I returned home after dropping my daughter off at our friends to my wife saying, "we need to go" and "this really hurts!" Just as we were grabbing our bags, her water broke. Normally, people will have around an hour after their water breaks before the craziness begins.
Not this time.
My wife went to go upstairs to put on clean pants but didn't make it beyond the living room, where she dropped to the ground and said "call the midwife."
I took her cell phone and called our midwife. Our cell reception is horrible in our home. I couldn't understand a word she was saying. She asked to speak to my wife. I handed the phone over and then I looked at my wife and saw that our sons head was beginning to crown. "Holy shit!" Is either what I thought or said out loud, I can't recall. I grabbed our landline and called 911. The woman on the line took my information and then began giving me instructions. "Get fresh towels and linens, get a shoelace or a string to tie the umbilical chord off..." etc.
My wife's water broke at 3:20.
I was on the phone with 911 by 3:22. By 3:23 I could clearly see the top of my sons head. The 911 dispatcher told me to press with my palm on the top of my wife's vagina. I followed her instructions and I immediately heard, "stop doing that," from my wife. I stopped and my wife pushed and his head crowned poked out even more. I put my finger in, around his head (hey, I've seen the doctors in the movies) and this did nothing but perhaps make her even more uncomfortable. She pushed a second time and his head fully emerged. Now I try to put my fingers in there again and help coerce him further. It did nothing. She pushed again, his shoulders plopped out and I could finally pull at something, but really I didn't need to. My wife pushed a final time and he plopped in to my arms.
For those of you that have not seen a birth, it's a dirty, messy and almost violent affair; even when there's a trained professional there in a sterol environment. We were on some old towels on a tile floor in our living room. We were pretty terrified. By the time Atticus landed in our arms it was 3:30. Ten minutes had passed. An eternity of thoughts, actions, fears and joys in ten minutes.
As Atticus emerged he began crying and my wife and I both felt tremendous relief. I handed him to her and was going to grab the shoelace when I heard the sirens.
The firemen and the EMT's were amazing. I've never been more relieved to hear a siren. One of the EMT's that was particularly kind was named "Kermit." When I shook Kermit's hand in thanks it was shaking badly -pure adrenaline. I've never had a more intense experience in my life.
My wife birthed the placenta in the ambulance. She did a fantastic job and she and Atticus are both healthy, beautiful and incredibly strong.
Yesterday I had the most amazing experience of my life.
He's pretty great, don't you think...