Katie and I had just started with our practical preparation for the arrival of our first child.
We were less than 3 weeks away from our due-date. Katie cleaned and organized our spare bedroom on Monday, cleaned the bathrooms on Tuesday, and organized the kitchen on Wednesday. We had plans to shop for supplies on Thursday and Friday.
We should have done the shopping on Wednesday.
Our friends, Brook and Kent, were kind enough to bring us dinner on Wednesday night. We ate late, then stayed up even later having great conversations with them. Katie and I were both exhausted when we finally hit the pillows around 11:45. I had been reading for about 15 minutes when Katie jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom. She called me in to inform me that her water just broke. I wanted to believe her, but thought for sure she was mistaken because we hadn’t even done our supply shopping yet.
She wasn’t mistaken. Her water had indeed broken.
Although I had never been present for any other birth in the history of my life, I responded like a seasoned veteran. Poised and confident. Naive and fearless. Unassuming and innocent…
Katie wasn’t having any contractions so we decided to get some sleep. While I slept, Katie started to have contractions. According to Katie the contractions were mild and manageable for the first 4 hours.
That’s what I would have said, too. Mild and manageable.
At 5 A.M. the contractions increased in intensity and frequency. I can attest to this. They were so dramatic they even woke me up. I quickly arose from my slumber and sent a quick text to our mid-wife to let her know that Katie was well underway in her labor. She asked if we wanted her there ASAP. I asked her to wait for a couple of hours because I didn’t want her to infringe upon one of the last dates Katie and I would be having for a while.
Things were just starting to heat up.
The mid-wife, along with her assistant, arrived at 7AM. They checked Katie’s dilation to find that she was at a 7.5.
That number meant nothing to me. Was it a scale of 1-100? Was the number supposed to get smaller like a count-down to lift-off? Was this number a reflection of my performance as a husband? I didn’t ask. I had gotten this far in life living by the term “fake it ’til you make it” and I wasn’t about to change.
About the time the midwives showed up, Katie began to experience dramatic agony. The midwives seemed to disappear as soon as they showed up. They later told me that I was doing such a good job as Katie’s coach and support that they didn’t want to disrupt our rhythm. I was flattered by the comment but made it clear that I did not hire them to serve me with flattering speech. (But it was nice, and our midwives were awesome.)
The next two hours were intense.
Katie went from sweating like a pig to shivering like a shiverer every 3 minutes. She was a champ. She resisted the urge to fight her contractions. She let her body do what it was created to do in this scenario. She stayed relaxed even though she was experiencing greater pain than ever before.
Then my world got wacky.
It was almost 9AM.
Katie called for the midwife and said she felt like the baby was pounding on the door. In reality our baby was about to blow a hole through the door. I refer to it as “the door” so as to make this story appropriate for all ages. I know what it’s really called.
Katie leaned back on the bed. I didn’t want to look but I knew I needed to. I saw my baby’s head!
“Oh my word!” I exclaimed. “It’s coming, Katie!”
But not for long. I saw the whole head come out and turned quickly to tell Katie the news. As soon as I was able to turn back, the entire human body of our child had slid through the door like a wet fish. I broke down crying. Katie was sobbing tears of joy. The angelic and ever so helpful midwife skillfully placed our child on Katie’s breast. It wasn’t until a stream of urine was seen shooting straight up into the air that I realized the gender.
WE HAD A BOY!!! Leon Tucker Voetberg.
Katie and I laid there in compete bliss. This was indeed the best date ever!