January 6, 2012 by Alicia
Warning: This is lengthy and detailed. (PS. if you’re wondering why we had a planned c-section, check out this post)
So, it was a rainy Thursday morning… Mr. Rockstar and I woke up to an alarm at 6:30 a.m. and got ready to go to the hospital. Our bag was packed and I wasn’t allowed to eat breakfast so it didn’t take long to get ready to go. We were trying to be very quiet because my parents were in town and we thought they were still sleeping. Much to our surprise, they were sitting in the family room when we came out so they could see us off (cue the aww’s). Dad had to snag a few last-time pregnancy shots. Then, off to the hospital we went.
We checked in and then waited to be called. This sweet little old woman, who was a volunteer, called our name and escorted us and two other pregnant women up to the third floor. They didn’t have me in the system yet so it took a few extra minutes for them to figure out what room I was supposed to go to. I hate hospitals. They completely freak me out so standing around in the hall waiting for them to get their ducks in a row got me pretty antsy. Finally, a nurse took us to our pre-op room. She told me to change into their gown and use the bathroom. Little did I know that I would walk out of that bathroom not only without my clothes, but without my dignity. There’s just something about wearing an open gown and knowing lots of people are about to see all you got that is a little disconcerting. So there we are in pre-op and our nurse did a plethora of things we need not go into. One of them being that she put an IV in my arm. I looked away and clenched up because I HATE needles! After she put it in, my arm was freezing!!! Apparently that’s normal. My doctor came in to check on me and wanted to do an ultrasound to make sure the baby was still breech so they wouldn’t cut me unnecessarily in case she had flipped. I was positive she hadn’t flipped, but hey, go ahead and do a $200 ultrasound, no biggie (cue the sarcasm).
After this, they said they were waiting for the first planned c-section of the day to finish up in the operating room and I was next on the docket. They left us alone and said they’d be back when it was go-time. This is when things got interesting. Basically- I freaked out. I was laying there and it hit me that this was really happening. We were about to have a baby. Our lives were never going to be the same. I begged the hubs to take me home and undo it all. I didn’t want to be hooked up to wires, I didn’t want to have surgery, I didn’t want to have a baby. I just laid there in tears. He tried his best to console me, but let’s be real, having a baby is a much different experience for the mama. I just rolled over in bed and tried to calm down. I ended up falling asleep which was really a blessing so I wasn’t thinking about what was about to happen. The next thing I know, the nurse anesthetist came in the room to talk to me about the surgery. She asked if I had any questions and talked me through how everything was going to go down. I told her I had two rules, she looked at me a little confused. Anyway, I said, “1. Do not tell me when you’re about to do my spinal tap. If you say 1,2,3 or ‘here it comes’ I’ll jump and then you’ll paralyze me. And 2. Whatever you do, I don’t want to be put completely under anesthesia, I want to stay awake.” She said, “Umm, ok.” So a few minutes later, my nurse came back- got me and my IV machine and walked me to the operating room, leaving the hubs alone in pre-op to scrub up. This was it. No turning back. Game on.
So I walked into (what seemed to be) the 35 degree O.R. The room was so sterile. Everything was white and there were at least half a dozen people scurrying about to get ready for my surgery. It almost felt like I was in the way. Anyway, my entire body started shaking because I was basically naked in a VERY cold room. They sat me up on the operating table. One scrub nurse gave me a pillow to lean forward on and she stood in front of me to stabilize me for my spinal. They covered my legs with warming blankets because they couldn’t do it until I stopped shaking. The nurse anesthetist numbed the area and she stuck me. I didn’t feel it- praise the Lord! Even though I’m terrified of needles, I was much more terrified about everything else that was happening that the spinal seemed a bit more insignificant to me than I anticipated. They turned me, pulled my legs up on the table, and laid me down. My legs started to feel tingly, that was kinda cool. Then they put in a catheter, that was not so cool. Thankfully it was after the anesthesia. Next, they laid my arms out to the side, strapped them down, and covered me with warming blankets. While doing that, a scrub nurse went and got the hubs. He came in and sat near my head while they put one of those wire tube things under my nose to give me oxygen. I hated that thing. The next part is one of my least favorites. I’m lying there, hubs is looking for my hand under all the blankets to hold it and I feel this awful pinch on my belly. Like a crow had bit me (yes, a crow). I said “Ouch.” Then my doctor peeks over the curtain that’s in front of my face and says “You felt that?” Everyone loves it when your surgeon says that. “Yes I felt that!” He said “Hmm” So he did a few more things and told me to tell him when I felt something. About 5 seconds later, I said “Ouch” again. Apparently about an inch above where my incision would be, I had complete feeling- it wasn’t numb. So he said we’d give it a few minutes for my spinal to take farther up. A few minutes later there was no change. So they inverted the table a little bit to get it to travel farther up in my spinal cavity. I heard the nurse anesthetist call the anesthesiologist and tell him my spinal wasn’t taking. Let me just say how confident I felt at this point – not very. They tested me again and I still had feeling. The anesthesiologist came in, introduced himself, and said they were going to have to put me completely under general anesthesia. “WHAT?!” (I thought). This was the one thing I didn’t want to happen. I wanted to scream and cry and have a complete melt down. But I mean, they’re the professionals and I’m strapped to a table, who was going to win that battle? They then told Mr. Rockstar he had to leave the O.R. Apparently, they only allow dads in there for moral support for the mom, and since I was going to be unconscious there was no one for him to support. So they put that mask on me and I was knocked out in seconds. **Side note- I spent a lot of time crying afterward at the fact that neither of her parents were in the room and conscious when she was born. I didn’t get to hear her cry, I didn’t get to hold her right away, I didn’t get to see her. I didn’t get that special moment with her that every mom raves about. The moment that’s supposed to make it all worth it. I felt totally and completely gipped. You think that the one thing you get to do as the woman carrying the child is that you get to be there for the birth. And basically, I wasn’t.
