Monday, February 4, 2013

Shayna Phuong


On Saturday January 5th, Huyen and I had our friends Heidi, Seth and Sal over for dinner. The three of them left around 10PM and we went to sleep around eleven. Three hours later Huyen woke up with stomach pains. At first she thought she ate too much but after they didn't go away we cleverly deduced that they were contractions. We downloaded a contractions application on our phones and started to time her contractions around 3:30AM. At first we thought that they must be Braxton-Hicks contractions (AKA "fake contractions") since we weren't due for another two and a half weeks and since the contractions were all over the place -- some fifteen minutes apart, others just two minutes. I told Huyen to take a warm shower and made her a smoothie to help her relax. We then started to watch a DVD the hospital had given us that we were waiting till the last minute to watch. We got about ten minutes into the video when Huyen's contractions started to become five minutes apart. Our doctor had told us that this was the time to start heading to the hospital.

Huyen had packed her hospital bag weeks earlier and it was in the trunk of our car. As we got ready to leave I asked her if she packed anything for me...she hadn't. So I quickly threw a few things together...and then a few more things -- including our backgammon board -- thinking that we'd be at the hospital for a long time. When I finished packing the bags, Huyen had her most painful contraction yet; she literally bent over in pain and had a tear coming down her face. At this point I was 100% sold that we were having our baby since Huyen is one of the toughest people I've ever met.  We quickly went down the stairs of our building and I ran to get the car. When Huyen got in I called the doctor's office and was told that the doctor would call us back. Thankfully it was 7:30AM on Sunday morning so there was no traffic at all going to the hospital. We arrived at St. Barnabas thirty minutes later and as I pulled into the lot my phone rang. It was a doctor (not our doctor or any of the ten from his practice) asking us what the situation was. I told him we were having contractions four minutes apart and he said to come to the hospital. I told him we'd be right upstairs.

After checking-in, the nurses examined Huyen and told her that she was six centimeters dilated. It was almost go time.  At this point Huyen was so nauseous and in so much pain that she couldn't speak. She went probably three hours without saying a word. Actually the only time she spoke was when I was coaching her to breath. She turned her head and looked at me and said, "DON'T BREATH IN MY FACE!" She didn't say anything else again until she had her epidural.

Once Huyen had her epidural she was in heaven. She took a little nap and I decided to watch a little football. I turned on the TV and started to watch the Ravens vs. Colts playoff game. After a few minutes the nurse came in and examined Huyen. She then asked me to hit a little red button on Huyen's bed. The intercom came on and the nurse said, "Please tell the doctor to come in. We're ready to deliver." Five minutes later, four pushes by Huyen and three snips of the scissor on the umbilical  cord by me, Shayna Phuong was born. It wasn't like how I had pictured it or how a thousand movies had depicted it. Everything was very very calm. Shayna didn't cry but just stared at us with her beautiful eyes. She was immediately placed on Huyen's chest and just like that, we had a family.

That was four weeks ago. The best four weeks of our lives.