Archive for October, 2009

Back Again
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Let me begin by saying, “I’m sorry.” Not just to those of you who are dedicated readers of this blog, but also to my friend and fellow writer on this site, Scott. He has bore the weight of solely maintaining Daddy Thoughts in my absence.

It was mid-September that my life was interrupted with unexpected changes. Late-September when my family went on a cruise for my Grandmother’s 80th birthday. She was left behind, hospitalized due to several severe blood clots in need of treatment. And now, late-October—the 26th to be exact—two weeks after she passed.

It has been six agonizing weeks filled with hope, caring, praying, triumphs, recoveries, relapses, and now loss. But amidst the surging and diminution of emotions, the increased tensions and then ebbing of enflamed nerves—one thing has managed to persevere: The love of my grandmother, Shirley Elizabeth Engilis.

It was her request that we all still go on the cruise to celebrate her life; Her request that we come together as a family, like years passed, spending the time with one another; And her request that we continue to come together and remember her love in the time that we spend with one another.

As loss does often wrought, I—as well as most of my family—have recently been forced to contemplate that which we all share in common: death. And although that is the single-most-finite thing that we all share, I do not believe it the end. Perhaps the end of a physical existence here on earth. But of one thing I am certain. I saw my grandmother on the day of her funeral.

Not the vessel which she occupied that now resides within her casket. I saw her in the six children that survived her. They stood together, arms around one another; Bodies pressed, interlocked as one. And in that moment, as they shared the grief—I saw them moved by her love.

As one is lost, one is gained….
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As one is lost, one is gained….

It’s funny to think about life… it’s so short! I am involved in this Daddy Thoughts blog site, with my dear friend John, which whom I have known since we were both in elementary school. That is a huge accomplishment, on both of our parts, to have known each other for so long, and that we have remained such great friends. I do not believe that he will mind me sharing this, as this has been a tough week for him, and rather a tough few weeks. My partner in crime on this website, John, lost someone very close to him this week. An immediate family member and close relative, who was able to live a long and joyous life, but with knowing this, it still does not mask the pain of her loss. She will be missed tremendously by him, and for me I just want to be there for him in whatever he needs. I knew her, met her several times, and knew of her through John, but my goal is to laugh and think of good times for him. But, with this loss, I can’t help but think of what I have gained just a few short weeks ago. I was able to bring a precious baby boy, while another was loosing their life. It is such a strange feeling, one that is hard to describe in words. As one is lost, one is gained…. One day Colby will have to feel the toughest loss of all, which is life, and I will have trouble explaining to him how to deal with it. I know that he will figure it out, as we all do, but it is one of those things that are extremely tough on me. I can not begin to feel what John is feeling this week, and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time.

Remember, we love you John and always will, my friend!

Swing forward, but not to much please…
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Well, for all of my fantastic families out there, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, I have a baby swing dilemma I’d like to discuss… Upon learning the news, that we were expecting, I like I am sure many others, went out and bought a plethora of baby items and equipment. The items, from swings, to bouncy seats, to almost everything listed on the standard guide of baby items needed, we bought it! Our first swing, was a larger type of device, and looked wonderful. But this swing was not conducive to newborns, as we soon found out. The problem you ask? Well, since he was so small, he could not hold his head up just yet, allowing it to fall forward, and we deemed it problematic. It just looked funny, and we didn’t want him to hurt himself. It will be good, once he gets a little bit older. Next, we borrowed another swing, fisher price, and it looked great in its packaging. It was a swing, and a glider, how exciting! But again, it too allowed his head to swing forward, looking quite uncomfortable, and we didn’t like his head flying forward like this. Nonetheless, we were just about done with the whole swing concept, when we came across a smaller version, travel-like type of swing. Fearing that it would be the same as the others, we were hesitant. But, this time we were able to see one put together at Babies’ R Us, and we could see in person, that this is what we needed. The swing, made by a company called Boppy, laid back just enough that his head would not go too far forward. It is compact, easy to put together, and we definitely are at ease now with the swing concept. Finally! Weigh in….

