The story of today — the big day — is a roller-coaster. I like to write, and some days I think I’m even competent. But this is the hardest day to capture, to share the experience, to make it real.
Today is the also the day where we thought we would return to a normal parents-to-be path. During the ten weeks of bed rest, Andrea and I felt very isolated emotionally. Nobody we knew seemed to have ever had a Pre-term Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM). Even now, as people have read the story when posted to Andrea’s blog or mine, they’ve said they didn’t even know that it was possible to have your water break and not go into labour (we didn’t know either before it happened).
And that’s partly why I’m writing the story. Because unless you have lived it, unless you have gone through it yourself (or something very similar), it’s really hard to relate. Which makes it very hard for the person going through it to feel connected to others. Yet, with the posts, people have said to Andrea, “Hey, I delivered at 35 weeks and here’s my story” or “I was on bed rest too” or “I was in the high-risk unit too”. Often not our immediate circle of day-to-day friends but co-workers or extended friends on Facebook. But when it happened, it wasn’t the sort of message you post on Facebook — it’s not like you’re doing selfies while sitting in Montfort wondering if you might lose your baby.
Work didn’t even know what to do with Andrea’s early leave when it came to pay and benefits. We have good jobs, with great benefits. But if you wanted to meet with someone in benefits in person to discuss mat leave, the answer was a flat out rejection. More like, here are the forms, contact us six weeks prior to going on maternity leave, we won’t look at anything before then, and all support is offered through the website or email. I sent them a blunt email saying, “Hey great plan, oh by the way, my wife won’t be meeting with you during that time cause SHE’S SAVING THE LIFE OF OUR BABY so you get to meet with me and by the way, I’m a bit unstable at the moment so it would be good to get it right the first time.” Okay, so the wording of my email was considerably less dramatic, but I suspect it was a bit raw.
They set me up with an experienced benefits person, in my building, someone who had been promoted recently and didn’t work on maternity leave anymore but knew everything there was to know and was willing to do his old job for one more go-around. He was flat out awesome. Everything in the system, entered the first time correctly, he had already gone through all the forms and put sticky notes everywhere he needed info that he couldn’t pull from the system for us. Awesome. I’d like to say this was because it was just the system being human for a day. And it seemed like it. But when I thanked him at the end, he kind of said in passing, “Yeah, my wife had to be on bed rest suddenly the last few weeks, it’s not easy.” And it is definitely not a picnic, even if people say stupid things like, “Oh that must be nice” or “I’d like 10 extra weeks of vacation”. Kind of like saying happy vacation to someone on bereavement leave.
But today was to be the end of all that. We would go back to being just like everybody else, giving birth, all the problems mostly behind us, a routine delivery and outcome. For us, this was really the departure from no-man’s land, the land of bed rest and weird holding patterns, back into the land of “normal pregnancy / delivery / parenthood”. We wouldn’t be “unique” anymore, we would be back “on track”. Andrea had got us to this point. The PPROM worry was over, no more leakage. Just regular, every day, pregnancy.
The only thing left to worry about was the birth (Andrea) and waiting (me).
The day dawns
Let’s take stock. Andrea has been on bed rest for 10 weeks exactly following our premature water-breaking. And she has delivered a miracle…despite the fact that every time she moved, every time she bent over, every time she breathed, she leaked fluid, she has managed to hang on for 10 weeks. The leaking never stopped, but it was the math problem I mentioned earlier — if Andrea’s amniotic sack leaks fluid at a rate of X ml per day, and her body replaces fluid at a rate of Y ml per day, where Y is constant and X depends on behaviour, what can Andrea do to keep X < Y for ten weeks? Bed rest.
But Andrea did it. Which didn’t surprise me, but kind of surprised her doctors…they expected her to “go” into labour within 24 hours. Then within 72. Then likely before weeks 27, 28, 29, 30. Maybe 32? 34? Okay, we’ll stop worrying now, you’ll go when you go. In week 35 and 36, the baby’s normal Olympic-sized swimming pool was basically like a kiddie pool. Jacob was moving less and less, no backstrokes, no somersaults. Fluids were down a bit more, baby still doing well, but it was time.
Going to the hospital on Friday morning was probably like any other parents-to-be going to the hospital, except we had a schedule. Andrea had a possible C-section set for 10:00 a.m., but they warned us that emergencies could bump us, this or that could happen, might end up being Saturday or even Monday, whatever. But 10:00 was our scheduled departure time from the Land of Non-parents, arriving in Parenthood shortly thereafter.
