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Monday, September 13, 2010

A Father's Perspective

I typically don't blog . . . at all. But over the past week since Walker's birth, Amy and other family members have asked me questions about what I was thinking and what was going on during the whole event. Before I forget the amazing feelings that I had that day, I thought that I would share my perspective on parts of Walker's birth.

I remember that Friday Amy had called/texted me numerous times about feeling contractions that were consistently about 10 minutes apart most of the day. This might seem callous of me, but I really did not think too much of it. Amy had been telling me that she had been feeling light, slightly uncomfortable contractions for a few days. I really did not think that Walker was coming because we had worked ourselves up numerous times about his arrival being imminent only to be disappointed. After Amy took the 4:30 PM RPM on Friday, she tried to take BodyPump with Scott and I. However, squats and contractions proved to be an unbearable combination, and she left about halfway through Track 2. I immediately went into hysteria because I had no clue what was going on, but I trusted Amy to let me know if something was really going on!

After I got done with Pump, we came home, and the contractions were about 8-10 minutes apart. I kept thinking they were Braxton Hicks, but we broke out the stop watch after we got back from dinner at Panera Bread until Amy got anxious about timing everything. To pass the time, we put on a little Law and Order and went to bed.

I went to sleep, but she really didn't. I think she slept for about an hour or so. I slept pretty soundly until I got the unsuspecting tap on my shoulder at about 2:25 in the morning. "Babe, I think my water just broke." She said it so nonchalantly, and I immediately went into overdrive. I don't remember what I was thinking, but I remember asking Amy if I should call the hospital. So I called the hospital which I had previously programmed into my phone for just such an emergency as this, but it happened to be the wrong unit at the hospital, and I had to get a new number from these nice people who were dealing with a stressed father.

During this time, Amy wanted to make sure she was clean when she went to the hospital, so she was showering, and drying her hair, and straightening her hair. At about 2:40, the "real" contractions came, and they came fast (about 3 mintues apart). I was running around the house, packing the car, straightening up the living room, making up the bed, moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer so it did not spoil. In my haste, I forgot to fold the laundry and take down our "curtains" in our bedroom. I was putting the last bit of Amy's bath stuff in her bag when she informed me that she was on her way to the car! That meant it was time for me to move. We hoped in the car at 3:27 am and were on our way to East Alabama Medical Center. I don't remember too much about the drive except there was a train on the tracks so we did not take our "faster" back way to the hospital.

I don't remember exactly when we got to the hospital, but it was not too long after we left the house. We walked into the Emergency Room and there really was not anyone down there. There was one lady (who did not seem to be that coherent) who was waiting to be helped in front of us. Needless to say, Amy was hurting, and she was trying to get the person behind the shatterproof window to find out if her ride had left her. After what seemed like an eternity, but what was more like 10 minutes, a second person helped us, and got us all checked in. A nurse came, put Amy in a wheelchair, and whisked us away to the third floor and room 3129 which would be our home for the next few hours.

We got into our room around 4:20ish, and Amy was in a ton of pain. She knew that these were for real and she was ready for the drugs! The nurse tried to help her stay comfortable, but she did not appreciate them asking her all kinds of questions and making her sign all kinds of documents while she was having contractions which were not about 2 minutes apart. About 5:15, Dr. Arnold flew into the room to give her the "sweet relief" that the epidural promised. While he was giving her the epidural, he seemed a little displeased because Amy's blood pressure spiked, but that might have been my fault. I don't think I was being a very good head support for her. When Dr. Arnold left the room at 5:30, he told her that she should be feeling much better in about 10 minutes. At 6:00 we were having a nurse shift change, Amy was still having painful contractions, and I was running around trying to find somone who could fix this problem.

Dr. Arnold flew back into the room about 6:15, and by 6:40, Amy felt no pain! To quote her, "I like drugs." Once Amy's epidural had taken, we then allowed family and friends into the room in spurts. Amy's mom and dad had just arrived so we sat around the room for the next little bit. Amy watched the Nanny on TV, some of the Today show, and we just waited on the Dr. to come back and check from time to time. Ms. Susan Kelly came by to visit us during this time, and a few other friends dropped by and left notes in the lobby just to say they were thinking of us, and we greatly appreciate all the thoughts and prayers during this time. Other than waiting, nothing really big happened until about 10:30. That is when the nurse came in and told us that it was time to push.

The next 45 minutes is a big blur. I don't remember when the pushing began (even though Boo told me to take a picture of the start time). I do remember of few events that happened during Amy's 45 mintues of grueling work. I remember after about 15 minutes of pushing, the nurse asked if I could get the air mask for Amy. While Amy was pushing, both Amy and Walker's vitals were for lack of a medical term "a little off." Neither were getting the oxygen they needed, so Amy was given the oxygen mask, and Amy was given breaks from pushing to recover about every 5 to 10 minutes. It was really kind of scary because I was not sure what was going on. I could look up on the screen and see Walker's heart rate drop during contractions. I could see Amy's vitals, but I thought this was going according to plan until the oxygen mask appeared. But God is good, and everything worked out fine for both Walker and mother.

A second scare came at about 11:10 when the epidural started beeping. It was out!!! The nurse ordered a second epidural to be brought to the room, but she looked at Amy and said we were not going to need it. It was time to bring Walker into the world!

I love my wife so much! She really is an amazing woman! She is a trooper, and I have seen her work hard in her life, but I have never seen her work as hard as she did to deliver our son. At 11:28 James Walker Willis was born. I noticed when he was born that he was face up, and that made me nervous about Amy's recovery. I looked down at our son, and I don't think words describe the way I felt. A million thoughts flew into my head, and a million thoughts flew away as I instantly knew that I loved this young boy.

I was speechless as Dr. Marino placed him in the arms of my wife, and I was fighting to hold back the tears. I had never been so in love with Amy, and the joy I felt was amazing! I got to hold Walker for the first time, and all I could do was just smile. This little boy who had just been born was going to be a source of joy and anxiety, but right now, I could just thank God for the amazing experience that He just let me go through. I had a son. A son whom I could teach to love God. A son I could teach to love his mother. A son I could teach the importance of family and friends. A son whom I could pass down my thoughts, insights, and experiences to. A son who might appreciate college football, baseball, and Star Wars more than his mother does. I had a son, and that meant that I was a father. A father whose family just grew. A man whose family had just gotten bigger and better! I love you Walker! I love you Amy! And I now have the rest of my life to show you both how much I do indeed love you!

One more thing . . . one word that people used to describe Walker constantly was perfect. I could not agree more!