Friday December 28th 2012 is a day I will always remember fondly. It was the day everything went exactly the way it was supposed to…and then some.
We started the day at 5am, laying in bed talking about the lack of sleep we both got. I asked Tim why he didn’t sleep, I mean, it wasn’t like HE was the one getting his stomach cut open that morning! He said, “Honey, I”m about to have a daughter. I may never sleep again.” After discussing which convent we’d send Abby away to when she turns 14 and thinking about the horrors of her one day leaving us and going to college, I waddled my way to the bathroom to get ready for the day.
That night, we’d gotten about an inch and a half of snow. Just enough to cover the existing dirty snow and make everything sparkle. It was also just enough to make our typically 15 minute drive to the hospital take over 30 minutes. It’s a good thing I wasn’t ACTUALLY in labor, what with the longer drive and the bumpy, slippery roads!
We got to the hospital just after 7am and met my nurse for the morning, Grandma Judy. She was the most senior nurse on staff, both in age and job experience. I knew we were in FABULOUS hands. Grandma Judy walked me through every step of the morning, introduced me to everyone who would be in the room, and got me all prepped.
At one point I met my anesthesiologist. Look up perfectionist in the dictonary, you’ll probably find his face. He went through every single thing I could have ever needed to know, and did so in a very disconnected, professional manner. “You will be given a medication which will block your pain from the breast and below. You will also be given a painkiller, an opiate. You may experiece the following side effects (names tons including “experiencing a feeling of doom”). Everything should be fine as long as there is good communication. I need excellent communicaton through the entire process.” After he left I looked at Tim who had a strange look on his face and I said “That disconnected perfectionist thing? That’s a trait you WANT in the person who is making you feel no pain!”
At 9:05am, I walked myself into the operating room and sat myself on the surprisingly narrow operating table. I made mental notes of everything going on around me so I could remember details later. Once I was sitting, the anesthesiologist walked me through every little thing he was doing, including “I’m about to touch your hips with the world’s coldest fingers.” When I jumped a little and laughingly told him he wasn’t lying, he replyed “That’s how you know that everything I say to you is the complete truth, so you can trust me.” Which I did. And to be honest? I felt almost no pain getting the spinal, which was my #1 fear going into the procedure.
Once that was in, I laid down, numbed up, got quiet, and just started observing. Everyone in the room was in a fantastic mood. There was one nurse who stayed by my head and rubbed my temples off and on to relax me, which was amazing. Conversation was light, talking about how crazy people were to go to the Mall of America the day after Christmas. Talking about some big deal at IKEA. Talking about their children. The anesthesiologist walked me through everything that was happening over the curtain and kept saying “You’re doing fantastic. Everything is going exactly the way it should.”
Finally, Tim was allowed into the room. It was time.
I remember holding on to Tim’s hand harder than I’ve ever held it before. I really focused on feeling everything that was going on and committing it all to memory. I felt lots of pressure, pulling, tugging. Someone cued Tim to sit up. There was a delay. LOTS of pressure. A crying baby. Suddenly, the screen came down and there she was. At 9:32 am Abigail Joann was born. And she was chubby and cranky and beautiful. I burst into happy tears.
The OR was all abuzz at how chubby she was. I heard all about her chunky thighs and her neck rolls.
Everyone started guessing her weight based on how BIG she looked. My doctor guessed 9-2. I heard an 8-13 guess. Then the results were in:
8 pounds 3 ounces.
At 20.5 inches long, all her weight was in her chub. Her beautiful, healthy chub. Tim brought her over to me to meet and we had our first snuggles and pictures.
Tim went with her to the recovery room while I got stitched back together.
It took quite a while. I think they said everything was done at 10:15. My doctor told me I had some “very healthy looking” large veins on the right side that I guess she was concerned about, which I guess is what took her so long to finish up.
I was wheeled into the recovery room, and 10 minutes later, Abby was in my arms and started nursing.
Two hours later, my two children got to meet each other.
And you know what? There was no feeling of my heart growing to accommodate the love I have for both children. I just saw them together and it just made sense. These are my babies. My loves. My children. They fit.
My recovery has been nothing short of fantastic. I’m sitting in my hospital room on Sunday night writing this (yeah, this post took me two nights to write!), and I feel (mostly) human. My mood has been great. I have not been fuzzy or out of it or anything through any of this. This experience has been completely, 100% different than my experience with Aric.
As for Miss Abby, she’s doing just as well. She had a touch of jaundice earlier, but her levels evened out on their own, so she avoided time in the tanning booth. We had a night of just awful nursing, but according to the lactation consultant I met with, it was all totally normal. And as of right now, she’s back on track with her feedings with almost no issues.
Oh, and she has beautiful blue eyes and …. get this … RED HAIR!! I finally have my ginger baby! And she has the most perfectly shaped head. I cannot even get over how doll-like she looks. And her build? Well, let’s just say her nicknames so far have been “butterball” and “porkchop.” She’s just a little SQUISH!!! Her head and torso fill out her newborn clothes nicely, but her legs and arms are just so tiny and short! Baby is built just like her mama!
Aric had a rough weekend, no lie. He spent some time at my parents’ house and Tim’s parents’ house. And he had some troubles sleeping because he missed his Mama. But since we got home on Monday he’s been great. He LOVED bedtime stories because Abby got to join us. And you know what’s so neat? My lap is just the perfect size to snuggle both a teeny baby AND a lanky three year old!
And he’s completely in love with her. Always asking to hold her and kiss her and loves to “rock-a-bye” her whenever he can. It makes my heart feel so full seeing the two of them reacting to each other.
So now we jump into the world of parenting two children. I can already tell it’s not going to be a walk in the park, but I can also tell that the good moments will FAR out-weigh the bad. And I’m so excited to get going