As if it were kismet, I went into labor naturally very early on the morning of my scheduled repeat cesarean. Everett was coming... and so was a blizzard. It was Monday, December 28th 2016.
I tossed and turned all night the night before, as I knew I would. 40 weeks pregnant tends to do that to a person, but my scheduled cesarean for 8am the next morning was contributing to my insomnia as well. At about 1am I started cramping, but chalked it up to nerves and tried to force myself back to sleep. By 2am I thought that I might get sick and again just thought that my nerves were just getting to me. It wasn't until nearly 3am that it dawned on me that these "cramps" were still coming and felt an awful lot like something familiar to me. Something my body was remembering from two years ago. These felt like contractions.
^^ my very last bump photos ^^
At this point I gave up on sleep altogether and made my way to the shower. I tried to time the contractions in my head, but easily lost track of my counting while visions of a sweet baby that I would meet in just a few hours flooded my head. By the time I got out of the shower my contractions were noticeably painful and I started my app to start timing them. Brian woke up shortly after and we watched the contractions log fill up pretty quickly... They were only about 7 minutes apart and pretty consistent. What?! Now my mind is spinning and I'm remembering all of the articles I read about how second babies tend to come much faster than your first. And while Lorelai's mind boggling 26 and a half hour labor (only to end with a c-section) gave me the time cushion that should give me some relief, the pain that I was feeling every 7... no, wait 6 minutes now, was not comforting.
Nearing 5am now and I knew that my mom would be arriving at our house around 6am to stay with Lorelai while we checked into the hospital, two hours before my scheduled surgery as instructed. I tried to get myself ready and finish packing last minute things for the hospital, all the while watching my contractions get closer and closer.
My mother arrived about 20 minutes early and thank goodness she did, because at this point I knew that we needed to go. I kissed my sweet girl goodbye and off we went. You could smell the snow in the air even though it had not yet arrived. I remember telling Brian that I could smell it as we drove up our street to the hospital only blocks away, baby squirming in my belly.
Unlike our last hospital check-in when my water leaked all over the lobby floor of the hospital, this one was a little less exciting. Except for the fact that I kept telling the woman checking us in that I was having rather painful contractions and she kept taking her sweet time getting us registered. (Really though, why are these people always so calm and act like nothing gigantic is about to happen to you?! possibly right in front of them!!)
We made it to our room and were hooked up to all of the monitors and my surgery prep began. This is a lot of NOT fun stuff like IVs and catheter's.... bleh. Not fun, not fun, not fun. After telling the nurse just a few times (!!!) that I was in labor she finally checked the monitor printout and said "Oh, yes! You certainly are." And then carried on like it was nothing. Oooooooookkkkkk.
Soon my mom arrived after dropping Lorelai off at daycare and the doctor came in to chat with us briefly before the surgery. We were all set.
Here we go.
They asked me to get up from my bed and walk to the operating room which I found rather strange given that I had a bag full of pee attached to my bladder and hanging by my leg, but whatever. We waddled our way in. And this is the part that I hate. First of all, Brian can’t come in the operating room with me yet at this point and has to wait outside, which I hate. And they have to give me my spinal block.
With Lorelai I had an epidural during my labor and I don’t recall them ever having to do anything else before my cesarean. Though I’m sure they did, it was nothing like this. I had to hunch over on the operating table and sit PERFECTLY still while the anesthesiologist administered my spinal. Keep in mind that I’m still having contractions, okay? Now, at first this wasn’t as bad as the epidural with Lorelai because I was in deep, DEEP labor at that point and sitting still was nearly impossible. But this time I could manage… until he couldn’t get it in correctly. Obviously this is extremely uncomfortable and before I know it my nerves are being poked at with a giant needle forcing my limbs jolt away from my body involuntarily and I let out screams that I didn’t even know were coming from me. The anesthesiologist had an extremely difficult time and after many, many failed attempts finally was successful. I know I’m making this sound just dreadful and it was, seriously. Obviously one hundred and ten thousand percent worth it and I would do it again and not as bad as labor, but still, holy cow… THE PAIN. Brian later told me that while waiting outside of the operating room to be let in, he could not only hear my screams, but saw blood rolling down my back every time the door swung open. I think I cried when he told me that.
