This is what I am working on for the digital story. I have included the narrative piece that I wrote a while back when my son was born. Here is the movie.
It was around ten to five that Julie was taken in for the initial phases of a caesarian section. William had been measuring so large over the days leading up to his birth and because of the excess amniotic fluid that she was containing, our doctor, Dr. Farrell agreed with Julie’s assessment that it would be best to do the c-section rather than wait for any complications to develop. I stood out in the hall while they took her in the OR to perform a spinal block. Before he went in, D. Farrell told me confidently that I would only be waiting 5-8 minutes. Well, nothing ever goes according to plan it seems, and it was not only anticipation that made those some of the longest minutes of my life. There was some trouble getting the positioning of needles ready, but after a short delay, I was called into the room.
Julie was on the table, and the spinal had already taken hold. I could tell that she was frightened by the look on her face; her eyes were large with fear, and she was obviously relieved when I arrived. My heart was pumping quite quickly as and I sat on a silver stool beside her head. There was a large blue screen separating us from the actual operation, but when offered by the anesthesiologist, I stood to get a good view of what was going on. I did not know what to precisely what to anticipate, and I was of course recalling all of the stories of expectant fathers passing out in delivery rooms, so I was a little trepidatious.
I did indeed see some organs, or at least I remember seeing what I thought was my wife’s stomach, but I was doing reasonably well. There was no urge to faint, and I was not feeling in the least bit squeamish. When I saw a gush of amniotic fluid pour out of the open cavity of her abdomen, however, I decided that it would be best to sit down and test my tolerance for gore no further. Instead, I held my wife’s hand and told her that everything was going to be alright.
Not more than five minutes later, Dr. Farrell called me and I stood again. In his hands was a grayish purple little humanoid covered in a gummy white viscous known as vernix.
“I’m going to clamp off the cord and you can cut it ok, dad?” Dr. Farrell said, and I nodded dumbly behind the blue surgical mask that I was wearing. He handed me a long pair of surgical scissors and I gingerly took them from his gloved hand.
Cutting an umbilical cord is much like cutting through a thick damp egg noodle, though with no more than two pumps of the scissors, William was free of the placenta and his little existence had entered a new phase. Dr. Farrell handed the child off to a waiting nurse, who then whisked him over to a clear plastic basinet. I have to say that at this point I was wondering why I wasn’t hearing the crying that I had been expecting, (from William, not myself).
Apparently, this was something that the nurses were wondering as well, for as a looked on with growing alarm, there was a sudden flurry of activity over the bassinette. Even over the surgical masks, I could see an expression of growing concern on the nurses’ faces. They were massaging his chest and legs gently but insistently, urging him to start breathing in insistent tones. It wasn’t until I saw them trying to aspirate him that I began to get seriously frightened. This feeling was amplified when I noticed that Dr. Farrell was alternating looks from his work at closing my wife’s bleeding abdomen to the work of the nurses on my still as yet silent newborn.
After what seemed like an eternity of fiddling with the baby, one of the nurses called for more help to be brought in. This was serious, but apparently not the end of the world or entirely unexpected. To an eye untrained in such matters and also belonging to an expecting father, however, things were indeed looking harrowing, however. What happened next did not help my perception of events, either. The nurse who was told to call for help, instead of pressing the button that would signal this need, accidentally pressed the button CODE BLUE. This signaled something else entirely, and every available body in the hospital was suddenly clamoring to get into the OR to offer what assistance they could.
At this moment, I was gravely concerned for my baby’s life. This attitude was not entirely without merit, for after William’s lungs were finally cleared of excess fluid, I was told to accompany the head nurse as she whisked him to the nursery. With a quick goodbye and some platitudes for Julie, I was fairly running after the nurse. My mind was racing, though I tried to tell myself that though this didn’t seem normal, that everything was going to be fine.
William was placed under a heating lamp where a healthy pinkish hue slowly began to overtake the gray pallor that he had been sporting. The nurse explained to me that he was going to be fine despite his shocked condition, and she hastily apologized for the unnecessary code blue. I was too overwhelmed with relief that my boy was going to be alright to be concerned with anything else.
Over the next hour, I went from the nursery to Julie’s bedside in the recovery room. I was never away from my son for more than five minutes. I believed the nurse that he was going to be OK, but I was still bordering on frantic. I just wanted him to be robust and not have to worry about him, and I would have rather had to wait for this to be the case. As the night wore on and it was apparent that William was pulling himself up to a healthy level, Julie and I were eventually able to bring him over to our room. The only lingering problem was some inflamed membranes in his nasal passages. (Not to say that this in and of itself wasn’t nerve racking for the next two days, but we were out of the woods).
Now, I am sitting here on the fold out couch that comes complimentary with our room while Julie and William snooze away in warm comfort. I am exhausted, but hopefully in for an easier night than the prior two. The main thing I have to do is learn to relax. I find it difficult not to check William to make certain he is still breathing throughout the night, and this deprives me of sleep; sleep that I much need. I have to work on this this evening.