Some of you may have noticed (or maybe you have not) that I have not posted anything in awhile. There is a good reason for it: Lindsey had the baby! She gave birth on January 6th at 8:07 a.m. to Payton Marie Croyle, healthy little girl. She weighed 6 lbs 10 oz. and measured at 20 inches. Some of you may be thinking: wait Josh, I thought she wasn’t due for another two weeks, on the 20th? Yeah, that was what we thought.
We went to our normal appointment on Thursday at 9:15 a.m. Lindsey’s feet and legs were extremely swollen (to the point that we could only find one pair of boots that would fit). Her feet have been swollen for a few weeks, but nothing to this extreme. The doctor checked things out and said her blood pressure was also high and wanted to run a non-stress test. He was afraid it might be preeclampsia. He told us there was a chance that they might admit her and induce labor.
It was a scary moment, but at the same time, we figured we would head over and they would say that it was a false alarm, everything is fine. They hook Lindsey up to the monitors and take some blood and urine. We wait there for another hour (maybe more, I cannot remember). At which point, another doctor comes by and explains that some of the tests (I believe I heard the nurse say her proteins were elevated) were not good, so they are going to induce. Her exact words were “you’re having a baby today!”
At this point, they take us to the 5th floor of Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center and set Lindsey up in a delivery suite. At this point we started making phone calls and letting family know what was happening. Lindsey had the baby bag packed and her bag was mostly packed. I had nothing packed. I figured I had two weeks. It was funny because as we came to the appointment, I said to Lindsey that when we came home, I wanted to get my back packed and have them in her car. I guess I was just a day late. Anyways, Kayla went to our house and got our stuff. The biggest thing I wanted was my phone charger. During all the testing, I played on my phone the entire time, it was dead. I guess Yahtzee eats up a ton of battery.
Time creeps slowly by sitting in the hospital. The initial wave of excitement wears off and you are left with immense boredom. I know that sounds terrible, but it is true. We ate some food, I read a book, played games on my tablet, watched television. Hours upon hours. I am not one to sleep when stuff is happening. Lindsey was able to sleep, her mom and sister could sleep, but not me. I just sat there. Hoping everything would be fine. I was not really worried, the nurses and doctor kept saying things were fine. When it comes to medical stuff, I am one of those weird people who actually trusts the medical professionals. If they say things are good, then I believe them.
We were admitted around 12:30 (maybe 1ish) and it is now way past midnight. Looks like Payton is coming on Friday. During this entire process, she was only one centimeter dilated. She hit 2 cm around 9:30 p.m., then it jumped to 4 cm at 2:30 a.m. They came back in at 3:30 and she was at 9 cm. We figured the baby was on her way. The nurses came in and Lindsey began pushing at 4:00 a.m. She pushed and pushed, but Payton just did not want to move down. By 7:00 it was looking like she was never coming out. The doctor gave us two options: keep pushing or use the vacuum. He explained it as basically a vacuum that they attach to the babies head and try to help pull her out, while Lindsey would have to push. The problem was energy. Lindsey did not eat much. They told her to eat light, so she had a grilled cheese sandwich. That was basically it all of Thursday and it was not Friday morning. She was exhausted and could not do it anymore. She asked for a C-section.
After that, things moved pretty fast. They prepped her for surgery, since she had the epidural, they just used that to numb her down. She would be awake for the surgery (I am not sure if that is always the case). They had me scrub in and get ready in case the doctor needed an extra set of hands. Just kidding, I did get to don a cool down and mask to be in the room. The doctor never needed me though. It was a pretty cool thing to sit through. I could not see much (the doctor was teaching some interns or whatever) and the one guy would not move. However, I did keep moving around to see what I could. I always thought it would just be a simple slice with a scalpel, but instead they use lasers and power tools. The smell of burnt flesh is very odd. It smells like someone burning a copper pipe (or maybe plastic). I told people it had that machine shop smell when torches are used to cut things. It was definitely weird.
In a few minutes, the doctor was pulling Payton out, they brought her over to Lindsey and I, then immediately took her to be cleaned. Once she was cleaned up a little, they began to stitch Lindsey up and the nurse took me and Payton to the nursery. That was when I got my first true look at my daughter. I looked at her eyes and cried. Everything hit me at once. My wife was okay, my daughter (I HAVE A DAUGHTER!) was okay. I had been up for over 24 hours. I knew Lindsey needed me to be strong, to tell her that everything is great. On the inside though, I was scared. I was freaking out. Preeclampsia? I had to google it (I still do not really understand it, I mean, I get the symptoms and that it is bad, but just the general lack of why is what confuses me). A Caesarean section? I know these things are routine and safe, but there is always that chance of something going wrong. All of those emotions bottled up and pushed away all day long…So it all came out in the nursery, while looking at my adorable little girl.
