Written March 28, 2013 (my actual due date)
It is hard to believe how quickly time is moving. As I start writing this exactly one week after Israel was born, I realize that time is going to fly (even though sitting here on bed rest makes it feel sooooo long). This birth experience did not end in trauma (THANK YOU JESUS!) and I really am looking back at it with a smile on my face. Surgery is no joke. Seriously, I sat here with the mindset that PLANNED C-sections weren’t fun, but at least you didn’t have to go through hours and hours of labor. Oh am I ever re-thinking that now. So, I shall now do my best to recap my much better experience with the birth of our second baby.
March 20, 2013
Josh and I couldn’t believe that the next morning we would be holding our baby boy in our arms. It felt so surreal. In fact, it almost didn’t feel right. We walked around to each room making sure they were clean, organized a few more things, finished writing thank you cards, snuggled Eden extra tight, and did one final check to make sure our bags were ready to go. Every so often we would look at one another, a smile on our face, and say, “I just cannot believe the time is here.” I had so many painful contractions (something I never had with Eden on my own) that we thought for sure this boy would not make it until the surgery date, but with lots of rest he stayed put. Now it was time to try to rest a bit before we welcomed Israel into the world.
March 21, 2013
12:45 a.m. – fell asleep after watching a couple episodes of Psych on Netflix in our bed.
2:45 a.m. – Eden and I wake up to the sound of a shower (my sister is a night owl) and Eden starts crying. Despite the fact that I had to sanitize our sheets in order to sleep in our bed due to the upcoming surgery, I took Eden to our room, and I went and snuggled in her bed (she kicks far too much for it to be safe for me to sleep in the same bed with her). I tried to sleep, but sleep wouldn’t come. I laid there, praying, thinking about what our baby would look like, and wondering what being a mom to two would feel like.
4:30 a.m. – I’ve given up on sleep at this point and wander down the hall to our living area. I sit at the table and write out a letter to Josh, Eden, and Israel. I worked on my last day of the Beth Moore study I had been doing. I read a few verses that were helping me to stay calm about the upcoming surgery. And I did everything I could to not look at the food that was sitting to my right since eating is a big no-no after midnight before your surgery. I took a shower. I put on makeup. I curled my hair. It didn’t feel right that I was able to do all of these things just hours before meeting my baby.
6:45 a.m. – Josh and I said a final prayer together. We kissed our sleeping only child one last time. And then it was time. We carried our bags to the car and drove the five minute drive to the hospital.
7:00 a.m. – It is starting to hit me…that we are here to have a baby and that I will be having surgery in two hours. Thankfully I end up with the most amazing labor and delivery nurse, Haley, who felt like a friend and kept me from having any worries.
8:45 a.m. – It is just about go time. My IV site was KILLLLLING me. I do pretty well with needles, but IV’s and I do not mix. It is always torture and I was looking at Josh saying, “if I can’t handle the IV, how am I going to handle a surgery?!” He promised me the IV was way worse than anything else I would experience. I rolled my eyes. Nurses kept running in and out of the room shouting strange things that meant absolutely nothing to me. The anesthesiologist came in and gave me a rundown of how things would go and what to look out for in terms of side effects of the drugs. Then my doctor came in. Oh is she ever a welcome sight. She just has the best personality. She pretends that my weird jokes are funny (I tend to become quite the comedian when I am nervous) and she hugs me when she knows I am feeling a little nervous. The room became too busy. I don’t do well in those situations. On top of all of the surgery stuff, we actually were being filmed during the surgery as well…SURPRISE! Don’t worry, we knew about it beforehand and had given our consent happily. However, this meant a whole lot more craziness. My doctor left to scrub up and Josh left to get into his scrubs. That’s when it really hit. Pretty sure I went white and was breathing heavily. The nurses looked at me and checked to make sure I was doing okay. I just responded, “I changed my mind. As much as I want to meet this baby, how about we just let him stay inside, okay?” They said it was too late. Bummer.
