On Monday night at 9:38PM Eastern Standard Time, Emily and I were blessed with the newest addition to our family — our new daughter, Gillian Audrey. It was a long day getting from home to the hospital and then through to the final delivery and recovery, but we’re all still here and all still slightly crazy.
I had originally planned on taking up my bud Mathew’s call to do a play-by-play as he did prior to the birth of his son, in as much as Emily would allow me, but things didn’t quite work out as expected.
We had a scheduled ultrasound on Tuesday and weren’t expecting the baby to make it’s grand entrance until later in the week whether of its own accord or on our terms. Already past her due date, apparently Gillian had plans of her own and decided early Monday morning that she was ready to come out and join the party. Of course she decided to make this abundantly clear in the middle of the night. The point I’m trying to make here is that we were… how do you say… a little unprepared. And by a little, I mean not at all.
So at around 4AM Monday morning we started timing contractions and gauging exactly where we were in terms of labour stages. It felt to me like we went straight to the finish line, but that may have just been the fact that I was a bit of a zombie and wasn’t really sure what was going on. Not yet in any case.
By around 5 we called Emily’s sister and told her we were getting ready to go to the hospital since she was going to be joining us to help out during the delivery. It was during this time I was running around the house like a blind, slightly delusional maniac trying to get all the things we should have packed in a bag a couple weeks ago as well as making sure things were set for the cats since we were somewhat unexpectedly going to be leaving them to their own devices for a couple of days.
After packing the bag, making some coffee and feeding the cats, stuffing Newton into his cat carrier since he was due to have the stitches from his most recent surgery in our battle with crystals and calling the necessary family to tell them what was going on, we headed out the door in the direction of the downtown core and Women’s College Hospital.
We were checked in with triage by 7 or 7:30 AM, admitted and in a delivery room by around 9. When we arrived and after being examined we found out that Emily was 5 cm dilated and things were moving along.
We’d only heard good things about Women’s College Hospital and had a close friend who gave birth to both her kids there, and luckily it’s all true. The nurses were all wonderful, very friendly, attentive and informative. They do one-to-one care at this particular hospital and we couldn’t have asked for better care during our stay.
By noon, Emily was a full 10 cm dilated and pretty much ready to get the show on the road. And so on we went though an epidural, hours of contractions and numerous top-ups and such to try to ease the pain of the contractions; none of which really helped. Add on an hour and a half of pushing before conceding that Gillian just didn’t want to come out the old-fashioned way. In order to finally resolve the pain problem, the epidural was re-done in preparation for a now-scheduled C-section. This time it took and she was finally pain-free (and felt like “a million bucks” to quote my wife).
A C-section is a scary thing even though there’s such a large percentage of women who either opt for having one, or end up having one due to circumstances out of their control — I believe it’s something like 25% of all women at Women’s College Hospital. Anyhow, as nervous as we all might have been, everything went exactly as it should and out came little Gillian, who, technically remained nameless until Wednesday morning.
Since then we’ve been attempting to recover and learn how to take care of our new little pumpkin. I’ve changed a few diapers, cleaned up some slimy poop, learned how to wrap a baby up like a burrito, how to give her a bath, and kissed her and cuddled with her as much as I possibly can. It’s a truly amazing thing, and no matter what anyone tells you, you can’t prepare for the experience or how you feel the first time you set your eyes on your child. It’s truly the greatest feeling in the world. Definitely better than the lack of feeling in my arms after the first night of sleeping on the fold out chair in our recovery room ;-)
Gillian is everything we could have hoped for and we both feel unbelievably blessed.
Thank you to everyone who’s sent us an e-mail, text message, called to ask how we’re doing or offering to help with anything we might need. It’s greatly appreciated. We’ll do our best to get back to everyone as quickly as Gillian will allow us. And hopefully I’ll be back cranking out work shortly. Right after I get some sleep.
On one final note, a massive thank you to Anna (Emily’s sister), and all the nurses and doctors at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto — Kristine, Carrie, Grace, Myrna, Pat, Fernanda, “Dragon”, Dr. MacKenzie, Dr. Zaltz, and all those I’m forgetting. You made the last few days as easy as possible and Emily, Gillian and I can’t say thank you enough.