An excerpt from the First 30 Days of Night…
Day 1- September 21 The Day you were Born
I remember getting the call at 6am on Wednesday from the labor and delivery ward at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women letting me know that the bed was ready for your arrival.
I was so nervous that I told them I was going to be there in 20 minutes- yeah right. My mom, your father, and I rolled into the hospital at 7:30am, Starbucks in-hand. We let my uncle (the cardiologist) know, because he’s been at my side ever since I was born and when I diagnosed with Leukemia when I was 7, so of course he was going to be there.
We were actually supposed to be there the day before, but apparently there had been an emergency at the hospital, everyone decided to have a C-Section that night and there was a baby born in an elevator. Clearly, it was not time for you to come.
Once we got there, I was escorted into the waiting area with my mom while your father parked the car (he refused to valet, despite our several objections- more on this later). The nurses came in to receive me and noted that coffee in my right hand and told me I had about 15 minutes to down it. Apparently it is not every day a mother about to go into labor comes in with her Grande cup of Pike’s Place Roast.
I was escorted into the “laboring room,” which silently scared the hell out of me, but I never showed it. Especially when I saw a huge fitness ball on the corner and I remember thinking… “What the hell are they expecting me to do with this thing?” The nurse told me it was for laboring. I actually ended up bouncing on that ball and it felt pretty good when I felt the contractions at their strongest.
The two nurses that were assigned to me were wonderful and super sweet, in addition to being very patient the entire time. After running all the tests and diagnostics, it was time for me to be induced. The inducement process started at 9am and when that first contraction came, I thought I was going to keel over and die. Little did I know this was nothing, just the start, and it was about to go down. I was given some sedatives to minimize the pain, but you were extremely responsive and ready to get out.
Finally, my water broke at 1:30pm. I felt a pop inside me and I remember thinking, “I read about this in some Facebook feed.” I decided to make the announcement and sure enough, I was right. So there I was, laboring with pain medication and you were just reluctant to come out. Once I received the epidural, I felt nothing and decided to use my time to nap until you were ready.
I remember being woken up several times by the nurses to re-position the monitors on my stomach and several concerned whispers. In the midst of my nap, I remember my uncle telling my mom that you were going to end up being delivered a C-Section (which was not my plan). The doctor has told me at your 28 week appointment that only one person could be in the operating room if you resulted in a C-Section delivery. With my uncle having saved my life when he was the one who diagnosed me with Leukemia, and my fiancee, your father, who I love with my heart, both there- it was a heart-wrenching decision to make, which I had not even thought about making because I had decided to deliver you naturally due to this specific reason.
So I was completely shocked when the attending doctor came in and spoke to me in a serious, but friendly tone. You were going to be delivered via C-Section immediately.
It wasn’t even two minutes when an entire staff of nurses trotted in to prep me, I was told to call your father because he had gone to get something to eat, and my uncle was putting on his scrubs. I was on the verge of tears as it was not even five minutes after I called your father and he told me was parking that I was being rolled into the O.R.
I remember bright blue and green overhead lights, the anesthesiologist behind me trying to coax me to relax, my uncle closely examining the incision being made so I wouldn’t get butchered, and my doctor rushing in because he had just left his shift (but returned, because he is the best), and me staring at the ceiling with a million thoughts running across my mind, tears in my eyes. I felt pressure from the other side of the curtain, some prodding, but no pain. This went on for about ten minutes.
Finally, you were pulled out of me, raised for two seconds atop of the curtain and taken to the neonatal station next to my bed. You were a tiny little baby at 5lbs and 15 ounces, 18 inches long born at 8:32pm. The neonatal team wanted to make sure you were healthy, and that is one I had your father called in. I remember him coming into the room with a surgical mask on, and thinking what pretty blue eyes the doctor had (keep in mind I was under a lot of sedation) and it took me a second to realize it was actually your father under that mask. He was teary eyed, but I could see his eyes smiling down on me.
I was so happy to see him and even more ecstatic when they handed you to us, all bundled up, after they had your screenings done. You were so small and born with a little bit of jaundice, so you had to be taken to the NICU for a couple of nights until it cleared up.
I was rolled out of the OR and back into the laboring room until my room was ready, in complete disbelief to what had happened, but so ready to have you in my arms again. That is when the breastfeeding pump was rolled my way. With all the wires and cups sticking out from the device, I had no idea how to use it (I never took a class, thinking I would just wing it), and the nurse said you needed to get my colostrum to help wash away your jaundice, so it would be better that I get to it.
Being the resilient woman that I am, I was determined to have you home by the time I was discharged so I hooked myself up to this strange looking machine and pumped away. I felt like a cow. I pumped out 15CC of colostrum and put the cap back on the little tube. When the nurse came back in, she was astonished as it was enough for three to four feedings. I recall feeling pride in my coma-induced state and giving myself a mental high-five.
I do not remember much of what happened after that as the anesthesiologist gave me some pretty strong stuff, but I do know I dreamed of you.