Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Birth Story - part one (the actual birth)

Let’s start with the night before the big day. Having a scheduled c-section and knowing the exact moment your child will be born was both kind of neat and also rather anxiety-provoking. With a normal delivery, you know APPROXIMATELY when your life will change forever, but some mystery still remains. Here there was no mystery, and it made me want to pee my pants. I was SO enjoying my mommy-and-Fraser time, and while I knew I would love baby #2 to the moon and back, I was rather nervous about suddenly becoming a mommy of TWO.

On the evening of the 11th, I was an emotional wreck. If you don’t believe me, just ask my poor husband whose shoulder I wept on several times. I was nervous, scared, excited… all of the above. I also suddenly became concerned about the Down’s marker that had presented itself at my 18-week ultrasound. After my initial panic at week 18, it had become a non-issue to me…  but it became distressing again. Lastly, I had developed a nasty cold which had been robbing me of my sleep. My precious, valuable, pre-life-with-a-newborn sleep.

Since sleep was evading me anyway, I rolled my large body out of bed at 4am to have a long hot shower in an attempt to clear the sickies. I had initially been hoping to recruit Shareen to do my hair and make-up so I could look spectacular (ha!) post-delivery, but I was told no make-up allowed, so I kissed THAT idea good-bye. Instead I whipped up a little side braid, and Mom dropped us off at the hospital by 6:30am.

As we were waiting to be admitted, we realized that my license—which had been tucked in Lowell’s pocket with my health care card—had disappeared. Not that we needed it, but it was still a little disconcerting not knowing its whereabouts. We texted Mom to keep her eyes open for it, and left it at that.

After being admitted, we took the elevator up to day procedures. In the elevator, a 75-year old(ish) man complimented me several times on my braid. Apparently he has a few daughters and can appreciate a good braid. In any case…  totally. made. my. day.

While I was waiting for surgery prep, mom contacted us to let us know that she drove back to the drop-off spot, and was told by some construction workers that they brought my license to security (as it had apparently fallen out of Lowell’s pocket when he removed his phone to take one last picture before the grand hospital entrance). Good then, it was in safe hands. They also told my mom repeatedly to wish me good luck. What sweet construction workers!

Meanwhile, surgery prep included sausage legs (support hose), space boots (also for blood flow purposes), and hospital garb for both Lowell and me.

The nurse asked if I was wearing any jewellery, and as I consciously didn't put any on that morning, I answered, "Nope!" without hesitation. The nurse was like, "What about that nose ring?" Oops. Then, "And how about those wedding rings?" Hehe *blush* OOPS. I guess that was one last thing I could blame on pregnancy brain. The nurse then tied the rings on a string for Lowell to wear around his neck. In the end, Lowell thought it was a special part of the experience. We were separated for a few hours that day, but he felt more connected to me by wearing my wedding rings around his neck. Sweet man, that one!

I was given the following little device to help with my breathing and keep my nasty cough under control...

Lowell is eager to be a Daddy again!

Moments before being wheeled into the operating room, my doctor came to have a chat with me and see if I had any final questions. He also told me that he heard my name being broadcast over the PA several times: “Julie T to security please, Julie T to security”. He apparently looked to the anesthetist and said, amused, “That’s our next cesarean!” haha. I learned afterwards that they continued to announce my name while in the operating room, and finally a nurse called down and got permission to claim my license for me as I was clearly in no state to claim it for myself.

And off I go...

And now for the actual procedure. The anesthetist had assumed that the spinal would be easy and straightforward, but apparently my spine proved him wrong as my “complicated spine” was “surprisingly challenging”. It took 5 pokes and several minutes longer than expected to successfully block sensation from the chest down, and Lowell—who was still waiting outside the OR—was getting rather concerned. All was well, however, and Lowell was soon brought in and the sheet raised.

As things were getting underway, the baby clearly did not want to leave the comfort of my womb as he scooted higher than ever before (like, so high!) and was moving like crazy. The nurse joked that the babe would be delivered through my nose.

The next couple of minutes (or was it seconds?) FLEW by. I felt only weird pressure as the doctor was doing his thing, then was told to be prepared for some pain as the baby was being pushed out. I didn’t even experience discomfort, so I was still waiting for the pain when suddenly I heard my baby crying… and I also began to cry. In a matter of seconds, they brought the baby around to my side of the sheet, and as I caught a glimpse of his swollen scrotum, announced to Lowell with excitement, “It’s a boy!” My tears continued to flow as Lowell and I looked to each other and quietly cheered, “We successfully squelched RP!” (Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is the genetic eye condition that is the cause of Lowell’s visual impairment).

More tears.

Then me looking as intently as I could at our baby boy’s facial features in an attempt to assess whether there were any Down’s characteristics. “Does he have Down’s Syndrome?” I asked in a brief panic. The anesthetist immediately rubbed my shoulder and assured me that I did a good job and the baby was beautiful and fine. Phewf. And the tears resumed. Tears of gratitude and joy.

However brief, I loved my wee snuggle with our boy.

During my snuggle, the doc said, "Julie- look up!" and he was holding the cyst over the sheet. It was smaller than expected- about the size of a golf ball- and didn't cause any complications. In fact, they didn't even need to take the entire ovary as planned. I didn't get a picture of the cyst, nor did I get to see it open and oozing with teeth and hair, but in my mind it was, like, awesomely disgusting!

Before being separated, Lowell had a little snuggle with our "beyond perfect" (so said the nurse) babe as well...

As the nursing staff escorted Lowell and the baby to the NICU (as is routine after a cesarean), a nurse asked me if the baby had a name. Yep… Stefan Peter.

Before we were reunited, I spent time in recovery. I was in a state of euphoria as I basked in the beauty of the fact that I had just given birth to our second beautiful, healthy son.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic birth story! So glad to hear that everything went well, and that both you and Stefan are healthy and recovering well!


shareen said...

Can't wait for part 2!

Also, I laughed heartily that the old-man-hair-compliment made your day. Uhhhhhh, baby? :)

Kathryn Ferrie said...

The whole episode seems so surreal! I'm so glad everything went so well and Stefan is just a doll! Enjoy him!

Vicky said...

Beautiful post. So glad everything went well. Can't wait to hear more. What a beautiful family you have.

Lowell & Julie said...

Haha Shareen- perhaps I should say that it was a great way to START the day! As indeed, Stefan's arrival probably topped the old man's braid compliment. :)