Ack! Pregnancy! Delivery rooms! Labour! Eep!
I know, you’re probably thinking, “wait, you said C-section”. True. But first they would see if she could do a natural birth. Jacob wasn’t in the right position, so they would try and adjust and maybe induce and she could then have a regular vaginal birth. No surgery. Regular birth, the original plan that went sideways at 26 weeks except with the compromise now that it was an obstetrician in a full ward instead of a mid-wife in a birthing hospital. But still the regular birthing “experience”. That sounds very new age-ish, or very spoiled-diva-ish, or maybe even like “birthing tourist”. You have no idea how much I wanted to get back to “normal”, whatever normal might mean, but no longer “Holy crap, just hold on another day, week, etc.”.
I skipped over something in my earlier 10-week post that I should probably mention here, because it goes to my fear. We had hired a doula. If you don’t know what a doula is, it’s basically a birthing advisor. An extra hand to hold in the room. She (usually a she) doesn’t DO anything directly for the delivery, she’s just there for comfort, advice, practical assistance. She helps you adjust pillows. Reminds you of the next step in your birthing plan. Makes sure everyone is following the plan, and that if they’re not, reminds you that you have a right to decide how things are done. Sometimes it’s warm and nurturing support, maybe rubbing Mom’s back, or more likely, showing Dad how to rub Mom’s back and where. Sometimes it might be advocacy. Lots of possible roles. If you want a working analogy, Mom’s the producer and Director, Dad’s the stage manager, and the doula is the production assistant, ready to take over for Dad if he drops the ball. Most of them have been at numerous births. In some societies, it’s like a knowledgeable older sister or family friend just there to help out. Who reassures you that the water spewing all over the floor is perfectly normal, perhaps.
None of those reasons are why we hired a doula. We hired her to help me. To help me keep it together. I was still traumatized by the experience of Jacob playing hide and seek with the monitors and making the doctors think of emergency delivery at 26w. I wanted someone to tell me what I should be doing, helping me be a better partner during the delivery. Don’t get me wrong, Andrea was open to the idea, kind of like a next-of-kin option to a mid-wife, but the demand was coming entirely from me. We met with a couple of potential doulas, hired one, and she arrived at the hospital shortly after us. She was the first to point out the likelihood that we would not go in at 10:00 but much later in the day.
We arrived at the hospital and were checked in, before being shown to a parents waiting room. Meant to be ultra quiet, little talking, mothers-to-be and birthing partners only. A vending machine at one end, a nice lounge chair for mom if she wanted, or some mixed firmness couches. Sounds nice. It wasn’t really. But it wasn’t plastic seats and benches either. We were mostly by ourselves. 10:00 came and went. Another couple was set to go at 11:30 or something, and they were taken in ahead of us. What the heck? Never mind. Focus on us and who is doing the delivery. 1:00 came and went. A slight update about emergencies, “stay patient, we’re still a go for today”. Breathe.
For a moment, just a small paragraph, I want to speak only to the birthing partners, not the moms or moms-to-be. Are they gone? Great, here’s a small piece of advice. Don’t do what I did. Don’t be a complete idiot. Andrea was scheduled for a possible C-section, right? Which meant anesthetic. Which meant no eating or drinking from sometime in the middle of the night. And I was glued to her hip, no way I was leaving her. Nor was I going to eat or drink in front of her. Which meant I didn’t have anything to eat or drink either. Rookie mistake. Major points for empathy, sure, but a completely dumbass thing to do. Remember this point, it will return later. Just saying.
Hello moms, welcome back to the story.
Just before 2:00, we got the call, and they moved us to a birthing room. Our doula joined in the room and was asking some questions for us, just making sure everything ran smooth. Small issue where we said we wanted her in the room with us, even if a C-section, and found out it was at the discretion of the anesthesiologist. Hmm.
The two doctors we had met earlier in the ten weeks in the high-risk clinic, Dr. Jones and Moretti, were going to work together for the delivery. It was a tag team affair. First off, though, they wanted to see if they could turn the baby into a better birthing position. They tried. Or, rather, one tried. By massaging and pushing on the walls of Andrea’s stomach. Gently. At first. And then more strongly. More aggressively. Rotating movements. I joked with Dr. M if there were any special Portugese techniques he knew (he was from Brazil). Still optimistic, hopeful. It was happening. Nervous, excited. For Andrea, it looked uncomfortable but she told me later that the pressure was even way harder than it appeared, and it was actually painful, not just uncomfortable. A small wrestling match was going on with her stomach, and her stomach was winning.
