FRIDAY, MAY 14
Two months and twelve days ago, on a sunny Seattle Friday morning, Norah Grace came into this world. She came in kicking, screaming, and peeing all over hospital staff. My little charmer.
The morning of delivery I was a wreck. More nervous, by far, than the hours before I had Preston. And all because this time I knew how big of a deal it was to bring a baby into the world. I understood what people meant when they said, "You don't know what love is until you have a child." And the statement is true.
I kept thinking about the risks of a c-section and the 'what ifs'. What if there is something wrong with the baby? How will I handle it if the baby is sick? What if my spinal is put in incorrectly? What if the pain meds make me nauseated? What if the baby is a boy and they screw up his circumcision? What if we get in a wreck on the way to the hospital? What if it's a boy and Jeremy insists on naming it Ryan? What if the spinal doesn't take and I get feeling in my abdomen in the middle of surgery? What if we get a speeding ticket and I'm late for surgery? My mind was taking over and it was not pretty.
But, Jeremy drove us to the hospital safely. We were on-time, even early, and the pre-op began ahead of schedule. Jeremy took a couple pre-surgery pics of me, we filled out cord blood donation paperwork and signed miscellaneous forms. Two nurses and three IV insertion attempts later, Jeremy and I were on our way to the operating room.
Unlike delivering at Ohio State, Jeremy was able to be with me from start to finish. He was able to scrub up and walk into the OR with me. He was the one I held on to (not a nurse), while shaking uncontrollably, as the doc inserted my spinal. He was there and witnessed the nurses prepping my belly with iodine and inserting the catheter. Jeremy was WITH ME, and although he couldn't tell, it made all the difference in my small world. I was really, really terrified. And he was really, really strong.
Finally, it's baby time! Would it be a boy or girl? I didn't care, I just wanted both baby and me to be okay! Dr. Paley and his staff were great at keeping me in the loop. They'd holler over the blue curtain, letting me know when I should feel pressure or tugging. When a few seconds would go by, and I wouldn't hear anything regarding ME (although drugged, I'm certain the nurses/docs were discussing a new car purchase), I'd holler over the blue curtain and ask if everything was okay with the baby, AND if I was okay. After all, there were two humans involved in this surgery!
Soon I heard the beautiful sound of a newborn's scream! And Dr. Paley saying to Jeremy, "Tell her what she's won, Dad!" To which Jeremy replied, "It's a girl!"
Knowing the all-boy history in Jeremy's family, I questioned the accuracy of his gender call. Dr. Paley then held little Norah up over the blue curtain and dangled her wet, cheesy, dripping body over my face...girl parts confirmed!!! And our flood gates opened.
Norah was taken about six feet away from my head for her vitals check, tidying up, and a quick count of her fingers and toes. Jeremy clung to her side while the doc gave me one last chance to opt out of the tubal I'd signed off on earlier. I assured him to go forth with a drugged up, "Totally do it".
In the recovery area I was able to hold Norah briefly before they bathed her. This was the first time I really got a good look at my little girl. What a load of black hair! She was soo tiny, yet at birth weighed in heavier and was longer than her big brother. Her features were soo dainty. I'm still in shock I have a baby with girl parts!
About this time I start to feel a faint sickness. Which then became a severe sickness. The nurse hands me a kidney bean shaped bowl to vomit in. [For real...can people really aim into this tiny bowl? And even if their puke hits it, doesn't it just splash right out? The bowl is about two inches deep?]
I beg for more nausea medicine, but I was at my limit due to the couple doses I had during the surgery. Ugh. This was not looking good. Plus my time in recovery was coming to an end, which meant a trek through the hospital to my permanent room. A trek in which I was lying on my back, blindly going around corners, over bumps in the floor and down an elevator. The situation sucked.
By the time we arrived in my new room I was breathing heavily to avoid vomiting. My eyes were closed, and I had sweat dripping down my neck. Situation: horrible. I tried and tried not to puke, but there was no stopping it. Fortunately my new nurse gave me some sock-looking contraption to let loose in. And that's what I did. Right there in front of my husband and newborn. [Know how dreadful it is to puke just hours after having your abdomen ripped open and sewn back together, being held together with staples? With every hurl I envisioned my staples being shot out of my belly due to pure force. Lovely visual, isn't it?]