9:10 a.m. – We were supposed to start at 9, but there were some complications with the filming. As they rolled me into the awfully sterile OR room my panic attack was setting in so strongly. HELLO…I was letting these people cut into me. Ummm, who willingly does this?! The spinal didn’t hurt a bit and it hit me immediately. They helped me lay on that abnormally small table. Seriously you guys, that table is frightening, and I am extremely small. Immediately the panic that people warned me about washed over me. I HATED that I thought I could feel my legs and yet couldn’t move them. It actually made me angry. The anesthesiologist asked me how I was doing and my response was, “I DO NOT LIKE MY LEGS!” He laughed and said, “you don’t like your legs?” And I said, “Well…I do…well actually not really, but right now I do not like that I cannot do anything with them.” He looked at me and said, “you like to have control don’t you.” That man knows me so well. Also, please note that this is all on film. AWESOME. A seriously fantastic nurse came to my side while they were still doing prep (Josh wasn’t allowed in just yet) and let me squeeze her hand (dear Marcia, you were the angel God sent for me, I am sure of it). I was an absolute wreck. Finally, I remembered who truly was in control, closed my eyes, and started praying. Instant calm. Sadly the shakes came on strong and then I was annoyed all over again. Josh came in and took over for the poor nurse whose hand I had squeezed off. I remember thinking it was weird seeing him in that giant shower cap.
9:34 a.m.It didn’t take long before they did this crazy elbow drop onto my stomach (seriously the force is unbelievable) and I start hearing exclamations about “there’s the baby!” and “it is definitely a boy!” Super weird to sit there and hear all that, but see nothing. I kept thinking I was hearing things. Within seconds a very loud cry rang out in the room and all I could comment on was how proud I was of his lung capacity. Boys got some crazy good lungs. Josh and I both teared up immediately when we heard those angry screams. Now here comes the fun part, and the reason why we were filmed. Within minutes they had dried him off, pulled my gown down, and had him SKIN to SKIN with me (more on that later). Instant tears came to my eyes when I saw him. That was my boy. The one I had carried for nine months. The one who had bruised every rib and pushed on all of my leg nerves for months. The second I saw him, I knew he was mine. For the next 15 minutes or so (at this point I have no idea on timing) I got to hold my son while they did their surgical stuff. They had Josh and a nurse there ready to help in case I got sick (luckily I felt great). In fact, Israel even rooted around and scooted his little big body down to try to nurse right there on the operating table! Incredible. Right at the end I did have to have Josh hold onto him while he was laying on me because my shakes had gotten so bad, but wow was this experience amazing. As they were getting ready to finish up, it was time for them to take Israel and Josh into the adjoining room to get his weight and such. Soon after they were wheeling me into recovery where Josh and Israel were waiting. At this point I was exhausted, but so elated to have my baby boy with me. Seriously the love I felt for him was amazing. While in recovery I got to chew on ice (nope my love for ice hasn’t disappeared AND the hospital had the world’s best ice…WIN!), attempt to breastfeed, and snuggle my baby boy. I felt frustrated at my exhaustion since I wanted to hold him non-stop, but couldn’t seem to do so for very long.
10:45 a.m. – Since we couldn’t leave recovery until I could feel my legs, we asked if we could start having visitors. Eden was first and wow was it so great to see her. She was so excited to meet Israel and gave him kisses and hugs. She didn’t quite like that we wouldn’t let her hold him and that she had to leave me, but all in all it was just so fun to see our two kids together. My mom had come back too (I can’t remember if my dad got to come back or not…he was super sick so it may have been later). Then Ruby and Kirsten got to come back. It was a quick visit and I was so sad it couldn’t have been longer, but at the same time I wasn’t much fun at that time anyway…I was very into my ice chewing.