In the end, there was no joy in Muddville. Jacob was not cooperating and would not turn. Okay, a disappointment. But not completely unexpected. I was sad that Andrea would not get the vaginal birth experience she both wanted and feared, but safety was a concern too.
Time for surgery
If you’ve never had a C-section, or had your partner go through it, it might be easy to think of it as just an assisted birth. Totally natural. It isn’t. It’s surgery. 100% cutting Mom open, removing the baby, sewing them back up, fully invasive surgery. Scheduled, yes; like booking a hair appointment, no.
It started innocently enough. Nothing to be concerned about yet. They took Andrea away to prep her, wheel her to the room, get her set up on the anesthetic. The anesthesiologist apparently asked Andrea if she wanted the doula in the room, which seemed like a weird question, since that was what we were paying her to do. (Interestingly enough, we found out later that there is sometimes a small “code of delivery” going on in the background — the anesthesiologist didn’t care, but they get the Mom alone and ask them if she wants person x, y, or z to be allowed in or not. Sometimes it’s an overbearing mother who wants to be part of it, or whomever, and the Mom really doesn’t want them there but hasn’t been up to saying no. So the doctor takes the hit — if Mom doesn’t want the sister or the mother or the mother-in-law or the videographer in the room, the anesthesiologist says no. A small code to protect Mom. Nice.)
While that was happening, I got gowned up. I thought it would be a simple gown but no. Another rookie error I committed. Our sister had told us that the rooms were COLD, so I wore a thicker polo shirt and some comfortable but warm trackpants. Over the pants went hospital pants, and a gown. A cap over my hair. A full mask on my face. Booties. I’ve been nervous all day. Nothing to eat or drink. It’s 3:00 in the afternoon. And I just put on an extra layer of clothing that doesn’t breathe. My internal temps shot up quick. Remember this.
I entered the room to find Andrea already there, lying on a table looking very much like a Christian statue. Straight body and torso, arms straight out, immobilised with IVs and drips and monitor attachments. (Andrea tells me there was also an epidural line going into her back, but I don’t remember.) If I didn’t realize it before, it’s very clear now. This is full surgery..
I sat on her left side and held her outstretched hand.
There was a small curtain, maybe chest height across her stomach, blocking her abdomen and pelvis from view. The head nurse introduced herself, and told us the plan was relatively simple. The doctors would perform the C-section, they would deliver the baby. At the point of delivery, they would nod to me, I could stand up and see them holding the baby before they cut the cord (unless I wanted to, which they didn’t recommend for a C-section, and I quickly agreed to defer to them). I could then sit back down, they would do their thing, transfer the baby to a waiting warming table, calculate the APGAR score, check him out, all very orderly. Precise. Methodical. Reassuring to me. I like plans. I like order. They say no battleplan ever survives engagement with the enemy, and that is probably true of birthing plans and delivery rooms. I don’t know this yet. It’s my first time.
Okay. Which is what I can see myself saying to the nurse in my first short-term out-of-body experience for the day. I don’t know how to describe it exactly. It’s like my consciousness pulled back a foot and I could see the back of my head, almost like watching myself act out a scene. It was me, but not me. I was present, but not only in my head but almost like an observer too. It doesn’t last long, because I’m freaking out a little. There’s something I haven’t told you but my head is silently screaming as the nurse is talking.
“I. DON’T. LIKE. HOSPITALS.”
Ever since my dad’s first heart attack when I was 10, I’ve hated them. Yep, I’ve been in and out for 10 weeks. I’ve handled it fine. But the smell in this room is the anti-septic, full-on, hospital smell. I’m hot, it’s stuffy, and I’m nervous as hell. But I’m all-in. I will be there, no matter what. I have no idea what it means to be all-in, but I’m doing it. If my wife can deliver, the least I can do is be there when she does. I have to be there. I want to be there. I want to experience it. Even if I don’t like hospitals.
The doula is there, and my fear is the reason. To keep me grounded. And, in the back of my heart and head, to be honest — if I have a problem, if I lose my shit, she’s to help stop me from getting the screaming mimis (an old war reference).
