I recall certain elements of the evening Ilana was born while others remain fuzzy - not least because I spent most of the night overcoming logistical obstructions, and very little of it attending the birth.
I was at my Mac and Elvi was at her computer, in different rooms, on April Fool's Day. Elisabeth came in to get me - but I don't really remember that, it's just what I read at Elvi's version of the birth story. (No more cheating from now on.)
I have vivid images of Elvi sitting in front of her computer then heading for the bathroom as I asked what was wrong. She told me her water had broken.
I don't remember much of about getting our stuff or leaving the house except for calling Stuart to tell him that his offer of babysitting Elisabeth during the birth was about to be accepted. He said he'd meet us at the hospital.
I remember being on the highway and Elvi complaining about every little bump in the road. I tried to find a comfortable compromise between a smooth ride and getting to the hospital quickly - I did not relish the idea of Elvi giving birth before we reached the hospital.
We first drove to the hospital front doors, which are close to the maternity ward. They were locked for the night, so we had to drive to the emergency room at the other end of the hospital. We checked in, although the process seemed to go a tad more slowly than I would have preferred.
A staffer wheeled Elvi in a wheelchair the long way back to the other end of the hospital in a wheelchair and my quartermaster chores began. I kept Elisabeth and we went back to the car to gather our gear.
Elisabeth and I got the stuff, including had to make the long trek to the maternity ward. I was loaded down and Elisabeth was walking, like any two-year-old, slowly. I spied an empty wheelchair and hijacked it, putting Elisabeth in it and the bags on her lap.
We got to Elvi's room and I started unpacking the essentials. There wasn't a whole lot going on at that point; the nurses were just preparing Elvi and the room for the commotion to come. At that point, I realized Stuart would probably appear at the hospital's locked front door. I took Elisabeth there, then decided that even if we were to meet Stuart, we'd still have to go back to our car for Elisabeth's car seat. So Elisabeth and I took off to get it, this time without a wheelchair.
Happily, when we got to the emergency room, we ran into Stuart who had found my car in the emergency room parking lot. I left Elisabeth with him and went to get Elisabeth's overnight stuff, which was in Elvi's room. I popped in, noticed an increase of machines and people, checked in with Elvi, grabbed what I needed, then headed back to Stuart and Elisabeth.
Stuart wasn't sure what to do with the car seat, so I installed it for him and bid Elisabeth goodnight. Elisabeth - angel child that she is - was quite happy to leave with Stuart. Problem One solved.
I came back to the birthing room to find the doctor and her gang attending Elvi. I had time to go pee and take a picture or two before Elvi's next contraction. Either on that contraction or the next one, I squeezed my way between the machines and staff to get as close to Elvi as I could. She had one more contraction, kept pushing and - ploop! - there was Ilana! I couldn't have been in the room for more than ten minutes.
I don't remember if I was next to Elvi during the pushing or not, but I do remember that I wasn't when she gave birth and I first saw Ilana. I was to the doctor's left and there was a machine between me and Elvi. I saw this large kid and boy was I surprised to see it was a girl. We both thought it was a boy. I remember what I said after the doctor confirmed my diagnosis of "it's a girl." I said "my fault" and the doctor agreed. You know, she was a great obstetrician and a good communicator, but I don't think she ever really realized I knew what I was talking about.
I think I was disappointed to see a strawberry birthmark on Ilana's
arm and a bulge on her abdomen where her muscles hadn't yet firmed up.
Neither condition merited too much concern, and I realize that Ilana
is pretty perfect, but since Elisabeth didn't have any similar
conditions at birth, I guess I was spoiled. Anyway, Ilana got even
with me 21 months later, when she vomited into my mouth.
Ilana Augusta Nyveen