After much anticipation and thinking we would need to head to the hospital at any second, they stopped. Saying it was discouraging to go back to bed at 5 am to get some rest is an understatement, but I had to go to class if we weren’t at the hospital, and soon-to-be big sister would wake up around 7 wanting to play.
As the day progressed, Tiffany continued having irregular contractions, and I anxiously went to class with my phone on silent, expecting any second that my phone would vibrate and I would have to run the mile between the business school campus and our apartment in record time. I made it through Business Law without a phone call, though only partly able to concentrate on how people get sued for stealing trade secrets when they leave a company and start up a new business. Key lesson learned: stealing the Coca-Cola recipe = a very large lawsuit. It lacks the nuances of the actual basis of law, but I think it will work in a pinch. After class I ran back to our place to check up on the family – still no baby. However, our apartment was scheduled to get the heating repaired that day, so Tiffany was hanging out at a friend’s place while the workers finished up. Luckily I had a long enough break to get our place put back together after the workers left, and then it was back to campus for a trading-room simulation for Finance with my phone at the ready. During the exercise, we traded imaginary stocks to see how the market behaves to determine stock prices. Key lesson learned – there’s a lot more to making money in the stock market than guessing when a stock will go up or down, and the market (everyone that buys and sells stock) is really smart.
Still no baby.
Back home, we were hoping that our lost sleep in the morning wasn’t all for naught, and waiting for Tiffany’s mom to arrive from California, and it started. I pulled out my phone, opened the stopwatch app, and began anew my contribution to the process. Tiffany bent over the couch and began her concentrated breathing. These contractions were stronger than those in the morning but didn’t come quite as quickly. She wanted to labor at home as much as she could (the hospital really isn’t that comfortable), but we called the hospital to let them know that we would probably be arriving that evening. Realizing I was measuring and recording something, and no longer groggy from the early morning, my primal instincts to track, monitor, and improve a process kicked in. A control chart seemed appropriate, so I switched from jotting down times on a notecard to recording them in Excel. Giving the urgency of the adrenalin-fueled situation, identifying proper upper and lower bounds for contraction times wasn’t very realistic, but I was at least able to track the labor process in real-time, and visually see any changes or patterns. The chart below is what Tiffany was going through. Plotted are contraction duration, the break after each contraction, and the total of the two. The y-axis is the time in seconds, and the x-axis represents each sequential contraction. For some people labor is most vivid when seen and lived through in person, but for others, the following chart will be even more enlightening.
As you can see, the contractions (blue line) were fairly consistent up until about number 16, where things began to get more intense. Once the lines for “Duration” and “Break” crossed, I knew it was time for action. This was an obvious visual cue that it was time to get to the hospital, and data collection has never been so exciting in the history of man. As well, it was fortunate that we had the charts so that I knew what to do, because at this point Tiffany was too focused on breathing and not having a baby in the living room to be able to answer me when I asked, “is it time to go to the hospital?”
Tiffany’s mom had arrived a while earlier, and was returning from the playground with Kayla as we passed her on the stairs and told her we were on our way to increase the size of our family by 33%. It took one contraction on the stairs and one on the sidewalk to get to the car, but we were on our way.
Once on the road, we began to navigate the tricky Cambridge traffic. As you may know, Cambridge existed during the time of the revolution; in fact George Washington’s troops were camped out at the battle of Boston in what is essentially our modern-day backyard. This is only relevant because it means that roads were set up to handle things like horses and pedestrians, so with the proliferation of the automobile during the 1900’s, the only option for traffic in Cambridge and Boston was to become terrible. The hospital was only 2 miles away, but traffic levels could be the difference between a leisurely hospital delivery and a historic delivery on the banks of the Charles River. Luckily we planned the best route before hand, snuck through traffic with Tiffany realizing just how uncomfortable a seatbelt can be during active labor, and arrived at the Hospital a little after 8 pm.
After getting Tiffany set in the room, I ran down to move the car and grab the camera. The doctor and nurse said we probably had about 20 minutes before they would break her water, and the baby would arrive in under an hour. When I got back to Labor and Delivery the nurse said, “Okay Dad, her water just broke and the baby’s coming!”
Me - “Wait, you broke her water without me?!?”
Nurse - “No, it broke on its own!”
In the ensuing minutes, Tiffany demonstrated her heart of a champion, endured a few excruciating contractions, and then pushed baby Logan out in 2 pushes! No epidural, no pain medication whatsoever. The baby was born at 8:40 pm, and Tiffany was happy to no longer be pregnant. And to no longer be pushing. And to have our new baby! She’s amazing!
Weight – 7 lbs. 5 oz.
Length – 21 inches
Both Tiffany and Logan are doing fantastic recovering from the ordeal. We should be able to go home tomorrow and begin our lives as a family of four!