Wednesday, June 12, 2002

The Eaglet Has Landed - This morning, Jenny gave birth to Russell "Reagan" Chen at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley (yes, that Berkeley), California. The hospital staff started the labor process on Monday at 8AM by giving her an IV with pitocin, a chemical that induces labor. Thirty-nine hours later, Jenny’s cervix dilated to the required 10 cm for her to begin pushing the baby out. Luckily for Jenny, she received anesthetic at around the 4 cm mark, so the pain was bearable for most of her labor.

At 11PM on Tuesday, Jenny began pushing the baby out with the assistance of a nurse and yours truly. She pushed and pushed to the point where the baby’s head reached the top of her pubic bone, where the baby could seemingly go no further despite Jenny’s best efforts. I could see the top of the baby’s head from the opening of her vagina, a mixture of matted hair and bloody discharge. At this point, the baby’s head was only 3-5 cm from reaching the finish line. The pain was beginning to affect Jenny, so she pushed the "panic button" that injected her with more painkiller before beginning the final push.

Shortly after 1AM on Wednesday, the attending obstetrician arrived along with a SWAT team of delivery nurses and they decided to use an interesting pump device for the final hurdle of the baby’s journey. The pump resembled a bathroom plunger, only smaller, with a hand-operated vacuum pump at the end. Within minutes, the baby’s head popped out of Jenny, then his shoulders and torso, and finally his legs. His skin color ranged from beet-red to lily white, depending on what part of his body was getting squeezed by Jenny’s body cavity. But following God’s plan, he didn’t take a breath or utter a sound until I took the surgical scissors from the obstretician’s hand and cut the umbilical cords with two quick snips.

The baby was enormous, weighing in at a staggering 4.4 kg (9.75 lbs) and measuring 55 cm (22 in) in length. No doubt, Jenny’s gestational diabetes had much to do with the baby’s hugeness. Even the placenta was gigantic—it was almost as big as a baby itself and was at least 50% larger than the specimen bowl used to hold it. If food is love, then this was definitely one of the most-loved newborns I’ve ever seen. The nurses said that he was as large as a one-month-old baby.

I’m very proud of Jenny and the baby that she carried for all of these months. I’m not sure who he looks like, but I’ll be sure to post some pictures shortly so that you can judge for yourself. Mother and son are doing well. Jenny’s breasts have already began producing colostrum (pre-milk) and the baby has latched onto her nipples without any problem. He’s a real cutie pie—he smiles after he’s had enough to eat. Right now, I could use some sleep, which I’m sure I’ll be needing plenty of once the baby comes home tomorrow.

Thanks for listening.