To start off this chapter I should probably mention that at one of our initial pre-natal appointments, and confirmed by our first ultrasounds, baby Richardson was supposed to have arrived into the world on Sunday November 7th 2010. My water broke on Tuesday September 14th…8 weeks ahead of schedule.
Now at this point we’d entered the morning of September 15th and were anxiously awaiting instructions while cooling our heels in the Delivery room…
Once they’d hefted me onto the table and asked how I was feeling (peachy thank you…blessedly numb below the waist…yippee!), Nicole and the doctor asked me if I minded if they went for their break. A quick coffee and they’d be right back they said…most 1st time mothers can push for up to 2 hours they told us…and I’d hate to sound like a 6 year old but PFFFFFT! This sage bit of wisdom was somewhat like the “Oh, everything looks just fine. You won’t be having a baby tonight” advice we were offered upon our arrival in Triage…and everyone has seen how well that one turned out!
Anyway, Andrew and I, being the laid back parents-to-be that we were, agreed that a break was in order and thus were left with the one new nurse to dredge up small talk all while lying with my hospital gown pulled to my waist and feet splayed in stainless steel stirrups….attractive…
The nurse, rescuing us from awkward silence, suggested that a few ‘practice pushes’ were in order and being game I bore down and gave it my all. We were supposed to do three of these, however; after two the nurse stopped me and leaped for the phone, paging Nicole and our doctor to get themselves back to Delivery ASAP. Apparently baby Richardson didn’t feel that any practice was necessary and was about to make his appearance in front of a significantly smaller audience. Nicole and the doctor rushed into the room and frantically attempted to glove up before anything else exciting went down. Each contraction was a race at this point and I remember the doctor instructing me not to push…she only had one glove on.
Once everyone was in position (remarkable how fast things move with the proper motivation) I was told to get back to pushing. One more good push and the doctor was yelling at me to stop… Now, I don’t know how other pregnant women feel but the urge to push is pretty overwhelming and it is hard to hold back at this point. Also, since baby Richardson was smaller than your average baby, I didn’t actually have to push…my body was doing it for me in time to each contraction. However, stopping was necessary as our baby had the cord wrapped twice around his neck and they were worried that additional pushes would tighten it, or rip it in two. The doctor quickly did her thing and without another push Vaughan William Richardson entered the world at 3:03am on Wednesday September 15th 2010.
The NICU attendant quickly obtained custody of our tiny, quiet boy and held him up in front of her, letting us look, as she backed into the heated room, assuring us that “It’s a boy!” Just that fast, we were alone again, getting everything tidied up with me. The NICU staff came in to get Andrew, who diligently took my camera in with him to visit our new son. As the door closed behind him, we heard the most precious sound a new parent can hear…a tiny, quiet, kitten-like crying coming from the angry baby boy in the other room.
Andrew was gone for a few minutes, but it seemed like hours to me. Finally the team kicked him out, back into the delivery room, so they could do all of the testing necessary on a pre-term infant. Andrew then showed me the first pictures of my adorable, precious baby boy. He also assured me that the resident was happy with his APGAR scores (a 9 for a preemie is amazing…it’s normal for a full term infant!) and didn’t see any reason we should be worried about survival. He was a little concerned that Vaughan only weighed 2 lbs 15 oz…an average weight for a 28 week baby not 32, but didn’t see that having any serious effects. Andrew and I started to smile, laugh and relax…after 7 months of waiting and worrying each day, unsure of the ending, knowing our baby boy was here, safe and a fighter was almost more than we could handle! Riding our cloud of euphoria the delivery team wheeled us to the recovery area….
** To give size perspective here, the hand in the top middle of the photograph belonged to the resident…his hand is bigger than Vaughan’s whole head… **