A few moments after the baby is born the fire department arrives. Since 911 was called, they were mobilized as they are (literally) 10 blocks from our house so they could be the first response to give immediate aid until the paramedics arrive if necessary. These firefighters are absolutely MASSIVE. I mean, one looked like he was going to hit his head on the ceiling. I describe them as four mountains that were milling about in our living room, because that’s how it was. The shortest one, the only one that was on my eye level (at just over 6 foot tall) appeared to be about 4 feet wide. They didn’t even have their full gear on and the four of them took up so much space that I had to back up into the dining room.
At this time I begin hearing footsteps upstairs. Apparently the combination of yelling downstairs and the flashing lights of the fire truck (thankfully no siren) had woken up two of our children. August and Déla share a bedroom directly above the living room which faces the street out front, which is where the fire truck was. I could hear them running back and forth from their bed to the window. Eventually, August, who had turned 7 the day before, came downstairs to see if there was a new baby on the way, as well as to see what all the commotion with the fire department was all about.
August is excited. He genuinely considers the new baby a late birthday present. He sits on the couch, getting some attention from the firefighters and checks out his new little brother. Then the doula arrives. Then the paramedics arrive. The house was crowded enough with the firemen. Heck, it wasn’t even a crowded house, just a living room that was holding what felt like a dance club packed over capacity. The firemen didn’t have much to do, so they busied themselves with finding the right color cap to place on the baby. The paramedics also didn’t have a lot to do because the baby was already born, so they cut the cord.
I want to take this moment and acknowledge the fact that everything worked out well. The 911 responders could have had so much more to deal with, such as hemorrhaging, a baby that wouldn’t breath, or more (like an unconscious husband).
The firemen were waiting for the midwife to show up, which she did about 3:30am. No, it wasn’t my wife’s midwife, but a colleague that had gotten a frantic phone call from our midwife to help out – and won the round robin of phone calls simply by being the one to finally pick up. The firemen left after the midwife arrived and the paramedics left after the placenta was delivered. They asked if my wife wanted transport, and since everything was fine, we said no as this was a planned home birth, just the fact that there was no trained professional on hand when the birth occurred.
The real kicker in all of this is that the baby was 10 pounds 2 ounces. HUGE! Mom and baby are both doing great (minimal tearing with just a couple of stitches, he’s latching on just fine, etc.) and the other kids are excited to have a baby in the house. After the placenta was delivered and the paramedics left, the replacement midwife did her exam of baby and mom, and by about 7:45 in the morning, the house was beginning to start its normal, if slightly altered, morning routine.
Saturday May 15 was a day like any other day at my house. The kids got into arguments, everybody had breakfast lunch and dinner, but it all had a new twist to it – it just so happens to be the day that Xavier was born.