At about 9:45 she took a shower and got cleaned up for bed. "I'll just ride out the night and go in tomorrow," she told me. "Maybe you should at least call the doctor and tell her what's happening," I retorted. She reluctantly agreed, and called Dr. Heidi Oster. "It sounds like your in labor. Why don't you come into the hospital." And so Kelly finally sent in a sub request for the next day (still in denial) and we got our bags packed for our 15 minute trek to Sky Ridge Hospital.
We arrived at the hospital at about 11:30 p.m. We checked into the ER, and Kelly calmly gave her the needed info, pausing every 5-10 minutes for "back pain." We checked into the maternity ward upstairs. Jessica, our nurse, did the preliminary exam. As she checked Kelly's cervix, she gave us a look. Kelly thought she was going to send us home. False alarm. Try again. "Well, it looks like your 6cm dialated. Let's get you ready." Already? We were prepared for hours and hours of labor with books, cds, and dvds. Not needed here. We got into the delivery room, and the contractions intensified. While trying to ask 1001 questions about Kelly's non-existent medical history, contractions started to pick up in frequency and intensity. Passing up 8cm, she now finally started to complain. After about a half hour of intense contractions, Dr. Oster gave her the go ahead. "You know that feeling like you have to poop? Well, just go ahead. You'll be pooping out a baby." After about 5 hard pushed in 20 minutes, out came our little daughter--Sierra Noel.
Dad was aghast with emotion. I simutaneously wanted to save my wife from the pain she was going through, but I also knew there was no going back. While holding her left leg, I just kept her covered in prayer, and did what I could to encourage her. And then, to my utter surprise, out came not just a head, but an entire human being. Not fully comprehending the marvel of what just happened, I broke down in tears. I knew that one of the most significant events of my life had just taken place...
Sierra was born at 1:32am, only 2 hours after arriving to the hospital. Here are some of the pictures I took...only after a kind nurse reminded me to get the camera.
Here are her first moments of life. Whisked to mom's chest, and then to in-room incubator, here she is getting cleaned up. Fluid out of the mouth and umbilical cord clipped, she wasn't too happy to be outside of that nice-warm room. But even when she was crying, I couldn't help but melt with love for her.
Here are the first minutes of mom and baby. Kelly was a champ. I couldn't believe how much grace and humor she displayed in the most intense moments of her life.