Colby’s Story Part 4
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Colby’s Story Part 4

The time, 4:45pm on September 2nd, 2009 and we began pushing. I must add a warning label from this point on, as things may start to get graphic!!!! The nurse, would be started the pushing process. This ordeal was exhausting for my wife mostly, but for me as well. I was standing up for the entire process, with a duty on top of it. My duty, you ask, was to hold my wife’s left leg up in a certain position, basically up and pushing it back into her chest, as our nurse did the same with the right leg. She instructed my wife to push as if she was pushing a bowel movement. My wife did, and I can not begin to explain how that is done. I can only assume that you are using some sort of stomach muscle to, I guess, push down??? I really and not sure, I just don’t know. My wife was instructed to push, while our nurse counted down from 10. We would do this three times in a row, and then pause for a few minutes. A few times we did this, the nurse would be down in the female body part, gently moving around in a circular motion to, I can only assume again, start to create some sort of opening. About 30 minutes into this, the nurse said that she could see the head. I miss it. I really wanted to see it, and then next time we pushed I made sure that I was in position to see it, and I did! This was very exciting!!!! From this point forward, it appeared that we could see it, after each of the third 10 second.

The head of my boy had hair! My baby had hair, and I could see it! Yay! We were getting somewhere, I thought. But in my illusion of progress, this same scenario continued to play out for about another hour. This same thing of pushing and only seeing a portion of the baby’s head continued. We tried several positions in the pushing process. First, being the standard legs back against the chest, and pushing. Next, we tried this tug of war position that essentially took me out of the equation. This entailed the nurse giving my wife a towel and asking her to pull on it, while the nurse pulled in the other direction. And the third and final position was my wife lying on her side, first pushing on the right and then on the left. When ended up going back to old faithful, the standard position of pushing, legs pushed back and chest with my wife lying on her back.

We continued to push. And push. And push. And push. We did this from 4:45pm until about 6:15ish. Then something started to happen, and not a good something. There were several spikes on our magical chart plotting monitor screen. Spikes in heart rate, that started to concern our nurse. She proceeded to get another nurse, and they both worked with us for about 10 more minutes of pushing. There was small, quiet talk between them. Talk that didn’t concern my wife, as she was exhausted at this point, and was kind of out of it, but I had picked up on it. I tried to remain alert to their conversations, but not to alarm my wife, as I was not certain of the issue. I told my wife that she was doing great, but I was also keying in my senses as to what, the now two nurses, were discussing. They did not like what they were seeing on the monitors. They then went to get the doctor, which happened to now be the third doctor. We had gone through 3 doctor shift changes, and we still laboring.

Doctor Jones arrived, and discussed with the nurses the issue, and they came to the conclusion that we needed to stop pushing for a few minutes. The nurse told my wife that we needed to take a break. It was not exactly explained to us, but I gathered from their conversations that because she had been pushing continuous for close to two hours now, there was stress on the baby. Spikes in the baby’s heart rate, not the mothers, were the source of the concern. My wife had no knowledge of this, but I did, and it did slightly scare me for a moment. I talked to the nurse off to the side, and she told me that there was nothing to worry about, and these types of things happen often. I was still worried, but I didn’t not say anything to my wife, as I didn’t want to now worry her. I remained calm, and collected because I didn’t want to alarm her. After about 10 minutes of rest, my wife said to the nurse, I’m ready to start pushing again, as she was thinking they we were taking a break to allow her to rest, even though it was not a break to allow my wife to rest but rather a break to calm the baby down from the stress of pushing. The nurse said to her that she would like to wait a few more minutes. My wife, considerably out of it, said okay in a somewhat sleepy, groggy manner. So, we rested.

It was at about 6:40ish, that we began pushing again. The rest seemed to work and be the much needed resource of us, as we began to seriously start to get somewhere. The baby’s head was considerable showing more and more, almost staying there, visually after the pushes. Just sitting there was the baby’s head, as weird as that may be, but true… there was just the top of the head, sticking out there. With holding true to be as visual as I can, the head appeared to have some sort of whitish mucus stuff on it. Again, we were really starting to get somewhere now! The doctor was called back in, and she was really good with my wife. Dr. Jones would have her push, but instead of three 10 second pushes, she increased it to four, and slowed down the counts, as she wanted my wife to continue to push longer. She did this in a way, that was forceful in making her do it, but with a comfort to it. She was not mean about it, or demanding, but made my wife feel at ease in doing it longer. She truly had a gift in her technique. We are approaching the 7pm mark, and our wonderful little nurse Lya’s shift ended at 7. We both felt very comfortable with her, and loosing her at any moment, would change the balance that we had been used to all day, as remember she had been with us for each moment. Lya’s replacement nurse had arrived, and Lya began to explain to the new nurse our status, and different scenario’s that we have had throughout the day, generally our start to finish agenda over the course of the day. But the neat part about our nurse was that even though she was leaving the next day for Seattle and had a flight that left town at 6am, she did not end her shift. She stayed with us, until the end, and remained with us, even though her replacement, the other nurse had arrived, and took over. Lya stayed in the room, off to the side, and said that she was not leaving until Colby was born.

