July 6th, 2012 at 7:55am, our little miss Dorothea was born- 7lbs 6.7oz and 19in.
St. Mary's Hospital, Apple Valley, California
Our morning began around 4:30am when we got up to be at the hospital by 5 for check in. I figured knowing how things go in hospitals we wouldn't have my surgery by 7am like it was scheduled and I didn't want to sit in triage for over 2 hours but still tried to be mostly on time since I had some blood work that had to be done beforehand.
We arrived closer to 5:30am, got into triage and did all the necessary what nots. The 'best moment' of triage is probably a tie between the first nurse not being able to get an IV into my arm and having the second nurse come and get it into my hand but squirting blood everywhere (even a bit onto Johann's shoe) in the process AND the poor wailing woman two curtains down from me. I felt bad being able to joke with the nurses and take pictures while this poor girl was obviously in distress, though I get the impression she was over doing it a bit from the reactions of her nurses when they would leave the room.
After about an hour or so the anesthesiologist came in to have a chat with me about how we were going to make sure I couldn't feel my lovely procedure. With Henry I had what I thought was an epidural and it went really well. I wanted to just do another epidural instead of the spinal I was told was the standard for c-sections. I told the nurse this, who told the anesthesiologist. She came in to talk about it and I am so appreciative of the way she dealt with it. Instead of just telling me I don't know what I'm talking about, she's the doc, blah blah blah, we went over why I wanted to go a different route etc for about 20 minutes.
It turned out I had actually had an epidural and spinal combination with Henry, as the anesthesiologist said, "they were all the rage" 4 years ago until they realized they didn't actually work any better and were more risky than needed. With a promise extracted from her that with the spinal she would make sure I could still move my arms and not feel like I wasn't breathing (heard from several people who had this sensation with a spinal and sent them into a panic attack) I agreed we'd go that route after all.
About 15 minutes later, it was off to surgery.
Everyone in the operating room was really helpful but it is a little overwhelming to have all these people there in this big sterile room. There was an EMT there too to learn about doing c-sections and the medication etc. The anesthesiologist was the most informative and helpful throughout, talking about what was being put in, how my body reacted, stopping to answer any questions I or the EMT had. I have to admit I was pretty proud of myself (or rather happy to live the word of wisdom) when she had to change her medication plan because in her words, "this isn't the normal reaction of most women, so we need to change to a different med because she must be really, really healthy." High-five!
Finally the doc came in and it was go time. Johann stayed by my head until the very end because he wasn't sure if he was allowed to look until he asked right as they got ready to pull her out. I was so grateful to still be with it, and true to her word, the anesthesiologist made sure I had use of my arms and could feel my breathing by simply elevating my upper body with a doubled up pillow to keep the medication from flowing up my spine that far. So simple but so effective.
So after 9 months and then 20 minutes or so in the operating room, we heard our little girl. They did everything right by my bedside so I got to watch her being checked, cleaned and swaddled. I got to hold her while they stitched me up and feel those soft, chubby, chubby checks on mine. It's such a surreal but beautiful experience, those first few minutes.
I feel like I remembered most things about a newborn, but I had definitely forgotten just how soft they are.
From there we headed to recovery where I got to feed and cuddle Thea some more. I also had the wonderful surprise of having one of my YW leaders be one of the nurses who comes in to discuss breast feeding and some other things with me. It was so nice to see her again.
We ended up being in the recovery room a bit longer than planned since there were so many births over the past 2 days, they were having trouble finding somewhere to put us. We ended up being in a split room in the medical surgery area (which led to lurkers sometimes when they found out there were babies they wanted to come see and the nurses had to shoo people out from where 4-6 mothers were).
Henry had fun coming to visit and the nurses loved it when he did, especially when he brought his costumes to dress up in. The guy who did Dorothea's hearing test got a kick out of him and when we went back a few days later to retest her, he was asking about Henry and his superhero antics. The front desk was also very nice and gave Henry the little bear above to practice holding and being a good brother too. My older brother commented on how nice it must be to be Henry, 'wouldn't it be nice to walk down halls and everyone just says how cute you are, gives you things and you have no doubt that everyone is just happy you're there?' haha!
We had a lot of nice visits over the time I was stuck in the hospital Friday morning to Sunday morning and overall it wasn't such a bad stay especially because I got to stay the shortest amount of time possible. You better believe I was walking those halls like a mad woman to prove I was fit to go home. The best part of the stay was in the wee hours of Sunday morning, seeing the sun light streaming into the room, holding Dorothea, falling in a out of sleep and realizing it was the last time I would have to just cuddle her without worrying about everything else that goes into running a house and family. It was such a sweet time to have it just be me and Thea.
I just love our little girl and am so grateful to have her in our family.