Babies are such a nice way to start people. – Don Herold
I love hearing how humans enter the world, each story is unique and very special. I hope you don’t mind me sharing Lola’s birth story.
I had taken Charlie for a 3-mile walk on the morning of Thursday, January 30 and then had a fetal monitoring appointment. After 33 weeks I was going twice a week.
During this particular appointment, Lola’s heart rate dipped six times, my blood pressure was (and had been) on the high side, plus an ultrasound revealed that she had turned around again (the first time had been at 35 weeks and I was able to turn her around on my own without medical intervention) so the doctor insisted on sending me to the Labor and Delivery ward at the hospital.
I hadn’t showered and I had the dog in the car were my first thoughts immediately after, holy shit, I’m having the baby today! After three and half years of waiting and nine months of keeping our miracle safe and sound tucked inside my belly, this is how it’s going to happen. After months of trying to predict and control birthing day, now I know. Okay. I can do this. Right?
With my mind racing, I started crying uncontrollably because I knew my baby would be delivered via C-section and that was the last thing I wanted. I wrote about my ideal birth plan here.
I called my husband from the car and I was shaking, had a hard time speaking but managed to convey that I would take the dog home and keep him posted. I had a feeling I’d get to L&D and everything would be fine and I would be sent home or we’d be having a baby later that day. He told me to take the dog to our favorite local doggie daycare instead and then we would have one last thing to worry about. He would standby for more news and in the meantime wrap up things at work so that he could meet me at the hospital. We agreed not to alert family just yet.
Against doctor’s orders after the doggie day care I also stopped by our house. I had to pee, it was on the way and there were a couple of things I wanted to do, like find a big red ribbon to put around the three carefully wrapped presents (Angry Birds Go! Game, I Spy! Bingo and Hi Ho Cherry-O!) that “the baby” would be giving her big brother once they met. I also wanted to make sure my slippers and make up bag were in my suitcase. I know, I know, I wasn’t in my right mind and needless to say, no make up was worn during my four day hospital stay.
After several hours and running down my phone battery not once, but twice, being adjusted and readjusted, the baby’s heart was fine and my blood pressure was normal. She was still in a breech position when my OB called me around 3:00. She was relieved when I told her that I’d have a C-section and asked if we could do it that evening. I knew if I went home I’d be wrought with worry and unable to sleep. Plus, at this late stage of the game (one day past my due date) I didn’t think I could turn the baby around again.
After Todd picked up Lucas from preschool, he brought him to the hospital to say hello. We discussed names together as a family and Lucas, who had been dead set on Lola since we told him we were expecting and refused to entertain anything else was now suddenly open to middle names. He had selected a middle name too, but was now eager to hear our choices. When talking about his day at school he mentioned his friend Paigey. Paige, but everyone calls her Paigey, which is just about the cutest things ever. Todd and I looked at each other and that was it. Lola Paige. It also helped that Todd has a close friend named Paige.
A C-section was scheduled for 7:00 PM and leading up to it the anesthesiologist visited me at least three times that I remember, maybe more and reviewed the entire process start to finish, patiently answered my questions and tried his best to reassure me.
It was almost 8:00 when I was finally taken to the OR and Lola was born at 8:19. It was quick but I was terrified and hated every moment of the procedure, hated not being able to feel anything, hated not being in control, hated being pinned down like Jesus on the cross and I cried throughout the procedure.
I knew it was what was best for the baby but it wasn’t how I had envisioned bringing this child into the world. I was relieved Todd could be with me (Lucas was at home with our good friends, Ed and Carol) and really happy that it was my OB to perform the procedure, but I still hated not being able to feel anything!
It turns out that Lola wasn’t breech by the time I was in the operating room (she had turned around again in less than an hour!!) but had somehow put two knots in the umbilical cord, so we would have ended up in the OR anyway.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her once I saw her and one of the (many) advantages of a C-section is that baby’s heads are perfectly round. She was beautiful. We all thought she looked just like Lucas when he was born, but a female version… daintier and smaller. It’s hard to put into words what it was like to finally meet my daughter and makes me tear up even now as I type this. I was elated and thankful and so relieved. Finally she was here. Finally.
My recovery was rough and very unexpected. I was able to stand up by the next morning after the catheter was removed, but remained in pain the entire hospital stay and for weeks after. It hurt when I laughed or sneezed or coughed or moved in any way. I was sure every time I looked down at my belly that my insides would be spilling out, but that never happened. I was so grateful when I could finally walk around the ward, making it one loop was a triumph!
Lucas met his sister Friday morning and was wonderful with her, albeit timid and shy. I had dreamed about their first encounter but had zero expectations. He held her right away and offered her kisses and tiny soft pats on the head. It made me deliriously happy to see them together.
Todd stayed at the hospital with me two nights and my sister one night. We were getting to own our baby as went about diaper changes and feedings. We were mesmerized by her alert alien-like eyes and tiny fingers.
I was very emotional as we took the elevator downstairs and then running into our fertility doctor in the parking lot was completely surreal. She said she hardly ever comes to that hospital and what are the chances?! I was face-to-face with the very woman responsible for this tiny miracle. It was too much. I was so overcome and couldn’t stop crying. It was a beautiful moment and one that I will treasure always.
Huddled around the TV in our living room, we all paid way more attention to the bundle in my arms than the game. The house was full of bouquets of carefully placed flower vases, thanks to my mother-in-law. We had a full house and full hearts. Looking back all I can remember is the pain I felt in my abdomen but the peace in my heart.
If you are interested in reading Lucas’s birth story, you can find it here.