There I was, standing in a hospital room, descending into a spiral of panic as I watched my son’s heart rate plummet.
Amanda asked everyone to leave the room as the delivery team began to share information on our next steps. For the past 21 hours, Amanda had been in labor and hadn’t been progressing at the desired rate. Not only was she not progressing quick enough, but Arthur’s heart rate was dropping after each contraction and the rate of recovery slowed each time.
The baby was too stressed. We needed to perform a c-section.
It was at this moment that my world froze and my stomach made its way into my throat. As they were asking us what we’d like to do next, the heart rate monitor chirped into a frenzy. Arthur’s heart rate dipped far below the optimal zone. The delivery team sprung into action turning Amanda to the opposite side and several nurses rushed into the room, vials of medicine clutched in their hands, to stop the contractions.
In that singular moment, we went from having to decide on a c-section to being handed a boxy and oversized operating room gown. The decision was made. As the room buzzed with chaos I was able to lock eyes with Amanda and mouthed the words “be strong,” as nervous tears rolled down my cheek.
The anesthesiologist was called and the operating room was being setup, which left us with a few moments before emergency delivery. Our family had come back into the room and Amanda asked me to explain what was going on. Not one minute into my explanation I burst into tears as I recounted the heart rate drop. My brother embraced me as I cried, and I felt the love of my family. A love that seemed distant since I hadn’t spoken to my parents with regularity in nearly two years.
I turned to be with Amanda in the final moments before the procedure and she stroked my hand, looked into my eyes and did something truly incredible. She began telling me jokes and soothing me. Even as the labor had racked her body for her last stores of energy and our son was possibly compromised, she took care of me. I am eternally grateful for the strength of my wife and her self-sacrifice in such a frightening and chaotic moment.
The anesthesiologist motioned for me to peek over the curtain. I stood up and saw Arthur quickly pulled from my wife’s abdomen and rushed to a small bassinet. The beeping of machines and doctors talking to each other all droned out and my world became deafeningly silent as my heart raced. I sat down and stroked my wife’s head for what seemed an eternity until just moments later I heard him cry.
Arthur was born at 12:02 am on January 25th. He weighed 8lbs and measured 20.5" in length. He’s the most beautiful thing in the world, and I couldn’t be happier to be his father.