We put Hailey to bed and settled to sleep around ten. I was dead tired and fell fast asleep. At midnight, Brianna woke me. I jumped from bed and into my pants before I knew what was going on. She thought her water had broke. I finished getting dressed and put on my shoes.

Brianna called her mom and explained that her water had broke. She then called after-hours so they could tell her to go to the hospital.

To this point things had been going almost smoothly for us. Brianna had been having contractions for the past two weeks, but the baby has been fine. We have sonograms, stress tests, and OB checks to prove it. I have joked about wanting a May 1st baby (May 1st is a holiday, Christmas is a holiday, it is also past 34 weeks, a milestone we have been trying very hard to meet.), but I don’t expect one. Just this afternoon at noon Brianna had a special Sunday OB check and everything looked normal. Dr. Brinkman said nothing would happen and we were safe for at least 12 hours.

The nurse at after-hours told Brianna to come on in. We activated our well thought out plan and called Rachael to come stay with Hailey while we ran up to the hospital. I had joked with Rachael that she wouldn’t hear her phone when I called. I even joked that I would be calling on Sunday night so to be ready. Rachael kept her phone by her bed, she uses it as an alarm clock. She would certainly hear our summons.

One round of rings was dispatched to Rachael’s voice mail. A second and a third round found a similar fate. Time for the nonexistent backup-plan.

Brianna called Eric. She told him to come to the house to watch Hailey. She never asked what he was doing or if he could. She only said that he should come over now. Eric is a night owl, there was never a chance that he would be sleeping. Fifteen minutes later Eric came speeding onto our street. Tires screeching, he pulled around and into the front of our house.

We left Eric in his untied shoes to stay with Hailey. Hailey was asleep upstairs. She didn’t know we were gone. We only hopped she would stay asleep until morning.

My mom called Sunday afternoon to check on Brianna’s status. Brianna had just received her Sunday special checkup and felt fine. We told my mom nothing was going to happen today. It was safe to catch up on sleep, it was safe to take a sleeping pill to help. This is the second time we have mislead her and told her it was safe to take a sleeping pill when it wasn’t.

On the way to the hospital we called my mom and asked her to come bye and pick up Hailey. This was part of the original plan. Mom doesn’t like hospitals so she would keep Hailey until we were done. Sadly, she was not able to drive over right away and set about trying to wake up enough to drive through the winding country roads to our house.

We got to the hospital 28 minutes after we left the house. Traffic, police, and other obstacles were nonexistent. I parked the car in the garage and we entered through the Emergency Room. Brianna didn’t want a wheelchair, she wanted to walk to Labor and Delivery on the second floor. The lady at the Emergency Room admission desk saw us and said, Do you know where your going? Second floor right, we said? Right she said.

The trip from the Emergency Room to Labor and Delivery was straight forward three years ago, but the path is under major reconstruction now, we detoured through aisles, break rooms, and make-shift passages before finally coming to the dead-end hallway that housed admissions. This admission seemed much easier to me than the last one three years ago. We only needed Brianna’s ID and insurance card before being sent to room 253.

Dr. Brinkman arrived shortly after one. She examined Brianna and told us some unexpected news. Brianna had indeed broken her water, but that doesn’t mean that she has to delivery the baby. Brianna would be hooked up to the monitors but no one would be surprised if she stayed for 48 hours of observations and then went home.

Dr. Brinkman went back home, Brianna laid in the bed with the monitors attached. We all waited. I stayed up and read a book on my laptop. Brianna was having irregular contractions. Around three or four they became more painful. Brianna got some medication to help limit the pain. The medication eased the pain but would not last long.

Dr. Brinkman returned for a checkup around eight. Brianna had been having irregular contractions throughout the night. The monitor wasn’t doing a good job of picking up on their intensity. Dr. Brinkman gave Brianna some more unexpected news. All those contractions had dilated her to a four. We going to have a baby after all.

We had been hoping to get this pregnancy to 34 weeks. Sunday was 34 weeks. Monday was 34 weeks and one day. Everything, we thought, would be fine if we made it to 34 weeks. Somehow, Brianna and I missed the part of the discussions about 34 weeks being a premature birth. We were not expecting, and not ready for, the news that the baby would still need to go upstairs.

Brianna started her epidural and was feeling no pain. She was started on pitocin to make her contractions more regular. A different type of probe was used to determine the intensity of her contractions.

Around 12 or 12:30 Dr. Brinkman return to inform Brianna that she had dilated to a 10 or +1 and it was time to wake up and push. Brianna pushed hard for the next hour until finally giving birth at 13:11. Dr. Brinkman clamped off the umbilical cord and handed me scissors to cut through it. It felt much different than I expected.

The crew from the NICU upstairs cleaned the baby and gave her to mom for a short stay on her chest. Somehow I managed to find my camera and start taking pictures.

First Hold

I went upstairs with the NICU crew and Katherine. We decided on the name Katherine a few seconds after the birth.

I came back downstairs to our empty room. Brianna was calling everyone she know to tell them the news. Once again we were looking at going home while our baby stayed in the hospital.