By John Jericiau
It’s just before the 39-week mark, and as we make our way to the now weekly OB appointment, our friend/surrogate tells us that she has hardly felt the baby move at all during her day at work. This is concerning because a) the baby has been really thrashing around in there up until now, and b) I’ve read too much on the internet about how late-pregnancy stillbirths DO happen. The OB had warned us to “get in here as soon as possible” after noticing the reduced movements, so we were happy that we had a previously scheduled appointment. He quickly rushed us off to a non-stress test; happily, baby and surrogate were fine. There was plenty of amniotic fluid for our son to swim around in for a couple more weeks, and he was perfectly posed high in the uterus in a head down attitude. It was only a matter of time.
It was our friend/surrogate’s last day of work, and we felt relieved that she would no longer have to endure the bus ride to and from work, as well as the standing and lifting and walking that her particular job demands. Alen and I decided to make the weekend a double feature at the movie theater (one on Friday night and one on our usual Saturday night), because it was quite possible we would not make it another weekend before our boy arrived.
Saturday rolls around, and our friend/surrogate tags along as we go through the activities of the day – mainly the boys’ activities at an indoor gym and the YMCA pool. Late in the day our friend mentions how little our son was moving again. I did not want to throw caution to the wind. As much as I didn’t want to drive back to the hospital, I wanted to enjoy date night (possibly our last one for a while) without worrying about a distressed baby.
We arrived to Labor & Delivery ready to hear the same song and dance and that everything was just fine, but were surprised when the exam showed that we were in labor and already dilated to 4 centimeters! They moved us to a room, gave our friend a bag of IV fluids and then an epidural.
Alen was with the boys finishing up their swim when he got the news. Things shifted into high gear as to the disposition of our two boys. Where will they sleep? How will they get there? Family stepped up and arrangements were made.
I had two issues. One was returning our reserved tickets for date night watching the brand new James Bond movie. I drove over to the box office and they happily refunded the tickets to the sold out show. The other issue was a dying iPhone earlier in the day. Out of the blue there was no power. Nada. Zilch. So I did what anyone in my position would do. I drove to the Apple store and bought the newest generation iPhone 5. A new daddy just has to have a phone!
I drove back home and folded some laundry, put the infant car seat in the car, packed some extra clothes for Alen and me, grabbed some food and my laptop and headed back to the hospital. I stopped and mailed some bills and got some gasoline on the way.
Our friend was fairly comfortable at this point, epidural medication coursing through her veins. Alen was very comfortable, stretched out on the only sofa in the room, camped out until morning or until dilation or pain or something woke us up. I took my place on a wicker chair I found hidden in the corner of the room.
After sleeping on the floor for a while I switched with Alen and got a really good two-hour power nap. Renewed and refreshed, I woke up to the sound of the doctor saying that he was going to break the water and see if things progressed faster. At this point Alen decided he would drive the 10 minutes home and try to grab a few quality hours of sleep in our own bed, but to call him if things changed.
Boy, did they change! It was only 9 minutes later that our friend/surrogate was screaming in agony, complaining of severe left shoulder, arm, and elbow pain, while starting to shiver as if the air in the room had become like the Arctic Circle. Before I knew it 7 or 8 physicians and nurses were scanning over her and the monitors, scratching their heads as to the cause of this sudden emergency. Left arm pain brings out the fear of heart attack in almost any healthcare worker. Our baby was hanging in there but starting to show signs of stress, so our MD put up the white flag and called it a day. Time for a C section. And quick!
I dressed in my battle gear (scrubs) and watched in the OR as my son entered the world at 8 lb 8 oz and 20 ½ inches on 11-11-12. The date is significant since his Daddy and Papa and two brothers were all born on the 22nd of a month. Our new son still got the 22 done! He just did it his own way. And I’m just so glad he did.
Welcome to the world, our beautiful son, Dustin John Jericiau. We’ve been waiting for you.