We’re thrilled to welcome Maisy Piper Page into the world. She joined us February 18th, 2009 at 10:10 in the evening. Upon arrival, she weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. We believe Caitlin’s cousin Beth when she tells us that this means Maisy is an Aquarius.
As parents, Caitlin and I learned a lot the second time around that was helpful in the labor and delivery process. Not all of the improvements the second time around were related to things that Caitlin was specifically doing. During Ryder’s delivery, we had some problems in the delivery room. Although not immediately apparent at the time, Caitlin strongly objected to my choice of clothing, consisting of a comfortable, though certainly not “sharp” grey sweatshirt and some jeans. It wasn’t until approximately a year later, that I learned I had been silently cursed and reviled for this meager ensemble. Having learned from my mistake, this time, I showered before heading to the hospital, selected an appropriate collared shirt (pink for Maisy girl) and I made sure to consult Caitlin at each and every stage of the team-dressing process. Caitlin tells me she has discussed with other moms, their sharing a similar displeasure with their husband’s delivery room attire. It seems that there is some consensus that the man’s outfit is “representative of the team” and therefore, a sloppy look reflects poorly on everyone. I could raise several counter-arguments to this thesis, vaguely hinting at the other atrocities happening in the room, but let me assure you that winning such an argument would be functionally equivalent to losing the very same argument.
I made some other changes to my appearance before heading to the delivery room, which bear mentioning. Pictures I think tell the story better than description alone.
I’d been attempting to pull off a move, that in the beard game, is both risky and extremely difficult to sustain over a long period of time. It is simply known as “Rocking the Taliban.” I didn’t coin the phrase, but once I heard it, its perfection was hard to walk away from. I’d been growing a Chicago-winter beard well outside the boundaries of decency for a few months, but before heading to the hospital I decided it was best for all involved parties to leave it behind. It had not been the original plan, but upon closer examination, it was clearly the most inspired.
After shaving my beard, I woke Ryder up from his nap and told him we were going to be going to the hospital and he was going to be staying with our friends Amy, Mark and Cate while we waited for baby girl to come out of Mommy’s belly. After seeing the look on his face, I asked if he was scared of Daddy — he hadn’t seen me for quite a while without my beard. He said he was. I brought him into our bedroom with Caitlin and had him rub my face, telling him the beard was gone. Ryder properly pointed out that I still had some beard on the side of my face (sideburns), and asked what those were for. At somewhat of a loss, I indicated “They’re for decorations.” We’ve used the idea of decorations before to satisfy his curiosity. He quickly countered: “They for rubbin.” Case closed; sideburns redeemed as fully functional.
After dropping off Ryder with our lovely friends, we headed to the hospital, arriving there sometime around 4PM. Although we registered at and entered through the Obstetrical Triage area, there seemed to be very little you’d normally associate with the word “triage.” From our perspective, people were moving in a leisurely fashion. Caitlin was dilated to 3cm and in pain, we didn’t get the confirmation that we were actually going to be admitted until about 6PM. Soon thereafter we were moved to an actual labor and delivery room. Nurses and doctors attended to us, one doctor bringing with him, Alan, the third year medical student on his OB/GYN rotation. An apparently inquisitive fellow by nature, Alan started a conversation with Caitlin by asking “So, why are they going to break your water bag artificially?” Lacking an appropriate technical answer, and also finding the word “artificially” a bit distasteful, Cait and I were immediately suspicious of Alan. One thing you don’t do, Alan, is come into the labor and delivery room and start to introduce doubt, of any sort, into the equation. This moment, our moment, is not the time to explore a new and different methodology of doing things, nor to question the previously agreed upon plan. After Caitlin was sequestered with the anesthesiologist to have her epidural, I returned to find Alan in there chatting her up. Their nascent relationship seemed to have been righted as I learned that he had just finished the second season of Mad Men. Finally, some common ground.
Just before 10, the active pushing phase started. From my perspective it was a highly efficient process. Please do not confuse, however, the term efficient with easy or “not painful.” It moved quickly, but was Caitlin’s labor neither of those things. And furthermore, Caitlin is not a huge fan of “easy labor stories.” She fears the uninformed public will become unnaturally swayed by their tales of charmed births. It is not so. And so, finally, with great exultation and celebration, Maisy Piper Page finally arrived. She’s a beautiful little thing, but even the second time around it still amazes you (or me) how small, beautiful and helpless they are when they first arrive. Small but real easy to love.
And that’s the long of it.