Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Birth Story from a Dads-Eye-View by Charlie Capen of {Guest Post}

As most of you know, we get awesome birth testimonials from moms who deliver their babies in Annie & Isabel designer hospital gowns {we love you ladies!!!}. We thought it would be fitting, as we all get ready to celebrate Father's Day this Sunday, to get the "man version" of that ah-mazing birthing process all of us women talk about. Charlie and Andy {also dad's to all boys} are the hilarious guys behind and we are honored to have Charlie guest blogging here today about the birth of his son Finnegan. The first two stories were published on their website and we want to thank Charlie for sharing with all of us, Part III of "Dude to Dad: A Birth Story". This is quite a story and we know you will all enjoy it.

To read Part I of "Dude To Dad: A Birth Story, click here!
To read Part II of "Dude To Dad: A Birth Story, click here!

Dude to Dad: A Birth Story, part III

“I’m not getting in the car, Charlie. Forget it…”

After three moaning hours of "slow dancing" my wife, being stood up by our doula, having a doctor basically tell me to do whatever I thought was best, calling a friend who'd recently had a baby to assist, my brother probably losing his mind in the next room and, to top it all off, not having our bags or a printed off "birth plan" prepared since he was now coming a week early, I was ready to say, "Cool. Let's poop that baby out right here. We have hardwood floors."

But I'm not one of those people who think like they talk. I think in concepts, not in words. So, it was a split-second before I said in a tone of voice that would make God do whatever I wanted and with as much charm as the snake in Eden, "We're getting in the car now."

And so we did.

Our doula, bless her errant and absent heart, decided we were wrong about my Avara's contractions calculations that I was frantically emailing her. She must've chalked it up to her "those parents-to-be are just freaking" instincts she'd had about us. Well, she was wrong. And did I mention the birth plan she drew up for us when we first met with her? When I attempted to print it, it said TWENTY pages. We discussed it for 10 minutes. EFF THAT.

But let me back up for just a minute. We know we aren't medical professionals, and we're good with that, but we figured we'd earned the right to make some decisions about the birth process, so we wanted a birth plan. We studied harder than the majority of our friends and armed ourselves with knowledge. But we also understood the fluid reality of birth. Situations change. Things develop. There is no friggin NEED for a birth plan to be 20 pages because I can't imagine a nurse speed-reading it and saying, "Sounds good to me" upon arrival.

Car Clock
It's 12:23am. Do you know where you unborn son is?
...So, in between minute long contractions every other minute, we scooped up some pillows from the couch and we all struggled to the car. We loaded my wife into an SUV, in the "way back", as we called it when we were kids. You might call it "the trunk". She was on all-fours. It was the only position my wife could stay in. It was 12:20am.

I drove like a ninja, if ninjas knew how to drive, racing like a man with a death wish and hearing my wife makes sounds I could never imitate or want to hear her utter ever again. We got to the hospital in about 20-25 minutes and pulled up into the massive parking structure maze. By then, Avara's contractions were coming less than a minute apart and she basically couldn't walk and couldn't talk. We asked the half-brained parking attendant if they had a wheelchair we could use. Nope. I mean, it's a hospital for godsakes. Why would THEY have a wheelchair.

We finally made our way to the registration area (having pre-registered for Finn's delivery). The nurses were very nice and things seemed relatively calm, but the nurse who checked us in, noticed my wife having a nuclear contraction and asked, what would we come to know as, the "billion dollar question":

"Are you pushing right now?"
"No... I've been trying not to... for over two hours."

This nurse, as far as I'm concerned, is a Nobel Prize winner. She saw what was happening with my wife, what I'd tried to explain for over 3 hours to others, and she leapt on it. We went immediately to an "active labor room" (by wheelchair) where she checked my wife. "Well, you're 10 centimeters dilated. You're going to have this baby," she said overly perkily. She then turned to me with her eyes wide and mouthed, "I can feel his head."

Baby Showers are crazy
It was total pandemonium in the hospital room. See?
Then came the sh*tstorm. Clothes ripped off. Machines plugged in. More nurses (with less bedside manner). More stress. If only I had my 90 page birth plan to tell everyone to shut up and speak in hushed, calm tones. I'd love a whisper, if I could get one. But every time I asked for lowered voices, I got: "YEAH, NO PROBLEM. WE CAN DO THAT" in the style of a Texas trucker trying to beat out his big-rig for sound. They paged our doctor, an installation of some celebrity in his own right at our hospital, but they worried he wouldn't make it. And remember, from Part 2, he was supposed to go out of town.

At that moment, the heart monitor could no longer find a heartbeat for my son and they began administering oxygen to my wife. I could tell the nurses were getting skittish. I kept myself buoyant by thinking about user error and machine failure. They wanted us to push. Where the hell was our doctor? They told us 'he couldn't to be reached' and in came a resident who looked like he was twelve years old, deciding out loud what do with his "patient". My stomach sank and right then in came our doctor, pulling his sweatshirt off like Superman in a phonebooth with his scrubs underneath. We were both relieved better than any drug they could administered us, just seeing his face. He dove his head down by my wife's chocha and then popped back up with smile, "So, we're going to have a baby now!"

30 minutes on Earth and Finn was dominating the conversations of the room.

Yep. And we did. Three to four pushes later, no more than 20 minutes from setting foot in the Obstetrics wing, my wife produced the most amazing baby boy I've ever seen. No drugs. No substitute doctor (he was drop kicked out of the room). No one stronger than my wife. Yes, she did crush my hand to brittle dust. Yes, I did look down and watch my son being born. And no, I wouldn't take back any of it.

We remained there a day and half afterwards because my son's oxygen levels were a bit low and our night nurse, Hailee, was amazing. After a rigorous bath and few more suction appointments, he was right as rain and we drove home at about 13 miles per hour the whole way. In Los Angeles. Where people kill each other over driving too slow.

First time seeing Finn
The First time seeing Finn.
My Favorite Two People
"Two of my favorites."
It wasn't how we planned it. There were many failures along the way. But when you have that baby in your arms, it really doesn't matter. Nothing matters. Except that perfect baby and his perfect spit-up, all over your clothes...

Thank you so much Charlie for sharing your whirlwind birth story with us. The only thing missing in an Annie & Isabel gown for your lovely wife Avara..maybe next time, eh?

Charlie and Andy are running a contest for Father's Day - check it out and enter today {they want to treat you to Starbucks!}

Follow How to Be a Dad - you will laugh daily, we promise!

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  1. Beautiful and hilarious story. I love birth stories. Do they ever go as planned? Thank you for sharing Charlie!

  2. LOVE the birth story Charlie!! AH-MAZING for sure!!

  3. Wow,, this made me cry. Congratulations to you ... fabulous blog. Love your alternative gown ideas. So glad to meet you.

    I finally made it over here after my SITS feature. The day after my house was struck by lightning and it took 9 days to get my internet back. Came to say hello and thanks for the visit to my blog. I'm looking forward to reading much more of you .. take care, Keri at

  4. Oh Charlie -- what a fabulous telling of you and your wife's story! I love the shot of you and Avara -- the love in your eyes is so fantastic!

    And yes - totally not fair that we women have the hard job! Avara is amazing! Great work girl!!