They led me to the room we would be staying in and I fixed my cot and decided to get a shower. They brought Lindsey back to the room and I finally laid down to sleep. What an incredible day! I will not bore you with all the remaining stuff. The next few days were pretty uneventful. We had family and friends come by to visit. Feeding, sleeping, pooping. Sometimes I did those things, sometimes Lindsey, but most of the time it was Payton. I am sure over the next few days/weeks/months/years, there will be plenty of fatherhood posts.
Before I go though, there are a few things I should mention…
-The doctors and nurses at Conemaugh were fantastic. Especially the nurses. When Lindsey was pushing, it was the nurse who was there the entire time. Delivery is definitely not like movies or television. There are not a team of doctors & nurses there to do everything. I held one leg, Kayla or her mom held the other, the nurse kept saying breathe. Every once in awhile the doctor would come in and check things out.
-Every guy holds a newborn the same: the arm cradle. I am not making fun, every time I have been handed a small baby, I did the same thing. I did not want to move them around or anything. I remember holding Kayla’s daughter and I would get sweaty because I was nervous. Then you hold your own and you watch how the doctors and nurses flip them around, you say “oh, okay, I can do a little more here.”
-Kayla packed my clothes. I did not know how long we would be in for and I definitely did not have her grab enough. So she had Adam2 pack some stuff of his. Adam2 is an Oakland Raiders/Michigan Wolverine fan. Now, if it were me, I would have grabbed all the Penn State or Steelers stuff I could find. Adam2 is a good person, he packed Pirates shirts.
-Breastfeeding is hard. We did not think Payton was latching on, so the lactation consultant came in and was like “oh she is doing great, you got it, it just takes time.” For two days we kept hearing this, we even had other nurses come in to help. Lindsey would tell them that Payton would latch for a second or two, but not for a long period. Then Sunday night, the nurse tells us that Payton has dropped in weight (I guess this pretty normal) beyond what she should. So they gave us formula to supplement her. They had us feed it to her from a tiny cup or a syringe. They did not want nipple confusion. The pediatrician comes in the next day and is like “who cares about nipple confusion, she needs to eat, she has now lost 10%, that is not good. She needs food.” I get that they do not want mothers to become discouraged and just give up. I get that breast milk is better. But at the end of the day, Payton needs to eat.
-Childbirth is an amazing miracle. The end result is definitely beautiful. However, the process? Not so pretty. I heard the word discharge more in 24 hours than I have my entire life. Also, when they bring your child over, she is covered in…well just about everything. Funny thing though, while it is happening, I never once was grossed out. The only time I went “ugh” was when Lindsey said she might throw up and the nurse handed me a container. It was large cup they use to empty the catheter bag into so they can dump it in the toilet. I thought “if she spews, they are going to need a bigger cup, because I will throw up with her.”
-No one prepares you as a new dad for the fact that the first few days, you will do everything. I changed all the diapers. I was the one who had to lull her to sleep by walking around. I had to get up and check on her when she would cry at night. Maybe this was because of the C-section and the fact that Lindsey could not get out of bed the first day at all. It definitely gave me an immense amount of respect for single mothers. I am guessing if they do not have anyone, the nurses spend more time in the room helping them, which having someone like myself with Lindsey frees up the nurses time. Maybe. I do not know. Even just coming home, if you do not have someone, how does that work? And this is not me complaining about doing that stuff, I loved every second of it.
-Before anyone asks, we had our checkup today and Payton gained some weight and the doctor said she is very healthy. Lindsey is doing well, only a little bit of pain. The other question we keep getting is “what about Samson?” Lindsey’s dad picked him up on Thursday. He has been well taken care of (probably a little spoiled) during this whole event. The snowstorm today has forced us to leave him there one more day, which sucks, but might be for the best. He will probably want to jump on Lindsey and that would be bad with her staples. We miss him like crazy and I look forward to seeing him tomorrow. It is so weird being in our house without him here.
-Finally…there is one thing that everyone says to you, that is absolutely true. Whenever you say that you do not like kids, or that you are afraid you won’t know what do around your kid. Someone always says something like “eh, I was like that, but it is totally different when it is your own.” It is true. I watch parents making silly faces and noises in public and would think “ugh, I will never be able to do that.” Or what about carrying a child while rocking them, shushing them to stop crying? Yep, all of these things just come natural. It is a weird thing. Almost like a biological imperative or something.
Okay, who cares what I have to say…enjoy some pictures.
As you can see, Jason and Adam have that “protect the football” grip down pat. And I am not making fun, I can guarantee the pictures of me holding a Emelyn would be exactly the same.