Disclaimer - If you don't want to read a birth story, stop here!
It has occurred to me that I haven't blogged about hardly anything in the later half of 2009. There are myriad of excuses for this, but most of it starts with this fateful day exactly 7 months ago..
"So, do you want me to deliver this baby, or should I have my partner do it?" my doctor asked me in mid-July. Uhh... what?
"I am going on vacation the last week of July, so if I am going to do it, it has to be Friday July 24 does that work for you?" Yeah, I don't see why not. I mean, at this point, I am huge, uncomfortable, swollen, and still fighting a MASSIVE case of denial. Sounds like a plan. An out of body plan so to speak...
It was eerily familiar. Waking up at 4am. Excited, nervous and in shock. Erik & I quietly crept out of the house, leaving Xanthe and my sister asleep in our townhouse. We climbed into the Saturn and set the GPS. St. Mary's Hospital or bust!
Erik didn't say much but to curse the one car who dared get in his way on Fish Hatchery Road. It was the only car on Fish Hatchery Rd., and I remember laughing that even at 4am, he could find traffic to complain about.
Arriving and trekking down the miles of corridors from the parking garage to the labor ward, we arrived to news that there was no room at the inn. All rooms were full. But I had a reservation! No problem, we will just put you right in the recovery room, next to the OR.
Erik and I settled into the non-hospital room, sharing it with techs and nurses alike. I remember looking at Erik and knowing how hard he was trying to act brave for the both of us. Who was this little girl who had been hosting a utero dance party every nite for the past 3 months? Who surprised us by latched onto me the same week Erik and I learned we were moving to Madison and not letting go? Who seemed that even though she was just 35 wks and 4 days already had something to say?
IV in and meds on board, the anesthesiologist came in for a consult. I wasn't expecting this. Despite my medically induced haze, he explained that even though I had a minor heart condition and had received a specialist opinion recommending an epidural for better blood pressure control, that it was his opinion that a spinal was a better option. So, what you are telling me is, I paid to go 'out of network' to the tune of $2K and you aren't going to follow the consult's recommendation?
"So, Ms. Lewis, I think spinal is the way to go. Do you want to talk to your husband about it and then call me back in the room?"
Erik and I had our compulsory talk. I remember saying that the doc said that the numbness is a sure thing with a spinal. Blood pressure be damned, I wanted to be numb! A spinal we would have.
A couple minutes later than scheduled, I walked, IV, catheters and all, into the OR. Why do they keep these rooms so cold?! Man it was cold in there. I was guided to the side of the bed, although I would hardly call it that.
"Mara, we are going to need you to lean over, and put your head down between your knees."
"You guys know I have a baby in there right?" Good thing I hadn't lost my sense of humor.
I did the best I could and the anesthesiologist went to work. Now, I don't know what other folks have felt when getting a spinal but to me this was the most alien and bizarre feeling I had since my HSG. (If you don't know what an HSG is, you are lucky). I imagine that this doctor was drilling an electrical outlet in my back. Drilling a hole here, and a hole there... and ok, we are going to plug this outlet, and your leg should kick...
This slithery feeling ran down my left leg and WHAM! up it went.
Ok that was right.
And now, we are going to drill over here, and plug this in over here and you should feel warmth on your right side. Yeppers, warm, and tingley and oh man, I am going to fall over.
And then bam. Everyone was there, nurses, surgeons, doctors, laying me down, shifting me around, tying my hands, putting up the drape.
Dr. Bathke - "How are you doing today Mara? Ready to meet this little peanut?"Dr. Bathke was sure that Porter would be a little thing, cause of my pre-eclampsia I suppose. She certainly didn't feel little to me.
"Feeling ok. Ready to get this over with." Laughter. Lights. Movement. Erik by my side.
"Hi baby. I am here. You ready?"
Yeah. Lets do this thing.
"Everything is going well Mara. Deep breaths. Some pulling and tugging. Ok, there she is." Erik eyes were between me, the blood pressure machine and the drape.
And then we heard her - loud - crying.
"Crying before she's even out of the womb - great sign!" Porter arrived as annoyed with all lights, cold and attention just like I was.
"Look at all that dark hair!" Did we get the right baby?
Erik went to her then. Our beautiful new baby girl. Porter Caroline. 7lbs, 8oz and 20 inches long.
"And she's big!" Thanks Dr. Bathke for the update.
"Whats her name?" The anesthesiologist nurse asked me.
"Like the beer?" Oh dear. Not sure why I never saw that one coming.
They fixed me up and Erik showed her to me. She looked so different and yet so familiar. She was us, but in a different way than Xanthe. She was her own little self.
They wheeled me back into the recovery room where Mom, Dad and Lori greeted me. They settled me in and I put Porter to breast. I didn't care how Porter had arrived, but I wanted to nurse her as soon as possible. It would take some learning over the next 36 hours, but she would get it, and turn into the chubby little monkey we know today.
Oh yeah, and just in case you're wondering, she's still loud.