It was Tuesday, December 20. A few minutes before 7 AM Tary jumped out of bed and made a beeline to the bathroom thinking her water just broke. It took me a few minutes to gather myself and process what she was saying to me. As with Daniel’s birth, Tary was skeptical that her water broke. However I’ve read enough about the symptoms and watched enough birthing videos to know that it did and that we were going to meet our baby soon!
Thoughts raced through my head about what was next for us and how we were going to take care of Daniel through all of this. I need to get focused. I decided that we should keep Daniel’s routine the same as possible. I got him ready for school and dropped him off at daycare. I mentioned in passing to some of the teachers that Tary’s water had broken. They were excited to hear the good news and wished us good luck.
It was around 9 AM when I got back home and Tary’s contractions had just started. I began tracking their frequency on a sheet of paper because I knew the doctors and hospital staff would ask for that info later. At this point they were about 15 minutes apart.
Tary called her doctor, Dr. Mills and scheduled to see her at 11:30 AM. The contractions were now 4 minutes apart. It was kind of funny to me that Tary was still unsure that her water broke. Dr. Mills performed a quick exam and I quietly chuckled as she confirmed that Tary’s water had indeed broken. Dr. Mills recommended that Tary eat something now before going to the hospital because they would not let her eat anything until after the baby was born. Dr. Mills suggested eating something that was not too greasy or had too much mayo or cheese. So we went through the drive through at McDonald’s and then quickly ate our lunches at home.
I drove us to the hospital at around 12:15 PM. I dropped Tary at the front door so she wouldn’t have to walk very far after I parked the car. Dr. Mills had already called ahead so all we had to do was head up to the labor/delivery area and waited as they prepared a room.
While sitting in the waiting area, I made it Facebook official with the following post at 12:18 PM:
“Tary’s water broke. Here we go…again!”
Tary was finally admitted at around 12:30 PM. We were assigned to room 3208. The room looked very familiar. Then we realized that this was the same room in which Daniel was born. I know that being in the same room didn’t really matter but it still comforted me a little bit.
Terry was our first nurse. Elaine, an assistant nurse, briefly made an appearance to place an IV in Tary’s left hand. Terry attached various sensors to measure the baby’s heart rate, Tary’s heart rate, blood pressure, and intensity of her contractions. Most of the computer equipment looked like it was updated since we were last here. And as I did with Daniel’s birth, I intently watched the monitors and studied the readings printed by the plotter.
It was now early in the afternoon and Tary’s contractions had started to slow down. Pitocin was introduced into the IV and that got things jumpstarted again. I tried to be a more attentive and supportive husband so I made sure to stay off of my phone this time, held Tary’s hand, and reminded her to breathe during contractions.
It was getting dark and we had to think about what to do with Daniel who was still at daycare at the time. I spoke with my parents earlier in the day and my dad said that he would be home by 4 in the afternoon. After I called him at 4:10 PM and confirmed that he was home, I left the hospital and picked up Daniel from daycare. I then dropped him off at my parents’ house.
I got back to the hospital at around 5:15 PM. At this point Tary’s contractions were steadily coming every 2 minutes. She initially wanted to try to deliver the baby naturally this time but the pain became so intense that she opted for the epidural. The epidural doctor (anesthesiologist) came and performed his magic at around 5:45 PM. One thing I found interesting was that the doctor and nurses basically recommended that everyone get epidurals judging by their body language even though they could not explicitly say that to their patients.
EDIT: The anesthesiologist reminded me of that creepy in the movie True Lies who tries to forcibly extract the truth from you. Tary pointed out that I made the same comment with the anesthesiologist at Daniel’s birth. Either all anesthesiologists are creepy or I just have some internal bias against them.
Dr. Mills came into the room and performed another cervical exam at around 6:58 PM. 6 cm dilated, fully effaced. I don’t remember what that means but I like having it here for historical reasons. She also confirmed that Baby was facing downward which was the ideal position.
At 7:15 PM Abby replaced Terry as our nurse. I recall that she had a very bubbly personality. By this point the epidural had really kicked in and Tary was reasonably comfortable. All we could do now was wait for the contractions to do their thing.
It felt like a while since someone came and checked in on us. At around 8:30 PM Tary mentioned that she was starting to feel lots of pressure as if she needed to start pushing soon. I suggested that she call in Dr. Mills to have a look. After Dr. Mills checked things out, she announced that Tary was fully dilated and that Baby’s head was literally right there. I think she was surprised at how far along Tary was so she quickly called in the rest of the delivery staff. A nurse named Ava introduced herself as the “baby nurse” so I guess she was the one who cleaned up the baby after he’s born.
Having been through this once before, I felt a lot more comfortable with my (limited) role in the pushing phase. I stood on one side of Tary while Abby stood opposite from me. I could already see Baby’s head! Tary pushed like a pro on the next several contractions. It only took about 3 pushes before Baby’s head had almost cleared. Dr. Mills thought she saw some meconium in the amniotic fluid so she gave some last minute instructions to only use small pushes so she would have enough time to suction. Once his head cleared, I was a little worried because he did not start immediately crying like Daniel did. But Dr. Mills calmly but quickly suctioned Baby’s nose and mouth and our baby started to cry. Dr. Mills then grabbed his head firmly and guided him out the rest of the way!
Matthew Bun Trinh was born at 8:50 PM!
Dr. Mills clamped off the umbilical cord and handed me a pair of scissors. I was so happy that I was given a big-boy pair of scissors instead of the kid-safe ones that they gave me last time. I cut through the umbilical cord with a pair of snips (with near surgical precision I might add). The nurses placed Matthew on the warming table. He did not waste any time reminding everyone not once but twice that his plumbing worked. He made such a mess but all I could think about was, “That was my boy!” Thank you Lord for bringing Matthew into this world and into our lives and that both he and Mommy are doing well.
Matthew’s face was a little different than Daniel’s but I think they are both very handsome boys. He was a bit smaller than Daniel was so I was not surprised that he weighed 6 lbs 5 oz and measured 19 inches long. I am thankful though that he was full term at birth even though he was born 2 weeks and 2 days early. One thing that stood out was that Matthew had long, skinny fingers with very long fingernails.
Matthew was more alert at birth than Daniel was because Tary was not loaded up on morphine this time. The nurse placed him on Tary’s chest and Matthew immediately started searching for her breast. There is no substitute to this skin-to-skin bonding that mother and baby share. Babies truly are miracles and it’s amazing to see God’s design.
After what felt like a rather long and quiet recovery period, we were transferred upstairs to room 4323 in the mother/infant unit. It was around 10:30 PM.
We chose the name Matthew which means “Gift of God” continuing our tradition of giving Biblical names to boys in our family. We chose Bun as his middle name in honor of his late great-grandfather (Tary’s maternal grandfather) who passed away last winter. Matthew, we all love you!
Matthew Bun Trinh
Daddy, Mommy, Daniel, and Matthew