Warrior Wife

UFC 200 will be a night I’ll never forget. The night Brock Lesnar made his return to the UFC, Jose Aldo won a shot at McGregor again and my wife told me her contractions were getting closer together. She wanted me home before the main event happened but I forgave her later. Our baby was going to be born soon and the next many many hours were going to lead to the best gift ever, but it wasn’t going to be easy.

The night of July 8, Friday, things started; I won’t go into the details, but things started. Even still, her selflessness was in full force making sure my needs were met in however she could serve me first. Her first contraction followed soon after. I always imagined labour being in a hospital bed but here was my wife going about her day like it was no big deal stopping every once in a while to get through a contraction. She knew the plans I had for Saturday night and my labouring wife had no problem allowing me to go watch the fights with the boys. Even when she wanted me home her sacrificial love for me never wavered. Here is part of our conversation:

K: Please be honest with me when you want me home. Don’t just let me sit here and watch.

S: I mean home wouldn’t be bad cause when you worked my back it felt good but I’m not dying. I also want you to have boy time since it might be a while before it happens again.

Maybe it’s just me but I feel so loved that she wanted me to have as much time with the boys instead of me coming home to be in a situation I would soon learn that I’m useless.

I came home right before the main event and we hung out, I helped her time her contractions and did whatever she asked me to do. We tried sleeping but who were we kidding, you don’t sleep when your contractions are 5-6 minutes apart.

The next few hours were a combination of warm baths for Sam kept company by our doula, me trying to catch a few hours of sleep and wondering when we were supposed to go to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital around 4:30pm and Sam was 4-5cm dilated so they admitted her. (They have to admit you if you’re 4cm or more). Her membranes were bulging so the midwife expected that they would burst in a short time.

We got to our room and things started out really calm. Sam and I played a game of crib together and the nurses and everyone were blown away by how strong Sam was through contractions. They began lasting about a minute long and she would barely grimace.

This wife of mine was a warrior and this was barely the beginning.

Now before we go any further, this was our birth plan:

If pain relief was needed, we would start with laughing gas and if something stronger was needed we would go with fentanyl. We wanted the baby to come naturally. We wanted to avoid the vacuum, forceps, episiotomy, etc. A C-section was the last resort and only if absolutely necessary. We wanted this to be the most natural birth possible. Obviously, we were okay with any of those things happening if Sam or the baby’s health were at all at risk. And lastly, when time came I wanted to catch the baby. As you continue reading, see how many of these things go as planned.

The midwife had said earlier that she would come back in 4 hours, this meant around 9pm. She came and Sam was about 6cm dilated but her membranes were yet to rupture. So the midwife took a crochet-like hook and ruptured the membranes manually and immediately Sam was 7cm dilated but things started to get painful. The rupture had allowed the baby to drop but this also put a lot of pressure on Sam’s pelvis. The contractions got longer and closer together.

The next time the midwife came in Sam was 9+cm dilated. The midwife was happy with the progress and said  at the next contraction to start pushing. She did. Now let me give you a little information here, the second stage of labour (pushing stage) usually lasts about 20 minutes – 2 hours according to the American Pregnancy Association. Most don’t ever hit the 2 hour mark. Keep that in mind as you continue reading.  Sam started pushing around midnight Monday morning. Neither of us had slept. Sam pushed for a full 2 hours with very little progress. The midwife said the baby moved maybe one position. That’s not normal.

Now, some of you are gonna hate me or laugh at me for what I’m about to say but it’s true. This process thus far was the hardest thing I had ever done. I feel like it was as hard for me as it was for Sam thus far. Not physically, obviously, but mentally and emotionally this was the hardest thing I had ever done. I’ve never felt more useless in my entire life. What can I possibly do when my wife is saying things like “I can’t do this”, “I’m done”, “Give me an epidural”, “Give me a C-section now” and “This hurts so much”. There were multiple times throughout these 2 hours where I was ready to leave and just sit in the hallway and cry. I could’ve honestly sat and cried for those entire 2 hours. There’s only so many times you can pass the water or cool another washcloth for her forehead. But I couldn’t leave her side. I had to be strong when she felt the weakest. I had to be her rock so I sucked it up and did my job.

She had stabbing pain in both of her hips and she tried pushing in 4 different positions, nothing worked. I was so sad, mad, frustrated, upset, and whatever other synonyms you can think of. I’m pretty sure I prayed for the entire 2 hours and just asked God to bring this baby out in the least painful way possible.

Finally, since Sam had been asking for an epidural and there was way more pain than progress, the midwife suggested we get an epidural, give Sam some comfort and let everyone get some sleep. Except, according to Sam, not moving during a contractions while the anesthesiologist had a needle in you spine that could paralyze you was a task all on its own. Needless to say, the plan worked, kind of. We both got 4 hours of sleep and were very well rested when we awoke. It was time to start pushing again.

