march 8th, 2004

Here’s an almost brief rundown of March 8, 2004 from this new dad’s perspective.

midnight – 7:00am

The last few days Lynn had been having trouble sleeping at night. We both assumed it was caused by her new diet (she’d recently been diagnosed with gestational diabetes). Namely, the lack of fiber in the new diet and the subsequent side effects on certain regularities of the body.

As guilty as I am about it now, in all honesty, I was getting rather annoyed with my wife that morning. Every ten minutes, more or less, the sound of the flushing toilet and her pacing/reposition herself in the recliner/etc. would wake me back up, and my lack of sleep was starting to grate on me. While I felt bad for the discomfort my wife was in, my exhaustion was getting the better of me, and I just wished she’d settle in and sleep so that I could do the same. So, let me just say right now, ‘Sorry Dear!’

7:00am – 8:00am

‘OK, enough, I’ll get up. Can’t get any sleep anyway. Going to be a long damn day.’ If I only had a clue…

So I get up and try to console my suffering wife. At first, she seemed fine, just sleep deprived like myself. Ten or fifteen minutes later, severe back pain and another run to the bathroom. A brief time later, she seemed fine again. And ten or fifteen minutes later and more severe back pain (severe enough that I can see a tear in the corner of the eye of my otherwise very tough wife).

And this is when the new dad-to-be starts to worry. Because as clueless as I can be, regularly spaced pain to me sound like contractions. But it’s only the 30th week; that can’t be right. Nonetheless, it’s time to make a trip to the local hospital in my opinion. So off to the hospital we go.

8:00am – 12:00pm

One of the advantages of living in a smaller community is that everything is close. So it is with our hospital – we are probably within a mile of the hospital, so it is a quick ride over there.

Check in at the emergency desk, and very quickly they take us back to one of their very clean, very comfortable birthing rooms (I believe that’s what they were called anyway). And testing away they go.

Hook up mom-to-be to a contraction monitor (which reads nothing the whole time we’re there), a fetal heartbeat monitor around her belly, and a blood pressure cuff. Draw some blood. Hook up an IV or two to pump mom full of hydrating liquids and other drugs. Get a long ultrasound done. Dad has nothing to do but watch helplessly and try to listen in on conversations between our doctor and the various nurses. I make a quick call to the office, let them know that I’m not going to be in at 9:00 (there’s an understatement).

Apparently, there is a slow leak in the amniotic sac (for who knows how long) and it is fairly empty. They attempt to compensate with several IVs and a drug, whose name I forget, that is supposed to help close off the leaking. And despite the fact that the contraction monitor is essentially reading nothing, she is indeed having contractions, but they are not as regular or as severe as earlier this morning. So, being the eternal optimist, I’m thinking that the labor will likely be stopped and the baby won’t be making his debut for at least a couple weeks yet.

In the meantime, the doctor has called a specialist at the hospital in Omaha that we are now at daily to see our little guy. Since we’re fairly early in the pregnancy, and the small hospital in town isn’t set up to deal with the complications that may arise should he be born, they decide it’s best that Lynn be sent to Omaha for her & baby’s care.

So, into the ambulance she goes for the 65 mile trip to Omaha at just about noon on the dot, and Dad’s left to catch up when he can (and told ‘Do not try to follow us!’ by the ambulance driver). Lynn sends me home to grab a couple things, having no idea how long she was going to be there – An afternoon? Overnite? A week? No idea. And she tells me to grab a little something to eat and make myself some coffee – I must have looked pretty frazzled by that point!

12:00pm – 1:45pm

So I head back to the apartment, grab a few items, make a quick sandwich, brew myself a pot of coffee, fill a thermos with said coffee, grab a couple packs of cigarettes, and make sure kitty is taken care of since I don’t know how long it’ll be until I’d return. I wasn’t rushing _that_ much, being pretty confident in the miracles of modern medicine and knowing she was in good hands; nevertheless, I was on the road shortly after 12:30pm.

And proceeded to chain smoke many cigarettes in the hour and a quarter ride to Omaha. And finished my thermos of coffee. I’m fairly calm at this point, probably because I’m borderline exhausted. Finally arrive at the hospital, navigate the maze that is the parking lot construction (why is everything in Omaha always under construction – do they _ever_ finish anything?), and head into the hospital.

1:45pm – 2:25pm

First stop – Information. I ask the nice elderly lady behind the counter for information about my wife. She types away at her computer, and tells me she can’t find her. She speculates that she’s not in the system yet since she came in via ambulance, and to stop by the Access area as they’ll have more up to the minute information.

