Ansel Davis Close – The Beginning

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007 | LiveJournal Archives

First off I want to offer my most sincere thanks to everyone who has congratulated us or sent us their best thoughts. I have found, already, that I am a more sincere and thankful person in the past three days. It may be the new fatherhood thing, it may just be the lack of sleep. Only time will tell. Anyway, on to the story so far.

I will be retelling this from my point of view, and I know for a fact that if she hasn’t done it already, Heather will be posting her own side of things. There will likely be a lot of overlap, but hey, we were both there and witnessed things a little differently.

So here begins the story of Ansel Davis Close, born at 1:03am on Sept, 19, 2007.
He was born 7 pounds, 12 ounces; 19.5 inches long.

So we suspect it was the walk to the union to deposit some checks that was the culprit, but we’re not pointing blame. It really doesn’t matter how it all started. Tuesday evening, I needed to get off to my photo studio to get to work on some photos for my first critique on Thursday so as soon as we got home from work, I started making a quick dinner that turned out to be not so quick. I was just going to throw together some frozen pasta and a home made tomato sauce. Having never made tomato sauce before, it ended up taking longer than I had anticipated. If I had just done it Heather’s way, it would have been quick and easy, but I like to explore and refine things when I’m at the helm, so my sauce was more time consuming. In retrospect, it is probably for the best, otherwise, I’d have actually made it to the studio. Anyway, around 7:45 or so, I was able to finally bring dinner to Heather and she scarfed it down, as did I. I was really late in trying to get out of the house. It was looking like it would be a late night at the studio. As I was packing up all my photo equipment, Heather admitted to me that she wasn’t feeling well and that she may be experiencing some contractions. Just to keep you all up to speed, we still had 10 days until the due date. She thought at first that they might just be false labor (or Braxton Hicks contractions), but that they’d felt regular and had been going on for almost a half an hour. I offered to time them for a little bit and at 8:00 we started counting. After about 5 contractions, we’d determined that they were almost perfectly three minutes apart and were lasting thirty to ninety seconds each. Trying to deny all possibilities, we surfed the internet for a clear way to distinguish between false labor and real labor. We went down every checklist and every mark was in the “real labor” column. We started to put all the “daily items” in her hospital bag (she had packed all of her non-essential items already).

We called the hospital and made sure we could get the room with the jacuzzi tub and that they’d be ready for us when we showed up and started to get everything in the car. By 9:00, we were out the door. It was a nervous ride to the hospital. We were ten days early, it wasn’t supposed to happen like this, there was supposed to be more warning, we weren’t prepared at work (neither of our temps had been brought in and trained at all), and every bump in the road made Heather groan frighteningly. Distraction of course leads to mistakes and we missed the entrance to the hospital and spent a few extra minutes driving around the other entrance so we could get parked and head in. Not knowing how long we were going to be there, and not knowing if Heather would ever be okay with me leaving, I didn’t know exactly what all to bring up from the car. We had the car seat, my bag (with camera, laptop, books, and other personal effects), the suitcase (with clothes for all three of us, nursing items, comfort items for heather, toiletries, etc.), and a cooler (with several Vitamin Waters to keep Heather happy and hydrated). I finally decided I could carry up the suitcase and my bag. We wouldn’t need the carseat for a couple days even if this was the “real thing” and if it wasn’t the “real thing,” I didn’t want to be in there with a cooler of drinks.

By 9:00 we had arrived to the hospital and headed up the the L+D floor where they took us to Labor room #1. I commented on how Heather was #1. No-one laughed. Heather was put into her gown and the nurse, who repeatedly proved herself to be awesome and super friendly, checked her over, explaining that she didn’t want to admit Heather until she was sure that this was real labor, but I kind of think she had already decided we were here for the night. She asked about Heather’s last pre-natal visit, and how much she had been dilated at 38 weeks if at all. There had been a family emergency with Heather’s doctor the week before, so we had no idea. The nurse said then that we would need to wait and see how she was progressing then, since she had no base-line. Needless to say, she was already at 4cm when we got to the hospital. We also handed out a couple copies of Heather’s birth plan and I was very pleased to see that it was being passed around between the nurses and they were all reading it very closely. I was so glad to see that they didn’t just routinely cast it aside.

An hour later, and the nurse said that she was going to be paging the midwife on call, unless of course Heather insisted on having her doctor, which she didn’t. Heather was allowed to get up and start walking, as she so definitely wanted to do, but she was required to keep the monitors strapped to her. They unplugged the monitors so I followed her around with all the cables coiled up to keep them out from under her feet. It was so hard to watch Heather laboring because she was so obviously uncomfortable (to put it mildly). She didn’t walk very far, just really around the bed and back repeatedly. Every time a contraction came along, she would face me, put her forearms on my forearms, lean into me, nearly bending over to a 90 degree angle, and just groan. Thirty seconds later, she would start to stand back up and try to muddle her way through a few more steps. Alternately, she attempted to labor kneeling in front of the glider chair and in several positions on the bed. She admitted that standing up, using me to support her was the best and most comfortable position, which is very nice to hear when you’re not really sure you’re being that helpful or useful.

The nurse visited us several times whilst Heather labored, and I gathered that the midwife was not en route at the same rate that the baby was. They had paged her and called her several times and all they knew was that she was “on her way.” During one of several checks, the nurse mentioned that the while the baby was technically in the correct position for delivery, he was slightly turned and would deliver better if he rolled over a little bit, and suggested that Heather labor on her side a little bit. It was shortly after that, that Heather turned to me and said she felt a trickle down the inside of her leg, suspecting that her water had broken. I called the nurse, who came down and confirmed this. She also broke the news to Heather that since her water had broken, she would not be able to labor in the tub. I think Heather was a bit saddened, but probably not as much as she could have been considering the state of her labor anyway.