The surgery begins a few minutes after 3:00, and everything goes as planned. For about 4 minutes, I think. Then the nightmare begins. If you’re squeamish, you’re going to want to skip down to the next big heading. What I’m about to write about is graphic.
There’s a reason that Jacob has not been doing the backstroke or somersaults. He can’t. He’s stuck behind Andrea’s pelvic bone. Not playing hide and seek. Not being shy. He is stuck. He’s fine, but his head is completely wedged.
The doctors do their normal stuff. No budging. Jacob is still stuck.
They pull harder, no movement. He’s REALLY stuck.
They widen the incision. Strange slurping slopping noises start to emerge from behind the curtain, the likes of which have never been fully replicated in a movie or TV show. It’s a primal sound. I can’t see it, but I know they have their hands in Andrea’s body. Moving stuff around. Grunting with effort. They are not simply lifting Jacob out, they are REMOVING him. Like using the jaws of life at a car wreck.
Except the car is my wife. Every time they do something, every time they push or pull, her body slides a bit on the table. Up, down, back, forth. They are working hard to free Jacob. It doesn’t hurt her in the pelvic area, but she can feel the pressure, and it feels like her ribs will break. All of them, at once.
This effort goes on for almost 15 minutes. Increasingly aggressive. Increasingly primal. Increasingly physical. They use forceps, their hands, suction.
It’s not going well, even I can tell. At one point, they take a breath before going for another big attempt. It’s like watching furniture movers overwhelmed by a large chesterfield, trying to figure out where to grab. They discuss bracing strategy. One puts his hand here, getting a good grip so he can pry the opening as wide as possible. The other will get in position to remove Jacob.
With each new thrust and release, and no Jacob, Andrea moves up and back on the table almost 4 inches. It’s like they’re trying to heave her up the table further.
Eventually, Dr. M is on the table, braced, pulling. The nurses are helping to steady Andrea. The other doctor is trying to widen the space between Jacob and the pelvic bone in order to release him. There is a synergy of effort. A large sucking sound, like pulling your foot out of mud, except the mud is my wife’s body, her tissue, her insides.
The grossest happy sound in the world. Jacob is free. They nod to me. I have my second out-of-body-like experience as I look over the curtain to see him, the cord, part of my wife that I don’t need to see. That no one needs to see. That sunlight should never see. Ever. I nod. We don’t take a picture, already discussed and agreed upon as no.
It is 3:21. We are parents.
Jacob is born
They rush him over to the table, cleaning him as they go. Something is wrong. He’s not breathing very well. A code call goes out, which I don’t notice, only hear about it later in passing when a Fellow shows up and the nurse gives her hell for taking so long.
They do the initial APGAR test — named after Virginia Apgar, it’s a simple estimate hospitals perform at birth to see how the baby is doing against a 10 point scale. Five factors, each scored 0, 1 or 2, total them up, that’s your score:
- Complexion — blue, pale or pink;
- Pulse — none, < 100 beats, > 100 beats;
- Reflex — none, grimace, crying;
- Activity — none, extension, resistance; and,
- Respiration — none, weak, strong.
A score of 7 or above is good. 4 to 6 is low. 3 is critical. Jacob hits an initial 3-4, but bumps up to 6-7 after a couple of minutes. He adapts. He gets stronger. He breathes on his own. I don’t know at the time how close we have come to losing him. I go over and take a picture when invited. I am not allowed to touch him yet, until my hands are sterile. I show Andrea the photo, but they need to take Jacob to the nursery to keep him warm and safe. They held Jacob up for us on the way out of the room. Okay. He’s safe.
I don’t know they mean he’s going to the level 3 nursery, the baby ICU. I’m in a bit of shock. I have hit a wall and I’m fading. The heat has started to take its toll. The lack of food and water too. The doula asks me if I’m okay. I say yes, but I’m not. I am intent on staying with Andrea though, and I sit back down.
The nurses are cleaning up the room, getting ready for the weekend, last delivery of the day, doctors have already exited. One nurse takes down the curtain. And I see more than I want. Andrea is still on the table, all sewn up. But pools of blood and tissue are beside her on the table. Not simple after birth. Surgical residue.
