Until we got a call late in the evening, telling us to come in the morning after all.
We woke up on a beautiful Thursday knowing that this was the day (if we were lucky, and the labour was quick) that we would get to meet our son. There was a splendid, clear blue sky. It was a bit cold. And at around 9 AM, we left our home ready to become parents again.
Certain drives in life are a little bit scarier than most. This was one of them for me, I admit, though, that it's a lot less nerve-wracking when your spouse is not in active labour.
Shortly before 10AM, we walked in to the hospital. I remember thinking this is it. Kayleigh's sister Sarah was already there, and we made our way to the birth centre. The first step before an induction is to monitor the fetus for 30 minutes. And so, Kayleigh was hooked up in an examination room, and we heard the fast beating of William's heart, like a galloping horse, for just over half an hour. Our doula Victoria arrived, and a short time later, we were brought into the room that Kayleigh would give birth.
This is it! I kept thinking. 11AM went by, and no one was available to be with us just yet. Then came noon. Then 1. We paced around, chatted, had some lunch. Our spirits were good, but anxious to get started. It was terrific to have Victoria to explain to us the ins-and-outs of the hospital setting, and absolutely relieved quite a bit of anxiety. Finally, around 2PM, they were ready to start.
First came the fetal monitoring again. It was another long half hour. The doctor explained to us how inductions usually work - a medication needs to be used to dilate the cervix, allowing him to get in there with a hook to break the water / membrane. This process could be very quick or very long (sometimes over 24 hours). Before starting this medication, he did an inspection. And to everyone's surprise, he asked for a hook.
Kayleigh was already at 4cm. And so it began. The nurses installed monitors to continuously read William's heartbeat. This was important to me, to us, but I can't tell you how much I came to hate them. A move from either mommy or baby could displace them enough to stop reading the heartbeat, which made me panic every time.
Pressure points didn't seem to be enough after a little while. Kayleigh hopped in the bath. The pain was visibly becoming more and more intense. More intense than I had remembered Kayleigh feeling during Anya's birth. To see her in so much pain was really heartbreaking.
That pained look on her face, compounded with the fetal heart monitor that kept losing the heart beat, was enough to bring my anxiety to heights that I hadn't felt in over a year.
I stepped out of the bathroom a couple of times to take a few deep breaths and calm myself. Kayleigh was in good hands with Victoria. I remember thinking in that moment that hiring a Doula was the best possible thing we could have done. And I was equally thankful for having Sarah there to help me take a breath and calm down.
I stepped back in. Those minutes of pain in the bath felt like hours. But before you knew it, Kayleigh felt like she had to start pushing.
She went out of the bath, to the bed, and the doctor inspected her - She was at 9.5cm (10 cm being the target before she can start pushing). She tried her best, but it was easy to see that asking her not to push was like asking the impossible. But she kept trying.
After another few minutes that felt like an eternity, they were finally ready for her to push. At this point, they had replaced the monitors on Kayleigh's belly with monitors attached to William's head. So we could finally be assured that everything was accurate. Except when she started to push, his heart beat started to drop. More than it should. Below 90 beats per minute. The doctor told us that they would need to use the vacuum to get him out quickly.
At this point, I had almost convinced myself that this was looking like a repeat of last time. I really started to lose it. My wonderful wife somehow even found a moment to be worried about me. I had never been so scared in my life.
The vacuum didn't work on the first try, but on the second, here he was. At 6:51 PM. Crying. Loudly. Like me.
I went from feeling the scariest moment in my life to the happiest, just like that. What a beautiful sound. What an incredible moment. Together at long last.