So as much as I’d like to just keep posting pictures of Sasha, eventually I’ve got to get back to blog posts that have “letters” and “words” rather than cute pictures.
A good place to start would be with a look back at that first day, inspired partly by many of the notes I scribbled to myself during our first night in the hospital…
- It’s pretty amazing to see how technology has changed the labour process. Everything from Shea timing her contractions with an iPhone app before we went to the hospital to me using my smartphone to take lots of pictures and videos throughout the day. (I asked our midwife if this was common and she said “yes, very common” about new dads doing this – although her tone implied that maybe our focus should be on other things!) 😉
- On a related note – it’s pretty amazing to see the power of Facebook. I posted a picture of Sasha from the delivery room soon after she was born (yeah, I was that guy!) and we ended up with hundreds of Likes and Comments from people throughout our social circles – family, friends, librarians, people from our hometowns, people from other places we’ve lived in the world, on and on. [Edit: There’s a site called Klout which tries to measure people’s social media influence. A couple weeks after Sasha was born, I got an e-mail from them that my Klout score had gone up, from 54 to 56, apparently on the strength of the reaction to this one post from what I can tell. Klout scores don’t seem to move even a point at a time very easily so that’s pretty unreal!)
- Cool to have free Internet Guest Access in the hospital – a long way from the “Please shut off your cell phone” days of yore.
- It’s embarrassing to admit (at least from a traditional point of view) but I literally did not call one person to tell them that we’d had our baby – social media pretty much took care of reaching everyone we wanted to reach and for those not on social media (for example many of my dad’s nine siblings), dad made those calls while we were still at the hospital.
- One aunt even got to do a Skype visit with Sasha within 12 hours of her being born!
- Part of my need to take so many photos is partly my mindset as a librarian. We like to archive stuff and this is a situation where you don’t get “do-overs!”
- With all the careful planning, I ended up taking the wrong charger for our iDevices so by the early evening of the day of the baby’s birth, both our iPhones were near dead. Thinking that Mother-Baby is sort of like a hotel, I decided to try a trick I’d heard if you end up in this situation at a hotel – go to the desk and ask if they have the charger you need in the Lost & Found. And lo and behold, in the last place she checked, the nurse was able to come up with a charger!
- I also forgot my headphones which were shoved in the breast pocket of a t-shirt but which I changed right before we left for the hospital for some reason.
- I also somehow managed to forget pyjama pants to sleep in but in the refurbished Mother-Baby Unit with nice new fold-down chairs to sleep in, I was happy to sleep in my jeans for one night compared to last time when, post c-section, we spent three nights in hospital (And last time, I actually came home the first night after Shea got placed in a shared room and regret to this day that I didn’t push harder to stay, even if the rules said I couldn’t) and the fold-down chair they had for me was THE WORST THING I’VE SLEPT IN EVER!
- We had a midwife and she was amazing through the entire experience – going back to our miscarriage last year through the increased stress and worry that caused with this pregnancy. I’d *highly* recommend it to anyone. We were a bit nervous telling our family doctor that we were going to use a midwife but he’s South African and was very comfortable with the idea – “I was delivered by a midwife. In most of the world, midwives do 80% of the deliveries and doctors do the remaining 20%. Only in North America are those numbers reversed.”
- Shea gave me a book called “The Birth Partner” handbook to read and it had been in my backpack for a month but I hadn’t gotten past the first couple chapters. (YOU HAD ONE JOB, HAMMOND, AND YOU COULDN’T DO THAT!) so I did some panicked speed-reading the night before the baby came in between rubbing Shea’s back during her contractions. Yes, I am an idiot.
- We’d attended the Regina Baby Show on Sunday, two days before Sasha came, and one speaker who specializes in hypnobirthing (and happens to be the sister of one of my colleagues at RPL) pointed out how research shows that having another female in the delivery room – not necessarily a doula or even a woman who’s given birth herself – helps improve outcomes for the mother and baby. So it was a pretty spontaneous decision on my part the morning that Shea was in labour to invite her mom to join us. Most husbands and wives would discuss this in advance but I knew Shea’s mom would be very supportive and helpful (and also someone else who could take the bullets if Shea had one of those “I hate all of you!” spitting & swearing pregnancies you always see in the movies!) 😉 Worked out very well – from my mother-in-law being able to do things like run for ice water so I didn’t have to ever leave Shea’s side to taking pictures (see above!) at different points throughout the day to taking turns rubbing Shea’s shoulders.
- We didn’t take her class again but did a hospital tour with Sally Elliott who is a local pre-natal educator (and Regina legend for how amazing she is as an educator!). She gave the great tip that many local restaurants will deliver to Mother-Baby so you don’t have to eat hospital food. So we ordered our favourite – Regina’s best rated Vietnamese – Lang’s. (I also surprised the delivery driver by giving a *very* generous tip – “Ah, fuckit – I just had a baby!” I told him.
Alright – I can’t resist so one more cute baby picture…