Her kommer anden del af Mathias’ version af Noahs fødselshistorie. Første del finder du HER.
I write notes on my phone to distract myself and calm down. I breathe slowly.
These are the pure, unedited notes I wrote as we were making our way through New York afternoon traffic from Brooklyn to NYU Langone Medical Center.
“This is it.
Ready for the longest cab ride in my life.
Today I will be a dad
Pernille will be the most beautiful mother in the whole world.
Nothing can stop us now.
Nature will have her way.
This is it.
I probably have a little tear in my eye and if I want to I can let go and just cry and cry, but I have also promised mom to not distract her in this, so I try to remain collected.
Pernille is silent except for moaning every two minutes.
Jordan smiles and supports her.
“We’re doing great“, she tells me.
I am so happy. So happy that Jordan is here with us.
I take a few pictures out the window. There is nothing I can do right now anyway.
Finally we arrive. Pernille can barely walk now. We get her in a wheelchair and head up to the 8th floor.
It’s a mess. Everyone arrived at the same time and they didn’t have time to get out papers ready because we called our doctor so late. I’m very unsure what we must do but just try to stay focused. Our doctor isn’t here. Noboy seems to know why, but we are told that Dr. Berg will be covering for Dr. Kaplan for this birth. OK, I guess, so much for having a doctor with his own practice and who has repeatedly said that there is a 99% chance, he will be there. Plans change. Stay focused. What now? Dr. Berg doesn’t seem very nice at first. He seems a bit distracted and ask questions to a woman, whom in my eyes is so obviously in labor. I don’t understand. Isn’t he supposed to be an experienced doctor? Can’t he tell that she is no longer able to speak? There are papers to fill out. Back and forth. Eventually we make it into triage–the first step in being admitted. They attach monitors to her. Beeping sounds. Loud noises.
Annoying nurses ask the same questions over and over again. It is confusing, but I keep returning to what Jordan said when we were leaving and I remind myself that no amount of confused nurses will be able to stop mother nature: You wanted to come out, and she would make sure to have it her way.
Eventually a smiling female doctor appears. She is wearing glasses and looks at Pernille. “Not feeling too hot?” Mom shakes her head. “I need to do a vaginal exam,” the doctor explains. “It may hurt a little bit but it will be over quickly.” And so she does while Pernille gives a quick cry in pain. The doctor makes a funny expression. A combination of smiling and utter surprise. “Wow,” she exclaims, “you’re fully dilated. That’s impressive. Great job!” I guess it hardly matters, but I am just so proud of her in that moment. Mom wants to know about her options in terms of getting some pain relief–a so-called epidural. The female doctor explains to her that while it is of course an option, it will take some time before it will even work, and that she can most likely get you out much faster than that. But she keeps reminding her that it is always an option. I’m thinking “no, we don’t need that” and I’m annoyed that she keeps stressing that it is an option. But of course it is not me who is in labor and I keep quiet.
As it turns out, arriving fully dilated with a bulging amniotic sac, is not the most common situation when people come to hospitals to give birth. It’s the end of the long first part of labor. The rest is pushing. However, I’ve somehow forgotten about this part.
We are then transferred from triage to a labor and delivery room.
It feels like we’re waiting a lot. Pernille is moaning in pain. Jordan is comforting her. Thank God she is here. The same annoying nurses keep asking the same questions over and over. It feels as if nobody realizes how far along we are in the process. Pernille probably too. She is too far away to understand and remember what pushing means. She has contractions but she is still just coping with the pain and not actively pushing you out.
Nonetheless, as far out as she is, she hasn’t lost her deep sense of dignity. She pulls me close and whispers. She is so afraid that she will poop in the bed. She says it really feels like she needs to poop. But she explains this to me in Danish, and she is not connecting it with what the nurses are trying to explain to her about “bearing down”–the more correct way that Americans refer to the need to poop. So, while they keep telling her to “bear down”, she is working hard to hold back. Eventually the nurse has a moment of brilliance when she realizes this language disconnection and simply says: “Listen! On this floor we WANT you to poop! Keep pushing!“
Finally Pernille begins to understand how to work with the contractions.
Then suddenly it’s 8pm and the next shift comes in all fresh. The slightly annoying nurses are replaced with the most deeply sympathetic nurses and the female doctor who examined her in triage is back with another resident doctor. With kindness and love they guide Pernille deeper into the pushing.
And she does.
Another hour goes by pushing. Dr. Berg pops in and out.
“He is here” they keep saying, referring to the top of your head which is making its way through from moms uterus and into the world. And they ask your mom to reach down and touch your head. Her face makes an awkward expression of terror when she feels the top of your head. It is suddenly very real.
Let’s have a baby.
Suddenly the room fills with more people and the friendly female doctor quickly changes into a fancy coverall costume along with the other resident. “I guess we are getting close now“, I’m thinking to myself.
They calmly tell me that they have called for a pediatrician. It is totally normal, but they want to be extra safe with the baby. I had once entertained a romantic fantasy of the completely non-medical home birth, but at this moment I am very happy to be in a top-notch hospital. We have done everything so well up to this point, and it feels great to be in a place where they seem to be ready for anything that could go wrong.
Dr. Berg and a pediatrician appears. The nurse keeps adjusting the heart rate monitor to make sure we can hear your heartbeat but it is getting increasingly difficult as you are dropping lower into mom’s hips.
Dr. Berg is suddenly warm and friendly and supportive. “Take it off,” he says, referring to the monitors, “We don’t need all that. We’re fine. Mom is fine. Baby is fine. Let’s just have a baby now.” He smiles. Everyone is ready. She pushes you out and they put you on mom’s chest.
She looks wild, happy, surprised. Smiling. Scared. All at the same time. I have never seen anything like this before. She is beautiful. Still in pain.
“He is perfect. He is so small. So perfect.” she says to herself and to me, over and over again, as she strokes your head and cuddles you.
The rest was a bit if a blur. They took you away to stimulate you and check you. They stitched mom after the placenta had been born.
And then it was all quiet again. Just you, me, mom, Jordan and a nurse.
We took pictures. We were happy. Exhausted. Exited. Happy.
That’s how you came into this world.
Invitation: Hvordan håndterede din mand fødselen af dit barn/børn? Var der andre til stede end din mand og hospitalspersonalet? Og hvis ikke, kunne du så tænke dig, at invitere fx en doula, en veninde eller din mor med en anden gang?2