Following the On-pack Guidelines….

The night before is a very surreal sweep of dark skies and lamplight in my memory. The knowledge that morning will change everything is the perfect ingredient for a restless night, like taking your imagination on a trip to Disneyland. And talk of rollercoasters is perhaps apt for what was to come, as we checked in to the hospital at 6am on the morning of September 5th. Contractions had knocked politely the previous Sunday, but disliked the welcome we provided and so abated by the evening. That, coupled with the fact that she was now over her due date and that the amount of amniotic fluid was concerning, lead to a collective decision to induce. So a 6am check-in, a 7am induction, and by 8am contractions had started.

And so we waited, her with a selection of numbing television channels, me with a copy of Stephenson’s Quicksilver. We’d both decided fairly early on in the pregnancy that she would try to go as far as possible without pain relief; or more accurately, she’d decided and I’d agreed to support her. By the time we hit 2pm, contractions were frequent and increasing in strength, but she’d only dilated 1cm. So the gynae ruptured her membranes in an attempt to speed things up. We were warned that the whole process of induction does tend to produce a longer and more painful labour, and I had been preoccupied with wondering how I would cope seeing her in pain, and as much as she may say that I helped her to breathe through the pain and to keep her calm, it was seeing how she coped with the pain that kept me sane. I’d always known that she has a fairly high pain threshold and a singular determination, but those moments transcend words, and without being overly dramatic, it felt as if our whole relationship was being redefined. And I suppose it was. Four hours passed and 6pm loomed, and another examination revealed that she’d only dilated another cm, to make a total of 2 cm. And little madame had decided to put her hand on her head, a truly excellent means of blocking her path through the cervix, and to freedom. She seemed quite determined to stay right where she was. So now we were faced with the decision, to rather opt for a c-section, or to wait longer to see if anything changed. Our gynae and the nurses who had been attending to us advised that given another 3 or 4 hours, chances were slim that anything would change. We discussed it for 10 minutes or so, but admittedly for me the choice was an easy one. It may well have been inspiring to see how well she’d been coping with the pain, but it was still not pleasant. By 7:50 pm the theatre had been prepared and the various medical staff notified. I found myself in the changing room, and I’d like to say that changing into scrubs was in someway metaphorical for ‘donning’ the uniform of fatherhood, but by that stage I was too tired and overwhelmed to be thinking anything. We’d discussed the possibility of a c-section before, but I’d never quite decided whether I would watch at any point, or simply hide alongside Mrs Tenmiles behind the curtain, yet by the time I walked into the theatre, the only place to be was alongside her. As they were about to pull her out, the doctor asked if I wanted to see the head, and I did, but the strange thing is I have no recollection of that image. And so at 8:24pm, Cadence exercised her lungs, and that will no doubt be the one and only time I’ll be glad to hear her wail!

Was it a monumental moment, certainly. Was I struck by a wave of emotion? Truthfully, no. I was happy, yes, but I don’t think the mind can properly conceive of what had just taken place. And there wasn’t much time for that either, as a blur of measurements and tests were done. I only really ‘came to’ a few minutes later when I had this soft, warm life on my chest. And even then, I was trying to protect the integrity of my nipples more than anything else! I’m still not quite certain of the science behind the rooting instinct, but believe me, it’s there and it’s strong!

Three weeks later, and I still haven’t had that ‘one, defining moment when tears can’t be controlled’ that I’m apparently supposed to have. There have, however, been a multitude of tiny moments, when I marvel at her, fall more in love with her, become more aware of her. And if you ask me, those moments seem to be the important ones to me.

So what is she like? Well, for the most part she seems content, she sleeps well although feeding, though not difficult, has been problematic. She has the most beautiful blue eyes, and she likes to hear me sing from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and she falls asleep to Sigur Ros better than to Baby Mozart. And she’s inquisitive and she stretches after a sleep like some lithe feline.

And she smells better then I ever thought possible.

And leaving her this morning for my first day back at work was as hard as everyone said it would be.

We chose her names not only for their musical connotations, but also for their implication that she is an expression of our love.

And I’ve caught myself so many times in the last week gazing at her mother in awe, and I know that various chemical and instinctive processes explain why I feel more in love with her now then ever before, but goddammit, I am.

I don’t quite know how I managed it, but I am blessed beyond the realms of what is possible to have these two women in my life.

~ by tenmiles on September 26, 2006.

9 Responses to “Following the On-pack Guidelines….”

  1. Awwww. That is a lovely jubbly post. Congrats all around again. And she looks totally dotey in those photos.

  2. “And little madame had decided to put her hand on her head, a truly excellent means of blocking her path through the cervix, and to freedom.”

    LOL! I just had this crazy visual of her checking her hair before she made her debut.
    She’s absolutely lovely. Congrats again to you and your new family!

  3. This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Looks like she already has you twirling around her little finger… Good on her (or them, for that matter). 🙂

  5. The “uncontrolled tears” part will come when she kicks you in the nuts during a late-night badly coordinated nappy-change.

  6. I second Kyk’s point of view all round! 🙂
    And yes, she is divine and I really hope to get a chance to see her in December.

  7. My last comment didn’t post.
    I second Kyk.
    Hope to see her in December.

  8. I don’t recall having any overwhelming tearful moment at the birth of my daughter. I recall being very, very content. I got what I wanted and I was…and still am…very thrilled about it.

    And I agree with you wholeheartedly. Babies smell amazing!!!!

  9. Some good writing here …

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