11:00 a.m. – Time to move to my permanent residence…well at least the room I would occupy for the remainder of our stay. I didn’t want my nurse to leave, she was amazing…but sadly she had to leave me in the care of the Mother Baby nurses (who were also great….but still). At this point I actually started to feel like myself. In fact, I felt pretty great. Still couldn’t feel my legs which drove me crazy, but at least I was alert unlike last time. The rest of the day felt like a blur. Lots of pushing on my stomach, checking of vitals, visits from family and friends, and tons of snuggle time with my baby boy. Seriously the bonding happened so fast with him. With Eden, I was such a disaster that I never really got to hold her much and struggled with that bond. I loved her, but I just had trouble with feeling it. This time was so different. I was overwhelmed with how quickly I bonded to Israel. The birth experience definitely effects a lot and I am so very thankful for a doctor who cared enough about me to know what the right procedure was to ensure a safe delivery for both of us. I am so thankful for her. I knew she would tell me a c-section was the best way for a future baby to enter the world if we chose to have one when I met with her the first time, but I had so wanted a total natural birth experience. Thankfully she was great at helping me know my options and also helped me to realize WHY she was recommending surgery. She was right…it was the best thing for me and for our baby. I totally see that right now.
Also, can you believe I had a baby that was nearly EIGHT pounds?! Israel was two pounds and one inch bigger than Eden at birth…and they were both born at exactly 39 weeks. The nurses kept saying how they couldn’t believe the difference. We had all assumed he was about a pound heavier, but no one guessed two. Josh and I both believe it was due to my nutrition levels. I am so much healthier now and know so much more about good nutrition. I had a few sad moments where I felt like I had failed Eden, but Josh kept reminding me that Eden is just fine and it is how I handle my nutritional knowledge now that counts. Good thing he is there to keep my head on straight!
So about the filming. A couple of months ago I approached my doctor about new c-section options that are more family centered. I had been doing my research just like always, and came across some new recommendations that make c-sections feel a little more like a “natural” birth. So many moms have mentioned to me how they didn’t feel that bond with their baby and how hard it was to be alone in the OR when they had only seen their baby for a brief minute…let alone they weren’t even allowed to hold their baby. My doctor knows I am crazy. I am very naturally minded and love to research, so I was always coming in with a new idea for her. I made Josh come with me to the appointment where I was going to “drop the bomb” on her regarding my latest requests. Surprisingly she not only agreed, but it turned out she was already working on changing things with our hospital. I was so happy! Because of these changes, they needed a couple that was willing to be filmed for training videos for other doctors. We had no trouble agreeing because we are such advocates for a more natural approach. The filming wasn’t awkward at all and actually kind of made things more entertaining during surgery.
So, final thoughts. Surgery really is no joke. It wasn’t painful like I thought it would be. In fact, I was on ibuprofen only until the very end of my hospital stay and then I added a bit stronger of medication as needed in order to help my recovery. Thankfully the nurses respected the fact that I only wanted medication when I was ready…they may not have always agreed with my choice, but actually I believe the reason I was able to get out earlier than they anticipated was because I did not take the extra medication. My body was able to heal itself naturally and that felt great. Also, I may have drank double my weight in water within the first day at the hospital. And that was WITH an IV….um oops. The actual surgery itself really wasn’t that big of a deal, however, recovery hasn’t been as fun. Because I feel a million times better than I did after nearly dying with Eden, it makes me want to get up and clean and be back to my normal routine. Sadly, that would be the opposite of what I should be doing. So I am doing my best (while failing miserably) at sitting on my rear all hours of the day. Getting up only to get Israel from his bassinet, change him, feed him, and put him back down. Oh and of course use the potty. It is so hard, but at the same time the pain reminds me that it is necessary. I’m ready to be back to my normal self though. No matter what, this experience was a million times better, even if both resulted in bed rest for me. I loudly proclaimed multiple times that I was glad this was the last baby I was having out of my body. Having Israel has shown me that I still LOVE newborns with all my heart, I NEVER want to go through pregnancy and delivery again, and that I most definitely want more kids. Yes, I realize I have only had two children for one week now, but Josh and I already know, without a doubt, that we are meant to have a big family. It is weird looking at Israel, knowing he is the last newborn in our house. So, because of that, he is getting extra snuggles and is spoiled beyond belief. That boy does not leave my side. I didn’t know I needed a son, until he was placed in my arms one week ago. And wow, does God ever know what we need because Israel is the perfect addition to our family.
My heart is full. I am blessed.