At 6:40am Tuesday morning, our baby girl arrived - Isabella Molly Kong, all 8 pounds, long wrinkly fingers and big eyes. She took 21 hours of labour to arrive, and I'm still in shock and awe at not just wee Isabella, but Karen's strength and serenity through the experience.
We were due on 27th - so we were getting a bit antsy. Karen's water's broke on Monday at 7:45, and we were at the hospital by 9:30. She managed the process herself for about 10 hours, with no intervention,(the pool in the birthing suite was brilliant!) before taking gas. She was fully dilated at 8:30pm and all set to push and we did for almost 2 hours. But some problems arose - that meant an epidural at midnight, which gave her 3 hours of rest - and the chemical that I can't recall the name of being pumped into her - causing her pain-free contractions, designed to force baby down the last ride. At that stage no-one could figure out how Isabella was presenting - and her head seemed to be jamming for no apparent reason. 5am saw us all set for another hour of pushing - which failed and after consulting the registrar, the decision was made to go to theatre. Option A there was to use the Venusian flying sucker dish apparatus - and failing that finally - a C-section.
Isabella arrived by C-section, and while that was the last of the desires on our birth plan - it was ultimately the best result - that kept Karen and our baby safe. And that is all I could ask for.
Jenny, our midwife was truly amazing, and held us together the entire time. She was clear and calm and provided the support we needed whenever we had to take on extra interventions. The theatre team at the hospital were swift and polite, and did their job professionally. That allowed me to just focus on being there for Karen. Karen was amazing. I have no words to capture the strength and purpose she brought to this process - she found her zone and stayed there - focused on that wee being inside her. When the decision was made to go to theatre - she refocussed and while I was a mess, informs me today that she was trying to see over the screen that separated us from the procedure.
I am an utter wreck. But this tiny person just blows my mind. Throughout all of the stress of the last 2 days - her heartbeat on the monitor was unchanging - apart from when some big latex-bound hand was twisting her head. That monitor - that message from this small person - that it was all going to be OK - helped guide me through what has been the most shattering experience of my life. She though, took the whole thing in her stride, and seems unfazed by this place she now lives in. Her big eyes gaze around and her papery fingers twist around my thumb.
Through her eyes I see things - colours jump out at me, my world seems full. I don't know how to explain it - apart it possibly being simply the exhaustion. But it's good exhaustion - it's full of hope, and nerves, and purpose.
I could go on - but I shouldn't. This is best saved for coffee sessions. Or beers. Thanks for all your texts of love and support.
I'm a Dad. We're a family. It's brilliant.
Tim, for Karen and Isabella