Apparently I have the Waldorf-Astoria of a uterus. These babies never want to check out. By the time I was past my due date, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable. I was having contractions off and on, but at my appointments, I was making no progress. It was really disheartening, because I really believed that I would go into labor on my own this time. I tried to tell myself that it didn’t mean anything, but unfortunately, with the baby being slightly transverse, there was not a whole lot of downward action. I really wanted to have a VBAC so that I could avoid surgery and be able to take care of Rosemary and the newborn as fast as possible.
But, things didn’t turn out that way. My doctor said to call on Sunday, February 19, and see if they could get me in for a c-section. I couldn’t eat past midnight, so I called at 8 a.m. to figure out the plan. My doctor said that it was too busy and I’d have to wait until the next day, but I could schedule it for 2:30 pm on February 20. I was fine with this, as it gave baby another day to come out on its own. I bounced on the birth ball, we walked around, we grocery shopped and we played basketball at the park with Rosemary. More contractions, but nothing timeable. I didn’t sleep much that night because I was nervous about the surgery and just uncomfortable. That morning, my doctor called and said that because it was the President’s Day holiday, they didn’t have enough anesthesiologists on the ward and had had too many emergencies that morning. So, I was given the option of waiting around until there was space, or scheduling it for the following morning. She said I could be there at 7 a.m. sharp. So, that was what we chose. Another day to try to go into labor on my own. But, by this point, I was pretty done. I had come to terms with the fact that this was going to happen one way or another and actually getting excited to meet the baby, who would definitely be coming out the next day. (This was so hard to believe! I still can’t fathom how there is this whole little person inside of me and then a real little person outside in a matter of minutes).
My mom spent the night and Andrew and I woke up nice and early to head to the hospital. We packed our bag and I went in and kissed Rosemary’s head and watched her as she slept. I was a little emotional about leaving my first baby. But we left, and showed up at the hospital just before 7. They took us back to a room after about 15 minutes, and started checking me in—asking a bunch of questions, putting in an IV, having me change into a nice revealing hospital gown, monitoring the baby’s heart rate, etc. I thought this would suck, but actually the nurses were incredibly nice and professional and it all went really quickly. My doctor came in and so did the anesthesiologist and before I knew it, we were walking to the operating room, the nurse wheeling my IV pole, and Andrew trudging along in scrubs that looked like he was about to go paint a house.
I was struck by how much different this was than my emergency c-section. It was all very calm and reassuring and everything was explained. I sat on the table and the anesthesiologist gave me the spinal. It stung and pinched a little, but it was not bad at all. I remember the room feeling really cold and I was looking over at the little area for the baby, where they had turned on the warmer, gotten out blankets and a diaper and two little hats — one pink and one blue, since we didn’t know the gender. As soon as the spinal went in, I could feel my legs getting warm and tingly and they said to lay down. Then a flurry of activity started, of which I couldn’t feel. I asked at one point if I was already cut open, and my doctor said, “Oh yeah, we are about to meet your baby.” This was about 10 minutes after they started, so it was pretty quick.
The next thing we knew, the doctor said, “We can see a lot of hair on baby’s head, and it’s dark.” Andrew and I started laughing and I said, “Really?” Our first baby is still pretty bald!” I started tearing up right then, as it was really time to meet our kiddo. The doctor also said she seemed bigger than they had guessed. Then she was out, and they held her up and said, “You have a daughter.” And I just kept thinking, “Really? Really? How wonderful!” I watched as they brought her over to the little baby area and I heard her giving some little cries. I could see her dark hair and she looked perfect, and the nurse said she was. Andrew was over taking a bazillion pictures. Then he had her and I just laid there watching my husband hold our baby. And then she was by my head and I was just so blown away by this tiny person and how she was ours. I stroked her head and kissed her and said hello and marveled at her every feature, and she was perfectly alert and content. And even though I hadn’t brought her into the world exactly as I planned, I was meeting my baby and it was one of the best, most unforgettable moments of my life. We decided on her name, Anthea Ruth, right then and there. And she was bigger than we thought—7 lbs, 13 oz, and 20 1/4 inches long.
I got to hold her not long after that as they wheeled me back to the room we had started in. The nurse helped me put her on my chest, right against my skin and she was an expert breastfeeder from the beginning. I was struck, immediately, by how different Anthea is than Rosemary. They have the same chin and mouth, and some of the same expressions. But Anthea looks very much like me as a baby, and is easy-going and calm and rarely cries. I could just hold her for ages while she stares at me. And, exactly like with Rosemary, the love was immediate and fierce and warm. And nothing prepares you for that. It is like seeing sunlight for the first time.
That first day, I felt quite exhausted and frustrated at my inability to move. Rosemary and my mom and stepdad came a few hours later, after we had been moved to the recovery room. Rosemary could not have cared less about the baby, but was enthralled with the window in the room, her giant rainbow trout, and climbing on my bed. Anthea was just chill and happy to let everyone hold her. We had more visitors that evening, and the time passed really quickly. Anthea was completely stable and healthy the entire time in the hospital, which was so reassuring. And the pediatrician and the nurses were great. I stood up that night, and didn’t get hardly any sleep, but the next day was able to walk around a little and take a shower. Andrew stayed with me the whole time (there was even a bed in our room for him!) and it was great to have him and the nurses help with Anthea, because she was never more than a few feet from me. I spent the next day trying to nap and they finally let me eat solid food again, which was awesome. We came home on Thursday, after two nights in the hospital, and all in all, my recovery has been great and easy.
So, there you have it. We have two babies and I am still in shock at that fact, each and every day. Anthea is amazing and special and I am actually sad that time passes so quickly when they are this tiny. I don’t even mind getting up at night with her, and staring at her milk-drunk face in the barely lit corner of our room for hours at a time. Which is saying something.