Little man, I want to be able to chronicle this amazing time for you…. so here’s the story of your birth…

The events surrounding your birth actually started the day before, on Thursday, December 20. We took your big brother to your Gam and Poppy’s house, where he was to spend the night and the next several days while we were at the hospital with you. We dropped him off early in the evening, just before dinner. We were going to go home and grab something to eat ourselves, and then start getting the house ready for your arrival (do a couple more loads of laundry, set up your cradle, etc.). At least, that was my plan. Your Daddy, on the other hand…

We stopped for gas to fill up the car and got a phone call from Poppy letting us know we had left our camera in the Big Boy’s diaper bag. Doh! We were about 5 minutes from Gam and Poppy’s house and about 20 minutes from our house – but when I told your Daddy that I left the camera and we needed to go back for it, he said he would come back out later and get it. What? That made no sense to me… Why drive back out 30 minutes both ways when we could just run back over and get it now?

He then proceeds to tell me that he will go get it later, because he wanted to give me my Christmas present now. OK! I’m in!

So Daddy tells me to open up the glove compartment and pull out an envelope that was in there… inside the envelope was a bandanna and a set of earplugs. Ummm, I’ve been blindfolded a couple times before (I’ll tell you stories later!), so I knew what the bandanna was for, but the earplugs kind of scared me! Where in the world was he going to take me? He blindfolded me right away but told me that I could wait to put in the earplugs…

And off we drove! I soon lost track of where we were going…. we just kept driving and driving and driving…. I thought he might be taking me to our favorite restaurant, the Melting Pot… that would’ve been wonderful, except you had pressed my stomach up so high I could only eat about a 1/2 cup worth of food at a time without experiencing incredible heartburn. So I wouldn’t be able to truly enjoy the amazing spread there – you definitely have to eat more than a 1/2 cup worth of food there!!!
Finally, the car stops, and Daddy gets out for a minute, then comes back to park the car and get me out. That’s when he told me to put on the earplugs. I asked him if I looked ridiculous, and he said, “No, you look like someone who’s about to get a surprise.” Good answer, good answer.

We step inside a building, and then into an elevator… where Daddy removes my blindfold and earplugs. When the doors open, we walk into…. the Red Door Spa at Short Pump Towne Center! Ahhhhhhhh! Daddy had booked an hour long pregnancy massage for me, to help me get ready for the big day! And you don’t know how hard that is for him to do…. a (non-practicing) certified massage therapist paying for someone else to massage his wife?!? He hadn’t felt comfortable giving me massages during the pregnancy, because he had never been trained in pregnancy massage and he didn’t want to do something he shouldn’t do (in case labor was triggered through the massage – it happens!)….

So for an hour, I laid (propped up) and was pampered and rubbed and moisturized… all the while you kicked around in me to let me know you were still there!

When I emerged, I was floating – though while the girl who massaged me was very good, your Daddy gives much better massages! We then ate a quick bite and headed back to pick up our camera (finally!).

Back at home, we packed up a few last things, and I took a shower. We did no laundry, and the cradle did not get set up. Oh well….

We had to be at the hospital at 6:00 am (we had a 8:00 am appointment for the scheduled c-section). 5:00 am, I am up and getting ready. Daddy’s up, too… while he showered, I straightened my hair – I know, I know… vanity, vanity! But heck, I knew a lot of pictures would be taken, and why look like a mess if I didn’t have to? We hopped in the car and at 6:05 am, we are unloading our bags in our labor and delivery room at St. Mary’s Hospital. Rather, our recovery room – the labor and delivery rooms were full! So we were in a no-frills room – the bed wasn’t a hospital bed – it was a stretcher (granted, a nice stretcher). But it was nice and big, and it had a TV. See?

Here’s my obligatory belly shot. I don’t have any other pictures of my bare belly – it’s not a pretty sight.

I got hooked up to monitors to hear your heartbeat, and we waited until the anaesthesiologist comes to give me an epidural. Bluh… that was bad enough. No pain, but the sensations I was feeling in my back no one should feel. bluh

Then we had to wait until the medicine kicked in. Here’s a picture of our doctor as we all waited…

We waited and waited, and at 8:00 am pretty much on the nose, I get wheeled into the OR. Daddy couldn’t come in with me… he had to get all duded up in his really cool white paper outfit (see pictures below) and then he had to scrub in, so it would be a couple minutes before he was able to join me. And those couple of minutes were the longest in my life. Because I could still feel things. Where I wasn’t supposed to feel things. I was panicking, and the nice anaesthesiologist and his assistant (or his nurse, or something – he was a very nice man, too) pumped up the medication. Kept pumping it up until they maxed out the amount the could put into me through the epidural. And I still felt things. No pain, but I could tell them when they were touching me when they did the prick tests with a pin. And there was a specific area right below my belly button that I could feel all sorts of things – them scrubbing my belly and prepping me for the surgery. I felt no pain yet, but I was so afraid I would… Also, while last time I was completely numb from my armpits down, this time I was numb only from the top of my belly button down. All I could think was, “WHERE IS MY HUSBAND?!?”