So, off to Access I go. Why is it called ‘Access’? Your guess is as good as mine. I ask the trainee Access worker if she can find my wife. But no, no record of her. And being a trainee, she just gives me the deer-caught-in-headlights look, unsure of what she should do since this hasn’t come up so far in her training. The lady training her finally steps in, tries again, but no luck. Again, I get more speculation that since she came via ambulance, her info just hasn’t been entered. ‘Well, now, that’s almost useful – how about you figure out some way to find my wife now please’ I think to myself. A minute or two later and, finally, she tries a misspelling of our last name, and what do you know, we’ve found my wife!

She also notices that several pieces of the minutiae hospitals need for their avalanche of forms are missing, and asks if it’s all right if she get them from me since I’m right there. So, sure, why not, I’m going to have to provide this info eventually anyway. Cell phone rings, unlisted number, damn telemarketers, hit ignore. Insurance card, here ya’ go… wife’s work number, here ya’ go… twice removed third cousin’s maiden name, here ya’ go… etc etc.

Finally get that all taken care of, and they let me at my wife – Room 935. Find an elevator, hit the 9th floor button, and up I go. Step off the elevator, walk up to the reception desk, and overhear them talking of 935. Instantly the most alert I’ve probably been all day, I identify myself and ask what’s going on…

2:25pm – 3:00pm

‘Come with me now, your wife is about to have a c-section, you need to get in some scrubs.’

Well, needless to say, I’m a little bowled over. But I don’t have time to think about it too long, as I’m quickly following a nurse into what was my wife’s room for the week, handed a set of scrubs, told to _hurry_, full tilt auto pilot at this point. Strip down, throw on scrubs, realize the booties don’t go over my shoes (and wonder how I managed to get my pants off over my shoes in two seconds), take off my shoes, walk out the door, and wonder ‘OK, where the hell am I supposed to go now?’

Aha, friendly nurse lady appears around the corner, grabs me, and away we go. Could’ve been three doors down, could’ve been three floors down, I honestly can’t recall. Walk through a set of doors into the most brightly lit room I’ve ever been in, and notice the fifteen other gowned people in the room, along with the naked back of my wife into which was being inserted a small metal something-or-other (later discovered it was a spinal block). Unsure what to do, I basically stand in the way of several people doing whatever it is they do. A handful of doctors make seperate introductions, and I miss everyone’s name of course, because I’m staring at my poor wife and am essentially in shock at this point.

Finally, I’m escorted over to my wife. Or, I should say, her head and arms, since the rest of her is behind a short curtain that I’d occassionally look over and then wish I hadn’t. We talked a bit, about what I can’t really say at this point, but fairly certain it wasn’t about the weather or the upcoming election. When they turned her onto her back, ‘Hey, um, I can still feel my right leg!’ – they reassured us that she wouldn’t very shortly, and of course, she didn’t.

And then the c-section started. I did what I could – console my wife as best I could, hand on her arm, hand on her head, talk with her a bit, remind myself to breath, glance occasionally over the curtain (and be reminded why a doctor I could never be), wish I hadn’t, repeat.

And before we knew what happened, a tiny Tobias makes his triumphant arrival known with a strong but still small cry. And I hear ‘Looks like we have boy parts.’ Aha, a son! I’d convinced myself he was a she over the last few weeks, so yet another surprise for the day. One of the doctor brings him over, and the new mom gives him a quick kiss while the new dad gives him a quick once over (yep, everything’s in place, ten toes, ten fingers, appendages where they belong), and then he’s whisked away to an area off to the side where a gaggle of the gowned do what they do. I continue my husbandly vigil while they work to finish what needs finishing with my wife before being told it was OK to go see my son where they were working with him. He’s quieter, but not silent, squirming away under many busy hands, not quite pink but not quite blue either. So small, but not nearly as small as I expected, quite honestly.

And before too many minutes pass, away goes my new son to parts unknown, and I rejoin my wife while they continue finishing that which needs finishing.

3:00pm – 4:00pm

Lynn and I are taken to another room, escorted by two nurses who’s job it is to ensure that she isn’t having any immediate problems following the surgery, chart what has happened over the last 35 minutes, and occasionally ask us questions.

Finally I get a bit more of this story from Lynn’s perspective. Apparently, upon arrival in Omaha she had yet another ultrasound, whereupon it was decided that she was going to have Tobias within the next two days. Followed by a manual check of her cervix, which was found to be dilated five centimeters. Followed by a ‘Hey, I can feel a foot. You’re having this baby now.’

At which point in the conversation, I felt terrible, knowing that not only did she know in advance that he was very rapidly on his way and had time to ponder the implications, but that I was nowhere to be found. Somewhere during that time, someone had called my cellphone in an attempt to find me (remember that call at the access desk in the middle of answering questions? _that_ was the unlisted number that popped up), only to find no answer. I can only imagine the thoughts going through her head at that point.

