Dear Baby Girl,
This morning I ate a piece of toast for breakfast. And so begins the most frighteningly wonderful day of my life.
My blood pressure was still high today and my symptoms were still getting progressively worse. The night nurse got permission to replace my IV last night, and it took five different people (herself, an L&D nurse, another nurse on the floor, a NICU nurse & an oncology nurse) several tries each to run the IV. My veins have become extremely small with all the swelling. That is how we spent the entire night. We knew all of this meant that something would have to change. My condition has become dangerous to both of us.
Dr. B is the doctor on call today. He is a sweet older man with a cheery disposition that reminds me of Santa Claus. He came by first thing this morning. They do not advise doing the magnesium drip again until time for you to be born. So guess what? That will be today!!!
That little piece of toast came back to haunt me. We had to wait for it to digest before we could begin the emergency c-section.
Your Dad began making phone calls. Your Papa (my dad) has been staying with us the last couple of days to help with the dogs and sit with me during the day so your Dad can rest. He was the first to know you were coming. He called your Nana (my mom), and your Dad also called your Grandma (his mom). That began our family's mass exodus from their homes and workplaces to come to the hospital to be present for your birth.
I was moved back to L&D. Sometime during the morning I began to shake severely. My legs were jumping all over the bed and I could do nothing to stop it. I guess knowing you were coming and not having any idea how all of this would work out fried what was left of my nerves.
The nurse started the magnesium drip and the catheter again. This time, I was jumping around in the bed so much that I did not even notice the heat as much as I did before. The catheter seemed like second nature by now.
The NICU doctor came to talk to us. The hospital staff calls him the "Mr. Rogers" of the hospital. He is a really nice guy, and I know that he will be a good doctor to you. He explained what would happen from the point of your delivery to your transition into the NICU. You will spend your first few weeks there, until you get strong enough to come home.
The nurse made the rest of the appropriate calls to set everything up, and we were told that the surgery would be at 1:00PM. Just as we sent your aunt to the waiting room to give the time update, the attendant came to get me prepped for surgery! You would be here even sooner!
My heart pounded out of my chest as the attendant wheeled my bed to the OR. I could not see your Dad, but I found tremendous comfort in feeling his presence following my bed. On arrival, they sent us to a prep room with wall curtains. They began checking me, and they spirited your Dad away to hook him up with the appropriate OR attire. Unfortunately, they decided my IV needle was not big enough. They would have to readdress that in the ER.
The prep seemed to take forever. Dr. B met us there and we got to know the anesthesiologist. Another familiar voice popped around the curtain also - a family friend was working in the OR and stopped in to say Hi. Soon afterward, it was time. Your Dad had to wait outside the OR for a few minutes until they were ready for the surgery to begin.
The OR was not what I expected. (This was my first surgery.) The room was very white and there were lots of big machines. It could almost pass for an old James Bond set, just with more high-tech computer equipment. They moved me to a plank in the center of the room that had folding "boards" to hold my arms in the shape of a cross. Then, the anesthesiologist and another nurse/doctor/somebody took turns in each arm trying to insert the IV. Attempt after attempt failed, and then...
I am going to sidetrack from the story for a second here. When I was little, I got a huge gash on my wrist. I will not go into the details here, but it involves the underside of a car and my accident prone self. Anyway, I have a scar on my wrist. The area around this scar is deemed UNTOUCHABLE. I will not touch it. Your Dad cannot touch it.
So guess where the needle went and took? You guessed it. Right in the middle of my scar in the UNTOUCHABLE zone. And, honestly I did not even blink.
Next, it was time for the spinal. This was another scary thought for me. Dr. B held me up and hugged me. He whispered the play-by-play in my ear of what was happening and what would happen. He distracted me by swapping scar stories (I told him about the wrist) and making funny comments. I could not have asked for a better doctor to do this.
Spinal in place and verified, the surgery began. Your Dad entered the room after they pulled up a curtain to block my view. That curtain kept hitting me in the nose and mouth. The rest of the experience seemed almost out-of-body. It felt like my insides were Jello jiggling all over the place. There was lots of random chatting going on. Lots of beeping from monitors. And then, a sweetly beautiful cry.
The noise of the room faded and tears rose to my eyes. All I could hear was you.
The sound you were making sounded like a short series of "meh". It sounded like a breathtakingly beautiful symphony to me.
At some point, the chatter and beeping resumed in my ears. They called your Dad over with the video camera to capture your experience.
Then, they brought you to me.
I kissed you, and your eyes opened. You are so beautiful.
Then, they wheeled you away up to the NICU. They assured me that you were breathing normally. Your Dad and the video camera got to follow you. Your grandparents coincidentally saw you in the hall on your way to the NICU. The nurses put you on a C-PAT for just a little while. Then, because you were doing so well, they took it off. You are tiny, but you are perfect for your gestational age.
Meanwhile, the OR team finished up with me after an infinity. I went to the recovery area, where I was taken care of by a nurse named Max. (I remember this because of our dog Max.)
Sometime during the OR finish up and the recovery time, I began shaking again. This time, only my arms could shake because my legs were numb.
I waited, waited, waited. Finally, Max said I could go back to postpartum.
The nurse, or maybe it was the doctor, told me that I could not see you again today. My blood pressure was still really high, and I needed to be able to be at least in a wheelchair before I could go to the NICU. I took comfort in knowing that your Dad was with you, and he could take care of you. You had been in my belly for so many months and I had already bonded with you. Now it was his turn, or at least that is how I made peace with the fact that I would have to wait to see you again.
Various relatives began to come in my room to say hello or sit with me. I remember all of this, but I still felt like I was in a trance. I could not sleep, but I was very tired.
Tomorrow, my beautiful Grace, I will get to see you again.