Disclaimer: Before reading this post, know that there are pictures from the operating room included. They depict baby girl in the process of being pulled out of my incision. The actual incision and the rest of my body are completely covered, but the usual substances (blood, vernix, baby poop, etc) involved with birth and newborn babies are present in small quantities. If viewing those things, or reading about them makes you queasy, read no further. In summary, our baby was born! If you can handle those things, read on!
The best way to describe this day is surreal. I walked in to the hospital very pregnant, and within a few hours, was holding my baby in my arms. But that is just a one sentence summary.
After a night of restless and anxious sleep, we arrived at Fairview Southdale Hospital just after 7 am. We went about checking in at the Maternal Assessment Center desk, and were then ushered into a triage room. Kyle and I were left alone to change into my hospital gown, and also used that last alone time to have Kyle give me a blessing. It was short but I was given the blessing of strength, a successful surgery, a healthy baby, and a good recovery.
The next two hours consisted of prep work for the surgery. I was strapped into the fetal heart monitoring system, and an IV to start pumping me full of fluids. Meanwhile, my vitals were taken, blood drawn to test my platelet count (it was down to 95), and an ultrasound was done to double check baby girl was still breech. She definitely still was. Kyle changed into his sterile OR jumpsuit and booties. Then, my doctor, Terri Johnson, the anesthesiologist, and surgery nurses coming to talk through the surgery. Because of my low platelets, I was to receive a spinal block, in place of an epidural (though they also were considering doing a full body anesthetic that would put me to sleep). Everything else could continue as normal.
With one more quick kiss to Kyle, I left him to walk to the operating room. He would join me after I had been prepped. It was bright, cool, and sterile. Everyone there was in the same blue jumpsuits Kyle had on, as well as masks, hairnets, and gloves.
I had been completely calm up till this point, but then started to get nervous. I was about to get cut into, after all. I was helped onto the operating table that was shaped like a cross, disrobed, and my back examined for the place to numb. I must have looked anxious, because my nurse noticed this and grabbed my hand and rubbed my shoulder comfortingly as the anesthesiologist administered the spinal block. Within minutes, my body from the waist down was numb and I was laying with my arms spread on the cross, connected to all sorts of monitors.
I have to give credit to all the staff in that OR, because they helped immensely in how I felt the surgery went. From the moment I walked in they were cheerful, and pleasantly conversing. This continued as a blue sheet was pulled up to hide my belly and the operation began.
It was only after the initial incisions were made that Kyle was brought into the room. He started out on my right side holding my hand. Within a minute, the curiosity got the best of him to look over the divider to see what was going on. I though for sure he was going to get light headed, but he was perfectly fine! From that point on, he became my eyes, describing what was happening (before that, the nurse anesthetist, Anna, was the one telling me the play by play).
Only a couple minutes later, Anna told me that baby girl’s bottom had been pulled out. At that point, Kyle exclaimed, “She’s white!” He was referring to the sticky white substance that was covering her body from being in the womb, but that didn’t stop everyone in the room from getting a good chuckle.
A minute later, Dr. Johnson had worked out her legs and torso, all that was left was her head. As baby was being held in a position resembling an ostrich, she also had the nerve to poop all over the doctor’s hands. The incision was just slightly too small to allow baby girls head out, so the cut was expanded just slightly to allow baby girl to be fully brought into the world.
9:32 AM I heard baby girl’s first cries, and the tears started rolling down my cheeks. We had decided beforehand that Kyle would go over to her while she was getting looked over. He called things back to me like, “She’s beautiful!”, “She’s got your toes!”, and “She’s doing a high kick! She’s going to be a dancer!” (Most breech babies like to return to the position they were in the womb for a short time after they are born. With baby’s left leg going all the way up to her head, the doctor and nurses are thinking that’s why she didn’t want to flip before delivery, she was stuck! It’s a good thing that we decided to go through with a scheduled c-section, because we most likely would have had an emergency c-section, or lost our baby, as she tried to get out through doing the splits.) Kyle also described her as having a little bit of light hair, big dark eyes, and long limbs. She weighed in at 6 lbs 13 oz and had a 19.5 inch height. While there, Kyle was also allowed to trim the umbilical cord (the doctor needed to do the first cutting).
Meanwhile, I was still being worked on, on the operating table. The doctor delivered my placenta, cleaned out the interior of my uterus, and begun stitching me up. But I still hadn’t seen my baby. About five minutes after she was born, she was brought over to me swaddled up and with a little cap on.
I had to remain in my laying down position, so I wasn’t able to get a good look at her at that point, but Kyle held her cheek next to mine allowing us to get a little skin to skin. I don’t think I was able to mentally register that she was my baby at that point. I hadn’t seen her come out of me, and I didn’t have to work or labor to get her out of me.
Unfortunately, Kyle and baby were whisked away to the recovery area to wait for me to get fully stitched up. However, this did allow Kyle to have special bonding time while waiting for me. He said those first minutes alone with her were magical. This also allowed him time to text our families pictures to let them know she had arrived.
After my incision had been taken care of, I was transferred to a bed, and wheeled to the recovery area. It was then that I got my first really good look at her. I remember thinking I had never seen any baby be so beautiful. My next thought was that she looks like her daddy. And finally, I can’t believe she is here!
It was at this point I was able to have some skin on skin time with her while we waited for clearance from the nurse to have me wheeled up to my room. We didn’t mind waiting, though, we were so in awe. If ever there was proof of love at first sight, this was it.
After an hour of recovery for me, under strict instructions not to move, and many recovery checks, we were finally wheeled in the bed, to our room. I held our baby as the bed was taken, admiring her the whole way there. After getting settled and meeting the nurse and aide, our baby got her first bath. She loved being in the warm water; a girl after my own heart.
The rest of the weekend there is a blur. I remember being strapped into the bed the entire first day after delivery because of the IV, catheter, and boots that prevent blood clots. When I finally was able to get up to go on a walk, I jumped up without any help from the nurses. They laughed at my eagerness and told me that most women have to be forced out of bed after a c-section. What can I say? I crave movement. And I couldn’t feel much as they had me on a cocktail of recovery medicine. They were even more surprised that I could walk normally after my surgery. And, let me tell you, I enjoyed every moment of that walk, as I wheeled around my IV pole and cath bag, in my black bath robe. I was lookin’ good.
But, back to baby. We had some of our dearest friends visit. My boss, mentor, and close friend, Christa stopped in a few hours after we had gotten to our room, and was a much needed smiling face. A day later, Taylor and Hayley dropped by with snacks, and excitement over seeing our baby (their little one was due 7 weeks later). Other than those visits, it was our time to bond, recover, and just enjoy the time with our little family.
We are smitten with her! She has the most beautiful face, a heart shaped tongue (due to a tight lingual frenulum), soft baby skin, and precious hands that grasp at yours as if to say, “Hi mom! I’m happy to finally meet you.” She is a miracle given to our family from a loving Heavenly Father, and we feel so blessed that she is ours. I’m also so grateful for an amazing Doctor, attentive hospital staff, and support network that I had to help me with my transition to motherhood.
Baby girl’s birth may not have gone as I had imagined. In fact, it wasn’t like what I anticipated at all, but it was still a beautiful way to meet my baby. Looking back now, I wouldn’t change a thing. And the most important thing is that baby girl made it here safely and healthy as can be. I can’t ask for anything more.