Jeremy was a trooper through this entire ordeal. He held Norah nearly the entire time. Changed all her first poo and pee diapers. Swaddled her. He loved her. Thanks to Daddy, Norah's first day into this world was calm and cuddly. I bet she'll be a daddy's girl!
I was sick for HOURS. If memory serves correct, we got to the room around 10:30am, and it wasn't until after 4pm that I was actually able to hold Norah for more than ten minutes. Around 2pm I finally allowed Preston, my mom, and in-laws in the room (we flew the family out for the big birthday!). Poor family, they'd waited and waited in waiting room and we refused to tell them the baby's sex until they were able to see the baby.
Can you imagine being a grandparent IN the hospital waiting room...it's 2pm, the baby was born before 8am, and you have yet to know the sex of your new grandchild? Or better yet, can you imagine how I felt...it was like having the ultimate hangover and not being able to hold the life you brought into the world for six hours? Uh huh, it was torture.
The family's first visit with Norah was brief. They came, they heard about the girl parts, they cried, they looked at her, Preston said, "IT moved! IT movin!", then I asked everyone to leave. Hey, I had to puke! Besides, Preston would have been completely scared to see me blow chunks.
I then broke down and let Jeremy call our friends/family. I was holding off to do it myself, but everyone knew the c-section was scheduled for 7am and figured at this late hour we had people beyond worried. He texted most people, but I asked him to call my Nan and tell her on speaker. I couldn't open my eyes or even talk to her, but I wanted to hear her reaction when Jeremy told her about the girl parts! She was elated!
At last 4 o'clock came, and so did my color. I was no longer pale white, but a pale pink. I was a little hungry. I could hold Norah. I was up for giving my little girl the proper welcome into our family. And so we all visited.
SATURDAY, MAY 15
Except for feeling extremely embarrassed and guilty for the way I treated my afternoon shift nurse the day before, I woke up Saturday feeling much, much better. I didn't mean to be a total bitch to the lady. I just wanted help. I wanted to stop the puking. I wanted to hold my baby. And I wanted whatever she could give me. And when she ran out of options, and I was still sick, I was horribly rude and nasty to her. I was one of "those" patients.
The sweet nurse gladly accepted my apology stating she felt just as badly as I did, because she wanted to help me and couldn't. What a sweetheart. She was my afternoon nurse for three days. And each day I apologized profusely. I still feel horribly.
Saturday morning was also the first time I was able to bond a bit with my little lady. She was fascinating. She was lovely. She was mine. She looked a lot like Preston, but girly. (If that even makes sense?) Her hair was super long, and kinky. Her lips so tiny and pretty pink. Longest, thinnest fingers I'd ever seen on a baby. She could be a baby hand model. Her feet were interesting. Okay, they were ugly. Her big toe looked like the thumb of a one year-old. Her other toes were long (as if she had two toe knuckles) and bent over like a hook at the tops. And her pinky toes hid under her foot - literally. Jeremy swears they will flatten out when she starts walking. Until then, when looking at her feet from above, it looks as though her feet have four toes on each foot. She is the most beautiful little creature. My heart is stolen forever. I'm in love.
In the afternoon we Skyped with Nan, Aunt Becky and Uncle Jeff. Never in a million years did I think I'd be introducing my family to my baby girl via the internet. I bet my 84 year-old Nan didn't think so either! They were in awe and were sure to give ample attention to Preston as well.
Preston was mainly indifferent when it came to Norah. He didn't want to hold her and was more interested in his 'prizes' and all the attention he was getting from his grandparents. The kid scored a load of toys, clothes, puzzles and more toys!
The evening was highly emotional. I was exhausted- physically and mentally- and finally had to hint around to our family that I needed to sleep. Inevitably this meant our visit was over since they had a flight back to Ohio in the morning. Of course I wanted to be with everyone during such an exciting time, but on the flip side needed to recover.
SUNDAY, MAY 16
Jeremy woke up early to drive back to our house - he'd been staying every night at the hospital - to pick up the Ohio crew and Preston. He drove our parents to the airport, saw them off and brought Preston back to the hospital. I was anxious to be released and to be back in familiar, cozy surroundings.
Once my staples were yanked out, liquid bandage applied to my incision site, Norah and I had final check-ups and were given the okay for release, we finally left around 2pm.
In the parking lot Norah was first to get buckled in. Then Preston. Myself. And Jeremy in the driver's seat. As we were pulling out Preston said, "Baby sister. Me. Friends." I teared up, held Jeremy's hand and we drove home high on a happy family love spell.