We went all-in and we won our baby. But it’s time for me to cash out. I have to leave the room. I start to have another out-of-body-like experience as I tell the doula to stay with Andrea. I know I look pale. Shock is flooding my system. I’m boiling hot. I get out into the hall, get the cap and gown off and I’m sucking air like I just ran a marathon instead of just sitting on my ass for 30 minutes watching two men violently mug my wife from the waist down. I get the gown and pants off, the booties. I dig into our bag and grab a drink and guzzle it. I lean forward and get my head down between my knees. It doesn’t take long, maybe 5 minutes, but it seems like 30.
The whole delivery procedure only took 30 minutes, felt like hours.
Andrea goes to recovery
They move Andrea to recovery, and I go with her and the doula. I am very proud of her, but even with the anesthetic, the surgery has taken its toll. She isn’t sore yet, still frozen, but worried about Jacob. I’m relieved. The worst is over, I think. Jacob is fine, he’s getting warm; Andrea is fine, she’ll heal; I’m fine, I’ll focus on my son.
I have a son. I haven’t held him yet. But I have a son. They’re doing what they need to, and I am comforted even though I want to see him.
I have inherited my mother’s capacity for denial. Despite the PPROM. Despite the bed rest. Despite the aggressive surgery. Despite the initial breathing problem. Despite all of it, I’m thinking, “Okay, now it’s just regular post-delivery parenting stuff”. I swear I have just finished breathing out, letting some of the tension leave my body when the Fellow appears with two questions.
First, Jacob is probably hungry and they want to feed him. He’s in the nursery, Andrea is in no shape to feed or pump. Is it okay to give him formula?
I have another slightly out-of-body-like experience. I can literally see myself talking to the Fellow and in that moment, I know this is my first parenting test. Formula vs. breast milk, science vs. nature. Bad parent vs. good parent, to some people. A litmus test of all you believe as a parent. I gently prod the idea in my brain, because we are after all planning to breast feed. Or at least Andrea is. I have no real say in the matter. And I realize that the formula question is the stupidest question ever. My son needs food. Andrea can’t give it to him right now. There is no other option. Of course I say yes. I find out later that some women pump in advance, something that is often unsuccessful, and maybe that is why she asks. More likely, it’s experience with the passionate naturalists who have driven her to rightly ask. I am not that person, and I know my wife cannot feed right now. He can have formula.
Second, she gently tries to inform me, Jacob might have suffered an injury during the birth. A broken clavicle.
I don’t remember the question, although they must have also asked if they can do X-rays. And I must have said yes. But my heart and my soul has stopped. A broken clavicle. I know nothing about baby anatomy, I am woefully unprepared to contextualize what they have told me, but every adult I have ever heard of having a broken clavicle has described it as being beyond painful.
My son might be in pain. Alive, yes, but already in pain.
Life starts again
Andrea’s parents arrive sometime in the next 90 minutes, I don’t remember exactly when. Somehow I get food. I vaguely remember going down to the cafeteria while Andrea is with her parents. I don’t really know for sure. Andrea is thirsty but isn’t allowed anything yet. Soon, she can have some ice chips. No food, but she’s got an IV to keep her going. I settle for something from downstairs. Fuel, not food. And replenishing my fluids too. You would think after ten weeks of my wife concentrating on fluid levels it might have registered with me before almost passing out, but it hadn’t.
I go into the NICU to see Jacob, he’s in a fully enclosed incubator staying warm. I can touch him, after they insist on showing me how to wash my hands properly, twice. I can put my hands through little holes in the walls of the unit. He’s sleeping. I think. He’s so tiny.
I go out through the wrong door, and end up in the hallway next to the Fellow’s office. I’m not exactly looking for her, just looking for a short cut to the main hallway, and she’s talking to another doctor. They are examining Jacob’s x-rays and stop talking when I come in. She shows me the break in the clavicle, and mentions the swelling on Jacob’s neck and face. She also mentions some breathing issues, but they need to watch and see. I don’t know what she’s really saying, I’m still focused on the clavicle.
I finally ask, timidly, about how much pain he might be in. None. Baby clavicles are soft, they will knit on their own, and there’s nothing to do. No need to immobilise him in a sling or cast or anything. I cautiously accept this new info. Okay, so maybe I was worried for nothing. I go back over with Andrea.
Time is meaningless at this point. I guess that it’s not quite 5:00, but it is already 6:00. We have been parents for just over 2.5 hours. The universe has decided that we have rested on our laurels long enough.
