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Welcome to the world Zachary Harrison Kaplan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June 29, 2011
On June 28th at 3:02AM, Zachary Harrison Kaplan was born into this world at at height of 20 inches and a weight of 7 pounds + a half ounce. Getting to this point  felt like an absolutely crazy journey to another planet.  Even though our hospital is just 12 blocks and 3 avenues over from our apartment, it felt like some kind of drug fueled journey to the other end of the earth.  I have barely slept in days but what my wife has gone through has been so much worse. Our journey started at 1AM on Friday, June 24th when my wife (3 days late at the time) went into labor and we went to the hospital.  My wife ended up being in labor from that moment until Zachary was born. She went through 98 hours of labor including 3.5 of the most brutal hours at the end (those who compete in iron man competitions are wimps compared to her).  She is stronger than anyone I know and I hope my son grows up to be as tough as her.   My wife has barely slept since Friday and I went through a 48 hour period in which I slept for maybe an hour and a half (I slept for 4 hours today and felt like a king until my body started to shut off a few hours ago).  It was all worth it. My wife gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy. Zachary, we are going to have so much fun.
Here are highlights and ponderings from our journey:
  • At 12:30AM on Monday, June 27th we became fed up with trying to time the contractions. Our timing was all over the place and we were worried we were going to stay home too long. Of course there was an extreme lack of urgency from all those attending to us at the hospital and we were quickly sent home.  My wife felt silly that we went to early.
  • At 3:30AM we were convinced we needed to go back to the hospital as the contractions became more intense and they were all under 5 minutes but we stayed home for a few more hours because we felt stupid going back to soon (we imagined the doctor saying to us “what don’t you understand about the fact that the baby is not coming soon?”),
  • We watched two straight hours of music videos on Palladia while I was timing contractions and thinking two things 1) holy shit this is going to happen so soon; and 2) MTV really blows (the fact that the M in MTV stands for “music” is now just quirky trivia for most teens).
  • My wife’s water broke at 6:30AM.  At the time I was getting my only real rest in a 48 hour period, about an hour or so of sleep I took at her urging. She asked me if we should wait longer at home. Me, fearing that the baby’s head was about to break free (this never happens) said we needed to head to the hospital at the speed of the Flash.
  • Having taken a number of taxis to the hospital in the last few days and having every taxi driver get it right away, it was a bit humorous, on the most important trip to the hospital, that I needed to make clear to the driver that we wanted to turn into the hospital and not just get out at the corner.
  • Once again our sense of urgency was only matched by the lack of urgency at the hospital. At least this time they were required to admit us since my wife’s water had broken. We considered that to be a bit of a victory.
  • I told the doctor that I wanted to get to the hospital after my wife’s water broker because I was genuinely worried the baby’s head would start to pop out. This was one of the many occasions in which I realized that what I learned in 7th grade health class was quite limited.
  • We were admitted into the delivery room and there we waited and waited and waited.  I really hope one day the phrase “as slow as labor” catches on. It would be used as such, “Dude, you’ll never make the team, we need speed and you are as slow at labor,” and, “Dude, I would have been there on time but the traffic was as slow as labor.”
  • After having been there for a few hours, the doctor asked my wife if she planned to takes an epidural (a drug for preventing the pain from labor). My wife replied yes with as much enthusiasm as when I proposed.
  • It was explained to my wife that she had two choices, 1) she could take the epidural now, or 2) she could wait a few hours and take it at that point.  She asked if there was any benefit to taking it later on in the labor process and the doctor replied there was no benefit to waiting. She then asked, “if I am going to take the epidural anyhow, why would you even give me the option of prolonging my suffering?”
  • While they set up the epidural for my wife, I was asked to wait outside. I then waited and watched as maybe 25 or so people went in and out of her room during this process (I am fairly certain they were selling tickets because one of the guys had a big foam hand that said “Dr. Schoenweiss is #1”).
  • There was a television in the room and at one point we watched half of Shawshank Redemption and the Daily Show. At that point I thought I was really getting the handle on the whole labor process.
  • At the completion of the Daily Show, the doctors came in, checked my wife and said it was go time. Up to this point, even though we were in the hospital and my wife had been in labor for quite some time, nothing seemed all that real to me. On some level, I really did not think a baby was coming. Now things were about to get way too real.
  • Here is what I had pictured for labor: I would be in the room with my wife (of course as any good husband). I would stand at her head holding her hand and giving her moral support. There would be a sheet hiding my eyes from the real action. I could not have been more wrong. I felt like a fan who showed up to a baseball game with box seats and, instead was told that I would be starting second baseman.
  • Here is what really happened. There were three of us in the room besides my wife. I was never asked if I wanted to participate. I was instead told to grab a leg and get to work helping my wife. There was no sheet to hide my eyes, instead I continually averted them and shut them at times praying I would not accidentally look at the wrong time.
  • Also, I figured I would be dressed in scrubs or something hospital like for the birth but I guess the under armour t-shirt I wore was good enough for the doctors.
  • A short while back I wrote a blog post apologizing to my wife for what she had to go through. I mentioned in the post that we had watched these videos and taken this class that scared the living crap out of me. I must say, the videos and class under played the actual event. Holy crap, holy crap and might I say, holy crap. The real thing was so traumatic that I am surprised at the popularity of having kids. I am convinced that most kids end up being at least 3 years apart because that is how long it takes to forget most of what you went through during labor. HOLY CRAP!!!
  • For a little while, every time my wife was told to push during labor, I would tighten my abs and try to almost simulate what she was going through. I gave up exhausted as I realized it might be a bad idea to pass out while my wife was delivering our son.
  • Our baby was a problem coming out. I guess I knew he would cause problems as he is his father’s son (whatever that means). He was facing the wrong way. He kept doing a dance with the doctor where he would take two steps forward and one step back like he was in the middle of line dancing. The doctors kept encouraging my wife while she was pushing, “you almost have it, you are almost there, any moment now.” They would then always remark (when my hopes were really up) that they could not see it actually happening for at least a half hour and maybe this would not work at all. They then would repeat the mantra that she was almost there followed by a contemplation that a C-Section might be needed.
  • Finally, the baby emerged and I have never been so shocked to see what we had been waiting to see for so long. I felt like Rocky at the end of Rocky II (actually since my wife took the beating she was really Rocky and I guess I was Adrian).
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