I have been dying to get Teddy's birth story down ever since we came home. It was such an incredible experience for me and I wanted to put it into words so that I would never forget how I felt that day, so that one day I could share it with him too. I finally squirreled away some time to myself tonight and I knew that writing all this out would be the absolute best use of it. I don't ever want to forget a single detail because, to me, it was all so beautiful.
The morning of monday October 6 was a busy one. We needed to get everything in order for papa bear and my stay at the hospital as well as for my mother-in-law who would be watching Birdie at home while we were gone. There were last minute things being throw into bags, showers to be taken and meals to be planned. As always we were running late and though my heart ached a little when I hugged Birdie goodbye the tears didn't come until we were actually in the car. I just knew nothing would ever be the same the next time I would see her and my heart broke for the ending of this chapter of our lives.
As we neared the hospital my heart began to pound and my palms got sweaty. We both got silent as we pulled into the parking garage. We checked in and took a seat in the lobby. We would continue to wait for a nurse to take us to the pre-op area for another hour. That's when my mind just went absolutely blank. I thought of nothing. I wasn't scared or nervous or anxious I was just empty. Looking back I think it was my mind's way of keeping me sane until the procedure.
After what seemed like an eternity a nurse called our name and it was go time. It finally started to feel real. I suppose changing into that dingy hospital gown will do that. On came the silly socks with those sticky things on the bottom and off came everything that belonged to me. After a round of questions things started to pick up. They put an IV in, which I must say was the most painful part of my entire experience. It took them forever to get it in and it basically always hurt. In fact, the bruising from it is still visible and it still hurts when I put pressure on that area. So for those of you worried about an epidural, in my humble opinion, an IV hurts much more. Speaking of epidurals, a few moments after the IV went in a cheerful anesthesiologist arrived with a promise to be out of there within five minutes. I thought "yeah right" and winced. Turns out he really knew what he was doing because the entire thing was over within exactly five minutes. Other than the IV the other slightly traumatic moment for me was when the numbing sensation hit my diaphragm and I started to have trouble breathing, I was already shaking uncontrollably from the anesthesia, so the wheezing noises I started to make really freaked me out. But everyone managed to calm me down pretty quickly and before I knew it I was being whisked away to the operating room.
This is where papa bear had to leave me for a few minutes. One thing that surprised me about the operating room is just how many people where there. They must have squeezed close to a dozen people into the smallest room ever! There was a lot of prepping of this and that, the sheet going up and soon enough papa bear was by my side again. In a few minutes a slight hush fell over the room as my OB announced that she was beginning the procedure. I had the sweetest anesthesiologist in the operating room next to my head and she would ask me questions about Birdie or my pregnancy as well as keep me updated on what was going on. She would tell me that I would feel pressure here and there but to me it wasn't weird or uncomfortable it just got me more and more excited. As each minute passed my heart beat faster and faster as I knew we were that much closer to meeting our baby boy. I kept asking the girl "is it time yet??? is it time yet???"
Finally, my OB said "you are going to feel a lot of pressure as we are about to take your baby out." I could feel the knot forming in my throat... I felt his tiny body pulled from me... The girl told me "look up here he comes!!" and the next thing I knew I felt a release and heard my sweet boy cry. As his body was released from mine for the first time in nine months I began to sob. I called out to him just as I did with Birdie, telling him it's all going to be ok. I haven't cried like that in a long, long time. I felt like I had just been witness to one of the most incredible things and I felt like I myself had been reborn in some way, as cheesy as it sounds.
As tears continued to roll down my cheeks papa bear followed Teddy outside of the operating room for his examination. The anesthesiologist wiped them away and I asked her if he was healthy, she replied that he was perfect and I felt like I wanted her to tell me that over and over again. A few minutes later they wheeled me out to meet my sweet boy and rejoin papa bear. I immediately began to feed him and couldn't believe just how well he latched on right away. I was in heaven. He was all mine. I began to take him in - the face I've been dying to see all these months, I felt each delicate little finger and caressed his fuzzy soft head. There is nothing like the day that you go from feeling them inside your body to feeling their body on the outside of yours. It's surreal and momentous and glorious and I would give anything in this world to relive it. In fact, as they were taking us up to our room I turned to papa bear, grinning like a fool, and told him that I want to "have ten more babies." Perhaps, it was the percocet talking but regardless Teddy's birth was wonderful experience for me. I felt like I got to experience birth in such a vastly different way than I did with Birdie. You can read Birdie's birth story here, but basically I was blacking out from the pain for most of it and remember very, very little. I don't remember pushing, I don't remember feeling her body leave mine, all I remember is pain - vicious, monstrous and inhumane levels of pain.
Every woman is different as is everyone's experience with birth but for me, personally, this c-section gave me the gift of being mentally present for my son's entrance into this world. It also ensured that after his birth I could comfortably sit and breastfeed him, get in and out of bed to tend to his cries and it made me feel complete - I remembered everything, I could give him everything. There was even a brief moment, later that night, as I was drifting into sleep when I felt a ball of bitterness rise up inside my chest. I felt angry at being robbed of all this with Birdie. I was angry and bitter that my first hours and days and weeks with Birdie were consumed with managing my constant pain and just trying to survive. I felt it was so unfair to both of us. I've cobbled together her birth story in my mind from slivers of memories I have and from what papa bear has told me. And I hate that. But just as quickly as that feeling came over me it had passed and I continued to feel nothing but gratitude for the successful delivery, for this healthy babe sleeping next to me and for my body for carrying him and releasing him into this world.
I also want to mention that my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude to the amazing staff at the hospital that gave me peace, made me laugh, treated me with the utmost love and compassion that you would think would only be reserved for family members and made me feel safe and cared for. I gained a new appreciation for nurses as they saw me at my absolute worst and were so loving, caring and competent. There is no way I could have gotten through those first few days of recovery without them. People often make out c-sections to be nothing but a sterile medical procedure but for me it was an incredibly spiritual experience surrounded by so much love. I couldn't have asked for a better way to bring my baby into the world.
Here's to the miracle of life and birth, however you chose to make it happen!!