When I was pregnant with Gideon time seemed to fly by. I was in grad school and student teaching which left me very little spare time and yet I still managed to marvel daily at the changes in my body while daydreaming about what was to come. Now I am full time mom to a 3 year old which actually leaves me with even less spare time but I still manage to complain almost daily about how much more painful and uncomfortable pregnancy is the second time around while feeling guilty about how my increasing physical and emotional limitations are affecting Gideon. And that is why I haven't chronicled my pregnancy journey as extensively this time around. Infertility makes you timid about pregnancy, it is hard to feel safely pregnant, you wait for the other shoe to drop, and getting pregnant our first month trying left me in a state of disbelief for nearly my entire first trimester. But truly, discomfort aside, this pregnancy, this baby, is very much a wish granted.
|I was in such disbelief over getting pregnant our first month trying that I continued to take pregnancy tests for several days after the first positive.|
And now she's here! Right here in my arms sleeping peacefully as I write this one handed on my cell phone. The last 24 hours have been surreal and so different from Gideon's birth. As we made our way to the hospital Friday morning for our scheduled c-section Mac and I both kept pointing out differences; the drive felt shorter and less bumpy when not in labor, we parked in a different lot, we checked in on a different floor, we were repeatedly asked if we had recently been exposed to Ebola, so many differences.
I won't lie, choosing to have a surgery for which you will be awake the entire time feels like insanity, my mind rebelled against it and from the moment I put on the hospital gown I felt like I was on the edge of a panic attack. True, this wasn't my first c-section, but the last one was an emergency after over 12 hours of mostly unmedicated labor. My fear then was for my baby, this time my fear was selfishly for myself. What if I hemorrhaged or had a stroke? What if I ended up in a coma or died? The thought of Mac having to raise our children without me, of Olive never meeting me, of Gideon missing his mommy, it was unbearable and ever present in my mind Thursday night.
Friday morning came, my mom arrived to stay with Gideon, we took pictures, packed the car, and eventually I found myself in a hospital gown hooked up to machines, answering medical history questions, and having my blood drawn (I was so dehydrated they couldn't get a vein and I ended getting poked several times). The surgery was scheduled for noon but at 11 my doctor walked in and asked the nurse if we could go early since he had extra time. Amazingly I found myself being wheeled into the ice cold operating room only a few minutes later. The unexpectedness of the time change sent my anxiety through the roof and having an epidural put in without my husband there to hold my hand brought me to the edge. When the anesthesiologist said she had hit bone and needed to start over I went white as a sheet. Thankfully I had a fantastic nurse who got everyone to take a step back and talked me through my panic attack before they continued. I have never been so relieved as I was when Mac walked in and squeezed my hand. Now that he was there I could do this, the time had come. The next few minutes felt like an eternity but the husbandit says it was only about 5 minutes before the immense pressure followed by amazing lightness that signaled Olive had arrived. I am tearing up just typing about it, the feeling is indescribable. I hadn't seen her sweet face or heard her angry wails yet but my emotions blossomed the moment she exited my body. And then came the unexpected news, our little girl had RED HAIR. Mac and I had been speculating for weeks about how much hair and what color and we always timidly suggested that it could be red, after all we have lots of red heads on both sides of the family, but I had never quite believed we could be that lucky. It is a silly thing but for some reason the idea of a little ginger girl enchants me. And then there she was, out little Olive with a pimento top, a perfect little pumpkin head in time for Halloween.
The rest of the surgery took ages, my blood pressure dipped extremely low and everything started to spin. I couldn't feel my lips and felt faint, barely able to tell people that I felt like something was wrong. The anesthesiologist was very attentive but had to dose me three times with medication to get my pressure back to just low and those last minutes of surgery, trying to look at my daughter through a haze, were agony for me. Finally it was all over and we were wheeled back to the tiny triage room we'd started in. I was so grateful to have some alone time with Mac and Olive before family came in this time. Don't get me wrong, it was also amazing to welcome Gideon to the world with a room full of love (people), but I am glad we got to do something a little more intimate this time.
After lots of joyful hugs, baby snuggles, and storytelling my mom left to get back to Gideon. Later my dad and Debbie arrived and Mac's parent left to give them some time with the new granddaughter. Finally we were moved to a larger room with cell phone reception so I could finally overwhelm people with texted pictures of Olive from different angles.
It was extremely frustrating for me not being able to get out of the bed, or feel my toes, or stop the shaking that was constantly rippling through my body. The side effects of surgery are no joke. But Mac made it so much better for me as we laughed about how quickly one forgets about changing tiny diapers and trying to burp a tiny tummy. It is absolutely true that you should marry your best friend. There is no one else in the world who I would be able to do this with; all of the gory, gross, and uncomfortable bits are so much more bearable just because he is there to make me laugh or reassure me.
Finally it was time for Gideon to come to the hospital and meet his new sister. He, GG, and Grampa Rock arrived at the same time as my brother Jeremy and I could tell as he walked in the room that he was overwhelmed by the people, machines, and lights. I wanted desperately to pick him up and hold him but I was still unable to walk and he was afraid to touch me. I am sure I was a scary sight for him with the epidural, IV, catheter, and leg cuffs. But as always Gideon is a trooper and fell in love with his sister immediately before he asked to go home. Kids, lol.
Not long after everyone left Mac and I began to feel the adrenaline in our systems dissipate and give way to exhaustion. We turned on some mindless television, ate some dinner, and settled in for the first of many nights as a family of four. It was amazingly peaceful compared to our first night with Gideon. We were so scared then. Scared to fall asleep, scared to be too rough, scared to do everything wrong. This time we feel confident(ish) and ready to take this on. Our family finally feels complete.