Diana and I made a baby. We arrived at the hospital on Saturday afternoon. This was the first time I had been able to accompany Diana to any of her appointments because of Covid. The nurse wrapped up Diana’s belly and attached some robot ears. Then I heard our baby’s heartbeat for the first time. Diana had tried to share this experience with me earlier in the journey by video chat or recordings but it had never worked. I started a Signal group to keep the family updated. A balloon was put up Diana’s cervix and was inflated. We were sent home to wait and we were to be called some time the next day. The nurse promised that they wouldn’t forget about us.

Sleep was difficult because I was going to meet my daughter soon. The phone call took a while to arrive but eventually at 5pm we were told to return to the hospital for 7pm. On arrival Diana was gowned up and sat in a fancy robot throne. We were later told it was the cadillac of hospital beds, it even had inbuilt wifi. The nurses put drugs in Diana’s IV to help speed along the induction. Diana’s obstetrician happened to be on call for the night. He visited Diana to get things started by breaking her water. The robot chair spread Diana’s legs and the face shielded obstetrician got to work. It was uncomfortable for both of us as Diana’s insides were poked by the obstetrician and my hand was crushed by Diana. Maybe the obstetrician could sense the pain I was in because he started some small talk (about favourite premier league teams, he’s a ManU supporter) to distract me.

The obstetrician came back every couple of hours to see how things were progressing. Diana stopped being her stoic self a few hours in and I could tell she was in immense pain. The on-call anesthesiologist was stabbing another pregnant lady in the back but the nurses said he would arrive in 30 minutes. Diana struggled through waves of long contractions. I quietly kept track of their frequency. After 40 minutes a friendly anesthesiologist entered the room carrying a backpack. He explained the epidural procedure, the risks (1 in 100,000 chance of spinal damage), and had Diana sign some paperwork. Then he got to work installing a super thin tube into Diana’s spinal area to numb all pain below.

The obstetrician came back and we kicked off the pushing. Diana’s nails dug into my hand as she pushed. The nurse told her to push like she was pooping. Diana pushed in waves and she dilated to 10cm however she was not progressing. The baby was being uncooperative and was presenting her head sideways. Diana reported not being in pain but being incredibly uncomfortable. We had initially planned on a vaginal birth but were more interested in the result than the means. Detecting meconium made the decision easy for us and we opted for an emergency c-section on guidance from the doctor.

Diana was wheeled away and I gowned up. 10 minutes later I entered the operating room. Diana’s head was poking out of a sheet separating us from the action. The friendly anesthesiologist kept us informed of the goings on on the other side of the sheet. Time was lost to me as I stroked Diana’s hair. Suddenly Diana’s shoulders jostled and then we heard our babies lungs. Someone passed me a pair of scissors, I stood up, and the sheet lowered. There was a tiny confused looking creature and she was beautiful. Under very specific guidance (don’t touch anything blue) I brought the blades in between the two white clamps and bit down with the scissors. The sheet went up and I sat down with Diana. I smiled through my mask, I was very proud of Diana. The nurse invited me to take some photos of our new daughter as she was being weighed. I ventured around the sheet and saw a grumpy baby girl lying on the scale. She weighed in at 3.560Kg, the nurse then changed it to pounds for me but I’m lost in imperial measurements. The view on this side of the sheet was interesting. Diana’s belly was cut open and I could see her pink and white insides. There was a large bowl of Diana’s innards. It was fascinating but I quickly returned to Diana’s head’s side of the sheet. The nurse brought our daughter around and our new family was together for the first time.

She arrived 4 days late on Monday (2021-12-06 04:25EST). After some well deserved sleep we decided on her name, Marisol Jasmine Lam Clarke.

Marisol is a Spanish name meaning sea & sun. Marisol is also the name of a dear mutual friend of ours, a friend that played a big part in us coming together and eventually creating little Marisol.

Jasmine is in honour of our much loved late cat, Jazz. We weren’t sure if we should name our baby after our cat. Diana ran the idea past an old friend who had lived with Jazz and she said “people need to learn humility”.

We decided on using Diana’s last name as a middle name and Marisol took my last name. This decision was in large part to make it easier for Marisol and I to travel together.

The staff at Belleville General Hospital were all attentive, caring, and understanding. I can’t thank them enough for all their support, they all went above and beyond.

As a biased parent, I find her adorable. It takes a village and we’ve had loads of support from family and friends.

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