Olson history was rewritten on Thursday, the fifth of April, when Owen Ephraim catapulted into stardom. His arrival that night promises to forevermore be one of the most precious passages in my convoluted life story! That magnificent moment when I first saw my sweet little boy will be replayed in dazzling, inerrant technicolor all the rest of my days! His is a tale that needs telling because Kristin wowed everyone with her heroics by turning the tables on professional medical orthodoxy and slamming it outta the park!
That morning began good and early with the first administration of pitosin around 5:30 or so. A nurse named Brooke saw us through the ups and downs of that tactless chemical and won our trust very early on. Labor began in earnest around 8 a.m. Brooke explained that applying the right amount is kinda like playing dice- it’s an imprecise art that you have to constantly course correct against your predictions. The vicissitudes of the pitosin provoked pitiless waves of contraction like the billows of a tempest-tossed sea beating upon the shore, so the amount being administered was always in flux. Brooke coached her through the entire process and brought a marvelous reassurance exactly when it was needed.
Kristin’s mom and I remained in the room with her every step of the way. Earlier in the day Kristin had wanted to give A New Hope a watch but about a half hour in that opinion was reversed. The contractions took on a new character and pulverized her without respite. I did all I could to alleviate as much of her back and side pain as humanly possible. Brooke offered us various techniques to combat the pressure and pain but it seemed as though agony was inexorably sweeping over Kristin’s senses.
Things progressed in a very chaotic manner from that point on. Kristin’s OB introduced some new measures but they didn’t seem to ameliorate much of anything; instead the pain became excruciating for Kristin. In the months leading up to Baby’s arrival she was adamant that she wanted to go as far as she could without an epidural and she had repeated that conviction early that morning. However, the point was reached where the pain had become absolutely intolerable. The mood in the room transformed due to the brutality of what Kristin was enduring and the decision was made quickly to go ahead with an epidural. Its effects were close enough to immediate to count and the atmosphere dramatically changed once more for the better.
Things seemed to proceed a little more normally over the next couple of hours until Kristin’s OB returned to our room to inform us that the baby’s heartbeat was too high and had been so for two hours already. She said that Baby was not in distress but that this data is often a good indicator of an infection and that distress very often does result if left unchecked. We could continue with the labor as it was but she was doubtful it would be successful; if it was in fact successful, in all likelihood it would three hours of alarmingly accelerated heartbeat for Baby. “You can try pushing if you feel like it, but…” She left the unspoken fragment hang there ominously, clearly persuaded of the idea’s futility. She left to phone a team to assemble a team to perform a c-section.
Kristin, however, had other plans.
With the expert guidance of Brooke (who elected to stay after her shift was over for the express purpose of seeing Kristin through to the end), Kristin poured every last molecule of her chemical make-up into a heartpounding race to deliver the baby before the doctor’s assistants could arrive on the scene. Her performance was inspiring; so much so that twenty minutes after her grim prognostication, the OB said, “I might have to eat my words on this one…” Her countenance lifted as she saw the progress that had been made and said that she liked being wrong in these kinds of cases!
By the sheer, marvelous grace of a merciful God I proved the naysayers wrong by remaining conscious every phase of the delivery! I was a little lightheaded by the time Owen was born but that was primarily due to me holding my breath and pushing in sympathy with Kristin! The anesthesiologist arrived and witnessed firsthand that there wasn’t much for him to do but lend ssome comically timed moral support for the final phase of the campaign! As we neared the final moments the birthing center echoed with my cries of amazement, a crescendo of “Oh! Oh! OH!” tympani rolls. At 8:33 p.m. Owen Ephraim joined us at long last and pure, unadulterated love engulfed my heart and soul as I peered down at that shock of thick, dark hair of his! I could only gaze at and cry with him as he gulped his first breaths and thank God for such a precious gift. Joy flooded my consciousness as I realized I would henceforth be reckoning my lifespan as pre- and circa Owen!
So now we’re back home, getting into the swing of things and enjoying our little baby boy. I rock him and read “Puritan Profiles” and other such geeky fare to him, hoping to get him acquainted with (and partial to) his namesake John Owen, but… that might take a few moons yet. Kristin and I are thrilled to be Owen’s parents and we thank God for our little Dutch-Indian blessing. Thank you all for your friendship, your encouragement, and your prayers!