We were on our way to the operating room. Eric was covered in scrubs and mask, I in my glamorous hospital gown. As they wheeled us along I kept asking if he was with us, and also my loyal nurse who’d stayed with me the entire day and promised to stay to the end, despite it being well past the end of her shift.
Along the way it really sunk in what was about to happen and I started getting really scared. By the time we arrived I was shaking, and they made Eric wait outside until they’d given me the spinal.
I’m horribly inflexible and they wanted me to curl forward and tuck my chin, which I simply couldn’t do. They kept saying curl more so they could get it between my vertebrae, and I kept crying, “I don’t bend” because I don’t. My nurse asked me, “what’s your name?” and I told her, then she asked ,”and what are we doing here?” I cried, “hurting me!” Then I heard her ask, chuckling, “does that count as verbal consent?”
It was painful, like cold pressure, and I couldn’t stop crying and shaking uncontrollably. The anesthesiologist said it was OK to feel lots of pressure, but sharp shooting pain was bad.
Not a minute later it felt like lightning lancing down my left side and leg and spreading outward. I screamed out, “sharp shooting pain! Sharp shooting pain!!”
I don’t recall what happened after that but soon thereafter I was stretched out on the table with my hands strapped down, straight out to either side. They started putting up curtains and brought Eric in, who immediately grabbed my hand.
I remember lots of weird feelings as they pulled and pushed and moved things around. Thank goodness I couldn’t actually feel any slicing or organs being removed (do they really take stuff out?), and it felt like an eternity of just shaking, asking Eric and the doc by my head questions, and shaking some more. The doc said that when I felt lots of pushing, the baby would be out shortly after.
Quick side note: one of the checks during attempted labor my doctor estimated the size of the baby in trying to determine if she would fit and said she couldn’t be more than 7 lbs. I had a hard time believing that, having been convinced she’d be at least 9 lbs.
Anyway, after a million years I started feeling them pushing really hard on me, and it lasted awhile… Then all of a sudden we heard a baby cry. I looked at Eric and in a shocked, desperate way managed to voice, “that…that’s our baby…” and started tearing up…which brought tears to his eyes as well. It was the strangest sensation, knowing that somewhere, beyond the blue curtains, from my temporarily numb and paralyzed body, a baby had been brought into the world and she belonged to me.
We heard them yell out “8:34 pm” then “6 pounds 15 ounces… You can’t get any closer than that!” I managed to ask loud enough for them to hear, “is she cute?” to which someone replied, “she is! She’s pretty” then some comments around that if they didn’t think the baby was cute they came up with something like ‘they have a nice round head..’
Someone(s) took the baby to another part of the room and started doing stuff to her while the others put me back together, and again it felt like eternity. They offered for Eric to go look at the baby but I selfishly told him he had to wait for me. He stood up to take a peek and blurted out, “she has big feet!”
Then we heard them counting.. “16..17..18..19..” And it stopped. “Why did they stop at 19?? Does she not have all her toes??!” But Eric explained they were counting tools to make sure nothing was left inside me. Oh.. Well that’s better than missing a toe. Another bout of counting and something was missing…. No wait it was on the floor.
Eventually I was coerced into letting him go see her (by someones that I couldn’t see but who could see Eric peeking) and he went and got her and brought her over to my head where I looked over my shoulder at her. It was all so surreal but I think my shaking began to ease at that point. Eric looked like such a proud daddy that my heart melted.
Finally I was back together and they took the curtains down, whisked the baby away and sent Eric from the room. They dragged me onto a stretcher and wheeled me off to recovery, where I’d spend a while being monitored.
The normal maternity recovery rooms were under construction so we ended up in a very empty part of the hospital which was dark and deserted that late at night. Eric made the comment that it felt like we were in the morgue which caused the nurse and myself to remonstrate, but once all the sensors were attached and they couldn’t get a reading on me and I was told to sit very still because it was saying I wasn’t reading right Eric retaliated, “see? Its fitting we’re in the morgue” which made them laugh.
I spent the wait staring at my toe saying, “move!”
I think it was over an hour in there. I asked for my cake and was told I’d get it when we got to my room. However…I wouldn’t be able to eat it until tomorrow. Really? I gave her the baby and she was still holding out on my cake!
We finally got to go to the room and my nurse got me all situated, gave me my cake which said ‘welcome baby’, a card signed by the whole team, and some other stuff like a baby book, then said her goodnight.
Soon thereafter they brought my baby. And boy was she hungry. She was sucking madly on her sleeve, the nurse’s hand, whatever was in range of her tiny little mouth. They handed her to me and I looked at her helplessly and asked, “what do I do??”
The nurse showed me and after a few failed attempts we managed to figure it out, my baby and I. And when she was sated she smacked her lips a couple times and let out this big sigh. I wasn’t really sure what to think of her, but that was certainly adorable. I stared at her for awhile and had all sorts of mixed emotions, but Eric was enamored with her from the moment he first held her.
Someone put benadryl in my IV to counter the anesthesia which was making me try to rub my nose off, but it made me groggy. Around 2am after all sorts of checks and questions and other stuff, they whisked her away. I was beyond passing out at this point and again I think my answers to their multitude of questions amused someone.
The rest of the stay was a challenge as I healed, gradually learned how to feed, then swaddle, bathe and change the diapers of my baby, cried for no real reason, and survived the questions and pokes and prods of nurses or residents at all hours of day and night. Its true what they say about birthing taking away all your dignity as I let countless folks see my boobs to help me learn the best ways to feed her, or help me pee once the catheter was removed, or see me in little but a bra and hospital granny panties… All my modesty was out the window except for when family and friends came to visit.
That first day Eric and I agreed upon the first name Aria, but we didn’t finalize her middle name Grace until the day we checked out, which we found out later made us ‘that family that couldn’t pick a middle name’.
During those days I discovered how much I liked just having Aria lie next to me on the bed after feeding, where she would sleep peacefully with an expression of content, or let me snuggle her on my chest with her arms and legs tucked up tightly, my little froggy, with her head under my chin. She grew on me rather quickly, my little easy-going snuggle.
By the time we were to go home on Wednesday Eric and I were pulling out our phones to take pictures of every little thing she did.
It was all worth it. The Lord has blessed us with a sweet baby who is easily consoled, loves to cuddle, and has the most angelic look when I feed her, which no longer freaks me out to do.
I think I’m in love 🙂