Parenthood is not one-sided; although, I feel that we rarely hear from the dad’s point of view. Dan will be sharing his experience becoming a father. This post is a dad’s perspective on the hospital experience.
Don’t believe what you see on tv and movies! When we called our doctor and she told us we could come in, we rushed to the hospital, but there was no nurse with a wheelchair waiting for us at the door. We parked in the hospital’s parking garage. We walked into the hospital, onto the elevators, and up to the labor and delivery unit. In the hospital class, they walked us through the process of how to check-in (but very briefly as a woman who appeared to be in a lot of pain was checking in during the tour). Of course, we didn’t remember, so we walked up to the first desk to inform them that we think my wife is in labor. We got back, sorry wrong desk, you need to walk down the hall to the other desk.
Finally, we found the correct desk and got checked in and were moved to a “triage” pre-labor room. We were not told about that part! They tell you to come into the hospital and then you have to get “checked”. If you do not pass they have you walk around for an hour (or as Melissa remembers three hours) in the labor and delivery section (AKA a small square loop — and yes, you are restricted to that section only). I think they do this to make you feel better that you made the painful journey all the way in for nothing!
It was 8:15 when we walked in and there were four other couples who were in the same situation, and by 30 minutes into the walk we heard two couples get sent home because they did not progress with their one hour walk. Melissa was pretty determined not to go home so stepped it up a notch, and when we took water breaks in our triage room, she would do 15-20 air squats with my assistance.
About 45 minutes into the walk we found out that a couple that checked in after us was sent home. When this couple arrived the woman was in so much pain we were sure she was having her baby, so what did that mean for us? She didn’t even make it the full hour! We finished the lap around labor and delivery and decided to finish the last 10 minutes with more air squats. The nurse came back into our triage room and was so impressed with the progress we made that we were admitted into the hospital to prepare for the birth!! The three other couples that came in all were sent home, we were the last ones standing.
We were admitted to the hospital at about 10pm and got in our labor room. This room was a lot more comfortable than the triage room. I was able to get our hospital bags from the car, which were packed about a month in advance. Looking back, we left for the hospital way too early; if we do it again we will wait for the contractions to be closer together.
It was a long night, but on November 29, 2015, at around 7am my wife was ready to push — it was actually a little earlier, but we had to wait for a shift change. Yep, that’s right, forget about when the baby wants to come out! We spent about 10 hours in the hospital before the pushing part began. The process takes a lot longer than you think, and I know it seems like time is standing still once labor contractions start, but trust me, you probably have a lot more time than you think. The other thing you don’t see in tv and movies is that there is only one nurse with you in the room, so she held one leg and I held the other when it was time to push. I was not prepared to be quite that involved in the birthing process!
Due to some complications (Melissa believes with the Epidural) eventually we agreed to do an elective c-section and at 12:11pm Aiden was here! We were exhausted — but still had a couple of hours before we could relax! First, we were in a temporary recovery room, and then they didn’t have a room ready so we had to wait in another room, but eventually we were settled in our own room which was a good size to house Melissa, Aiden, and me and then all the visitors we had.
The first nap you wake up from once you are given a room is insane to wake up to your new baby sleeping next to you. All of the nurses were very friendly and usually helpful. They were not overbearing, and they tried to make sure you had a basic understanding of what you need to know for your baby to survive. If you have read any of our story you know how important swaddling was for Aiden. I wish they would they would have talked about that more, and maybe given us more swaddling tips because they all swaddled differently, and when we asked they were usually too busy to show us.
When we left the hospital it was almost a good luck, sink or swim theory, and by the way, we have classes you can pay for, so you can get help once you leave the hospital. I know they see a lot of people and are taking care of many babies, but a little more information for new parents would have been helpful so we would have a better idea of what to expect when we got home! Luckily about three months in, we finally started to figure it out!