivery room at the hospital, Mal was right where I left her, sitting up in the bed and all hooked up to the surrounding machines.  We snapped a few more photos of the two of us to add to the sequence of our experience, then we talked some more and even played a travel card game that we had picked up earlier that day.  We insisted to each other that we simply weren't tired but when 2am rolled around we found ourselves stating the opposite.  The nurse had been increasing the dosage of pitocin on Mal every 30 minutes since we had been there, but even by 4am she hardly had any pain.  That's when I decided to lay down on the pull out chair they had provided in the room to get a little bit of sleep since I knew the next day would prove to be long enough.

About 3 1/2 hours later, around 7:30am, the doctor walks in the room in full scrubs and carrying a thin needle that measured about what seemed to be 2 feet long.  I was still half asleep when she walked in, of course, so I was thinking to myself "what is that you have in your hand and where are you going to put it???!!!"  Moments later Mal's water was intentionally broken and labor was underway.  During the three hours I was asleep, Mal said she experienced some pain in what were very small contractions that the pitocin had caused.  But after her water was broken, the next few hours were not only painful for Mal, but for me as well.  The nurses had conveniently left on a computer screen that recorded her contractions as they happened.  I sat next to Mal in a chair next to her bed and held her hand and stroked her hair as the contractions took their toll.  Every few minutes she would clinch her eyes, bury her head in her pillow, squeeze my hand extremely hard and let out a moan as if someone were bending her fingers backwards one by one.  It was frustrating to me knowing there was nothing more I could do for her other than what I was already doing.  The nurse gave her some medicine that took the edge off her pain and even caused her some drowsiness which allowed her to doze off and sleep for about 20-30 minutes at a time.  But eventually the medicine was no match for the size and tension of the contractions.  So we were convinced that now, at almost 12pm, it was finally time for the epidural.  I was made to leave as the anesthesiologist entered the room.  Apparently it was their hospital policy that no visitors, husbands included, are allowed in the room when the epidural is administered.  So I took the opportunity to grab a quick lunch at Chick-fil-a.  It was a great meal but it felt even better to get some fresh air and take a break from the four walls of the hospital.

Keep in mind the pain Mal was experiencing at the time I was made to leave.  When I returned about 45 minutes later, I opened the room door and the next thing I heard before I even saw her face was "HI BABY!".  Mal looked just peachy and was sitting up with a big smile on her face.  It made me feel 110% better that she was not in pain anymore.  And it blew me away that I would look at the computer screen and see contractions three times the size what they were before I left and she was feeling no pain whatsoever.  It also made me feel good to know that Mal actually had the chance to get some much needed sleep so she could power up for the delivery.

While Mal slept, I sat by her side and played around on our laptop.  It was around 9pm that most of the action started to happen.  Mal's doctor had anticipated nothing would happen until about 7pm but her dilation was not that far along yet.  But some how, some way, she became dilated faster as time elapsed.  Both of our parents and my sister and brother-in-law had all come to visit and were waiting for the big moment.  Unfortunately, for them, they had no way of knowing how long it would take for Mal to get 10 cm dilated and 100% effaced, ready to have Kylar.  So on that note, around 10pm my sister and brother-in-law headed home.  I felt sorry for them because about a half hour later Mal had reached the point she needed to be and finally Kylar was ready to be born.  The nurse asked which three visitors would be in the room for the delivery and it turned out that Mal's mom would be alongside us.

By 10:30, Mal was pushing her hardest to match the pressure of the contractions which would ultimately push Kylar out.  The funny part in all of this was when I had to do an enactment of the umbilical cord cutting with the nurse.  I wanted to make sure there was absolutely no way I was going to hurt Kylar.  I mean were talking about cutting flesh with a pair of scissors here!  I couldn't believe how good Mal did during the labor process and the nurses couldn't believe how much hair Kylar had on her head even before she popped out!

At 11:14pm, on Friday October 30th, when Kylar finally entered this world, she had a delayed reaction not quite knowing what to think and then came the screams and the cries.  And she wasn't the only one crying.  Mal and I both had tears of joy in our eyes.  As purple as she was, Kylar was still the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and the moment was almost indescribable.  The whole experience was simply amazing.

The doctor immediately laid Kylar on Mal's belly for the initial bonding moment and then I was allowed to cut the cord.  It all happened so fast.  From there Kylar was shifted to a cleaning table where she was given a vitamin k shot in her leg and drops placed in her eyes.  The delivery team was great because they encouraged me to take multiple pictures while they were doing their jobs.  Kylar weighed in at 6lbs and 14oz. and measured 18 3/4 inches.  After all that was finished, and they patched up Mal, the next part made me proud to be a daddy for the first time.  They swaddled Kylar in a blanket and put a hat on her head to ensure she would remain warm.  And that's when I was allowed to hold my baby daughter for the first time and again, tears of joy.  Kylar was passed on to Mal in what they call "The Golden Hour" for mother-baby bonding and nursing.  It was during this time that Mal's sister Marin and her boyfriend Justin walked in the delivery room as a huge surprise.  Mal had no idea they too had driven down from Chicago to see us.  Pictures and videos of Kylar ran wild for the next hour and we were exhausted beyond belief.

When our family departed the hospital and the three of us were moved to the Mommy-Baby Unit for postpartum  care, Mal was on bed-rest for a little while, so I took the opportunity of following the nurse down to the baby nursery where Kylar would be given her first bath and have her footprints taken.  On this floor, your ears would feel as if you would go deaf from all of the newborns crying away.  But video taping Kylar's first bath was well worth taking the ear pounding noise.  She looked so cute despite the fact she was screaming just as loud as the other babies, but what do you expect?  I mean how would you feel if you were suddenly in a strange place not knowing what you were looking at, cold, and not to mention, having this strange liquid being rinsed all over your body from head to toe.  It didn't take too long for the attending nurse to finish her up, and she told me that Kylar had some extra amniotic fluid left in her lungs and she was simply crying it out as normal.  She said within about 30 minutes or so they would have her ready to bring up to the room.  This was not the case.  And so began our nightmare.  Only we were awake when it started.

To Be Continued...

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