The day of the "procedure" arrived and I was nervous and excited at the same time. Not to mention hungry! We got to the hospital and was escorted to the pre-op/recovery room. I first had to change into my every so comfy and fashionable hospital gown. Then the nurse started the IV, took my medical history, got my vitals, etc.
The anesthesiologist (Dr. Knight) came in and explained the procedure to me. At that point I got a lot more nervous and anxious about the whole procedure. It was getting more and more real. I tried to focus on what he was saying, but it went in one ear and out the other.
Then we got a call that the doctor was running late - she had an emergency procedure to finish up. This did NOT help my anxiety. But there was nothing I could do about it.
Finally Dr. S showed up and I walked across the hall into the OR. I was taken aback and the starkness of the room and the sterility of bringing a new life into the world. I couldn't believe this was how my baby was going to make her entrance. It just didn't feel right.
I was hooked up to a few more instruments and Dr. Knight started the spinal. My anxiety kept climbing. I'm not usually an anxious person and don't typically spend a lot of time in worry or fear, but I just couldn't stop this from coming and overtaking me. I took some deep breaths and tried to pray. Gave my anxiety to God and put the whole situation in his hands. I was not able to handle all this on my own. I should add that Josh was not allowed in the room yet, so I was doing all this by myself. Again ... what an awful way to begin the journey of bringing my daughter into the world - alone, without her daddy.
Dr. S. came in and with the help of the nurses, she began prepping me for surgery. They put up the curtain right at my neck level. I was obnoxiously close to the curtain - it was almost enough to give me some claustrophobia. I saw Dr. Lionel (our pediatrician) scrubbing up in the other room. He came in and said hello to me and asked how I was doing. It was a little strange to see the pediatrician in context when I'm a patient. It was great to see him and great that he checked up on me.
Finally Josh was allowed in the room. He came by my side and just held my hand for the whole thing. He knew that I was a wreck and he was the rock that I needed to keep me halfway stable. I could feel things happening. It is such a weird sensation to not feel any pain, but to feel things being manipulated and pushed around. As with Audrey, I could feel Annie being pulled out of me as a huge weight being removed from my belly. As her head was being removed, the Dr. told Josh he could stand up and watch her "emerge." Josh was very pleased with that.
At 12:37 PST, Annie Noelle was born weighing 7 lbs 13 oz and measuring 20 inches long.
As all this was happening, I was nearly hysterical, but trying very hard to hold it together. All the emotions and memories of Audrey's birth came rushing back to me. The scare of her heartrate decline; being rushed to the OR hitting every doorjam on the way; Audrey having meconium; being taken to the NICU; not getting to hold her for 4 1/2 hours. It was such a scary experience and having it all come rushing back to me just threw me over the top.
And to top it all off, when Annie was on the table being cleaned up and measured and evaluated, I couldn't see anything because of the huge curtain at my neck. Josh took a couple photos and I saw pictures of her before I saw her. Finally, after what seemed like hours, Dr. Lionel brought her over to me all swaddled up and snuggly. I got to touch her face and kiss her and pseudo hold her.
I was rolled back over to recovery. I was there for about 15 min or so until Josh came back with Annie. I got to hold her and all my worries and concerns were tossed to the wind. We started nursing right away. I was so ecstatic to have my brand new baby girl in my arms. She was pretty good at getting the latch right away. I was beyond thrilled to get nursing off to such a good start.
The next few days were rough. Despite my request to not have any, I was given morphine as part of my spinal and it made us both so drowsy that she wasn't able to nurse much the first 24 hours after that initial session. I was healing nicely and the nurses were all very impressed with my progress (I'm NOT one to sit around and be injured), but everyone was concerned with he weight. I worked very hard and getting her to wake up to eat, but she just wasn't interested. Finally, my milk started to come in and she was getting more calories per session, but they weren't very long. I was diligent to feed her every 2 hours. At her final weight check, her weight loss had declined and she hadn't dropped into the danger zone, so they stopped talking about interventions. Nursing has been phenomenal since then and we can see that she is putting on weight. Her diapers fit better, her cheeks are puffier, and she feels just a little bit more robust.
All in all, this birth experience was nothing like Audrey's. The hospital staff was different, the procedures were different, the drugs were different, the facilities were opposites of each other. Add in the differences of emotions going into the births, I really have a hard time comparing the two experiences to each other. About the only thing that was the same was the Motrin for pain management, but even it's administration was different.
The most important thing is that I have my baby girl here in my arms and that our family of 6 is healthy and happy. Everyone is in love with their baby sister and she fits in just right.