Thursday, November 19, 2009

What a Month!

This is a LOOOOOOOONNNNNGGGGG overdue update. A FEW things have happened since the last update...
So Camryn Rose Hopkins was born at 11:24pm on October 29, 2009. 7lb, 3oz and 19 inches long. Kimmie was AMAZING at this whole "giving birth" thing...they could NOT use her for instructional videos to show pregnant people or people thinking about getting pregnant because they would think it was really easy to be pregnant/give birth. Seriously, Dr. Bied and nurse Rhi were amazed at how easy it was and how great Kimmie did in the process. She was the talk of the town among all the other nurses for her "birth-giving" abilities!
And as for me? I felt no pain or discomfort at all...yep, I really stayed tough.

I can't tell you how proud I am of Kim -- she was in some serious pain but toughed it out for the whole 15+ hours that she was in labor. Actually, since this is my blog and i can do what i want, let me recap the whole day for you...

I shall now paint the picture of a crisp, cloudy October morn. I was at work looking at cheap Halloween costumes for Nate and Jennah's party on friday (i really figured the baby would keep us from going so i never even bothered looking for costumes). Once I had decided on a costume for Kim and for me (a red, yellow, and green circle taped vertically on kimmie's chest to make her a traffic light; and the letter "E" taped on my chest to make me an "E-Male") it wasn't more than a few minutes later that I noticed Kimmie was calling my cell phone.

Now, every single time Kimmie called me at work I would pick up and yell "IS THIS IT? ITS TIME?!" which would be met with a response of "no...relax...i'm just calling to see if you want to go to my parent's for dinner" or something to that effect.

So naturally, when Kimmie called me at 8:42am, (alarm should have gone off for me), 4 days after the due date (again, more alarms should have gone off), I think I made the right move in thinking "nah, probably not important" and ignoring the call. Yeah, that was probably the smartest thing to do...

Of course, I called Kimmie back within seconds and sure enough, THIS WAS IT! The funny part is that Kim wasn't sure if her water broke or if maybe she was just randomly leaking heavy quantities of fluid...because that happens all the time. "I may not be a fancy, big-city doctor, but it sounds like your water broke" was my response. And with that, I ran back to my desk, shut down my computer (which, like the classic scene in Office Space, took a comically long time because computers know when you're in a hurry) and flew out the door.

The bizarre part was, on the way home, I was cool as a cuccumber. Didn't speed, wasn't worried, listened to tunes like it was any other commute. I was very proud of myself as I didn't want to be that TV/Movie cliche husband who's flipping out and doing "zany" things like driving to the hospital without the wife, etc. So far, so good!

Of course, when I got home, things were a bit different...

I pretty much parked the car on the front lawn/sidewalk so that Kim didn't have to walk a single foot to get to the car. I'm not sure why, but when I went inside I half-expected to see Kimmie sitting in bed, vomitting pea soup and spinning her head around -- why i thought pregnancy/child birth had anything to do with the movie "The Exorcist" is beyond me.

So you can imagine I was quite relieved when i walked upstairs and found Kimmie (fresh out of the shower), combing her hair, putting on makeup and quite frankly, looking as beautiful as I can ever remember her looking. "Is this a practical joke? Women about to give birth aren't supposed to look like this! Where's the sweat? Where's the anger? Why am I not being punched in the face and being told that I 'did this to her'?" Instead, Kim is calmly getting dressed as if she was going out to an afternoon lunch with friends...and asking ME how I'M doing? WHHAAAAA?!

Has Television been misleading? Are movies not factually correct? NO, this can't be! Perhaps in 10 hours or so the ugly side of child birth will be revealed to me...

Now, it should be noted that we both made sure to have TWO identical bags packed WEEKS in advance - one for my car, and one for Kim's car. The bags were packed with equal amounts of clothing, snacks, drinks, games, books, baby clothes and other things that one should have for a stay in the hospital. With that being said, this preparedness still didn't keep me from grabbing random items that I deemed "critical" off the shelves out of fear that the universe would implode if we didn't have such crucial survival necessities as recees cups and DVDs of The Office...

So off we went to the hospital. I called Mom, Grandma and Jess to let them know. Dane and Karen were there to greet us when we arrived. I handed the keys over to valet and didn't even stop to worry that my car was in someone elses hands...i guess focusing 100% on your wife/soon-to-be-born child makes you not really care so much about a car.

In to the hospital we went. When we got to the check-in area one of the nurses asked "how can i help you," to which i replied "one child birth please!" Either nurses hear that all the time or they have no sense of humor because THAT WAS FUNNY. I mean, really. Break that joke's funny on at least a million levels. At least Kim and my in-laws got a kick out of it, and I made myself laugh as always.

So we spent much of the afternoon in the hospital room, just hanging out and meeting a large number of nurses, technicians, doctors and even a juggling grizzly bear. Well, not the last one, but the rest is true. The staff at St. Peter's in Albany is fantastic. We met some of the friendliest doctors and nurses during our entire stay (and one complete scumbag who makes nurse ratchett look like Ghandi). I can't say enough good things about these wonderful people.