Lynn gets through her immediate post-surgery followup, and off we go to the room in which she’ll be spending the majority of the week.

4:00pm – 11:00pm

At this point, the chronology of the day is lost. We’ve had probably two or three hours of sleep in the last two days and a good supersized dose of stress, so I suppose that isn’t exactly a surprise.

Lynn and I spend some time acclimating to reality. Exactly how, I can’t say. She’s harassed by nursing fairly regularly, blood pressure checks, temperature checks, belly checks, etc. We chat awhile. Again, about what exactly, I don’t know, but again, fairly certain the weather or politics didn’t come up.

Around 6:00, we decide we should make a few calls to the new grandparents. Everybody seems a bit shocked, a bit concerned, and a bit happy all at once. Seems a common feeling all around!

At some time during this time period, the new dad makes a couple trips to the NICU to see Toby (it’s all a blur; could’ve been 4:30, could’ve been 7:30, could’ve been 10:30, just can’t recall). Unnerving to see such a little body attached to so many things. Very happy to see him; very happy to see that he was doing OK so far; very scared at what the next few days could potentially bring.

11:00pm – midnight

Although the nurses offered a cot for me for Lynn’s room if I wanted it, we both agreed that the hospital wasn’t a place to get any sleep for either of us – I thought I’d keep her awake if I was around; she just wanted me to get some sleep and knew I wouldn’t get any in the room.

So off to find a hotel I went (after making a stop at the NICU once again to make sure all was still well). Sleep was calling loudly. And a couple hours of worry later, it finally came.

And so the adventure began…

Miscellaneous POTD

no gallery, but some more pics

Well, I tried, but apparently I’m just not alert enough to figure out how to set up the promised gallery right now. But so you’re not all waiting, here’s a few more pictures taken at various times over the last week or so. Click on the images for larger versions!

First, a few with Mom:

Toby & Mom

Toby & Mom

Toby & Mom

And then a few with Dad:

Toby & Dad

Toby & Dad

Toby & Dad

And finally, who’s that peeking? 🙂

Toby Peeking

Toby Peeking

Toby Peeking


howdy everyone! some updates

What can I say, been slacking on my duty to keep you all informed.

First off, howdy cousins / aunts / uncles / nieces / nephews / parents / brothers / sisters / etc! Amazing how quickly the word spread around about this lil’ site of mine – guess I’ll have to forego all those ‘check out my crazy relative’ posts I had queued up!

Anyone, on to the matter at hand:

Most importantly, the new dad’s doing just fine! 😉

Mom is still sore now and then, but after watching what she had to go through, I’m shocked how quickly the human body can recover. Let me just say this right off: thank god I’m an outtie – hats off to all you mothers out there! Other than that, she’s getting around very well. Had her two week doctor’s visit, and was given a clean bill of health.

Toby is doing wonderful. Hell, in my opinion, amazingly. I have many many pictures that need a bit of editing before I throw them up here – they’re all extremely large and in need of color & lighting corrections. So check back in a couple and I’ll try to get a gallery of them up. Health-wise, he’s made several big steps:

* Only complication noted so far: apparently he may have a fracture on his left leg, caused during his birth. (Will have to write up the birth story sometime soon for you all; it’s a good one!) Neither the doctor nor the orthopedic specialist that saw him seem particularly concerned about it at this point though. It certainly isn’t a high priority at this point anyways.

* Mentioned a couple posts back that he was off the ventilator and onto something called a CPAP. That’s long gone (lasted _maybe_ all of one day). That was initially replaced by a pair of small tubes in his nostrils that just gave him extra air volume. And today when we stopped by for our daily gazing, that was replaced by *_nothing_*! Yep, that’s right, Tobias is breathing just fine, entirely unassisted.

* The IV in his umbilical cord was removed several days ago, replaced by an IV on his right arm. Today, the IV on his right arm was replaced by *_nothing_*!

* Those IVs were supplying him with several medications along with all his nutrition. So them being gone means a couple things. First off, that means he’s off all his intravenous medication. A good thing for sure. It also means he’s getting all his nutrition from mom. As of now, he’s still getting being fed via tube through his nose to his stomach (which he just absolutely adored getting reinserted this afternoon – NOT!), but they’ve been altering the timing of how he takes in the milk the last several days. They started with a tiny constant trickle at first to get his stomach functioning, which eventually became a fairly large constant trickle. Today, he’s on what they call “bolus”: feeding, which is essentially like having a meal, then nothing for a couple hours, then another meal, then nothing for another couple hours, etc. Basically, preparing his digestion for being fed normally.

