Updated on April 14, 2015
Introducing Torino Lee ZiCornell
My baby son is born!
Torino Lee ZiCornell
Born 4 April, 2012 at 10:16 PM in Austin, TX
Weight, 7 lbs 6.5 ozs; Height, 20 inches
Momma and son had a hard time of it. But to get the full story, I need to start a few days before.
Serene was a bit over a week past her due date. If she didn’t go into labor within the next day or so, she was scheduled to be induced. But since she’d been having Braxton-Hicks and Early Labor contractions for several days, the doctor, mid-wife and all the nurses were certain she wouldn’t make it to her scheduled induction.
Two days before the scheduled induction Dr. Schmitz declared that Serene was dialated to 4 centimeters, and everything was ready to go. She was sent home to wait for labor to start.
The next day was sunny and warm, in the upper 80’s. We opened all the windows and enjoyed the fresh air. Mid-afternoon I found Serene in bed, bundled up in a bunch of blankets. The thermometer read 86, but she said, “I’m cold.”
I’d heard that the pressure of the baby during late pregnancy could squeeze some of the mother’s arteries, causing poor circulation, so I got her up and walking around. She paced around the house, flexing her toes in the carpet and swinging her arms like a power walker. But after some time of that, she was still cold.
I kissed her forehead in affection. She was hot. With a bit of an internal kick for not checking her temperature earlier, I grabbed a thermometer and plugged it into her mouth. It came out at 101.4.
After checking with the doctor and getting a follow-up reading of 101.7, we were rushing off to the hospital. Since Serene was already scheduled for an induction the next morning, she said we might just need to induce now to separate the baby from whatever was causing the fever.
They were very efficient at the hospital. By the time I got the car parked, they had Serene in a room with a baby monitor on her belly, a nurse taking her vitals like blood pressure and such, another nurse putting an IV in, and another going through her admittance interview, along with the Dr. Miller reviewing and directing everything.
The IV turned out to be a bit of a problem. They made 7 (SEVEN!) attempts before they got one in that would flow, and it wasn’t flowing well so they put another in as a backup. For those of you not so good with math, that’s EIGHT big needle insertions. I looked away a lot.
While they were doing all that, the baby’s heartrate was racing up in the 180-190 range (normal is between 120 and 160). At one point it dropped down to around 75. They shifted Serene around and it came back up, but that was enough to convince the doctors that the baby was in distress. So they began prepping for an emergency cesarean.
There’s a scene that is apparently cut from every TV show and Movie in which somebody is rushed into an emergency cesarean, or any other surgery. That’s the one where an administrator comes up to the father-to-be with a stack of legal paperwork and a pen. Honestly I have no idea what all I signed. At that point, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that they save my baby and save my wife. I nodded at whatever the lady was saying and signed.
During the surgery preparations, the baby’s heartrate remained high but consistent, so the Doctor decided the cesarean didn’t need to be an emergency, but did need to be done quickly. So moments later, she was trundled off to the operating room and I was ushered over to get scrubbed up and dressed. They made me wear a hairnet. I’m bald.
I wasn’t allowed to go into the operating room until they had Serene anesthetized and everything ready to go. I spent a very long 15 or 20 minutes sitting out there in my hairnet and zoot suit wondering what was happening with my wife and baby.
Once they let me in, I found Serene’s head poking out of a blue fabric wall. She was shaking uncontrollably. They said this was a side-effect of the anesthesia. I was allowed to hold her hand, but I wasn’t allowed on the other side of that wall where they were performing the operation.
After not very long at all one of the doctors said to Serene, “You’re going to feel a bit of pressure on your chest. Do you feel it?”
Serene said, “It feels like somebody is standing on my chest. Does that count?”
Moments later we heard the first cries of our baby boy. He was whisked across the room to the Newborn Intensive Care station to prepare him to be moved into the NICU.
And moments after that we heard a whole commotion from the doctors. “Look at this! Do you see this? Look there. Wow!” Apparently in addition to having the umbilical cord looped around his neck, it was also tied in a knot.
Once they got most of the blood and fluid cleaned off him, they let me come over and meet him. And they let me briefly carry him over to Serene so she could meet him before he and I left for NICU.
The IV turned out to be a bit of a problem. Besides being my wife’s son, he’s also a newborn infant. They tried one hand twice, the other hand once, a foot once, an ankle once and another foot twice. To tally that up for you, that’s SEVEN attempts to stick a big needle into my newborn son. I watched and wrung my hands and hopped from foot to foot. They gave up after 7 attempts, however that meant each dose of every thing they needed to give him had to be given by a shot.
They kept Torino in the NICU for 12 hours. I spent the first few hours with him, then slept on the floor in Serene’s recovery room, which was kind of like a hotel room with a bunch of medical equipment in it. Since he was doing so well during those 12 hours, they allowed him to come to the recovery room with us the next day. This was really fantastic so Serene could start learning the whole breastfeeding thing and mommy and baby could finally bond.
The rest of our stay in the hospital was a flurry of post-partum nurses giving Serene antibiotics and checking on her, NICU nurses checking on Torino, various Doctors coming through to do their thing, and so on. Torino was released from NICU two days later, and we all came home three days later.