All the while, I took it upon myself to focus mainly on two things: encouraging Heather that she was able and capable of having the baby and having it completely naturally; and of reminding her to breathe when she spent a good portion of her contractions moaning, groaning and screaming. The midwife arrived somewhere between 10:30 and 11:30, I really had lost all track of time at this point. I only really looked at two things most of the night, Heather’s face and the fetal/contraction monitor display. Anyway, the midwife arrived and introducer herself, then kind of floated in and out while Heather continued to labor. At my best guess, around 12 or so, the midwife checked heather and she was almost completely dilated, enough to actually start pushing. There were some awkward moments as Heather attempted to push “correctly” and she was even instructed to push only on every other contraction because she was expending too much energy. It was at this point that I was put in charge of her oxygen mask, giving her oxygen whenever she was “resting” and taking the mask away when she needed to concentrate on pushing.

The better her pushes, the closer he came to coming out. From my seat up by the head of the bed, I could actually look over Heather’s belly at the slowly emerging hairy spot on his head. Finally, when his hairy head was fairly visible, Heather asked if she could push on every contraction. The midwife said to go ahead and I kind of think it was only two more contractions to get that baby out of there. When he finally emerged, he shot out like a canon, almost. No head popping out followed later by shoulders and such, once he head came out, the rest followed smoothly. He was so pink and perfect, and was immediately followed by a huge deluge of amniotic fluid. There was so much fluid behind him that the midwife had to jump out of the way.

They wiped him down and cleaned his air passage and plopped him up on Heather’s chest to start working on the umbilical cord. I don’t think Heather could see him very well because he was just kind of resting there while they clamped off his cord. Once his cord was all clamped off, the midwife asked if I was sure I didn’t want to cut it. I was flattered because that meant she had read and remembered the birth plan. I respectfully declined and she went ahead and cut it. Shortly afterwards, the nursery nurse took him and started to really clean him up and get his vitals. The midwife and nurses started attending to Heather and the nursery nurse invited me over to photograph him as he was weighed and measured. I got a bunch of very early photos of him that we will surely use against him as he gets older. Once he was cleaned up, they handed him over to me while Heather had her tears tended to and was cleaned up to be able to move to the post-partum room.

The activity in the room started to die down, and Ansel was taken off to the nursery to be checked out and cleaned up. The nursery nurse said she would call the room when he was ready to have his first bath. We gathered up all her stuff and set off down the hall to get settled into the new room. Heather was helped into bed and around fourish, the phone rang and he was ready to be bathed. Down at the nursery he was baking on the infant warmer all naked and quiet. Quiet, that is, until he started getting his bath. He started turning bright red like a steamed lobster and screaming like someone was tugging on his toes. She got him washed up as quick as possible and checked his temperature. He was a little cool, too cool to send back to the room, so she let me stay there with him while she walked another baby out. I took some photos while it was just he and I were left in the nursery. Once I ran out of memory space on my camera, however, I kind of laid my head down next to him and it wasn’t long before I realized I had drifted off to sleep. I got up and walked around until the nurse returned to take his temperature again. He was really close to the correct temperature, so she let him go anyway. We walked down to the room and joined mommy again.

To be honest, by this point I was pretty exhausted, and I don’t remember much more of what happened. At this point I think it was about 5:00 or so. I know at some point he went back to the nursery and we were able to sleep for a little while. That’s pretty much what I remember, though, at least enough to retell. It was five hours or so from timing contractions to birth and even though she had her doubts from time to time, did amazingly well through the whole process. I can’t express how proud and humbled I am by her efforts and strength. All I can do is love her and help her as much as possible. She is already a wonderful mother and he is a beautiful child. I hope you enjoyed my story and I will try to continue the saga of Ansel Davis Close as I have the time and inclination.


8 Comments to Ansel Davis Close – The Beginning

September 23, 2007

Congratulations! I’m so very happy for you both!

Yay new baby!

September 24, 2007

Oh! Just saw this, congrats!!

September 24, 2007

Congrats again.
We are holding off a bit before we come for another visit with the almost-three-year-old-terror who really wants to see the new baby.

September 24, 2007

Congratulations to you both — it sounds like everything went perfectly.

Hope you both get some rest and enjoy the next year. It goes by so fast you won’t believe it.

September 24, 2007

My heart is so warm after reading this and it’s obvious you and Heather are so in love with Ansel already.

Damnit, now I’m feeling all maternal now.

September 24, 2007

Your pictures of Ansel are great. Of course, it may be more the cute baby and less your skill hehe.

As I commented in Heather’s journal, I’m hoping Jason and I can swing by to visit sometime this weekend. We’ll call ahead though. In the meantime, sleep when Ansel sleeps and enjoy! 🙂

September 25, 2007

I don’t know you, but that made me smile a bunch. Almost cry. Congrats. 🙂

September 28, 2007

Congrats to both of you. Tell Heather I didn’t get to have the water birth either because they were worried I would either need a C section and I was so exhausted they had to give me the epidural so I would have energy to push. I have asthma and the Braxton Hicks were making me gasp for air so I couldn’t sleep through any of them. I had almost 20 hours of that and they were worried because the amount of time and just how it affected me put both me and Isabella in danger.

Your story was so sweet. I remember bits of mine like how amazing I felt when she was out, forcing myself to walk around and breath through the contractions, finishing my craft project before I went to the birthing center even though I had contractions although I was in and out for the most of it.

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September 2007