Unfortunately from this ordeal, my anxiety was at an all time high. The meds were kicking in now and I couldn’t move the lower portion of my body. I was stuck, paralyzed from the waist down; my legs dead and driving me into the table under their weight. Now I’m not completely naiive, I knew that this was the ultimate goal for a c-section, trust me I don’t want to feel what’s going on while they do their thing. But my panic was getting the better of me after the unnerving experience of getting the spinal inserted. The first five minutes of the surgery were tough. I kept asking Brian to squeeze my hand as I closed my eyes and just waited for that familiar cry, trying to push away the drowning feeling in my chest.
And it came.
Oh boy, did it come.
Everett was born.
I peeked at him briefly before he was whisked away and Brian soon after him as he was examined, weighed and cleaned.
At this point the anestiologist was able to give me anxiety meds that were not safe until the baby was out and for that I was grateful. But suddenly I’m alone on this table. My baby gone. My hand lying there suddenly empty. Do people talk about how hard this is? Man, this is SO HARD. The emotions, the pain, it is all staggering. I can’t feel my stomach, but I can feel the weight lifted of what was my 8 pounds and 1 ounce baby boy. Brian goes with the baby because that’s what you do as a parent and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I lay on the table for the next 45 minutes while they put me back together because that’s what you do as a parent. But these moments are hard. I thought that maybe it wouldn’t be hard this time because I knew exactly what to expect, but that’s just not true. For me, these moments are harder than the long recovery from surgery. You just birthed a baby, your very own child, that was literally inside of you for ten long months, but you are forced to wait to really even meet them after they are here. All they want is you and all you want is them.
When Brian told me he was a boy my heart exploded. Everett Milo. My headed flooded with memories of things we had said and done throughout my pregnancy, realizing that it was Everett in there all along. While we danced to The National in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin on that simmering hot night, it was Everett kicking to the music. While we chased Lorelai along the hiking trails that warm day in October, it was Everett bouncing along with us all. This realization never seizes to astound me.
Finally, surgery is done and my baby is in my arms!! JOY JOY JOY JOY JOY. I can’t believe how big he is! JOY JOY JOY JOY JOY JOY. He looks so much like Lorelai. ALL THE DAMN JOY.
Gosh, I love this boy.
OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE A BOY.
What do I do with a boy?!?!??! (I seriously asked several nurses this question. As the older sibling of two younger sisters and the mother of a baby girl, you can see my hesitation).
Soon our family pours in and slowly everyone gets their taste of him. All of that newborn goodness that words cannot possibly describe.
It wasn’t all rainbows, don’t get me wrong. Because I was pretty darn sick from the anesthesia and spent a lot of the day throwing up. But thankfully the super strong drugs were in me from the surgery so it wasn’t too painful on my incision and eventually the side effects faded. We all dozed off and on, myself especially, exhausted from the surgery and the medications.
I remember looking out the window after a while and noticing the raging blizzard outside that began somewhere along the way. I cuddled my sweet little guy and we all just watched him as the snow continued to fall and fall and fall and fall (seriously, it was a huge snowstorm).
Early that evening Lorelai came. This is a moment that I can’t even think about or picture in my head or write in a blog post without crying big, wet, sloppy tears. She saw me and immediately wanted up in the bed. MY GIRL. I held her and I held him and she stared at him with wonder and love and adoration that I have never seen so purely before. She just loved him. One of the best moments of my life.
Soon after this she started to notice all of the IVs and tubes and needles I had on me and was pretty frightened. But that’s ok. We had our moment. Watching her go that night nearly broke me, but I knew she was happy to be visiting grandma & grandpa. My mom told me that as they walked down the hospital hall on their way to the elevator, hand in hand, Lorelai looked up at her and said “baby boy”. And it was the first of many times that she would say that.
^^ one day old, everett milo. this was the first photo that I was able to take of E myself. which might not seem like a big deal to most, but to me that is special. after watching visitors, nurses and family take photos of him, this was the first time that I got to capture how I felt about this tiny little new person in my life. ^^
^^ two days old, everett milo ^^
^^ all bundled in and ready to get discharged ^^
^^ home ^^
And isn’t the rest just history? My recovery was long and the nights were sleepless, but the LOVE. Oh man, we have the love.