New Cast Member Auditions

So, it’s about time Dad weighed in on this whole baby-thing. Here we are at the end of Day 12, I’m just getting caught up on my own daughter’s blog and I can’t believe I haven’t told you my side of the story yet. With Nyana’s arrival, The Karen and Donners Show will be adding a new cast member, and I would feel terrible if I were to miss sharing with you the early moments of her life, from my perspective. They may not be as dramatic as Karen’s (you know, without all the pushing and whatnot), but I did get some all-access backstage pass privileges that I will remember forever. It was almost two weeks ago now but it seems like this morning.

I left Karen at BC Women’s on the night of Sunday the 19th, all ready to go home, iron my clothes for work the next morning and hoping be called to the hospital shortly after I got to work – thereby getting a good night’s sleep yet not having to go to actually work on Monday morning. Around 12:30am I got a warning call, at 1:15 the red light lit up; it was baby-time. I was at the hospital shortly after 2 am and then the night began. Not much happened for a while…contractions came and went steadily and I made it until about 5am before I started to nod off. Shortly thereafter at 6am things began happening. Contractions increased, machines beeped, and docs and nurses got all ready. Within a half hour, I met about a dozen new faces and everything got really intimate really fast.

Karen had six minutes of drug-free pushing. I was stationed on her right leg and trying to be the best push-coach I could be, using the doctors as my cues. I had told myself that my office was Karen’s upper torso – I’m not the guy that’s going to be front and centre, filming the whole experience to watch later when…I don’t know, really. I never really understood that. I was there to help her, and let the doctors figure out the rest. But there’s really not much room to move when it comes down to the dirty, so I couldn’t help but see a big ol’ squirt shoot out in my peripheral at 7:11am – and I knew right then my child had been born. Somewhere in the back of my head I head a doctor’s voice say,

“Hey Dad, what do you have here?” (we still didn’t know the gender).

I looked down and the doc tried to bundle the umbilical cord out of the way so I could see. So I could see the smallest genitals of any human I have ever seen. So small, I didn’t even know if what I was looking at was what I thought I was really looking at. Does a little boy stick out a lot when he’s that small or is it all still tucked in? What does a little girl look like when she’s that small? How big is a fold of skin and how big is a little dude? I don’t know – I’m a newbie here – what is it that I’m looking at?

“Uh…is that a boy?”

Yeah, great. Nice one. Total fail. I don’t know these things, so sue me. I knew I was wrong as soon as the words left my mouth. I don’t even think I should be held responsible for what I spoke. Not my fault, LOL. The docs all got a good chuckle as Karen looked over and corrected me. The good news was, I knew it all along. Our little Nyana was finally here. The docs did their work, and sped the little one off to the sideroom where all the machines were waiting. Karen had just pulled off the miraculous, and looked beautiful and amazing. I barely had a moment to absorb what had just happened, when I was beckoned into the adjacent room to see what was happening to Nyana. I left Karen and quickly went over to watch.

As I peeked around the corner, there was a team of three that was working to stabilize her. They were just intubating her as I came around, and quickly worked to have her on a breathing machine and stable. That is a tough thing to see. She’s so small and she’s fighting for every scrap of life, and everyone there is working hard to give her that chance. It was inspirational and amazing. Soon, they had her wrapped up nice and tight so she could be wheeled in to meet her mother. I pulled out my phone, and snapped this shot.

Nyana and I then wheeled back in to the main room to see Karen, and the strangest, most serene calm settled on the delivery room as 12-15 people completely stopped the chaos to witness a mother meeting her babe. I don’t think anyone took a breath in that moment and the whole world completely stopped for at least 15 seconds.

Then, chaos.

Nyana was wheeled away to be stabilized in the NICU, and the remaining attention was refocused on Karen. We weren’t done here yet. Turns out, Karen would need to finish her ride in the OR, and time was wasting so off she went. I would see her in about 45 minutes. I could see Nyana in about 20-30 minutes. For now, I was left alone in the delivery room with a whole bunch of very gory sheets. I grabbed our stuff and went to get some food.

