The Primate Diaries

A Primate is Born

   Our newborn takes after his father.The following is something of an impromptu experiment in live birth twittering. It started out simply as a means to update friends and family, but as events transpired we received some unexpected international attention. The entire labor lasted 47 hours, involved three different locations and two surgeries. This after we had carefully planned for a natural birth with no interventions. Thank you to the hundreds of people in at least eight countries who followed our story and sent messages of support. Special thanks to Henry Gee, Senior Editor of Biological Sciences at Nature, who even blogged about the event.

As this is the live feed from both our Twitter accounts she is #1 while I am, appropriately, #2. Not all times are exact as I had to adjust from the Tehran timezone where I’ve reset my Twitter account settings in support of the ongoing Iranian civil rights movement.

Friday, June 26

#1
currently enduring some regular, painful contractions. not timing them yet. still getting things done :) 2:22 PM Jun 26th from web

Saturday, June 27th

#1
Breathing hard. Labor is not the chaise lounge it was reported to be. 12:27 AM Jun 27th from txt

#1
I am in the tub and feeling less pain. 1:08 AM Jun 27th from txt

#1
Midwife is on the way. . . 2:56 AM Jun 27th from txt

#1
At the birthing center. Dialated to 7cm. 4:27 AM Jun 27th from txt

#2
Rosy fingered dawn, as the line from Homer goes. By Zeus my son will be born come daylight. I may Twitter updates as events unfold. 5:14 AM Jun 27th from txt

#1
Baby is +1 / head past the cervix. Good progress. Now resting. 8:09 AM Jun 27th from txt

#2
The scene: She lay in large tub at birth center. Our doula and I press up on small of her back. Moans sound like sustained walrus growls. 9:37 AM Jun 27th from txt

#2
Walking across the room is slow and awkward. As if bipedalism is not her primary mode of locomotion. 9:59 AM Jun 27th from txt

#2
The Meaning of Life, Part I: The Miracle of Birth. Important difference with natural childbirth, there is no machine that goes ‘Bing’. 10:56 AM Jun 27th from txt

#2
Five good friends around the tub. Two languages. Lots of laughter. 11:27 AM Jun 27th from txt

#2
Lip of cervix partially obstructing head. Amniotic sack may need to be ruptured to speed things along. 12:35 PM Jun 27th from txt

#2
About twenty hours in labor now. Eight since arriving at the birth center. Her hips are extremely sore as contractions continue. 2:25 PM Jun 27th from txt

#2
Anyone who claims that the birth canal is intelligently designed must admit a sadist for a designer. 2:27 PM Jun 27th from txt

#2
Midwife is now puncturing bag. Fun fact: amniotic fluid is almost the same salt content as sea water. Mammals carried the ocean with them. about 24 hours ago from txt

#1
Water broken. 2:32 PM Jun 27th from txt

#2
We’ve been given an all go for launch. I repeat, we’ve been given an all go for launch. about 23 hours ago from txt

#1
Pain and tears and …. push. about 23 hours ago from txt

#1
Moaning like a champ…not long now. 3:54 PM Jun 27th from txt

#2
The most painful part is when oversized Homo skull navigates through contorted pelvic bone adapted for bipedalism. Perfect storm ensues. about 23 hours ago from txt

#2
Don’t know how long it’s been. Haven’t slept in more then 36 hours. She was passing out. Now has IV. We’ll be making the final push soon. about 20 hours ago from txt

#2
We never should have come down from the trees. Big mistake. about 20 hours ago from txt

#2
Listening to Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical now. She’s singing along. about 20 hours ago from txt

#2
Sitting in tub with her. Massaging hips during contractions. We’re ready to move to the final stage. Head is less then 2 cm from crowning. about 20 hours ago from txt

#2
Approx. 26 hours of labor. Uterus will not push adequately. Transferring to Univ. Washington. Baby and mom both fine. Going to receive Re… about 17 hours ago from txt

#2
Receive pertussin. Labor should them be fast. Battery low but everything will be fine. about 17 hours ago from txt

#2
Sagan, our son to be, is a very considerate child. He’s giving her a break from contractions on the bumpy road. Spirits are high. about 17 hours ago from txt

#2
One thing this experience has taught me is that, next to experiencing labor pains, men are pussies. about 17 hours ago from txt

