(this is part II! Part I here)
It was Tuesday, December 8 – 23 hours since I had first arrived at Sarasota Memorial, and it incredible to think that just a day ago, I never would have imagined how different that day would be.
It was Baby day!
It was funny, really – I had spent so much time thinking about pain management options for childbirth – epidural vs. natural, special laboring positions, etc – but having a cesarean section was never really on my radar. I was pretty much at peace about it though, keeping in mind that healthy baby + healthy mommy were the most important things, after all.
Before being transported over to the OR, I had to remove all pieces of jewelry, put on some funky compression shin sleeves and grippy socks, and one of those stylish caps. The nurses who had been taking care of me on the labor and delivery floor explained to hubs where he’d wait while they prepped me for the surgery, then where he’d sit in the room. Tom, the anesthesiologist, came and told me how they’d inject the spinal dose, and what it might feel like once it started to take effect. Then, they gave me a cup of really citrus-y weird stuff that was supposed to reduce nausea, and before I knew it, I was being wheeled into a bright and sterile room.
There, I was scooted over to the operating table, administered the spinal (so weird, I had to slump over kind of, with the help of a nurse, and the spinal injection really did warm over like a thick, hot blanket) and I kind of felt like the lower part of my body was in really dense liquid. In the reflection of the lights above, I could see my legs kind of splayed out, in the way frog dissections are done back in high school, but with the curtain in front of me, I couldn’t see what was going on directly (thank goodness).
In my right hand, I held a special omamori from my parents, who had purchased it in their recent trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima Island. It represented luck in labor/delivery and my mom wanted me to have it, and hubs had been sure to pull it out of a package she had just sent me (and had arrived the day before) so I’d have it with me at the hospital – so even though my parents weren’t there, it was like a piece of them was, which was really special.
Hubs was on the left side of me, holding my hand. I remember him looking down at me, and telling me that he was there, and everything was going to be alright. I felt really calm, and soon, I felt a series of tugs and pulls, and realized the procedure had begun! It was the weirdest thing I had ever felt…kind of like the mid-portion of my body was a rubber surface, and things were being stretched and bounced off of it. I could hear voices, but not necessarily what they were saying, and the lights seemed to brighten and fade in irregular pattern.
I had absolutely no concept of time while I was on that table, but in what seemed like just a few minutes, I heard hubs stand up (and be told to sit down! Haha), the clear outburst, “wow has she got a lot of hair!” and something being pulled up and carried away.
I tried to turn my head a little, and I could start to hear some low sounds, hubs was called over in a bit to cut the cord, and I could feel tugs and rhythmic motion that must have been the process of putting me back together. I just started crying with insane joy, hot tears rolling all over my face, and someone, I don’t even recall who, asked if I wanted to hold my baby. Of course! She was brought over and placed on me and I just cried all over her, too.
I kept repeating, “it’s you! You’re here! You’re really here!!”
Hubs asked if I was okay because I really just could not control the tears. I was just so happy, I was shaking. We finally were able to share the name we had 99 percent agreed on, but definitely confirmed upon when we saw her: Abigail. She was 5-lb, 12-oz of perfect.
In a few minutes (?) I was moved to the recovery area, and I remember thanking the doctors, nurses and staff in the room, and had a new host of helpful staff to assist in the next hour. I still felt somehow detached from my own body, like I was watching what was happening as an outsider. Finally, right before we got the clear to be moved upstairs to the Mother and Baby unit, I started to feel myself creep back into my body (again, sounds so strange, but it’s the best way I can describe it) as I had this intense itchiness all over my face and shoulders (nurses said it was an effect from the painkillers).
In our new room, we had the assistance of another stellar nursing staff, who came in and out throughout the next two nights. Abby also had a slew of tests done, and we had calls and visits from different departments of the hospital, including:
- birth certificate office (they had to call three times since we hadn’t yet decided on a middle name – we finally decided sometime Wednesday night/Thursday morning 😉 )
- photography (the hospital works with a business to take pictures the day after baby is born, right in the room)
- lactation assistance (in addition to all the nurses being certified, the head of the department comes in to explain the local support options)
Additionally, our pediatrician visited each day to check on baby, and by the time discharge day arrived (Thursday) we had a lot of information, handouts, and more for homework once we got back home!
Finally, around noon on Thursday, after attending the hospital discharge celebration, we headed home!
Life can really change in an instant, and this week proved just that! Cliche as it sounds, words just cannot contain what I feel when I look at little Abby. There’s love…and then there’s just this sweeping, intoxicating, new level I never knew existed until the moment I saw her face.