We knew it was going to be a special day. The morning sky and Sun only confirmed these thoughts.
Yet, as good of a day we knew it would be, it was an odd, if not surreal walk to the hospital. See, it is a funny thing when you are walking to the hospital knowing that you will have a child in your arms in just a few hours.
We learned that Bip, aka Baby In Progress (thanks Kevin!), was breech the day after Neil left for his 18 day trip to Asia. It was tough news. At that point, we had been preparing for more than a month for a natural childbirth through the excellent classes taught by Pauline Nardella. At least at that point, we still had more than a month to Bip’s expected arrival and there are many ways to turn a breech.
There is the ironing board trick, talking to the baby, cold at the top of the womb, music, talking, light on the womb. One can also go to a chiropractor or an acupuncturist. Karen tried all of that. For a month. Bip would respond to these treatments with increased movement, but he would not turn. In the week leading up to the scheduled c-section, Neil felt like continued treatments were amounting to harassment that is akin to stalking wild animals for entertainment. It didn’t feel right. It seemed that if Bip was going to turn, he would have at that point. It seemed like there was likely a physical constraint preventing a correcting of Bip’s position. As we learned, there was.
So, while not really wanting to put Karen through a c-section, we went ahead and scheduled one. We heard too many horror stories about breech births.
We tried to take the bright side: at worst, we would have a healthy mother and baby. That might not have been the case 200 years ago [or more recently, even].
Better, because we wanted Bip to be in the womb for as long as possible, the last day the practice would schedule a c-section would be November 11th. Or, this year, 11|11|11!!! If you are given an eggplant, make eggplant parmesan.
So, when Bip showed no sign of turning on his own, we walked the 2.5 blocks up the hill to Nyack Hospital that Friday morning. It was a beautiful, blue, crisp and cool morning. The remaining leaves were in top autumnal form after a week of sunny days and cool nights. And, we were going to have a baby in just a few hours! Autumn could not get any better.
To be honest, we were both pretty nervous about the whole thing. Neil reminded Karen that many jets fly directly from NYC to Beijing every day and we do not hear about it. It is simply routine, like c-sections today. That was easier to say than believe, though, when one thought about major abdominal surgery.
Karen put on her game face and Neil kept his true thoughts to himself.
We joked and laughed while waiting for the doctor. Perhaps the funniest thing was when Karen actually read the release forms. She asked if she could cross out the section on using information from her procedure for research and then a longer section on using her SSN and other information to share with corporations! The midwife said she could cross it out and not sign those parts of the form. Back at the nurses station we heard them talk about our finicky ways. They said they didn’t think anyone had read these forms before. Soon after, we are pretty sure we were the ‘particular’ people in the Mother & Baby section of the hospital. Our education through Pauline’s classes really paid off.
They wheeled Karen to the operating room and Neil changed into scrubs. After the spinal was complete, Neil was allowed in. Neil was internally freaking out seeing Karen with her arms strapped out to the sides. They said she was going to feel some pulling and tugging. Indeed, she did. When Neil saw her body move left to right during the procedure, he really started to freak. It got to Karen a bit, too. Neil told Karen to go to her special place, the one she developed to get through the experience of natural childbirth. Karen went and it seemed to help.
While the whole thing only took about 10 minutes, it seemed like forever. All of a sudden, there was much chatter by the medical team and words like ‘atypical’ and phrases like ‘look at that’ were being used. It didn’t ease fears.
Suddenly, they said, ‘birth!’ And then, ’10:10. Birth at 10:10!’ And then, ‘he’s peeing!’ And then, ‘it’s a boy’!
They told Neil he could look over the screen and see their child, but he just couldn’t do that. After a second, we suddenly heard a cry. Bip was here!
They whipped him briefly out to the side to show us before they took him to the table to check him over. He had blood on his head, but he looked ok.
Neil finally got up the gumption to walk past the screen to go see the boy as they wiped him down a bit and checked him out. Neil noticed he has some fine chops/sideburns. It ought to work when he is looking for love when the 70’s come around (yet again).
A nurse asked Karen if we had a name. Karen said, “When I see my baby.” After she saw him, he was given the name Alon Sebastian.
Alon was a compromise as Alon means oak. Sebastian is the middle name of Neil’s maternal grandfather.
Much of the time after that was a blur. Neil had a big discussion with the doctor about why Bip was breech (after the doc wanted Neil to see Karen’s uterus. Neil passed on that, too). It seems Karen is beautiful through and through. Her uterus is in the shape of a heart. While the doc said that was ‘atypical’, it seems to be the perfect symbol.
Seems Bip’s head was stuck in the upper left side of the uterus. His hands were out by his head and face and he was an incomplete breech: one leg was down while another was folded under his body. That was something ‘to look at’, apparently. They said it looked like Bip was ready to dive out. Our guess is that he was happy to get out. That doesn’t sound too comfortable.
We were finally released on the 14th, Bip’s due date. After getting settled at home at midday, Neil went out to get some fresh foods and some supplies. Before he left he went to photograph the neighbor’s Japanese maple in perfect color [maybe they have SOME redeeming qualities Carolina?], his google calendar went off to let Neil know Bip was going to arrive. This was an inside joke. When told of Bip’s due date back in April, Neil said that 1 pm on the 14th of November would be perfect.
a post-script and some pix
IsGolia started as a way for Karen and Neil to stay in touch while they conduct research apart from each other overseas. Now IsGolia represents the first true product of their partnership.
a few more scenes from the First Weekend.