Jenn, Elyse, Dr. Shippman, Sandie, Dr. Barteletti, Rhi, Dr. Bied (or obgyn), Claire, Maureen, Sue, and Michelle were absolutely fantastic. And the fact that I remember all of their names 3 weeks after the fact is a pretty good testament to the caliber of the great people working at this Hospital.

I stayed in the room with Kim all day while Mom, Dad, Dane and Karen stopped by for visits on a rotating basis throughout.

After monitoring Kim and Camryn all afternoon in the first room (including an ultrasound to make sure that Camryn was positioned properly) we moved into the delivery room around 5pm when Kim's contractions started getting a bit stronger.

I was there to hold Kimmie's hand when the contractions got really bad. She fought back the tears on many occassions and fought through the pain in an incredible display of toughness like I've never seen before. Don't be fooled by the cuteness and quietness, Kim's tough as nails, and proved it to the world today! It wasn't a surprise to me though, as I kept telling her for the last 9 months that she would do brilliantly...and she did!

Does that mean that Kim had a wonderful time with the contractions? Nope. But was it the TV/Movie cliches of anger, and hand squeezing and "you did this to me"s and the like? Also, nope. But what would a child birth blog be without a fun story of what contractions will do to a woman's attitude; and in straying from a PG-level of cleanliness in this blog, i have to mention Kim's response to me when asking if there was anything i could do for her:

KIM: *sighs of discomfort and pain*

JOHN: "How are ya doin Kiddo?"

KIM: "ugh, fine"

JOHN: "Can I get you anything?"

KIM: "ugh, no!"

JOHN: "How about some juice or something?"


Also, Kim's response should be noted when I informed her that our OBGYN, Dr. Bied had arrived for the delivery:


So there were definiely some TV-quality outbursts from a very ready-to-deliver Kimmie, but considering those were the only ones, I'd say all-in-all, not bad for someone enduring unspeakable amounts of pain.

Nurse Sandie was there to help Kim when she got the epidural around 7pm...this was the only time that i was not allowed in the room; thus it was the only time during those 48 hours that i was not in the room. Easily the worst 30 minutes ever as I paced nervously around the corridors waiting for someone to bring me back into the room.

Once Jenn came out and got me, I leapt out of my seat in the waiting room and headed back in to find a very satsified wife, post-epidural, smiling widely at me from the bed.

Kimmie informed me that it was no big deal getting the epidural...what? People have been paralyzed from these things, yet Kimmie's reaction to the whole process was "I don't know what the fuss is all about, that was super easy." Wow. Amazing.

So now that the contractions were not such a huge issue, Kimmie, Mom, Karen and myself enjoyed a lovely evening in the delivery room - watching the NBC lineup (Halloween episodes of Community, Parks and Rec, Office and 30 Rock) and even a full hour of America's funniest home videos. We all had a fun time, and for a bit forgot that we were even in the delivery room...well, I'd be willing to guess that Kimmie didn't forget. In fact, I'd put money on it.

So just before 11pm, Kimmie looked up at nurse Rhi and said "OK. It's time." After hearing those magic words, we were up and runnin!

Dr. Bied came in for the first few minutes, but had to go do a C-section for someone else, so it was Nurse Rhi and myself in the "baby-receiving" area, with Karen and Mom back with Kimmie, holding her hand and brushing her head to try and give her some comfort.

What happens next is truly the most amazing thing I've ever had the good fortune of being a part of...

For the next 25 minutes or so, I stayed right in the same spot (i had one leg, nurse Rhi had the other) and held Kimmie in place during contractions so she could push. Rhi coached her along with words of encouragement and I gave my own words of encouragement as well. Kimmie did an amazing job of pushing as each contraction brought Camryn one step closer to this world.

During this whole event, (and without being to awkwardly graphic), I could not stop looking at the top of my daughter's head, and a few strands of hair that were visible. After 9 months of heartbeats and ultrasounds, the fact that we were about to meet our daughter for the first time filled me with such a feeling of anticipation and joy I felt like my heart was going to explode (or i was having a mild heart attack).

After 3 or 4 contractions and some good solid pushing from Kimmie, Camryn was almost here! Dr. Bied returned just in time to help with the final few pushes. He had Camryn's head in his hands and after telling Kimmie to give ONE...LAST....PUSH!!! And with that, I was suddenly looking at the most beautiful face in the world!

A split second later, out comes an arm - and then another - and then the legs! AND SHE HAS MY CALVES!! And now she's crying! It's the most beautiful sound I've ever heard! (EDITORS NOTE: I retract that statement as of November 19th, 2009). And ladies and gentlemen, just like that - at 11:24 pm on October 29th, 2009, our daughter, Camryn Rose Hopkins was born into this great world!

I cut the cord and Kimmie and I kissed and said "I love you." After that I went over to formally introduce myself to Camryn. She immediately grabbed my pinky finger with her right hand and I was instantly in love! She's perfect! I had never seen a more beautiful baby, and looking back across the room at Kimmie, had never seen a more beautiful woman in my life. What a day! What a blessing!


  1. I loved reading every word of your description of Camryn's birthday! Dad and I are so proud to have such a wonderful son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter and we love you very much! With love from Mom... Oh, we are also proud to have our daughter and son-in-law, in case they read this...