Monday, February 17, 2014

The birth of Levi James Hamilton, Pt. 1: A timeline

Levi James Hamilton, 36 minutes old!

From Saturday, February 15:

Our baby boy Levi turns one month old today!  Four weeks ago from last Wednesday, our family received the greatest blessing since the birth of our 2 year old daughter Lena (link).

As shown below, both the timing and method of Levi's birth were quite unexpected. Here is a stripped down timeline of the events leading up to that glorious moment:

Friday, January 10: Our yet-to-be named baby's due date

Not a peep from that womb. Kathy stayed home that evening and I volunteered, as planned, with Compassion International at the Roadshow tour. I jumped every time my phone vibrated.

I warned my fellow Compassion volunteers (with Third Day front man Mac Powell within earshot) that if I got The Call, I would disappear in a flash.

Monday, January 13: "Hold tight until Friday."

4:30 P.M. The post-due date followup at the doctor's office ended with us scheduling a C-section delivery for Friday morning. "Don't worry," our OBGYN assured us after Kathy's examination. "It's very unlikely that this baby's going anywhere anytime soon."

Vine video: Our baby boy's heartbeat!  Click the "mute" button in the upper left corner to toggle the sound on/off.

Then, the very next morning...

Tuesday, January 14: And so it begins.

Times are approximate. 

6:00 am- Kathy's water breaks at our house in Beaverton.  So much for the baby not "going anywhere anytime soon."  Was a C-section immanent? Or, after our scary complications with Lena's birth, would this be our chance to finally have a natural delivery?

Over the phone, the on-call doctor advises Kathy to begin preparations for leaving for the hospital.  Contractions hadn't started yet, so there was no hurry.

6:20 am- At PDX airport, I'm outside working my second flight of the morning when my cell phone begins to vibrate in my pocket.  I had no idea that it was The Call.

6:25 am- Kathy calls her parents Tom and Lora in Salem so they would begin making their way to our house to watch 2 year old Lena.  Due to the flu outbreak, heightened visiting restrictions would prevent Lena being at the hospital with us.

6:40 am- As I frantically search for a ride out to my Jeep parked in the airport employee parking lot, Kathy hops in the shower at home.  Who knows when her next chance would be?

7:30 am- After weaving through rush hour traffic, I pull into our driveway. The scramble is now on to throw together some clothes, toiletries, and snacks.  Kathy's scheduled C-section was slated for Friday, four days later, so neither of us had finished packing.

8:00 am- Kathy's parents arrive at the house, we call off our emergency backup babysitters (Steve and Brenda from church), and then I whisk Kathy away to the hospital!

8:50 am- We arrive at the hospital.

Not quite in labor yet, we check in Kathy at Providence St. Vincent Hospital

There was no room at the inn, so they set us up in a triage room for a few hours.

1:00 pm- We finally get moved from the triage area into a full-sized birthing room.

1:30 pm- Contractions begin, but they are irregular.

3:00 pm- Kathy has only dilated to 1 cm.

Contractions slowly pick up throughout the afternoon and begin to intensify into the early evening.

5:30 pm- My dad stops by the hospital to offer encouragement, support, and grub.

Sorry, Bo. No grandson yet.

7:45 pm- Only dilated to 2 cm.

8:00 pm- Kathy requests an epidural when the pain becomes unbearable.  

9:00 pm- No more pain from the contractions.  When no further dilation occurs within the hour, the nurse leaves us alone in the room to sleep for the night.  We would try again in the morning.

Kathy drifts off to sleep. I do some reading, and then get ready for bed.

9:55 pm- Thinking the coast is clear, I quietly sneak out of the birthing room to brush my teeth before bedtime.  A few minutes later...

10:00 pm-  I return to find the room bustling with excitement.  The nurse and Dr. Hoffman are setting up equipment.  They announce that Kathy has somehow increased from 2 cm to fully dilated in the past two hours!

The doc tells us to get ready to have a baby.

11:00 pm- The pushing begins.  The delivery nurse and I physically assist the doctor in ways that I will not describe in this public blog.*

Wednesday, January 15: Levi's big entrance.

12:26 am- While the nurse and I hold up Kathy's legs, Kathy gives one final push.  Our baby boy enters this world screaming!!

The proud, overjoyed daddy cuts the umbilical cord.

We name him Levi James Hamilton.  The name Levi comes from the father of the ancient Israelite tribe who served God in the Hebrew temple.  James was the name of my great grandfather, James Clive Perry.

"Big entrance" is an understatement.  At 9 lbs 6 oz, Levi was no small baby.

Beating Lena's formidable 8 lbs 15 oz birth weight, Levi weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs 6 oz!!
But Levi's 20 3/4 inch length couldn't quite topple Lena's reign as the longest Hamilton at birth.

Apparently Kathy and I only have big babies.  That's how we roll.

We'll continue this story next week and share new photos.

Part 2 brings our family and friends into the picture at the hospital...

...and Part 3 tells about one of the most anticipated moments of my entire life!

*An informal poll among my friends who have experienced labor and delivery confirmed what I already suspected: my level of physical involvement in this birthing process was highly unusual.  Following each instruction from the doctor, I kept waiting to hear, "Just kidding. That's why we have trained hospital staff."


Geneva said...

AMAZING! Love the play by play. I just had a VBAC myself 14 months ago. Its a wonderful experience. Also love the beard. Congratulations Garth and Kathy!

Garth Hamilton said...

That's great, Geneva! We were warned that a VBAC could be risky, especially considering some omitted circumstances. But we're glad we gave it a shot... it was so amazing to finally witness a natural birth!

Oh, and my beard is all but gone at the moment. Kathy loves facial hair, so I grow one for her every now and then.