Heidi Noelle

Album Cover: First Impressions of Earth

"Don't be a coconut. God is trying to talk to you."
The Strokes / Ask Me Anything

Posted on December 06, 2008 4:52 PM in Personal
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

On December 2nd at 12:55am, my wife and I welcomed a newborn baby girl, Heidi Noelle Zimmermann, into the world.

In the early morning hours of December 1st, my wife started experiencing contractions like none she had felt previously, and although we had an appointment with what I refer to as "the baby doctor" at 8:50am that morning, the contractions were serious enough to convince my wife we should go straight to the labor and delivery wing at Highline Medical Center.

When we arrived at the hospital, my wife and I were taken into a room with which we were already familiar, and a very nice nurse by the name of Holly confirmed what was already very obvious: my wife was in labor. Before long, we were moved into room 432, a very nice, private room where we would stay until the baby was born (and as it turns out, well after).

Without getting into too many details, my wife was a real trooper and dealt with contractions that were getting more intense by the minute. Her labor was progressing quickly, and it became fairly evident from the contractions and the nurses helping us that our forthcoming daughter was all of a sudden in a big hurry. Given that we were expecting a baby on the 5th, it was interesting coming to terms with our baby being born on the 1st instead, but we liked the date.

Once we started to spread the word to family that the baby was on her way, we had to start playing the guessing game as to when she might officially arrive. My wife's mother, who so graciously offered to come and stay with us for two weeks once the baby was born (to help us get accustomed to taking care of our new family member), was originally intending to arrive in the afternoon on the 2nd. She immediately started looking for earlier flights, at least in the hope that she might arrive shortly after the baby's arrival. At the time, it seemed like she might be born anywhere between 4pm and 10pm. I remember thinking that she might try to be like her dad, and show up at 5:52pm (the time at which I was born). I also remember 5:52pm passing us by, and then starting to wonder if it would be more like 7pm.

We soon got word that my mother-in-law had found a flight to Seattle arriving around 10pm. I also learned that my brother would be making his way to the hospital with his girlfriend and my Oma (German for "grandma"). We still didn't think there was any chance the baby would wait for my mother-in-law to arrive, but being that it was already getting to be the late evening and that we had expected the baby to arrive in the late afternoon, anything was possible. Surely enough, my wife's mother arrived in time to witness my wife pushing. Hitting that window of time ended up being easier than we might have guessed, simply because my wife ended up pushing for nearly five hours! She started at around 8pm and our baby didn't arrive until 12:55am Tuesday morning, December 2nd.

The birth in itself was quite an ordeal. The length of the labor took its toll on my wife and on my newborn daughter. When all the pushing was finally over, a new form of agony presented itself. I remember seeing our baby's head appear, very quickly (though not quickly enough, I'm sure, for my wife) followed by her little body. She was quickly laid down on my wife's chest, and I'll never forget her eyes looking up at my wife in that moment. Next, I was handed some scissors to cut her umbilical cord, and then she was quickly whisked off by the nurse to be "woken up," so to speak. Here's where time slowed down...

While consoling my tired and somewhat shell-shocked wife, we both waited to hear the sound of our newborn baby daughter crying. Nanoseconds turned into seconds, seconds turned into minutes, and minutes turned into eternity. Very soon, a rush of doctors and nurses came into our room. It almost seemed like we were encroaching on the maximum occupancy of the room. My brother, who was waiting out in the waiting area at the time, later told me that something along the lines of "code 119" was issued over the intercom system outside our room, and people from all rooms came rushing into ours (needless to say, he was freaked out). Though our delivery doctor and the nurses who had been with us for hours tried to distract us and tell us that everything was okay, we were very worried and not sure what to think. Eventually our baby was taken out of our room and into the nursery. I literally did not know what to do or what to think.

Because a baby's arrival isn't necessarily the end of the process for the mother, we remained in the delivery room addressing those details, awaiting any word on the status of our daughter. We eventually learned that her lungs had been filled with a thick fluid that was keeping her from breathing on her own. I was later able to go see her, and saw her surrounded by three specialists, working together to get her hooked up to monitors and to get an IV in her arm. A comforting nurse named Sarah informed me of what was going on, saying that all of my daughter's vital signs looked good, but that she just wasn't breathing well on her own (amazingly enough, a newborn baby can survive for much longer than a typical human might without breathing).

Though the experience was stressful and worrisome, especially for my wife, who wasn't nearly as mobile as I was at the time, it seems that the more time that passed, the better things seemed to go. Eventually our baby was breathing on her own and her vital signs improving. Though we did not need to feed her initially because of the IV, we visited her in the nursery often, and gave her as much love as we could despite the wires and tubes connected to her little body.

Baby Holding Her Daddy's Finger

On the 3rd, our baby was finally (this may seem soon, but considering how close to the 1st she was born, it felt much longer) allowed to come and stay with us in our personal delivery room. My mother-in-law went home to get our house ready for the baby's eventual arrival (this was very nice of her) and my wife and I experienced our first night alone (if you don't count all the nurses checking in every couple of hours) with our new family member. Other than underestimating how hungry she was and consequently staying up for several hours in the middle of the night, things went well and the next day the doctors said she was looking good enough to go home.

After a visit from her grandma (my mom), great cousin (my cousin Amanda), uncle (my brother Mike) and "aunt" (my brother's girlfriend, Sarah), we took our newborn baby girl home. With the exception of a trip to the pediatrician today (she passed her exam with flying colors) and back to the hospital to visit our (and her) favorite nurse of all, Sohaila, she has remained there since.

We are very proud of, extremely thankful for, completely enamored by and very much in love with our newborn baby girl, Heidi Noelle.


Zim on December 06, 2008 at 7:26 PM:

Oh! Congratulations!!!!!
I can't imagine how nervous you were through all this! I'm happy to read everything went ok :)


Ian Clifton on December 06, 2008 at 7:34 PM:

Congratulations! A hectic few days to start with but it sounds like things are going well now. Be sure to spoil Heidi Noelle for the holidays!


Ryan on December 06, 2008 at 10:50 PM:

Squishy sound to newborn baby -- congratulations, Bernie & Katie!


Bernie Zimmermann on December 07, 2008 at 1:17 PM:

Thanks, guys! Much appreciated!


Jason Black on April 15, 2009 at 2:54 PM:

Wow. That's such a deja-vu story for me. When my son was born, he got stuck in the birth canal because my wife broke her tailbone as a kid, and it healed bent at 90 degrees up into the birth canal. It was more than the baby could fit past easily, and we were in labor for 32 hours before they finally yanked him out with the suction device. He was in the NICU at Evergreen for eight days, before we got our happy ending. But man, I so totally remember that same feeling being zombie sleep deprived and not really understanding what all the docs and nurses were suddenly doing, only that I had to rush upstairs with the baby while my wife stayed in the delivery room. Not a pleasant experience, but as you say, it's remarkable what such little persons can endure with, it would seem, no lasting effects.


oxvyflfy on July 18, 2015 at 4:56 PM:
nctqnuyf on May 15, 2017 at 5:22 AM:
mxdmusfx on March 11, 2019 at 8:56 AM:

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