Wednesday 5 September 2018

Meet Arlo

The past few weeks have been a blur of love, happiness and sleep deprivation. You have probably already seen on my social media channels announcing the proud arrival of our gorgeous little boy and how our world has changed forever in the best way!

Arlo Jacob Carlson arrived into the world on 30th of July at 12.37am weighing 6.9 pounds of pure heaven! We are so in love and I spend most of my time staring at him wondering how I got so dam lucky! I had heard so many people say "When you have a baby you experience a love like you never imagined." They were so right. As soon as they placed Arlo on my chest I was in complete and utter awe, it was such an indescribable feeling!

We’ve been getting use to life as a family of three. One of the biggest blessings has been having Jake home. He has been so sweet and helpful. He is already such an incredible dad and I’m so excited for all the adventures he is going to have with Arlo. We don’t have a lot on over the next few months agenda except for stares, cuddles and taking in all the new born-ness! I’m going to take some time away from the blog and take a little step back from social media to put all my energy into being a mum and soak up this new adventure of ours.

Before I step away and let this baby break commence I wanted to say a huge thank you to all the sweet comments, advice, private messages, cards and presents that you have all so kindly sent us. Thank you!

I know most mums tell their birth story but I thought it would be interesting to have a dad tell it from his point of view...we hope you enjoy Jake’s story….. 

Jake ~

For me, Arlo’s birth was one of life’s defining moments. It was an emotionally charged experience and the days leading up to his inevitable arrival produced in me a level of excitement that was hard to contain. As a Paramedic I’ve been lucky enough to deliver a number of babies, some were planned home births that progressed quicker than it took the midwife to arrive while others were delivered on the footpath to unsuspecting parents. I know it can be a messy business, I know there are horror stories but I also know that childbirth is a natural process and statistically speaking, things tend to go well. Anecdotally, my own experience of over a dozen prehospital births has been nothing but text book and as a result I’ve grown to become comfortable with the process. I guess I even enjoy it, it’s one of the nice things Paramedics do and reminds us that the job isn’t all death and destruction.

So Jessie began labour early on Sunday morning and as the day grew old the pains increased. Everything was playing out perfectly! We made the uneventful trip to the hospital and within minutes of arriving at the delivery suite Jessie was showing all the signs of a woman who was about to birth. Then the story changed...a sizeable antepartum haemorrhage was followed by a foetus that was in distress. Jessie and I had talked a lot about our plans for her delivery and we’d thought of almost every scenario. Plan (a) had me catching our boy & placing him on mum’s chest. We’d talked about the things that we didn’t want to happen and we’d made a plan for the days following his birth. We talked about what might happen if her labour progresses rapidly & what we’ll do if we don’t make it to hospital. Then we talked briefly about what we’ll do if things go wrong (not that we’d need to worry about that, right?). 

Unfortunately as her labour progressed Jessie’s bleeding increased, my son’s heart rate began to drop and the number of clinicians in the room increased. I knew enough to know things weren’t good. I knew what I’d do if I was in the field with a patient like this but I didn’t know what would happen once I’d got them to hospital. How would they fix this? How long does it take to fix? Have we got time? I’ve met some bad doctors in my short career so how good is this team? Our midwife is amazing, but has she got what it takes when push comes to shove? I found myself in a situation where my instincts were driving me to stop the emergency, to protect my wife, my son and ‘fix everything’. Isn’t that my job as a man, as a husband? But there was nothing I could do but to weather the storm, I had to trust the team that was assembled around us. Despite trying all the tricks of the trade, baby Arlo wasn’t coming out easy and the one big fear Jessie had about childbirth was about to be realised. I recall feeling consumed with conflict, as a clinician I knew this was an emergency and I knew it had to happen. As a husband I desperately wanted to protect my wife from her fears and anyone or anything that was introducing them but instead I found myself helplessly standing next to my wife, holding her hand doing nothing but being there with her. 

It felt like an eternity but it was only seconds. The evil forceps helped Arlo around the bend and as the team prepared to receive a sick neonate I wondered what the next contraction would bring. Why was Jessie bleeding so much? I anticipated a baby that was distressed and probably critically ill but the truth was quite the opposite. Arlo landed on his mum’s chest full of life. In fact, I’m sure that if he could have spoken he would have asked what all the fuss was about! As he lay there stretching his lungs, Jessie and I soaked in every single second as mum and dad, the sense of elation seemed to quickly spread around the room. It felt like seconds, but I could’ve stayed in that moment for an eternity. I was so proud of my wife! I couldn’t believe that she could grow this perfect little ‘me’ all by herself! Only then to endure such pain & process to produce this incredible boy. He was perfect. She was perfect. I’ve never known love like I do now.

But as all good stories go, the journey was far from over! Jessie was still bleeding and minutes later it was just me and my son. I remember feeling guilty that Jessie had done all the hard work but it was me who got to dress him first, to sing him his first song and it was me who got to enjoy the initial fruits of her labour. The truth is, while I soaked in all the goodness that was my first born it was the first time in my adult life that I understood true fear. As I watched Jessie being wheeled off to theatre I found myself wondering if this was the last time I’d see my wife alive? Why didn’t her placenta come out with the drugs? Was it her placenta that was bleeding? How badly is she bleeding? Have the team thought about transfusing her with blood products? Have they ordered them from the lab? Is that how this thing works? How bad is this?

All I could do was have faith, be a dad and wait...

A couple of hours later Jessie was out of surgery. She was lying in her bed in the recovery unit enjoying the relief the anaesthetist had provided and wearing the biggest grin I’ve ever seen. It was a ‘whole face smile’, one that said “fuck the forceps, fuck the pain & fuck the surgery, we did it!”. All those questions that were running through my head were answered in that one smile. The obstetrics team knew their stuff, our midwife had what it took and my wife was back in one piece ready to wrap her arms around her little man.

It’s fair to say that I’m definitely not your typical bloke. I love to hunt & fish just as much as I love to garden & bake but up until now I would’ve agreed with you if said that men are stronger than women. Sure, we have different physiology but I will forever be in awe of the strength of character and sheer perseverance that woman inherently harbour. Jessie’s ability to endure such pain and process only to culminate with an ear-to-ear smile will forever define my love for her. Let’s face it, there’s no way I’d put up with 18.5 hours of labour and smile at the end!

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely post, and sounds incredibly familiar to both Solly and Mimi’s entry into this world! Enjoy Arlo, and make the most of every precious moment xXx