The coffee at Second Cup is better, but the pastries at Tim Horton’s win. I ended up back and forth between the two, and en route discovered both cell phones were dead. I had to go up to Karen’s room for a charger, and made some phone calls to some answering machines. Seriously. Five calls, four machines. And the fifth was work, so they’re being paid to answer the phone. Seriously. I wolfed down a donut-thing, and swallowed some coffee. Then I went to find my new family.

I walked into the delivery area, and was quickly ushered to the NICU. Nyana was stable, and was just waiting. As I peeked around the corner, she was all alone in the middle of a separate room that had a wall full of machines. One lone nurse sat watching guard from the corner, and waved me in. I had a few moments of just me and my girl, and the nurse was assuring me that she was doing really well. Before I knew it, I was asked to step back so they could give her an x-ray. After the x-ray was Rounds.

Rounds is about 12 specialists visiting each baby every morning to check in on their development and plan for the coming day. I got to watch the docs discuss her gestation history, possible risks and concerns, and plans going forward. My phone started going off as texts started coming in, I couldn’t silence them fast enough…a nurse came up to inform me Karen was awake and asking for me…I just couldn’t pull myself away. I could only drink in the fact that this whole team of incredibly skilled specialists was concerned with the well being of my little girl, who was lying on the tiny bed in the middle of the room, still being guarded by that nurse. The same nurse who was now giving me that look that says she knows I’m totally freaking blindsided by everything that’s going on, and this must look like a total crazy scene, but that everything’s going to be just fine in the end. There was nothing more I could do here, it was time to go see my wife.

Karen was wiped. Exhausted but ecstatic, I met up with her in Labour Recovery and she soaked up every tidbit of detail I could remember. Both of us were running on adrenaline alone, and Nyana was being taken care of and stable in the NICU. It was time to reign it in, stop, recover, sleep, rest – all that stuff. I went home to crash. I made a couple hours worth of calls, and slept for about four hours. I came back that night armed with a couple of Subway subs, and I think you all know the rest.

It’s been just about two weeks now. Nyana’s a little fighter, and she’s had a successful introduction into the world, overall. She spent most of her time breathing room air on her own, and has not shown any signs of infection, bleeding in the brain, or organ failure. She usually opens her eyes and looks at us when we show up and start talking to her, and we have both been able to soothe her and calm her down when she gets uncomfortable. On one hand it’s weird and stressful and not the way it was ever supposed to be, yet on the other hand we get to see the 3rd trimester in person and it’s a blessing as much as it’s a worry. I’m full of fatherly pride and protection and she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait for her to grow enough that we can bring her home. Until then, it’s one day at a time but the new cast member is a hit. Nyana TV is the best channel going.

She’s getting a blood transfusion tonight and everyone says she’ll be a whole new baby when we see her tomorrow. Everything so far has progressed very well, and we’re not worrying until we’re told we have something to worry about. Our little bundle of awesome is just that, and we’re here. Waiting for our little hero to come home.

This is going to be a kickass Christmas.


About Donners

Thirtysomething father to The Royal Princess of The Sunshine Brigade, a 27 week preemie who survived 222 days in the NICU. The Queen and I are still crazy in love, and life in Vancouver's West End is getting back to a whole new normal that we've always been waiting for but never knew we would get quite like this.
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3 Responses to New Cast Member Auditions

  1. Linda says:

    What an incredible account this was, Don. Not only are you an incredible husband but you are already an incredible and deeply devoted Dad. Nyana is one very lucky little girl to have such parents as you two. I can only wish you and Karen years and years of love and happiness as you guide Nyana through her journey of Life.
    Much love to you,

  2. Tasha says:

    I had a good giggle at: uh…is that a boy?!
    Same thing happened to friends of ours…the dad proudly announced the birth of his baby boy to his waiting wife and was correct by the medical team!

  3. Olivia says:

    I had a laugh too about the “Uh…is that a boy?” comment. LOL. I even had to read it aloud to my boyfriend, haha.

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