While I was trying not to freak out, they explained to me that if I felt any pain at all, tell them and they would put me under general anaesthesia or something else (I honestly don’t remember what it was, but it sounded big). My doctor explained to me that they would prefer it if I were fully conscious during the surgery (honestly, so would I!!!) and that’s why they were waiting to make sure the epidural worked completely. By this time, Hubby came in (whoops, I mean your Daddy!), and the doctor told him to talk to me and distract me. Poor man – he had no idea why, and he old me later that he was freaked out, too, because all he knew was that I was freaked out (and I’m not a big freaker-outer). But he put on his calm face and soothing voice and talked to me about where we would go on vacation…. something about a beach, but I told him that I would prefer the mountains… so it worked. I was distracted, but still anticipating any pain… I felt none thankfully! Apparently, the anaesthesiologist’s assistant was anticipating it, too, because I heard him tell someone he had already opened the bottle of the other medication to give to me. Jackie, our nurse in Labor and Delivery, told me I was fortunate not to have to get the other medication, because it was really strong and you hate what it does to you. I have no idea what that means, but I praise the Lord that I was able to make it without it!

At 8:23 am, you were born. We heard you cry, and your Daddy was able to watch you get cleaned off and get tested – your first ever tests! You passed with flying colors – your Apgar test scores were 8 at birth and 9 at 5 minutes (I’ll explain these to you later on!). Daddy was then able to hold you for a minute, and we took some pictures…

Then you were taken to the nursery, and I was rolled back into the recovery room. We then waited until we could hold you in our arms… the hospital had recently under gone some rule changes – you were not able to be in our room immediately after your birth as your big brother was. So we waited anxiously. Your Daddy was able to go into the nursery and see you there, and family got some good pictures through the window.

After sometime (I have no concept of how long it really was – it might’ve been just about an hour or so…), the neonatologist came by to let us know you were being taken to the NICU, as you were have trouble breathing. It could’ve been extra fluid in your lungs (that was not pushed out through a regular delivery since you were born by c-section) combined with some immaturity in your lungs since you were 2 weeks early. What a scary conversation! Your Gam and I started crying, because we weren’t sure what that meant at all. We prayed, and thankfully, our nurse Jackie was able to assure us that this is not unusual in little boys who were born early. The staff at the hospital were excellent, and they all expected you to pull through without any problem.

Daddy was able to visit you in the NICU while I stayed in the recovery room. I couldn’t walk yet, and we were waiting for a bed to open up in the Mother and Child unit, where you and I would be taken care of for the next couple of days. So he was able to hold you while I recovered, slowly getting feeling back in my legs and body – and itching all the while! Apparently, morphine makes you itch like a fiend when it starts to wear off!!!

About 3 hours after the surgery, I was able to be moved to a room close to the NICU. As I was moved there on the stretcher bed, we stopped into the NICU, and I was able to hold you for the first time. Here are some pictures…

Look at all the little tubes in you – and you had several IVs in you as well. However, you were by far the biggest baby in the NICU, and I think the healthiest. There were several other babies there, and we prayed for them as well… many had been there for a couple of weeks or more, and I could not imagine the strain that their parents must have felt. The nurses in the NICU were amazing, and so loving and caring. Your nurse, Julie, was a God-send. She was so loving and caring, and we knew you were in good hands. The little bassinets were all decorated for Christmas, and you even had a stocking and a candy cane keeping you company!

I was rolled back to our new room, and we got settled in. And the waiting continued. I would not be able to see you until I could get up on my own – then I would be able to go and see you in a wheelchair until I could handle the walk. It took me most of the rest of the day to be able to stand up – about 6:00 pm I was able to stand up and walk to the bathroom. It was hard, but I did it! As soon as I did, I plopped down into a wheelchair and had Daddy push me back into the NICU to see you. Once again, I got to hold you…. and we waited to hear more from the neonatologist. We weren’t sure how long you would need to stay in the NICU – they were going to run some tests and if you had any bacterial infections that needed to be treated with antibiotics, you would need to stay in the NICU for at least a week.

Prayers were going up all over the US for you, my little love. Emails were sent to saints who lifted our family up in prayer – and the Friday night meetings all prayed for us as well.

It all ends well…. don’t worry! But this post is so long and has taken me so long to write! I’ll finish up our hospital stay soon!
Love, Your Momma