Okay, so things were really picking up, as the 7:10 mark approached. More nurses were slowly making there way into the room. I did not realize completely what was going on, as my concentration was purely on my wife, and the baby. But, off the side, I could see this taking place, as more and more nurses arrived. We must be getting real close! Two baby nurses, getting things set up off to the side, where the baby would be placed on this table under a heat lamp. The doctor continuing to make us push, lya off to the side stating that she was not leaving, the new nurse with her arms on my wife’s right leg, my arms holding my wife’s left leg back, and the doctor in the middle ready to make this happen.

The next part is the main and final parts of our birth process, as the doctor used some sort of big thong devise to pinch my wife just under her female part, asking her if she felt that. I watched as she squeezed the thongs hard trying to tell if my wife felt or had any pain, in the part that she was pinching. My wife said no. Next, the table end of the bed was pushed back into the bed, and some sort of trash bag or large medical bag was placed just under my wife’s bottom. What is happening here, I wondered, but I soon found out. The doctor explained in some technical terms that basically she would have to cut my wife under her female body part to allow room for the baby to come out, and my wife of course said go for it. She was ready, I was ready, and the nurses were all ready! We were go for launch!

Here we go, the doctor said to my wife to push, I was with out doubt not going to miss anything as I was right there ready to witness this miracle of birth. My wife began to push, as the doctor took this scalpel and cut her, making an incision like a line on her. There was blood, but it didn’t seem to bother me, as I knew, the 9 months of waiting was finally coming to an end, and he would be coming! My wife at this point obviously had much more room, to allow the baby to come, and ……….

Whoa! He was grabbed by the doctor, and quickly and rapidly pulled out at 7:20pm September 2nd, 2009! Upon coming out, I quickly realized why the bag was placed under her, as other stuff came out with him, specifically liquids and such, and immediately drained right into the medical bag. The doctor was so rapid and fast, that it was tough to comprehend exactly what was happening, but essentially she put something in his mouth that allowed him to start cry. I guess, it was some sort of squishy balloon thingy that got all the mucus and stuff out of his mouth. Next, she wiped him off and dried him of the whitish mucus stuff that covered his body. He was crying and we both were thrilled beyond belief. We did it! She, my wife, did most of it!

And then my main part came, as the doctor asked me prior to the final push if I would like to “cut the cord”. At the time, I excitedly said yes, and now it was my time to complete this task. The doctor gave me some sort of scissor like tool, and as she held the baby, I cut the cord. It was a strange feeling as some blood squirted out, and the cord felt through the sensation of the scissors, like rubber. After the cord was cut, the baby was free of the mother, and quickly taken off to the side, for all the baby vital tests. Clean up, pricked, weighed (8 lbs 11oz), measured (21 ½ in long), and wiped down, among other things. The proud father I was, I immediately began taking pictures, walking around the room taking pictures of everything. I started to take pictures of the baby, my wife, the nurses, doctors, everything!

I was walking back towards my wife, and then I saw probably the most disturbing thing out of the whole process. I did great with the cutting, the baby being pulled through, the pushing process, all of that. But this next part, was the one sight that did make me think. The other end of the umbilical cord was being pulled out of her, and attached to it was the placenta. This was some type of huge purplish organ, and it just seemed massive to me. It was pulled out of her, and dropped into the medical bag. After that, the doctor stitched her up, as I was able to hold my son, Colby. They had placed some sort of ointment on his eyes, as I guess the baby needed it, being this was his first time seeing the world. He cried, my wife was amazing, and we had our baby boy! I made my final text message to the family in the waiting room, whom were all so wonderful and supportive as they waited for what seemed like forever! After my text and after a few minutes of spending time with them, I made my way out to the waiting room, when a loud cheer came from my family, as they had received the text, and knew that he had arrived. I explained that they could come and visit in a few minutes. They understood, and after things settled down, they made their way to visit our precious angel, Colby!