#1
Now in hospital. Epidural is on its way. Oh please hurry. about 17 hours ago from txt

#1 (written by #2)
Erin is doing great. She received her epidural and pitocin. She is feeling sooo much better. We expect a smooth delivery soon. She is surrounded by loved ones. about 15 hours ago from txt

#2
Back in action. She got an epidural and pitosin. She feels great. Will hopefully give birth before midnight. We expect a smooth delivery. about 14 hours ago from txt

#2
The birth center was by far a more personal and enjoyable experience. Thankfully we have access to medical intervention when necessary. about 14 hours ago from txt

#2
She looks radiant. We seem to have gotten to a point beyond fatigue. Birth is imminent. Wow. about 14 hours ago from txt

#1
Sagan won’t come out on his own. Looks like a C-section. about 14 hours ago from txt

Sunday, June 28th

#2
Baby won’t descend. There is no other option. We are being prepped for cesarean. Humans are a bizarre species. How did we ever survive? about 12 hours ago from txt

#2
Tired. She started labor almost 36 hours ago. By the time this is over we’ll have been awake for two days. I needed help reading a contract. about 12 hours ago from txt

#2
Oh yes, what she needed was more tubes and wires stuck into her flesh. about 12 hours ago from txt

#2
She was just taken to surgery. I’m dressed like a smurf. 9 of us waiting for them to get me. Telling our favorite story of last 2 days. about 11 hours ago from txt

#2
Sagan was born at 1:11 am. He is 8.5 lbs. Very healthy. She is still in surgery. Blood in urine. Need to find source. She was put under. about 9 hours ago from txt

#2
Just got update. Source of blood not found yet. She is lucid, stable and only given epidural. Will stay awake until I hear about her condition. about 9 hours ago from txt

#2
She’s back after many hours of surgery. Shaken but with all her parts. A grand adventure is at its end, or rather, has just begun. A primate is born. about 8 hours ago from txt

#2
Slept for about three hours. This morning Sagan nursed successfully. Both mom and baby are now asleep. I’m watching over them. less than 20 seconds ago from txt

#2
Just went online for first time in 3 days. Had no idea about the huge response and international support. Thank you, thank you, thank you. less than 10 seconds ago from txt

Comments

  1. #1 Moebius
    June 28, 2009

    Apparently one of the first things to go after sleep deprivation is your quantitative ability. 2:22 pm June 26th to 1:11 am June 28th is 35 hours, not 47. Quick someone test me and send some math games to check my ability.

  2. #2 Andrew
    June 28, 2009

    Wow, what an ordeal. Congrats to you both! Say hi to Sagan for me.

  3. #3 David Dobbs
    June 29, 2009

    Congrats, Eric and #1 — and I’m sorry to hear you had such a rough ride. Ours was similar: 40 hours labor, 4 pushing … and then a C-section. Brutal.

    Try to get some rest. Wanna compare notes, drop a line.

    Best,

    Dave

  4. #4 Martin R
    June 29, 2009

    Congrats guys! Very glag it worked out in the end. And very glad that neither of the two births I’ve assisted at was anywhere near as complicated as that…

  5. #5 cicely
    June 29, 2009

    Epidural–Best.Invention.Evar!!

    Congratulations, and best of wishes to all involved.

    (Nice blog, BTW. I’m looking forward to checking it out daily.)

    Did they ever track down the blood-in-urine thing?

  6. #6 Moebius
    June 30, 2009

    Thanks everyone! There were three possibilities for why she had blood in her urine. The first was that, due to her intense pushing, a small rupture occurred in her bladder. The second was that, when the incision was made into her uterus, they also nicked the bladder. The third was that the uterus incision tore into her bladder. Whatever the source, they had to insert a camera into her ureter to make sure there weren’t any other problems. Pretty invasive. She was made completely loopy with narcotics and was only semi conscious. After about an hour Sagan and I were asked to leave. We were then waiting patiently back in the delivery room trying not to freak out (he did a much better job than I did).

  7. #7 Miss Cellania
    June 30, 2009

    I was on the edge of my seat just reading the transcript! I would have been quite worried to follow it in real time. So happy it turned out OK. Congratulations!

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    March 18, 2010

    Amazing.

    You would think there would be some degree to which this process would be at least a little predictable.

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