By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director
Parker Burke Laubscher
Well, there are so many topics that I could write about this week, there’s really only one topic that has dominated my existence over the last two and a half weeks. As you may have read at the end of Nate’s blog entry on September 20, my wife Mindy gave birth to our son Parker Burke Laubscher on Sunday, September 18. There are few events in life that are more significant than the birth of a child and so I figured this blog entry should revolve around how my life has changed over the past several weeks. Buckle yourself in because this is going to be a novel.
Parker was due on September 25 and we figured that he would probably arrive later than that because we were told that first children usually arrive late. However, we were hoping he would come early since we had already waited so long to meet him and we had so many friends who were delivering weeks early. We chose not to learn of the baby’s sex, so wondering if we were going to have a son or daughter began to dominate our conversations and exasperate the waiting process (though I would still not find out the sex if we had a second baby).
Knowing that Parker was going to arrive at probably the most inopportune time of the year, I looked at the football schedule and saw a plethora of home games dotting the schedule through September and early October. A little panic ensued when I considered that he could decide to arrive on a Friday evening or Saturday afternoon while working one of those games. The lone road game in the first five weeks was a very long trip to Centre College in Danville, Ky. I actually never minded the Centre trip (not nearly as much as Sewanee), but seeing that the game was just one week prior to Parker’s due date, I was more than happy to make that contest the fifth football game that I have missed in 14 years. I figured that missing the game would be more of a formality than anything else since it was a full week before the due date, but why chance it and frankly, it would save me a 15-hour excursion on a weekend. Plus, we had soccer, field hockey and volleyball all playing at home at the same time so I could work the field hockey game and make sure all the home events were covered.
I had imagined that Mindy would go into labor while working (she teaches 3rd grade near Charlottesville) and that I would be rushing frantically from Lexington to meet her at the hospital in Charlottesville. I thought about what all of that would be like. What labor and delivery would be like and what meeting our child would be like. Nothing was as I expected – it was all so much better!
Our setup in the McLaughlin Suite on September 17
Days before the weekend of September 17-18, Mindy said that she would like to come to Lexington with me for the field hockey game. Maybe she had a sixth sense or maybe it was the urge to buy the purse that she saw at Pappagallo the week before that guided her decision to be with me that day, but I was happy to hear she would accompany me and we figured out the best way to watch the Michigan State-Notre Dame football game following the field hockey game. As you may know, Mindy is a Spartan and rarely ever misses a football or basketball game. The field hockey game began at 2:00 and I knew it would be over just about the same time the Spartans and Irish would be kicking off. We had the idea to watch it in the McLaughlin Suite at Wilson Field since I could finish my postgame responsibilities for the field hockey game in the comfort of the Wilson press box, which is far better than the press box at the Turf Field.
The hockey game went smooth and the Generals produced a 6-2 win over Frostburg State. After checking the stats with the coaches, I joined Mindy at Wilson Field and finished my reporting. By this point, MSU was already laying an egg and Mindy was a bit uncomfortable. Not because of the result, but because “something” was not quite normal. Sometime between 5-6 PM and around the third quarter, she turned to me and said “something is different”. She wasn’t entirely sure, but the normal Braxton Hicks contractions that she had been having for weeks had started to come in regular intervals starting around 1:30 that afternoon. She held off telling me until all my work was done. I played it pretty cool by breaking out some leftover oreo cookies from the previous week’s football game and telling her that Michigan State still had time for a comeback, but inside I was about to freak out with excitement. I knew she didn’t want to have a false alarm and feel bad about it after the fact, so we didn’t make a deal out of it all and finished watching the Spartans’ 31-13 loss.
As we drove back home to Waynesboro (about a 45-minute drive from Lexington), the contractions grew stronger and Mindy started using the breathing exercises we learned from six weeks of childbirth classes. We arrived home a little before 8 PM and, while Mindy went straight for the couch, I couldn’t wait to check my laptop for the score of the football game that had begun at 7:30.
All was good once I saw the Generals were up 14-0 in the first quarter, but just like the contractions, the game got worse from there. You can imagine the stress of seeing a game slip away while your wife says “I think our baby will be born on September 18” as the 11:00 hour approached. I wrote up the loss, contacted a few people from the ODAC and W&L that would need to know I was going to be out of touch for a few days, finished my reporting to the conference and we moved to the bed for a little more comfort while watching the Stanford-Arizona football game. A call to the doctor and a short walk around the neighborhood calmed our nerves more than the Cardinal’s blowout win over the Wildcats, and we decided to leave for the 35-minute trip to the hospital around 2 AM.