* He’s been off and on the bilirubin lights a couple times. Nothing out of the ordinary apparently.

* This evening he had his first bath, and we almost missed it! We went out to grab something to eat, and came back just in time. Too damn cute, and he seemed to enjoy it – or at least, he didn’t seem _not_ to enjoy it anyway! Of course, my rechargeable camera batteries (all three of them) were dead, so the naked baby pictures will have to come later… 🙂

* Up until the last few days, we’ve seen just the briefest glimpses of his eyes; either he was under the bili lights and wearing his sleeping mask, or was sound asleep – just the occasional peek. The last two days he’s been looking around fairly often – especially after his bath! Big blue eyes staring back at us (or at least in our general direction). I’m not sure about this, but I a seem to believe that all newborns have blue eyes initially (could be wrong; can’t remember where I picked up that tidbit of info), so his _true_ eye color is just a guess right now.

* Oh, and he’s been held several times by mom & dad. 🙂

That’s about all I can think of at the moment – getting very late (early), so that’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll try to update this a little more often for those of you interested – plus, it might make a mildly interesting chronology later for someone.



Came home tonite to a very excited wife – assuming all goes well through the night as far as Toby staying off the ventilator and doing well all around, tomorrow we may be able to finally hold him!

As an aside, apparently “skin-to-skin”: contact is believed to be very beneficial to all babies. Certainly will be to these new parents! 🙂


one week down, many to follow!

So it’s been one week since Mr. Toby decided to make a theatrical entry into the world. Been a tad busy to post (and when not, more than a tad tired!), so we’ll try to cram a week’s worth of info into one fairly brief post. Today we’re having a bit of a late snowstorm, so it looks like we won’t be seeing Toby today, but it seems pretty dumb to risk our lives to watch him sleep (but really really tempted to go anyway). I know he’s being taken care of admirably, but I’d still love to just gaze at him for a few hours.

First off, everything seems to be going well with everyone concerned so far. Dad’s fine, if a bit frazzled. Mom’s getting better every day – still pretty sore occassionally, but I’d be shocked if she wasn’t. A c-section looks like a hellacious surgery to go through, even from my vantage point next to her!

And little Tobias? So far, so good. He’s had his share of activities this week:

  • A touch of jaundice, caused by an excess of bilirubin Apparently, newborns (especially premature ones) have extra red blood cells, and the breakdown of those extras create bilirubin, which the liver has a hard time dealing with. Thus, jaundice. For reasons beyond my comprehension, it’s generally treated with UV lights, which is what he’s been under for most of the week. Good news though – today, the lights went away!
  • Since he was so early, his lungs aren’t quite up to the task of maintaining him on their own, so he’s needing a little help. Most of the week, he was on a ventilator – an ugly tube down his throat doing most of the breathing for him. Slowly but surely the oxygen level supplied to him has been going down, and Thursday he was breathing room oxygen (21%, for those interested). But still on the vent. Yesterday, the vent went away, replaced by a CPAP(Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), which is basically a tube attached to his nose making sure he takes deep enough breaths. No guarantee that he won’t be back on the vent (common occurence – he just may not be ready to go without for now), but it’s been over 30 hours and counting without it.
  • Yesterday, he had his first taste of mother’s milk. Lynn’s been pumping since the day after she gave birth, so he’s got quite a bit ready to go for him. They gave him a few CCs worth yesterday while we were visiting, and today they said he was getting an essentially constant supply. Have to get that little tummy working!
  • Various drugs have started and stopped and replaced. For instance, at first he was on some morphine so that he’d relax and stop fighting the vent – he’s been off that for many days. Or some dopamine, helped keep his blood pressure up; again, been off that for several days – blood pressure has been steady right around where it’s supposed to be. Nothing too interesting, all fairly common apparently.
  • Saturday we finally got to see him with his eyes open. While under the UV for his jaundice, they keep a sleeping mask on him. When we would come in, the nurses often would turn off the lights and take off the mask so we could see him fully. Usually we just see a sleeping baby – imagine our surprise when we saw him looking back! Too damn cute – color me thrilled! (just some dad rambling, ‘scuse me!)
  • He also got to experience some clumsy temperature checking / diaper changing by his parents. Amazing how exciting something that mundane is to someone who has been waiting for it! 🙂
  • Oh, and much picture taking has been done. I’d post them now, but they’re still at insane sizes. And I’d like to try to color correct them a bit – that blue tint from the UVs isn’t exactly flattering!

I’m sure there are other happenings that have slipped my mind, but that’s about all I can think of off the top of my head. More to come later, I’m sure!