Sam pushed. And pushed. And pushed. And pushed some more. This time, 4 hours of pushing. For those that are following along, that’s 6 total hours of pushing now. Remember what I said normal was. Obviously, by this point, Sam was exhausted, we were both frustrated and we just wanted this baby out.

The nurse started to tell Sam to take her earrings off and we wondered why. She said in case we had to go to the operating room.

Our midwife consulted with the obstetrician and together we all agreed on a new plan. We were heading to the OR no matter what at this point. The obstetrician suggested that he was going to try forceps first. Not necessarily to pull the baby out but to try and tuck baby’s chin so that baby could get through the curve in the birth canal. Sam would then push the baby out the rest of the way. I put my OR scrubs on and grabbed the camera to go do something I hoped I would never have to do.

We wheeled Sam down to the basement where the ORs are. They made me wait in a hallway on a random chair. I was ready to cry. Why was nothing going the way we wanted it to? Why couldn’t I be in Sam’s place? Why does she have to go through all of this? Why, why, why? But, it was almost over and I would get to hold my baby soon.

It seemed like forever that they were in there prepping her. I was getting anxious. Finally, the midwife came and grabbed me and told me I could come in. It was cold. It was busy. Why were there so many people in there? What roles could they possibly all have? It doesn’t matter, I’m sure they’re there for a reason. I walked in to see my wife’s legs hoisted into the air held up by this contraption. I couldn’t even explain it to you if I tried. It was like the ultimate medical stirrups. She was laying flat on the operating table with an oxygen mask on. I asked how she was doing and she said she couldn’t breathe. I believed her, it probably felt like she couldn’t because of the position she was in. Thus, the oxygen mask. The anesthesiologist was super cool. Very relaxed, talked to me, kept me calm.

The OR was chaos. Nobody knew where anything was, nothing seemed to be setup, what was going on? The OB asked for the forceps but they had the wrong ones, or at least not the ones he wanted. Finally, he got the oversized salad tongs that satisfied him. He put the forceps in, gripped the baby’s head and the first thing he said was the only thing I heard and the only thing that mattered, “yeah, it’s gonna come.” Wow. What a relief. After all this time my baby is gonna be here soon and we’re not going to have to do a c-section. It was maybe one minute later and the OB held up my baby. He wasn’t making any noise. I knew that was not a good thing. I guess I was just impatient because the next sound I heard was the most beautiful sound ever. Nixon started wailing. The midwife said to me, “Kyle tell Sam what you have.” Now, I couldn’t tell. I looked where I was supposed to look but it wasn’t as easy to decipher as I thought it would be. Not because I can’t tell the difference between a penis and a vagina but because Nixon had a little issue down there that made it hard to see what I was looking for. Finally I found it and I laid my head beside Sam’s on the operating table and said, “We got a baby boy.”

The OB handed the baby off to the paediatrician to get him checked out. She did what she needed to and the only two issues had to do with excess water, some in his head which gave him a conehead and some in his scrotum which explain why I couldn’t find what I was looking for. That big red sac of water was blocking was I needed to find.

This whole time I had my camera on my shoulder but wasn’t sure when I could use it. Finally a nurse said to me, “you can take pictures whenever you want.” So I did. That shutter went off like mad. I have so many pictures of that little guy that I probably will never use half of them, but it didn’t matter because every picture was a picture of a miracle.

Then came the time I had been waiting for forever. I got to hold my baby. I held him and carried him over to Sam on the operating table where the OB was finishing his business down there. I laid him on Sam’s chest and asked her if the name still fit. It did. Baby Nixon had arrived.

We both started bawling. I finally got to let out the past 12 hours worth of crying that I was holding in. I saw some tears fall down Sam’s cheeks, too. Remember that prayer I made earlier, that baby would come in the least painful way possible? Well, God answered it because Sam was numb from belly down. 

I chose this picture because it tells the whole story. I’m crying my face off, something I had wanted to do the whole time because I felt so useless. There was nothing I could do to make anything better. Sam only has a few tears on her cheeks because she was a warrior this whole time. She was the one who endured what most people never do and never should so that we could enjoy this amazing bundle of joy that laid on her chest. All of the tears, pain, heartache and frustration was worth it. Nothing else mattered. We got our baby Nixon and he was healthy.

People always ask how long her labour was. We have no idea how to count the hours but if you want the numbers here they are. If you count from her first contraction then she laboured for 66 hours. If you count from when her contractions started to be at regular intervals then she only laboured for 43 hours. Those numbers don’t matter. Regardless of all the pain and hardship you bet we would both do it again to have the only number that matters, 1. We got 1 healthy baby out of all of this and now our family is 3.

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