Monday, November 12, 2012

Birth Story

Clearly I'm a failure at this 30 posts in 30 days thing. My excuse is that it's Charlotte's birthday and I was throwing a party. And like any good mother, I show my love in spending way too much time and energy slaving over food and crafts that are destroyed in 1/10 of the time it took to make them. And then I'm happy anyway.

This time last year, I didn't know I was going to have a baby that day. I knew it was coming. My blood pressure was getting crankier and crankier. One doctor would say soon, another doctor would say maybe a little longer. I knew it wouldn't be long, but I didn't realize it would be quite as quick as it was.

Last pregnant picture. 35w 2d
I had been in the hospital on bedrest for about a week. I was feeling a little sorry for myself because I missed my son and my husband and my bed and my TV and my own "stuff." (not necessarily in that order.) But I was also getting used to the hospital a bit. I had made a few friends on the floor, and gotten friendly with a couple of nurses, so at least I wasn't quite as lonely. But I still wanted to go home. Then I'd feel guilty for wanting to go home because I knew I needed to be where I was. I knew going home meant having the baby and I knew we weren't ready for that yet.

It was a Saturday. David had planned to bring his mom and Robbie up to the hospital to visit for a while. Then his mom was going to take Robbie home and we were going to have a date night in the hospital. He'd bring food in and we'd watch a movie together. We had just talked and they were getting ready to head in. I was writing an email to my friend Amy when the high risk doctor came in. Right away he said today was the day. I was in shock. "but.. it goes back down." He gave me a caring but firm explanation that I was getting sicker faster than the baby was getting stronger and it was time. Amy was technically the first person to know because I sent her something to the effect of "oh shit, he says it's time.." and hit send before I even called my husband.

I called David and informed him that our date night would have to be rescheduled. And to get his butt in to the hospital very quickly. I called my dad. Sent a few texts. Made a few posts. And then I found myself wondering what to do with myself until it was time. I didn't know how long I had. It depended when they could schedule me for surgery. I took one last photo of myself pregnant. It's something we never thought to do with Robbie, and I was determined to do better this time. I had about 30 minutes of time by myself, just to think. I was mostly nervous, but also a little excited. I was going to meet my baby that day. I stopped to say a prayer for all of us, talked to the baby for a bit and then just waited.

Last photo as a family of 3
About the time that the family showed up, things got hectic. I needed to be moved from antepartum to labor and delivery. As I'd been living in the hospital for a while, I had a fair amount of stuff, which we quickly packed up so it could be moved. Then I was.

We went down to labor and delivery. We took one last photo of us as a family of three. Then I got my epidural and from that point on, I was pretty woozy.

It didn't take long for me to be wheeled into the operating room. My OB couldn't be there (she later told me that I happened to get scheduled for the one hour that day she couldn't be there. She was disappointed.) but her partner covered and took great care of me. The NICU team was standing by. I don't even remember them starting. I remember thinking it seemed to be taking a long time. Just as the thought passed my mind, the doctor told me they were just cleaning up some scar tissue from Robbie's birth and then they'd go on. It was all skin scarring. She said my uterus looked great.

They shortly told me that it was time to pull the baby out. They told David to get the camera ready and where to stand to get a picture. I remember being aware that the baby was out, but no one was saying anything. Finally, a nurse complained, "Tell us what she has!" and I thought "NO KIDDING!" the doctor laughed and said "It's a girl!" They held her up and David took her very first picture.
First photo

I was in shock. While I called her "she/her" the whole time, I had convinced myself she was a boy. She would have been Elliot James, but instead she was Charlotte Corrina. I breathlessly told David, "We have a daughter!"

Quickly, she was taken over to the NICU team where she was wiped up and suctioned. And then she cried. David and I looked at each other with ridiculous joy. It would be a week before we heard
Robbie cry. It really is the most amazing sound in the world. That was when I started to cry, too.
Upon hearing her cry...

NICU team
They told me she was doing great. They weighed her and wrapped her up and asked David if he wanted to bring her to meet her mommy. He did. I wish I'd have thought to have a nurse take a picture of that moment because it was amazing. Getting to see and touch my baby was a true gift. I got to welcome her to the world and tell her that I loved her and just stare at her while they stitched me up.
5 lbs 2 oz

It took a little while for them to do it. Later they told me that they had to do some extra work because I have (had?) unusually think fascia. They tell me it's genetic and to my benefit that they saw it because I would likely have needed more intense surgery later to hold my guts in. (They put it more delicately, but that's the gist.) At that point, I didn't care. I just wanted to stare at my baby.
On the scale
Finally it was time to go. I needed to spend 2 hours in recovery. Charlotte would go to the nursery for her newborn screenings and such and be brought back to me when I got back to my room. I was wheeled to recovery. I texted the entire world, smiled a lot and got my mag started.

Greedy for my baby girl

They took me back down to labor and delivery since I couldn't go to postpartum while on mag. I was in the smallest hospital room I'd ever seen in my entire life but mostly I didn't care. I had David called to find out when Charlotte could be brought to me and they said they'd be right down.

It was a grand total of about 3 hours after she was born before I got to hold her, but it seemed like nothing. I didn't get to hold Robbie for 5 days, and then only for 30 minutes while nurses hovered.
Holding her for the first time

I asked our families to take Robbie out for a few minutes while David and I spent a little time with Charlotte. As soon as I got her, I stripped her and held her to my chest and just watched her. She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever laid eyes on. I couldn't believe such an incredible baby had come out of me. I couldn't believe I had a daughter.

Robbie meeting Charlotte
Then Robbie came to meet her. Robbie was not terribly amused. He'd had a traumatic week with me gone and now this new person taking all the attention. He was well behaved, but did not want to be anywhere near the baby. It was okay, though. It didn't last long. And now he'll tell you she's his best friend. He's definitely hers.

Meeting Grandpa
Finally, our parents came to meet her. It was awesome to see them fall in love with her, too. I felt complete in a way I can't put into words. It was perhaps the happiest day of my life. Robbie's birth was too scary to be described that way. I have no small amount of guilt that his birth is marred by the circumstances, but it's a simple fact. Charlotte's wasn't. She was healthy and happy. She latched to my best immediately and sucked contentedly.
Meeting Grandma

The rest of the night is mostly a blur. I had a round of crazy contractions amplified by pitocin and some other contraction-inducing drugs (needed because of the mag) and a somewhat lackluster nurse, but nothing could take away from the joy of having my baby with me.

I didn't know what the following year would bring, but I knew I was blessed beyond all comparison in those moments. I was truly happy.


1 comment:

Macchiatto said...

I love this. :) Hope Charlotte has had a most wonderful birthday!! And that now that she's 1 she'll start reliably STTN for you. ;) Robbie and Charlotte are both so blessed to have you as their mom.