Just as receiving word that she was in labor was not as I had imagined, the drive was also different. It was a middle of the night jaunt with little traffic and a minor detour that I never saw coming. About five minutes into the trip and just one exit later, Mindy realized that the same purse she had just bought that afternoon was still sitting in the kitchen. Thinking we would need her ID, we doubled back to retrieve it. We instantly realized that it would make for a good story and shrugged it off since we were pretty sure the baby would not be born in the next hour anyway.
Aside from the detour, the trip went pretty well. Mindy’s mom met us in front of the hospital around 2:45 and they even let me leave the car parked in front because nothing freaks anyone out more than a pregnant woman in labor. Even though it takes like 24 hours for anything to happen, people always assume that baby is coming ASAP!
I hate these balls
After a few minutes hooked up to the monitors, the nurses confirmed that Mindy was in labor and the baby was coming sometime in the immediate future. It was a relief to both of us and moving to the delivery room was actually quite comforting. We walked around for a bit, she rolled on one of those dang balls that I hate (just a stupid thing, I know) and before we knew it, she was 5 centimeters dilated at like 5:30 AM. Time for the greatest invention known to man, the epidural.
Mindy was a champ through everything. She never screamed or raised her voice once and, true to her promise, she never said “you did this to me”. Once the epidural was administered (by a British woman with the greatest sense of humor), Mindy crawled into bed and began to laugh, joke and make fun of everyone in the room (Mindy also has a terrific sense of humor). It was bliss. Aside from the fact that I had been up since 6:30 AM the previous day and was ready to fall over, I had almost forgot the significance of what was going to occur at some point in the next several hours.
I started polling the nurses and doctors on such things as the delivery time and birth weight (I really just wanted to know how much longer it was going to be and who better to con for that info than the nurses and doctors), and began logging everything into my blackberry, which was also blowing up from all the people I was texting with updates to help pass the down time. The guesses all seemed to be in the 11 AM – 1 PM range so I figured we didn’t have much longer to wait. My prediction was 12:28 and Mindy had 1:23 so we sort of split the difference.
Parker arrived at 12:50 pm on September 18
As noon approached and not long after the doctor said Mindy was at 10 centimeters, I started to get a little weak in the knees. I guess the gravity of it all sort of hit me at that moment, but at least the tears hadn’t started yet. At noon the doctor came back in the room and it was go time. I’ll spare a lot of the details at this point, but what I can tell you is that Mindy was crazy good at this and pushed for only 50 minutes. The nurses asked me if I was alright to which I could only reply “yeah, sorry, I’m just a little emotional” while wiping away tears and soon a head appeared. The cord was around his neck so I missed the opportunity to cutting it myself, but I happily deferred to our wonderful doctor who delivered him at 12:50 pm. My job was to tell Mindy what we had and I will never forget the first moment I saw what makes a boy and boy. Telling Mindy was the best part and then my job switched from coach to photographer, documenting everything I possibly could. Parker weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces and measured 20 ¾ inches. Though I was exhausted, the excitement of seeing our son carried me for another 10 hours with just a 45 minute nap while they cleaned him. The final tally? Somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 hours upright with just that one nap. And, it was still so much better than I could have ever imagined.
Chillin at the hospital
Over the last two weeks and change, I’ve proceeded to learn so much about children and especially Parker. I’ve already sort of learned what makes him happy and more importantly, what does not. I’ve learned when he needs a diaper change, when he needs a nap, when he needs to eat and when he needs to burp. Everything else at this point is pretty much superfluous. At two weeks old, he really doesn’t care about much else and I’m loving every minute of it.
He’s the best boy. He rarely gets upset and there’s always a good reason when he is. He loves hearing me make mouth noises like the clicking of your tongue on the roof of your mouth and of course the motorboat. He likes to be rocked in the morning while mama gets a little extra sleep after a couple of feedings throughout the night and he hates to be swaddled with his arms tucked in. He’ll always find a way to get them out (probably gets that from Dad who hates to have the sheet tucked in because it is too restrictive for his feet).
People are amazed when I say that I get a full 5-6 hours of sleep each night and that the crying (or lack thereof) hasn’t gotten to me at all. I’m sure there will be times when he will scream bloody murder for one reason or another, but we haven’t seen it yet. I guess the most challenging thing has been trying to keep him from peeing when I change him. The first time I emerged from a diaper change with a warm chest was a little surprising but I’m starting to get wise to his game. Never leave a boy uncovered!
I’m already sure that life will never be the same. I doubt that we’ll change who we are much. Sports will still be a main focus in our lives and we’ll still like the same things. It’s simply the perspective that’s different. That much is already evident and I so glad that it is because I’m ready for the ride of my life!