Around 5:30am on April 12th, 2018, my wife Ashley woke me up suspecting that her water broke. Being 2 weeks before our actual due date of April 26th, I brushed it off as probably nothing and tried to go back to sleep. To play it safe, Ashley called our doctor and was told to come in to the hospital and check it out. We then got dressed quickly, and headed to the hospital with nothing but ourselves. (....and my trusty camera, maybe subconsciously I knew it was going down)
On our way to the maternity ward, we both texted our managers at work saying we were heading to the hospital to check out something and would be possibly late. We didn't even bring our hospital bag which we had ironically planned to pack later that day.
Upon arrival, a maternity nurse performed a few tests to determine what was going on. After a brief wait, the nurse came back into our room and spoke these words...
"So the bag has been broken, so we're going to have to admit Ashley right now."
Now, I am by no means a labor and delivery expert. I did, however, pay attention during our one childbirth class and distinctly remember learning that once a pregnant woman's water breaks, IT'S ABOUT TO GO DOWN. Our first born son was coming one way or another very soon.
After being admitted to the labor and delivery ward, we were checked into our room where a nurse hooked Ashley up to an IV, a sensor to monitor contractions, and a fetal monitor to keep tabs on our baby's heart rate. Around 9am, the maternity doctor on staff determined Ashley was roughly 3cm dilated. As the morning turned to afternoon, Ashley's contractions grew stronger and by 2pm, Ashley was around 6cm dilated. As the day wore on, we were both surprised at the pace of Ashley's labor. When we first were admitted, the nurse had told us, "This is going to be a marathon. We may meeting your little one today, it might be tomorrow, we'll just see how it goes." Going back to our labor and delivery class, I recalled hearing that being dilated 6cm meant you were well on your way to being close to the birth. Around 6pm, our doctor came in again to check out Ashley. By her examination, she determined Ashley was probably around 9-10cm dilated. At the time both of our mothers had come up to check in and give us words of encouragement. It was then, that the doctor spoke these words....
"I think we are ready to push."
Upon hearing those words, our mothers wished us well and retreated back to the waiting room as we began the final leg our journey. Almost immediately after they exited the room, the doctor began coaching Ashley on her first push. Again, we were both amazed at how fast this all was happening. Only 12 hours prior, we had left for the hospital thinking we would be an hour or two late for work. Now we were only an hour or so from meeting our first born son.
Once the pushing began, I stayed near Ashley's face to hold her hand (and hold her left leg up) and echo the doctor's words of encouragement as she labored to bring our son into the world. Looking back, this was a culmination of everything we had done to get here; everything that Ashley had to put her body through; the countless outpatient procedures and doctor visits, the daily shots, the IVF procedure itself, the nine months of pregnancy, and watching her body transform as our child grew inside of her; it had lead us to this moment.
As the pushing progressed, it reminded me of the sheer strength Ashley possesses. She had been amazing throughout the entire pregnancy, but never more so in the moments before our son arrived. In the face all the pain and physical challenges, she was determined to see our child soon. After a little more than an hour of arduous pushing, we finally heard the cries of our son.
Sydney Jude Tanjuakio was born at 7:15pm on April 12th, 2018.
It's difficult to express the joy of seeing your own child born into the world. There is really nothing else like it. Seeing someone who is half you and half your partner come into the world is truly an experience like no other. Shortly after being pulled from Ashley, Sydney was immediately placed on Ashley's bare chest to begin the bond with our child.
We definitely did not expect to give birth that day. We literally left the house with nothing but ourselves. For some reason, however, I thought my camera may come in handy that day. Luckily, it was put to use to capture some of the most important moments of my family's life.
FIRST DAYS OF LIFE
4 days old at home.... and only getting older....