Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A baby story: The only part.

Oh, hey there. Remember way back when I used to tell stories 'round these parts? Yeah, I'm trying to get back to it, I promise!

We shall begin my Return to Greatness with the story of Harper's birth. If you remember Alex's story (in four very dramatic parts: here, here, here and here), I can promise you Harper's version is night and day. In fact, this is the only Part it requires.

As you are already aware (and much to everyone's surprise), Harper waited until her scheduled date of October 18 to arrive. Joe and I dropped Alex off at daycare a little early that morning (ever thankful to our Aunt Jane!) and arrived to the hospital around 7:30 am. What an eerie feeling to drive ever so calmly to the hospital, knowing your life is about to change forever. I can't explain how it was different from the dramatic water-breaking-hauling-ass-to-the-hospital with Alex...but it just was. It was the same level of life changing "stuff", but with a calm I can't really describe. Maybe it was the calm and peace of the dark of morning? Who knows.

Anyway, after a little bit of paperwork and hugs from Mom and Dad, I went to triage where they put in my IV (six attempts...they call me "pincushion"), did a quick ultrasound and I met my surgical team.

I actually walked into the Operating Room and hopped up on the table myself. What a difference it was to be in control in a calm, normal environment, vs. being wheeled in a whirlwind, emergent scenario. The OR looked so different this time, and yet it was the same room from nearly five years ago. All I remembered with Alex was the blinding overhead light, the blue drape and the white of the ceiling. This time, I took in the entire room, trying to memorize the last few moments of my life before Harper--the clock on the wall reading we were right on schedule, the baby station awaiting my little girl, the nurses and surgical staff in their blues and face masks, ready for the moments ahead.

The anesthesiologist was running a little behind, so I got to sit on the table for awhile, taking in all the pomp & circumstance of the OR team's very specific, very orderly pre-surgical routine. They counted all the things and did a "roll call," which was all surprisingly calming as I watching my surgeon pacing the floor in what I can only assume is his pre-surgery regimen.

The anesthesiologist came in and administered my spinal. To be honest, this was the part I was most terrified of, but it was nothing more than a small sting and some pressure. The weirdest part was as the drugs started to take effect...the warm, tingly feeling that takes over your body. Five minutes later, I was horizontal on the table and the team was in place.

Once the curtain was up, Joe was allowed in and came and sat near my head.

I was not tied to the table. I did not shake uncontrollably from fear and cold. In fact, the nurse anesthetist that was on my side of the curtain kept warm blankets on me the entire time, as she stroked my hair and kept me company. She had very cool glasses and her eye makeup was flawless. These are the things that kept me entertained.

We chatted with the surgical team the entire time--them keeping us posted on how things were progressing, and me keeping them entertained with questions like, "Will I ever wear a bikini again?" and "Please just take a little off the top."

When they were ready to take Harper out, the nurse put a mirror up for me so I could see her grand entrance--and she came out screaming with a pile of gorgeous, black hair. I cried. Joe cried. It was perfect.

As they closed me up, they brought Harper over to Joe and he got to hold her for the rest of the procedure. He put her near me, and since my arms weren't tied down I got to touch her face and kiss her head. She wasn't crying--and was perfectly content in her Daddy's arms for the remainder of our time in the OR.

When it was time to be wheeled into recovery, Joe got to transport Harper ahead of me and lead our little VeeDub parade down the hall. Once in recovery, I was able to nurse her and our family came back in pairs to meet our newest and littlest girl.

The days that followed in the hospital were pretty much par for the course. I got very dizzy and sick coming down from anesthesia, but once that passed I felt amazing. Joe and I enjoyed the sunrise from our room every day with a routine of hot Starbucks and the local morning news--just basking in the quiet and silence and perfectness of the here and now. Those days (and the quiet!) in the hospital will be something I cherish for the rest of my life.

In summary, Harper entered the world in a far less dramatic way than her brother, but I anticipate that she'll work to even the score as she enters her teen years. At least that's what I'm told.

We checked in as a family of 3 on a Friday and left as 4 on a Monday. Life's never been better.


Sue Skop said...

Glad to have you back. I so enjoy reading all you have written.

Emily Anderson said...

Women who are 37 weeks pregnant should not be allowed to read this. Mopping tears off my face while sitting at my desk. Love you!