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27 hours of back labor
a short stay in the nicu - my new hero - and a boy named gabriel
by albert garcia

27 Hours of Back Labor
She did it. And when I say she as in my wife did it, I mean - SHE did it! She’ll tell you it was a team effort and she couldn’t have done it without me, and yes I was there to fill her water bottle and get her ice chips, but any monkey in a pair of Skechers can do that.

My wife experienced over a hundred contractions, which I can only compare to having a ground ball planted unmercifully between my legs over and over for 27 straight hours. She got a big needle in the back, had to deal with a fever all while experiencing intense back pain that at times overwhelmed the actual contractions. It was a knockdown, drag out event with the “Oh my God’s!” and “How much longers?” and family camped out in the waiting area with boxes of take out.

The contractions started on a Wednesday night at 10:15 and Friday morning at 1:30 we had a baby boy. Watching the little guy being born was as shocking to my mind as the previous 27 hours had been shocking to my body. I’m still reeling from the experience and any decision on another baby, I defer to my wife. I can’t ask her to do that again but if she wants to, I’ll be there with a bottle of water and some ice chips.

A Short Stay in the NICU
The next morning, after a couple hours of semi-conscious diaper changing broken up by a few minutes of sleep on a converted hospital chair, I felt like I was at the tail end of a binge in Vegas except I had no flashes of hitting black jack and my headache was not accompanied by visions of shots, just a baby’s cry. We were alone with the baby for just a few hours before we were told he had jaundice. Our doctor wanted to put him under the lights in an incubator in the NICU, so they wheeled him away.

It was hard being separated from the baby. It was a letdown after imagining scenes of my wife holding him while I wielded a Sony Cybershot and a Flip Camera. We spent the next day and a half going to and from the NICU every three hours so my wife could nurse him. I pushed her in a wheelchair through hallways and in and out of elevators. Sorry to that nurse whose foot I ran over, but you saw me coming. Walking out of the NICU for the last time was a breath of fresh air. The drive home with the baby was the culmination of a lot of emotional and physical trials for me and my wife, and it was also the start of our new life as parents.

My New Hero
My wife is my super hero. I feel lucky to be in this life thing with her at my side. We’ve been together since 1993, and I thought I knew who she was and what she was capable of, but turns out I hadn’t seen anything.

She struggled trying to get comfortable at night through most of the pregnancy and still can’t sleep on her sides while I continue to fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. She watched her body grow, experienced nauseous mornings, afternoons and evenings and carried the little guy inside her as she coached swim practices and swim meets. She showed great sacrifice during the pregnancy and incredible courage and strength during the birth.

Since then, I’ve watched her become a wonderful mother - patient, caring and loving. She did it all with a smile as she anticipated motherhood and a curl of uncertainty around her lips knowing there was always a chance of something going wrong.

My wife carried to full term an 8lb 11oz baby and she turned herself inside out, giving every bit of energy she could muster after 27 hours of contractions to bring him into the world. I don’t have to watch a movie or read a book to be inspired. I only have to look across the table at my wife.

A Boy named Gabriel
Since the first time I held Gabriel and fed him a bottle to the last time he looked at me and smiled, he has been redefining my definition of totally awesome. Watching our first baseball game together (Giants 1 – Dodgers 2) was totally awesome. Introducing him to our family and friends has been totally awesome, even his dirty diapers are…….well let’s just leave it at – he’s totally awesome.

I’m looking forward to a future of totally awesome moments like teaching him to throw and hit a ball and I know there’s always a chance he’ll hate baseball, but that’s for another day. Meanwhile, at 16 weeks he’s busting through his 3-6 month clothes and having a fun time with his grandma as she carries and sings to him all day. He goes to yoga and tummy time classes, already has a road trip to Los Angeles under his belt, and I’m sure he’ll be in the pool this summer.

Having made it through an ectopic, a full term pregnancy and the birth, I must now prepare for everything from teething and terrible twos to adolescence and cell phones to the really complicated stuff like explaining E=mc2 and why their isn’t a playoff for college football, but I’m not too worried. After all, I have a super hero in my corner.


Most comfortable on a bar stool, Albert Garcia grew up in Los Angeles and attended the University of California and the University of London. He lives with his wife in Northern California, loves to travel and writes with a Pilot Q7.

more about albert garcia


volunteering-the new philanthropy
by albert garcia
topic: general
published: 12.25.09

expecting a baby
when the expectations have been reset
by albert garcia
topic: general
published: 1.21.11


tracey kelley
5.26.11 @ 10:43a

You sweet thing. :D

All our best, Albert, to you, your little one, and your super hero. I'll bet she looks fabulous in her Lycra tights.

alex b
6.22.11 @ 1:51a

Wow. You wrote this so vividly that I felt like I was in the waiting room cheering along. Congratulations to your family :-)

beth clement
7.5.11 @ 11:26a

Congrats, 14 months post partum I can tell you it gets better and better!

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