Michael & Alyson

Alexandra's Arrival

The best way to share this story
with our friends and family,
far and near,
is to write it here.

It may seem too personal, but it's real, and that's what counts.

We had a scheduled appointment at the hospital on Wednesday,
with a dedicated group of midwives whose practice
specializes in natural births for expecting families,
including water births (which we'd trained for and were anticipating).

Alyson thought the kid's water had broken that morning (Wed.),
but we'd heard so many stories about how
1st time parents arrive at the hospital early,
only to be sent home, we figured we were at the beginning
of a long, 48-hour (or so) journey.

The midwives confirmed the kid's water had broken
(we'd decided not to know the sex of our child
until birth - hence "the kid") and said we should
get in touch with the on-call midwife, which we did.

The clock was ticking,
but we had no idea how fast,
so we took pictures.

Showin' off, at 38 weeks.

On the way home from the appointment
we needed to mail a Certified Letter
and Alyson insisted on going into the Post Office herself.

We got home, and Alyson was having contractions,
but there was plenty of space between them,
and we were advised to wait things out at home
as long as we were comfortable, which we were.

I dropped Cronkite off at the kennel,
got some fish sandwiches,
and when I returned, it was 7pm.

The baby would arrive in 2 hours,
and neither of us had any idea.

Between 7:30 and 9, contractions ramped-up
with such force and velocity,
the only thing we could do was ride it out
with a hot shower, a hot tub,
hot towels, a yoga ball,
two different beds,
upstairs, downstairs,
we tried every thing we could
to get more comfortable,
and when there was a free second,
I was packing the car to drive to the hospital
for our water birth, as planned.

But the speed of the labor
took us by surprise
and at 9:16, after a short walk
around the dining room,
Alyson gave birth to Alexandra Elyse Murphy-West
in Cronkite's new favorite spot,
beside a can of turpentine
I'd been meaning to take down into the basement.

I caught our daughter, who looked up at both of us
with wide eyes and didn't cry, and immediately
wrapped her in warm towels and brought her
to Alyson's chest while dialing our doula
on speakerphone. The doula was already en route,
but would arrive a few minutes late.

When she arrived, she talked me through cutting the cord.

The paramedics arrived with a gaggle
of dumbstruck firefighters who were surprised
we'd already delivered the kid and couldn't
get in on the emergency. Alyson needed
to get to the hospital to insure there
were no complications, and we raced there,
met the on-call midwife and checked-in
to rest and recover.

Here's Alyson in a sweatshirt
and Alexandra in a space blanket
being loaded into the ambulance.

Nothing like providing a little neighborhood
entertainment on a cold February night.

It's not unheard of for parents
to unexpectedly deliver their own children,
but we got the sense at the hospital
that it was pretty unusual.

We were pretty high on adrenaline,
and Alyson was cracking jokes
with the nurses while they checked her out
and made sure everything was okay.

Alexandra at three hours old.

As morning neared, I wanted to capture
our daughter's first dawn,
so I made this from our window.

Thursday morning seemed to be as good a day as any to be alive.

Six hours old.

Eleven hours old.

Papa meets Alexandra.

Less than 12 hours after giving birth (in the dining room).

Nadyne and Janice
(the Atlanta-Grandmas)

After 24hrs, the hospital let us go home.

We just won a Subway sandwich!

Home with Janice.

Two days old.

Three days old.

If you made it this far,
and would like to keep up-to-date
with Alexandra, you can over here:

We'll post updates there,
(rather than Facebook)
and we'll try to not be
too annoying about the whole thing.

Thank you for your interest,
love, and support.

- Michael & Alyson