We were scheduled for a 10 am c-section and needed to be at the hospital by 7:45 to get checked in and up to our room by 8 am. I was given strict instructions to not eat or drink ANYTHING after midnight the night before. We arrived at the hospital a few minutes early and my husband dropped me and the luggage off at the front door and I waited in the lobby on the couch while he went to park the car. The woman working the info desk saw me come in and no more than a minute later she came over to me and asked if I was OK. I wonder if I looked so awful that she was honestly concerned about me or if it’s just standard procedure to check in with pregnant women hanging out in the lobby.

Anyway, we checked in and were told to go up to our floor where we were shown to our room. Our nurse came in and told us what was going to happen between then and when we actually went down for the birth and gave me a gown to change into. Then she left us to get everything ready to take my vitals and do our intake paperwork. While she was gone, we tried to get as unpacked as possible so that everything was ready when we came back to the room.

Waiting...

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before she arrived back in our room with machines to take my vitals and a computer to do all of our intake paperwork. She went through a list of questions with me, nearly all of which I had already answered on the phone with a different nurse a few days before. The nurse was surprised that I had already answered all of the questions and commented how that would save a lot of time before the surgery. She came back in and brought some scrubs for my husband for surgery.

Ready to become a dad!

Then she shaved me, ahem, “down there” and got my IV going. After that point she told us that things with the first c-section of the morning were going well and I may be able to get in early, maybe around 9:30 instead of 10. I was excited, but nervous all at the same time. 9:30 came and went and eventually she returned to tell us that they had gotten behind and my surgery was actually going to be delayed now. Time was creeping by and I was getting antsy, so I played solitaire games on the Ninetendo DS which helped to take my mind off of things.

Eventually the nurse came back in to tell us that they were getting ready for us and we’d be going down shortly. Around 10:30 we left our room and went down a floor to the operating suite.

The walk down to the OR

We initially went into the recovery room where we got our hair covers and my husband got a pair of booties to wear.

Waiting to go into the OR

I was happy to see that one of the nurses, Dee, who was going to be taking care of me during surgery was the one who was with me during and after our attempted external version. She had told me at the version that she is a surgical nurse and she’d probably be there for my c-section, and it was definitely nice to see a familiar face. After a few minutes, I was taken into the OR to get my spinal, while my husband had to wait in the recovery room until I was prepped for surgery. The surgical suite seemed like organized chaos to me. There were many more people in the room than I ever expected. There was Dee, at least three other nurses, an anesthesiologist, someone else who was with the anesthesiologist (a supervisor perhaps?), and my OB who would perform the actually surgery.

They had me crawl up on the table and face the wall so they could do the spinal. Dee stood in front of me and rubbed my legs and hands while they prepped my back for the spinal. As I sat there amongst all of the chaos around me, I was completely overwhelmed by emotion. Before I knew it, I was in tears. Tears for the anxiety and fear of the impending surgery and recovery. Tears for my lost dream of a vaginal delivery and being an active participant in our daughter’s birth. Tears because for as nice and caring as nurse Dee was, I wanted nothing more than for my husband to be the one rubbing my hands and legs. Tears for the realization that within a few minutes we would finally meet the baby that we had been so eagerly anticipating for more than three years.

I could hear one of the nurses taking inventory of all of the supplies included in the c-section surgery kit and the rest of the people in the room were discussing Shaun White’s performance in the Olympics the night before. I started sniffling as the tears continued to fall and Dee asked if I wanted a tissue. As first I declined, then as my nose started running I reconsidered and took the tissue. I wiped my eyes and nose, all while trying not to move as the spinal was being administered. I didn’t really notice the pinch or sting of the numbing medicine and I tried to focus on the sound of the blood pressure machine as it clicked on and off, constantly monitoring me. Before I knew it, my feet began to feel warm and tingly and the sensation moved up my legs, which were all of the sudden like tree trunks and completely immoveable. They helped me to roll over onto my back and tested the effectiveness of the spinal. I could feel the pressure of them touching my stomach, but not the cold temperature of whatever it was they were using to test the spinal. Satisfied that the spinal was effective, they inserted the catheter and began prepping my belly for the surgery. While they were prepping me, small waves of nausea began to wash over me. Not “I’m going to puke” nausea, but just “I feel slightly sick and lightheaded and really weird.” I started breathing deeply in through my nose and out through my mouth in an effort to calm myself down, which I think must have worried the anesthesiologist because she kept asking if I was OK.

