What a few weeks this month of February has been. It was, to start, just another month, the countdown to baby was on… Then chaos set in.
On the 12th, because of baby size and health factors of mine, a c-section was officially decided on. The date was set for the following Tuesday. Just a few short days away. Notice, yes, but short notice. After my appointment, I let my bosses know that the following day would be my last before starting maternity leave.
By the end of the day Thursday, things started happening. My husband and I began to make jokes about the baby coming before he could be unwillingly evicted.
Friday morning brought on a false alarm. I had thought that my water had broken, but a check by one of my doctors gave me the comfort that no, that had not happened, and I was not dilated yet. Back to work I went. But something wasn’t feeling quite right. My lower back was suddenly throbbing in a way it never did, even during a flare. Added to that, my lower abdomen was cramping up. After finishing work, I came home and set to the weekend-before-baby-comes deep clean. The kitchen and living room were done by the evening hours, so the head start I’d wanted was off to a good start.
By Saturday morning, I started trying to wrap my head around the fact it was highly possible that baby was coming sooner, rather than later. My back was in horrid pain, and the cramps were elevated. To top it off, a blizzard was moving in. My child was determined to come his own way, and not anyone else’s – and in a snowstorm.
Around 1:30 that afternoon, I had the dawning realization after running errands and hitting the lab to have my type and blood count screen for my surgery done, these cramps were contractions. And they were 20-minutes apart.
I called my mother to let her know it was a big possibility that she’d be a grandmother again before that day was over. I shot off a text to my older sister telling her that this baby was determined enough, it was looking like he just might be a Valentine’s Day baby.
The doctor said at 5 p.m. that night, once the contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and lasted 90 seconds, to head into the hospital. Despite knowing my chart said c-section even if baby did decide to come earlier, and that by 6 that night, my contractions were literally one on top of the other, I rode it out a little longer. Let my husband shower and shave. Had him do the vacuuming upstairs I hadn’t been able to tackle yet that day. Maybe baby was getting his crazy stubborn streak from mommy too…
I set to work going through our refrigerator, grabbing all of the recently purchased produce and putting everything in food saver bags so that nothing would spoil. I didn’t know how long we would be gone for and we had just done grocery shopping the evening before. By 7:30, my dog was dropped off at my older sister’s house and we were at the hospital. My water had broken on the way over, so regardless of the c-section, I was still to be put on antibiotics because I had tested for Group B Strep. And just before 9 p.m. that night, I knew I was going to be getting, along with my husband, the best Valentine’s Day gift ever.
Being numb from just above the belly, down, is a feeling I do not care to ever experience again. That warming feeling shot down my left side first, then my right. I could no longer feel the contractions – or my baby moving around inside (which did, honestly make me panic a little at first). The last feeling I had amongst the tingle as everything went numb, was the awkward position they put my legs in for the surgery. So naturally, that’s how, even when they were straightened after everything was over, they felt they still were.
Now, the only surgery I have ever had was tubes in my ears as a baby. This would be my first surgery and it was a major one at that. Despite being one heck of a strong woman, I do pass out and I do occasionally puke. I warned the anesthesiologist of this, so that he and the surrounding nurses would be prepared. It wasn’t really the feeling faint that I experienced, shockingly enough, it was the nausea (which I was assured was totally normal, and given something to help ease it some). Focusing on not throwing up actually made it easier to distract from the fact I was about to be cut open.
I feel fortunate that, not only was I able to have my husband there with me, but my mother was able to suit up and come in as well. My husband, who is pretty tall, was able to see over the curtain and watched the entire procedure. Partly fascinated by it and the amazing job the doctor did. Partly concerned. Just days before when the c-section had been scheduled, he had told me that all he wanted for Valentine’s Day was for both the baby and I to be okay. And that over everything, he was scared something would happen to me.
My mother made a comment about hair, and two seconds later, I heard my baby cry. After years of trying, years of battling infertility, years of feeling like I’d never get a chance to be a mom… I had a baby. A baby with a full head of hair, long fingers, and as I’d already figured out – long skinny feet.
At 9:36 on the night of Valentine’s Day, my 8-pound, 1-ounce, 20-inch long baby boy came into the world.
After the pediatrician checked him, and declared him to be a very healthy baby, he was given to me to hold. The first thing I did was smell him. Something my mother had told me to do earlier in the week. It’s a smell that I can still, a little over a week later, smell. My baby boy was beautiful, and I can say that the love I felt rush through me and fill my heart the second I touched him, is like none that I have ever experienced before. He had my whole heart wrapped around just one tiny finger.
I’m not the only one either. My husband, who is perhaps one of the most manliest of men (my dad probably being the most manly man that I know), has turned into a puddle over this tiny little guy. He can’t get enough of him, and I can’t get enough watching them. Watching him with our son just makes my heart explode more.
So here we are, on his official due date, only a little bit of the way through this new adventure. It has been amazing, and I know it will continue to be that way.