What follows is the story from my point of view of just what happened from March 23rd to March 30th.
Two days after getting back from France, Guitta woke me to tell me that her shorts were soaked. As I was trying to figure out through my seriously sleep-deprived consciousness what was going on, she soaked through another pair of underwear, a clear signal that a phone call to the doctor was in order. A few minutes later, with no bags packed, no mattress in our baby bed, and a birthing booklet unread, we left a startled Cora behind and sped toward the hospital. As if the night wasn’t full of enough surprises, our usual route was interrupted by flashing blue lights and a police officer informing us that we would have to turn around because a police chase had ended badly. No problem. We took an alternate route. Along the way, I was worried that the baby might be in trouble with no amniotic fluid left in the womb, and I was concerned that my increased speed might result in a car accident. Strangly enough, I was also excited that our baby was on his way. Entering the emergency room entrance, we went through the usual ordinary registering, signing a form, and waiting for a wheelchair, all of which seemed so inappropriate when the time seemed so urgent.
In good time, we made it to a room where a nurse checked Guitta and determined that she was a mere centimeter dilated. It was quite painful for Guitta to be checked because her cervix was still high up. That was the first of many instances when I saw my wife in pain, and I hated watching it. In fact, of the two times when I almost cried during the entire process, one of them was after five hours of Guitta moaning and shouting. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Her water had definitely broken, we were informed, and we weren’t going to be leaving without having a baby–whenever that might be. Guitta and I dozed off in the wee hours of the morning and were awakened by our doctor, who told us that she would like to wait for Saturday to try to deliver so that the baby would be at least thirty-four weeks when he was born. Later in the week, the date was moved to Tuesday. Guitta, being the typical only child, was not thrilled to be sharing her birthday.
So, for the next six days Guitta lay in an uncomfortable bed, and I slept in an uncomfortable pull-out sofa. During the day, Guitta read books and magazines, entertained visitors, wrote thank-you notes, and even paid bills, while I continued to go to work. Then came Monday morning. For the second time in a week, I was awakened at 1:30 a. m. by Guitta, this time experiencing contractions that weren’t going away. They were strengthening, in fact, and apparently, according to her fists clinched on the bed rail and her steadily intensifying screams, they hurt. A little sleep, at least between contractions, came with the pain reliever Stadol, but the pain was still there, and Guitta became increasingly frustrated that the anesthesiologist had not yet arrived.
Finally, at 6:30 or so, the anesthesiologist did come, thankfully arriving at work a little earlier than he normally did. According to hospital policy, I was asked to leave while Guitta got her epidural, and I was glad to comply. I was so stressed from Guitta’s night of pain that I very nearly broke down and cried as I waited to be let back in. Guitta was sleeping not long after I returned, and for the next few hours, I made phone calls, updated facebook, and talked with my in-laws, who had recently arrived.
Then, at 9:30-ish, Guitta was completely dilated and urged me to clear the room for her. Everything happened so fast. Equipment was rolled or lowered into place, the room inflated with doctors and nurses, and Guitta was coached to take a deep breath and to pushpushpushpushpush! Again, take a deeeeeeep breath and pushpushpushpushpush! “I can’t do it!” cried Guitta at one point. “Yes you can!” several nurses and I immediately shouted back. I had imagined myself being very emotional and even grossed out by what was going on at my wife’s bottom half, but surprisingly, I was clear-headed and very interested to see all the action. Soon, at 9:44 a. m. on March 30th, our little boy emerged without even a little cry. He was covered in white gunk, looking like a little goblin, and the sight scared me. Guitta gave a small scream. (I later learned that this must have been from the rest of the baby coming out of her because she said he looked cute when she first saw him.) A big part of me thought that he was dead, but the nurses’ and doctor’s happy greetings convinced me otherwise. After the baby was cleaned off, he looked remarkably cute. I cut his cord and he was passed off to some doctors to check his breathing, etc. I remember telling Guitta, “Babe, he’s really cute, and I’m not just saying that because he’s our son!” Since there was nothing particularly life-threatening about his situation, Guitta and I were allowed to hold him before I escorted our tiny son to the NICU. As I walked out of our room with baby boy, Guitta’s parents were allowed to see him briefly.
Then it was off to the NICU, where I was given the run-down of how things worked there. After a lot of hard work, Guitta slept for much of the time immediately postpartum. Doctors visited, phones rang, we switched rooms, and finally, late that afternoon, Guitta and I discussed names. We narrowed it down to three Davids–David Christian, David Elijah, and David Olson. At the very beginning of the naming process, Guitta was not in favor of having two people in our house who went by David, and I was not in favor of calling our son Olson. If David Christian or David Elijah had been chosen, we would have called him by his middle name. But toward the end of her pregnancy, Guitta began thinking of and even referring to our baby as David. Christian and Elijah, once so attractive, did not seem right. So there you have it. Much to the delight of my family, David Olson Hogue, Jr. was chosen.
Guitta and I are incredibly thankful to our God and Father for his protection of mother and child, for David’s healthy development and safe arrival home, and for the prayers, encouragement, and help of all our friends and family. We are rich with blessings. Thank you all for your love! And thank you, Heavenly Father, for your kindness!