Today was the day. The first day of February, 2004. I woke up about eight-thirty and let the dogs out. Heather went to the bathroom, and asked if I wanted to go to church today. I said, “Yeah, as long as you feel like it.” She agreed, and said it might be the last time we get to go for a while. With the dogs out back, I lay back down for a while, and Heather came out of the bathroom and said, “Honey, I think my water broke.” We did the tests though, and it hadn’t.
Heather got in the shower to get ready, and then sat on the edge of the tub to shave her legs. I was drifting off again, rather nicely. It was about nine at this point. And a muffled yell through the bathroom door awakened me. “Brian! Brian!” I got up and ran in there. “Brian, my water broke!” I looked in the tub. Indeed it had. My mind got in Let’s Go gear, throwing things together and getting dressed. During this madness I managed to make it to a phone and call my mom to let her know, “The water is broken.” As it turns out, it was a good thing that I had called her, because she wasn’t freaking out like I was, and had a mind to call the hospital and get us a room.
By ten o’clock, we were pulling into one of the two Labor and Delivery parking spots. I ushered Heather into the hospital, through the rainy morning weather. We got into the L&D department to find that room 2 had been reserved for us. The biggest, nicest room. And it was the only room available. Things happened so fast from there that it’s hard to even remember everything.
She started having contractions about three minutes apart right off the bat. They were pretty intense too. And they just kept getting closer and more intense. Well this cold rainy February morning seemed to turn out to be the perfect day to have a baby. Heather’s sisters were both in from out of town. Her eldest sister, Z, had her little boy two days ago. So they all came out to see him. So when they found out Heather was in labor, it was a pretty exciting moment for the family.
When we’d been there about twenty minutes, the nurse came in and did her initial check. Heather was already at three centimeters and eighty percent effaced. Wow. So an hour later, and after a little walk, we checked again. She had increased to four centimeters and ninety percent. And then the pain came. I felt so bad for Heather, she was cringing with the pain. But she was doing so well, too.
About an hour later they checked again and she was almost five centimeters, but already at one hundred percent effacement. Heather was in a lot of pain though, and finally made the call for some pain drugs. They gave her Stadol in her IV and things seemed to ease up a bit. Seemed to. Her contractions slowed to about five minutes apart, but they were still pretty intense. She slept a little in between them, and awoke with each one, in pretty intense pain. I was rubbing her lower back and my sister was holding her hand and rubbing her hair back from her face. Heather’s mom was also there comforting her.
After a quick hour, she started having a contraction that wouldn’t stop. It would ease off, but still be higher on the charts than normal. She was really hurting too. And at this point she was about to give in to the epidural. The nurse came in and asked if Heather wanted one, and she said, “Well I don’t know how far along I am.” Kim, the nurse, told her we were about to check that. She checked and said, “Okay, Heather, you can start pushing. You’re fully dilated.” The look of joy and relief was evident in Heather’s eyes. She started doing some easy pushing, and the doctor was on his way. They’d just called him and he’d said he was on Bonnie Brae, which is the road the hospital is on.
He showed up pretty quickly and popped his head in. Within a few minutes he was in full garb, and they were all set up with the lights and the equipment. It was almost overwhelming – the reality of it sinking in pretty quickly. I didn’t get emotional and start tearing up or anything, because I’m a man. I smirked.
Well the pushing didn’t last too long. There were two contractions in which Heather pushed and relented. Then the third time, she pushed three times in a row, and that was it. I saw the top of the baby’s head, and of course didn’t start crying or anything. Well, okay, actually I did. I started bawling. Then this weird twisted little piece of flesh came out – the ear! – and the tears got a little stronger. Then the doctor twisted the baby’s head and the shoulder popped out followed by the left arm. And from there, it was only a few more seconds. And suddenly, in a swim of emotion blurred by tears and excitement, I saw the doctor holding my baby, its umbilical cord covering up its gender. I looked past the cord and saw the sex, and said, “It’s a boy!” But quickly, I learned I was wrong. The doctor declared it a girl, and my heart filled with another wave of joy. And here came the tears. I was kissing my wife and telling her it was a girl, crying and laughing and praising her efforts. Then the doctor told me to look up – and the nurse was handing me the snippers. The doctor showed me where to cut the cord, and I did. And my girl started crying. It happened so fast – hearing her tiny voice for the first time brought on another wave. It was beautiful. And then he flopped her up on my wife’s chest, and I stared in wonder at the most beautiful and amazing creation I’d ever laid eyes on. I’ve never seen anything so wonderful in my life. I was overwhelmed. I actually wept with happiness.
In the nursery, I stayed with Callie the whole time she was in there, while they bathed her and cleaned her up, checking her muscles and touching up her cord. I got to kiss her and touch her legs and arms and chest and face, staring at something I’ve been longing to see for the last nine months. And Kenny Chesney’s “There Goes My Life” came on the radio. And again, I cried. All in all, I think it took about seventy one seconds for Callie Christine to steal my heart. And now I’m in love with something that will someday grow up and change the world. My darling baby Callie.
Born at 1512 on February 1, 2004.
Weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces.
Measured 18¾ inches.