The Fellow has come back over to see us. She’s worried about Jacob’s chest. They have done their imaging and concluded that there is a problem with Jacob’s lungs. I immediately flash back to week 26. When the PPROM happened, the first thing they did is give a huge steroid shot for the baby’s lung development. It is designed to help them develop as fast as possible, so if delivery happens, the baby has a better chance of survival, because at week 26, the lungs aren’t ready for a test drive on their own.
That isn’t the issue though. Jacob’s lungs have not fully inflated. Instead of air just being in the lungs, he also has air in the walls of his lungs. More precisely, in the soft tissue around the lungs. Taking up space, and stopping the lungs from inflating. It’s time for our first big decision.
There is a procedure they can do. It’s called a pneumothorax. Not an operation per se, a procedure. Basically, and this again is not for the squeamish, they need to let the air out of the walls of the lungs. They can image it, see where it is, and then very carefully stick a GIANT NEEDLE into his chest and let the air out, hopefully leaving room for the lungs to then inflate.
Honestly, it’s not really a giant needle, it’s a very fine thin needle, he won’t feel a thing but I picture a needle the size of Montana stabbing into him.
I’m having a small out-of-body experience again. Almost common place to me now. I can see Andrea and I agreeing. There’s no question. Our son needs to breathe, it’s a no brainer. Yes, do it, absolutely. I’m still having my out-of-body moment, when Andrea asks, “Can we be with him for the procedure?”.
The Fellow looks at us like it’s obvious we are not understanding very well, and she asks us, “Do you want to be there?” in a tone that is very clear that we definitely do not.
I know the answer she thinks we should make, the logical decision. Every fibre of my being is saying no, we don’t want to be there. But that is the old being, the old me. The one from 3 hours previously that no longer exists, the one who wasn’t a parent yet.
The new me is now a dad. I am a father. I have a son.
And if he is going to have a procedure at 3 hours of age, I am damn well going to be right next to him while it happens. The answer is yes, absolutely. Particularly as Andrea can’t be there, she’s not in shape to go.
The centre of my world has shifted. I haven’t held him yet but he has my heart completely in his tiny little hands.
They can perform the procedure in the NICU. It is not just a nursery. I now know it is the baby ICU. It is where Jacob would have been living for the last 10 weeks if he had been born at week 26. Jacob is not in the NICU for warmth, he’s there because he needs to be.
They give him a light sedative of some sort. I don’t remember the details. Mostly they just need him to remain perfectly still while they count ribs and measure locations from the side. Jacob is lying on his back, chest bare.
I am trying to remain calm. My mind wanders around, the image seems familiar. I realize why. He looks like a small pale pig. The one we dissected back in grade 10 biology class. Legs spread and mounted on small boards with pins.
Jacob looks the same. Spread, immobilised. I shake it off, but it remains to this day. I am sitting 3 feet away, out of the way if need be as an observer but close enough to seem like a participant.
They count ribs, they measure, they make a small mark with a marker of some kind. Count again, remeasure. Measure twice, cut once goes through my head. I know I’m starting to lose it, but I have to hang on for as long as I need to. I’m his dad.
They mark both sides. They insert the needle. Once, twice, three times. They tell me afterwards that it is a partial success, that they have removed 10cc of air out of the walls (a huge number I can’t believe). The left side has fully inflated, the right side still slightly compressed. But the result is immediately obvious. Jacob takes a deep breath almost as soon as they are done. And then what looks like a yawn. He has survived, no complaints.
I mentally have not. I am running on fumes. Emotionally. Mentally. Physically. I drink more fluids, have something else to nibble somehow and I’m still going, but I’m beginning to fade. I go back and tell Andrea that everything is okay, and the Fellow comes in to confirm.
The Fellow says it’s time for Jacob to go to bed, and asks if I want to be there for the first bath. I do, and suddenly I have an extra burst of energy and nervousness. One of the NICU nurses walks me through it, I get to hold him, we get a video to show Andrea. I wish I could remember more of it, to be able to live in that moment, but the video is more vibrant than the memory.
Andrea’s drugs have mostly worn off, and she’s got her ice chips. They have a room ready for her in the maternity ward, and Andrea’s parents leave at some point, I don’t remember when.
Jacob is in bed, Andrea is settled in the ward, I go home and crash. I’m alone, but I have no memory of going home. I don’t remember if I ate anything, I don’t remember calling people, I don’t remember eating anything, nothing. I don’t remember saying good night to Andrea.
There’s more of the story to come, but for now, the outcome of the day is clear.
I had become Jacob’s dad.