After what seemed like an eternity, they finally brought my husband in to the OR. I was so happy to see him and told him how upset I was that he wasn’t there with me. He told me that it was awful for him to be sitting out in the recovery room all by himself while I was being prepped. Happily reunited, we sat there together waiting for the surgery to begin. They taped the drape to my stomach, put some warm linens on my arms and then they began. There was a lot of chatter back and forth between the people in the room, most of which I paid no attention to. The anesthesiologist would tell us what they were doing and how things were going. Contrary to what I’d always heard about c-sections (you’ll feel lots of pressure, but not pain), I really felt nothing at all. The thing I remember most was that my body seemed to always be in motion, rocking back and forth slightly on the table as the doctor did her work. The entire situation was extremely overwhelming for me so I continued to breathe deeply trying to stay as relaxed and happy as possible. At one point I remember hearing my doctor said to someone “Wow, she’s got great abs” and then she yelled over to me to tell me the same thing. It struck me as such an odd comment and then it hit me that she was actually talking about my muscles. My insides. I have nice abs. What a strange comment to hear during your baby’s birth.

Eventually the doctor said that she was going to break my sac of fluids and the anesthesiologist told us that we would hear a gush, which intrigued me. I never did hear the gush, but then the doctor said that she would have our daughter out soon and I became completely focused on identifying the moment when she came out. Of course I was completely numb and there was no hope that I could actually know when she was pulled out of the home she’d spent 40 weeks inside. The only indication of when she was actually born was the sound of her cries as she came out.

I immediately started crying. As I struggled with infertility, the one thing that I focused on was getting that positive pregnancy test. That was my one and only goal. I knew that once I finally got pregnant, life wouldn’t be all rainbows and sunshine, but I never anticipated the stress of the first trimester with all of the bleeding and constant worry that something would go wrong. I was much more relaxed for the rest of the pregnancy, but back in a teeny, tiny corner of my mind there was always the worry that something could go wrong. I was always focused on the moment when I could hold her in my arms to know that she had arrived safely. Obviously that moment of holding our daughter for the first time would be delayed with a c-section, so instead I focused on those first cries. When she came out crying, it was the happiest moment of my life. She had a good strong cry, which was all I had hoped for and those little baby cries had both me and my husband in tears. This was a moment we’d waited a long three plus years for. We looked at each other and smiled, knowing that our daughter was finally here.

All of the sudden there was chatter everywhere: “Wow, she’s a big one!” “She looks great!” “Listen to those cries…we love it when they come out crying!” “She’s a big baby!” All of the comments on how big she was had me wondering what kind of giant baby I had carried inside of me. They did what they needed to do to get her ready to show to us and finally they said “look at the top of the curtain to meet your daughter.” I looked up and there was a tiny little head floating over the top of the curtain. In all honesty, I didn’t really process what she looked like at all. She was very swollen and still pretty gunky, plus they didn’t really have her held quite high enough to see her whole face. It didn’t matter to me though. She was our daughter. Our long awaited baby was finally here. That in itself was perfection. They told Mark to come around the curtain to be with her as she was weighed and measured. He turned to me and asked if I was OK and I told him I was fine and to go be with our daughter.

She's just brand new

I was left there alone as they stitched me up. In front of me, high on the curtain, was a small round blood stain where they must have accidentally touched Nina’s head while they were lifting her up to show her to us. I focused on that little red spot, knowing that it came from our baby girl. It was the closest thing that I had to her for that moment.

I could hear my husband on the other side of the room with Nina where he was fawning over her and giggling. It made me so happy to hear the joy in his voice, knowing that his adult dream of being a dad had finally come true. Eventually he returned to me with our little daughter all bundled up and introduced me to her.

One Small Wish granted...one happy family

She was perfect. Even with all of the swelling, you could tell she was just adorable. She looked to be in such peace, all swaddled up with her little hat on. I wanted nothing more than to hold her, but there really wasn’t any way to do so since the drape prevented my arms from going any lower than my armpits. Instead Mark brought her down to my face so I could give her a big kiss. We were finally the family we had dreamed of becoming. My One Small Wish has finally been granted.

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