This is the part of the story that the hubs filled me in on since I was no comprende. So he is sitting on one of those doctor stools in the hallway right outside the O.R. How mean is that? He was freaking out. His wife was about to undergo major surgery. He was about to have a baby. And he had to sit in the hall. So at this point, he texted each of our parents to update them and tell them they were putting me under and that he was in the hall. Evidently, my parents, who were in the waiting room, started walking the halls looking for him (haha, weirdos!) Hubs says that 7 minutes later (yeah, he counted), they pulled the baby out of me and immediately brought him into the room. They took him over to where the baby was. He said he glanced over to the operating table and all he saw was a ton of blood and he kept walking to the baby. When he saw her he said, “that ain’t no boy!” He took pictures of her while the nurses did their nurse thing. Meanwhile, I was being sewn back up layer by layer. When the nurses were done, they wrapped her up and handed her to him. He had never held a baby before so when they handed her to him, he didn’t move his arms for fear he’d hold her wrong. A nurse took him and the baby to the recovery room to wait for me while they finished up my surgery. He says he and the baby just sat there, her staring at him (cue the aww’s again). It was a moment of bonding for them, for which I’m grateful he got to experience.
So, he and the baby were waiting in recovery for 50 minutes before I got there. I woke up in the recovery room and I was SO out of it. I had no idea where I was, who hubs was, why he was holding a baby, whose baby it was, and was it a boy or girl. I remember being so confused. He says I asked the same questions over and over. One of them being, “what is it?” And him responding, “A girl.” To which I responded with tears every time, repeating “It’s a girl!?” I just couldn’t believe that she was a girl, and that she was ours. The very thing I had been carrying for 9 months, the thing that made me puke, gave me heartburn, made me urinate frequently, and had been kicking me was right there. In my husband’s arms. Looking at me. She was ours. For life. Yikes.
The other thing I remember most about waking up in recovery was being in the worst pain of my life. There was a nurse monitoring me. She handed me my morphine pump and told me I could hit the button every 6 minutes and it would give me more. I guess I was hitting it about every two minutes and hubs kept saying “it hasn’t been 6 minutes yet” which resulted in me groaning in agony. The nurse asked me on a scale of 1-10 what my pain level was. I responded it was a 9. She was shocked and said, “Really? But you’re on Pain Med A, B, and C” I only responded with “yes” but my thoughts were “do you really think telling me what I’m on is going to make the pain better?” I guess I was on so much medication that she had to call someone and get permission to give me more. She got the green light, and I don’t know what she gave me but it was goooo-oood. I was too unstable to hold the baby in recovery so I never did. Then they took her to the nursery to do more things to her (like get checked by the pediatrician, etc) and told me that someone from transport was going to come get me and take me to my post-partum room. A big guy came in and got behind the gurney. He said we were going to my room and he’d let me know when we were about to go over a bump. Let me just say, I didn’t feel any bumps. I told you those meds were good 🙂 They rolled me into post-partum and told me they were going to move me onto my bed in the room. The transport guy said he needed me to lift my left leg. In my brain, I laughed and thought “you’re kidding right? I can’t even open my eyes right now.” The transport guy and a few nurses got me onto the hospital bed. They strapped these things to my lower legs that pulsate to prevent blood clots. These things drove me nuts for the next 36 hours.
Next, someone had told me that it would be a little while before they brought the baby to me. I didn’t really want to see anyone before I saw her again but I figured my parents were worried about me. The last thing they heard was that I was going to be knocked out for surgery. So I asked hubs to go get them, I wanted them to see that I was OK. I remember them walking in with balloons. I don’t remember much else. Then, maybe an hour or so later (I’m not real sure) there was a knock at the door and a nurse wheeled the baby in. I don’t remember if my parents were still there at this point or not, but I remember once she was in my arms, it was just her, me, and Mr. Rockstar in the room. I think maybe hubs was the one who handed her to me and before he did, he said, “I’ve already ruled out Chloe, she’s not a Chloe.” I was bummed because I really liked that name. I can’t remember if her eyes were open or not, but I just stared at her. I couldn’t believe it. She was a real baby girl. “She” We had been calling her “it” for 9 months. Calling her a “she” really validated the fact that she was a real baby. (Most people start calling their baby ‘he’ or ‘she’ at 4-5 months. Since we didn’t know whether she would pee sitting or standing, we didn’t emotionally connect with her being a real person.) Anyway, back to her name. So hubs had already ruled Chloe out so now it was between Samantha and Joelie. We both just sat there and looked at her and simultaneously said “she doesn’t have dark enough hair to be a Samantha.” We both started cracking up that we both thought that- it was so weird. So then I said, “Welp, Joelie it is!” And now I couldn’t imagine her having any other name.
So- that’s it: the story of how our daughter came into the world. What. A. Day.
*Baby’s Age: 9 Weeks
*Baby’s Weight: Approx. 10 lbs
*Baby’s Length: Approx. 21 inches
*Coolest Thing: Her smiles 🙂
*Funniest Thing: Her pooping facial expression
*Hardest Thing: Sleep deprivation
*Lessons Learned: Motherhood is miserable for at least the first 6 weeks