Wednesday, June 4, 2008

One Kid

When the FTM and I first explored the idea of getting married, we made a point to discuss all of those big life decisions that can trip a couple up – religion, money, retirement, politics – and found that we were marching in lock stop on almost everything. The only issue where we parted company was the size of the family we both hoped to start. I wanted two kids; the FTM wanted four.

This was far from my mind yesterday, which, as noted in a previous post, was D (as in “Delivery”) Day. We were scheduled to go to the hospital at the crack of dawn to induce labor. Long before dawn cracked however (3 a.m. if you’re keeping score), the FTM went into labor on her own. We were at the hospital by 5 a.m., and by 7 a.m. she was ready for the epidural. It was nearly 8:30 before the pain relief was administered, and it wasn’t until 7:19 p.m. when the baby was born.

The day was basically one long CIA-style torture session for the FTM. Not only did she suffer through the excruciating pain of labor, she was made to endure an endless string of indignities: There were two internal monitors—one for her uterus, one attached to the baby’s scalp to measure his heart beat—that the doctor snaked into her body like a plumber looking to unclog a basement pipe; there were the failed attempts to find a vein worthy of a blood letting, leaving the FTM with a series of bruises; there was the administration of the epidural, which required the FTM to hunch forward and remain still through a severe contraction as an anesthesiologist drove a medicinal spike into a column of cartilage adjacent to her spine; and there was the doctor assisted rupturing of her membrane, leading to the hours-long and seemingly ceaseless gush of amniotic fluid.

As awful as it was to watch, it had to be at least a million times worse to experience, and the FTM bore it all with bravery and character. I was never more proud of her than I was during this ordeal. It was in the midst of this living hell that the FTM grabbed my wrist and said to me, her tear-filled eyes peering over the top of her oxygen mask, “One kid.”

One kid? The same woman who previously wanted a litter now wanted just one kid. Nine very rough months of pregnancy ended with the exclamation point of a miserable labor and it broke her spirit. Almost. Because then she added, “but we can always adopt.”

After 16 hours of labor the doctor finally said what we were expecting all along: “FTM, I think we should do a C-Section.”

I sat by the FTM’s head in the operating room—the FTM had a local anesthetic, so she was awake for the whole thing—as the OB/GYN performed the surgery. After hearing the baby cry, after we heard the doctor’s assistant say “nine pounds, nine ounces, 21 inches long” (to which we now say “Thank God for C-Sections!”), and after we heard the positive results of the APGAR assessment, they handed the baby to me.

The FTM and I immediately named him First Time Son (FTS) and I studied his perfect little face as I held him in arms. His chubby cheeks were a rosy red, and his mouth was already sucking, looking for a nipple. A Vasoline like substance—a Vitamin schmear I was told—seemed to glue his eyes shut, but the FTS would not be deterred. His little eyelids fought their way through the salve and he looked at the world for the first time. I bent my face close to his, and his gaze found mine. At that moment, it all became clear; my life had meaning in a way that it hadn’t a minute before, and I knew that feeling was something I’d never lose.

I looked at the FTM and said: “One kid. One beautiful, wonderful kid.” And we both kind of cried.


Manager Mom said...

Oh, what a beautiful post. I am SO happy for you both and can't wait to meet FTS.

Someday, your memory will fade a bit and you'll get cocky or crazy enough to try for #2. If you are lucky enough to make that happen, I am going to break my no-advice rule and say, consider fining a new OB-Gyn. I'm no doctor but with the misery I observed, I can't BELIEVE they didn't schedule a c-section.

Get some sleep!!!

Always Home and Uncool said...

Welcome to the club, FTF! This was our path to multiples:

We call the first one, the Angel Child. Perfect in every way. Sleeps all night. Walks, talks early. Rarely fussy. How can we not have more?

Second time around, the payback comes. I think its an embryo conspiracy.

Best to you, FTM and FTS.

Stamford Talk said...

Yaaaaaaaaay Congratulations, FTF!!!!
I teared up during this post, as I do during all good birth retellings.
I LOVE your blog so far and cannot wait to read more.

I don't have kids, but I am an obsessed aunt; I saw my 2 nephews and my niece born. Each delivery was so different. The first was the usual tough, epidural, 2 hour pushing. However, tell your wife that my sister's second was so fast that we did not even have time to leave the house (terrifying but amazing as it all worked out), and that the third was (at least as far as I could tell) the most painless delivery in history.

I hope FTM is recovering well from the C-section and that you all are doing well!

The FTF said...

Thanks for the great comments... The FTM and FTS are doing great (coming home tomorrow), and I'm still over the moon...