My wife Dana and I worked hard to get pregnant. We went through tests, procedures, and ultimately in-vitro fertilization. When we finally conceived, it felt like just the right time.
Now I am alone in a hospital room nine months later. Dana and our unborn child were just carted away by a swarm of doctors.
Yesterday at our routine appointment our baby’s heartbeat was slightly erratic, and our doctors recommended that we induce labor. We decided to flow with it. We checked in, Dana got induction medication, and we called our families to let them know.
The night was long and slow. Contractions were not productive, sleep was elusive, and anticipation was high.
Twenty minutes ago, after 15 hours of labor, the pain was more intense and Dana was tired. After talking it over, Dana got an epidural. We hoped she’d get some rest.
The epidural was a hard decision. But it was only a few minutes before it was clear that we did it at just the right time.
During an exam, Dana’s membranes were accidentally ruptured. Suddenly fluid burst all over the table. Our baby’s heartbeat became erratic. The umbilical cord was trapped between baby’s head and mom’s cervix, a “cord prolapse”.
The next moments were surreal. The doctor yelled “Code Red!” She shouted orders at nurses, everyone became very busy, and she said, “We need to do an emergency C-section.” Dana looked to me, seeking support.
We were afraid. I wanted to be a strong father, to help guide things towards how we had envisioned them. But what came to me in that moment was that I wanted to arrive safely home with my baby and my wife. I didn’t care how it happened. I wanted to trust.
I squeezed her hand and said “Everything is going to be fine. Go with the flow.” A nurse jumped onto the table while they pushed the entire hospital bed down the hall and out of sight. I was told to remain here.
Now, here I am, alone.
Are they going to be OK? Was I wrong to go with the flow?
All I can do is trust and wait. I feel powerless. Two long minutes pass.
Am I supposed to just wait? Why is nobody coming to tell me what to do next?
My phone rings.
“Dad?” I ask in a shaky voice.
“How’s it going there?” my dad says calmly.
I melt in relief. It is just the right time. “It is so good to hear your voice. I am alone, and I am so scared. Dana is having a C-section. Can you come right away?”
Suddenly a nurse appears. I hang up on my dad and follow the nurse down the hallway. There are medical personnel everywhere, and Dana is lying on the table.
I beeline to her, hold her hand tightly, and stand by her side. It is just the right time. Within 60 seconds we hear the cry of our baby and see her taken to a warming table. I go over to look into the eyes of my new daughter. It is like seeing a person for the first time and knowing that they will be a best friend for life.
Our beautiful Eliana was born at 12:06 pm. At that moment, I was surely the luckiest man alive, and I knew it.
The timing was my teacher during every step of this amazing journey. Pregnancy, induction, the epidural, the birth, and the call from my dad. It didn’t feel like a perfect process, but my trust of each moment allowed it to be.