All in all, we had a great pregnancy, with little discomfort throughout. My better half was amazing from start to finish, and she was able to bring this gift into the world, a healthy baby boy. I could not have asked for anything more!

Welcome Colby Barrett Lohman, born Wednesday September 2nd, 2009 at 7:20pm!!!

Colby’s Story Part 3
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Colby’s Story Part 3

Okay, we left off at the point in the story, where my wife’s water had just been broken by the doctors. The process, as simple as it is, basically consists of going up into the female body part (you know what I mean), and essentially popping the balloon, or the sack to release the water. There is no turning back now. I was with her from that point, pretty much the entire time, as I didn’t want to miss a thing. The parents would, for all intents and purposes, travel up and down the elevators, back and forth, exchanging the visitor pass to take turns visiting us. They were wonderful as they spent their entire day, with us, in this process. My best guess would be that the water was broken at or around 10:30ish. Our main labor and delivery nurse, Lya, would be at our side throughout the day. She would be in and out, checking vitals, and occasionally check the status of how many centimeters my wife would be dilated at any given point.

We started our day, dilated at 6 cm. at 6 am. It would seem to appear that we were stuck at about 7 cms, from around 12ish, to about 2pm. At about 1:30, my father and I went down to get lunch, at the cafeteria at the hospital. Little did we know at the time, but this became our daily ritual for the next 3 days. Not to long after, at about 2ish, Dr. Logan (who would now be the second doctor attending to us from our practice), decided that it would be a good time to start increasing the process. In her words, she stated that my wife was “far too comfortable”. We chuckled at this, but we knew exactly what the next suggestion would be, to start adding the oxytocin. This is an inducing agent, to help speed up the birth process. Since the water was broken at this point, there was now at timeline that was in play too.

You see… it stands to reason in doctors minds, that once the water is broken, the time table for birth is key, as it is not recommended that the mother of the child be delivering for many hours after the water is broken. So, the inducing agent was starting to drip down from the bag that contained it, through the thin clear tubes, and into my wife’s right arm. The doctor had Lya the nurse, start the inducing agent at a small amount to see how the process would be affected from a tiny amount. Lya continued to check my wife’s progress, which included checking to see if she had dilated any further, and watching this magical screen that charted off numbers. I say magical screen, as it seem to do everything, which included but is not limited to plotting charts, which included plotting my wife’s heart rate and the baby’s heart rate, and essentially keeping track of all the vitals.

From about 2ish to 3ish there was not a lot of change in dilation, so the doctor thought it best to increase the amount that was being given of the inducing agent. From about 3ish to 4ish, since the inducing agent began to drip with the increased amount, my wife slowly started to increase her dilation. Her dilation increased from 7 to 8cm, and then next from 8 to 9cm. It was at this point, when things really started to get interesting! At 4 in the afternoon it was my parents who were the lucky ones to be visiting in the room at this point. I was on phone duty, and was continuing to send out updates via text messaging. I look up, and my mom is holding my wife’s hand, and my father is there too, both trying to comfort her. She was now, for the first time, in some serious, intense pain. You see, she had been at 9 cm, before she experienced any real pain. She was amazing! She had gone further than most, aside from those who decide to give birth completely natural with no pain medication for reducing the throbbing contractions. Like I stated earlier, she had been previously setup with the epidural, but the medication was not being administered to her, only the line was inserted into her back.

So, to get back to the story, she was in pain. My mother had gone into the bathroom, and gotten her a damp, wet, folded, hand towel and placed it on her forehead, as my wife was grasping my hand with crushing strength. I think that she was trying to implement pain in my hands, so that I too, could be experiencing what she was. Our nurse, asked if she would like to start the epidural medication, and my wife indeed wanted to start that process. The pain continue throughout the contractions, but I believe that she did feel better knowing that help was on the way, in the form of pain medication. It seemed to take forever though. The nurse got the anesthesiologist, who finally arrived with this box, that controlled the medication, and he attached it to the line that was connected to my wife. The box had a remote with a button, that we could press any time she felt pain. This miracle box appeared to add instant relief. The time, approximately 4:30, when Lya proceeded to get the labor doctor, and they decided that it was time for us, to start pushing. The parents were kicked out of the room, and gave us kisses. They knew that the next time they saw us; it would no longer be the two of us, but rather the three of us!

It is now, 4:45pm on September 2nd, 2009 and we began pushing.

To be concluded…( in vintage “back to the future” style)