The three of us are home and beginning our life as a family of three. I’ll have more on that soon, but before I forget what happened, I wanted to take a look back at Bella’s birth day and how everything unfolded.
On New Year’s Day, I expressed to Lance for the first time my disappointment with a scheduled c-section. Specifically, how upset I was that I wouldn’t get to experience labor and the excitement of rushing to the hospital with a baby on the way. The idea of showing up to welcome our special delivery with an appointment time verified by email just seemed wrong. With Bella’s history of surprising us, I should have known that she had one final prenatal trick up her sleeve.
We stayed up late Tuesday night watching the Orange Bowl and Lance’s beloved Seminoles. The game wasn’t very exciting, but we still stayed up until the end since I knew that I’d have a hard time sleeping with the anticipation of the next day. We laid down in bed around 12:45 am. So many nights since my preterm labor, I went to bed sure my water was going to break that night. Her complete breech position left her feet dangling low and kicking my cervix, so I often had strange sensations that I swore were going to lead to her immediate arrival. However, that night, I felt nothing. No inclination that she would be arriving any other way besides scheduled c-section.
To my surprise, I actually somewhat drifted to sleep. I was probably around half asleep when at 1:30 a.m. I felt a gush of water as I laid in bed. It took me about ten seconds to process what was happening. I finally proclaimed, “Lance! My water broke!” I froze and couldn’t figure out what to do. I got out of bed and headed to the bathroom and just sat on the toilet as the water poured out of me. I ended up sitting there for about five minutes and there was a continuous flow. Lance jumped up and didn’t even ask if I was sure. He just started grabbing things and getting us ready to go.
There were a bunch of last minute things that I’d figured I would do the following morning before we went to the hospital, including a load of laundry, some last minute cleaning for the grandparents that would be staying at our house, and throwing some final things into our bags. As I sat on the toilet I rattled off to Lance the list in my head of those final items to pack. I asked him for my phone so that I could call the on-call doctor and let them know that we were on our way in with broken water and a breech baby. She confirmed that we should head right in, and by 2:15 we had arrived at the hospital. As we drove I timed my contractions. They were consistently four minutes apart and some were very strong and painful.
I walked all the way from Lance’s parking garage to labor and delivery, leaking down my leg the whole time. We arrived and the unit was empty. The last time I had shown up at triage I received the last triage room. This time, I was the only one there. They had me change into a gown and head into triage. A nurse came in and started asking questions. They could tell from looking at my urine sample that my water had broken (I don’t think it had any urine in it…pretty sure it was all amniotic fluid). Shortly after, an OB resident came in to check my cervix since my doctor had not yet arrived. They asked when I had last ate and drank, and I answered 11 pm. I had decided to have a late snack since midnight was my cutoff for eating and drinking. They began to talk about potentially holding off my surgery until 5 am so that I would at least have six hours of digestion time. However, once the resident began her check, all of that talk would quickly end. Turns out I was 7 cm dilated and she could feel a foot with her check. We knew how quickly they’d be moving when the nurse asked the resident how effaced I was and her abrupt response was, “It doesn’t matter. I need to put in orders and call the attending!”
Minutes later the anesthesia resident was in the room with consent forms for my c-section. My IV was inserted and I was wheeled into the OR at 3:15 am. Lance had to stay behind and wasn’t able to be there as they prepped me which made things even scarier. The good thing was, things happened so fast that I only had a few minutes to be stressed and fearful rather than the entire morning of anticipation that I would have been facing. I got into the OR and the anesthesia resident and attending talked to me and got me prepped for my spinal. Knowing that I’d be having a c-section ahead of time, Lance had already spent plenty of time prepping me with what to expect with the spinal. Things went exactly as he said. I faced the nurse as the anesthesia resident prepped my back and inserted the numbing needle followed by the spinal. He had told me that I’d be easy since I’m “young, healthy, and thin”, and it was. She had it in quickly and before I knew it I was laying on the table, gradually becoming number and number. I’d been warned that since a spinal numbs you from the chest down, that some people have shortness of breath, but luckily I didn’t experience this. My legs began to feel really heavy. I could feel them, but couldn’t move them at all. A catheter was inserted, and my OB arrived and briefly said hello before getting to work. I was a little disappointed that my favorite OB wouldn’t be delivering Bella (it was 3 am and his shift didn’t start until 7 am), but excited that she’d be here within minutes!
Lance came in the room and they had already made the initial incision. I could feel light tugging around in my belly and knew that they had started. He came and sat right next to my head. I remember just staring into his blue eyes trying to forget that my insides were open and being cut into. The OB then let us know that they were ready to pull her out, but that they were awaiting the arrival of the peds team. A few minutes later they must have come in, because before I knew it they were saying “yep, it’s a girl!” Then, out she came!
Bella Avery arrived at 3:48 a.m. on January 2, 2013. They brought her around the curtain briefly to show her to me, then took her over to get checked out. I told Lance to leave me and go be with her. He excitedly jumped up and I laid there for what seemed like forever waiting for more news.
I could hear her cries and was filled with emotion. She weighed 7 lbs 15 ounces, measured 19.25 inches long, and had a head circumference of 13 inches.
Maybe around ten minutes later, she had been cleaned off and Lance brought her over to me. He held her by my head while they finished sewing me up. I was anxious during this time as I just wanted it to be over so that I could hold her in recovery. After around 30 minutes spent closing me up, we left the OR around 4:15 and went back to a triage/recovery room. I had specifically requested ahead of time that Bella not be taken to the nursery (which is what they typically do at our hospital with c-sections) and they complied.
In recovery, the peds nurses did some initial checks on Bella while I waited to get some movement back in my legs. That was definitely a strange sensation and the anesthesiologists wanted to see me begin to regain feeling before they’d move us into our postpartum room. Ironically, our move to the postpartum room was delayed because the attending anesthesiologist didn’t come and check on me until 6:45 am. Lance said this was because he was sleeping until closer to the end of his shift! I guess that is our repayment for Lance pulling similar stunts when he was on call. Not that the delay was a big deal, since all that really mattered was that Bella was in our arms, and had made it through her exciting, unexpected early morning delivery.
We spent the next three and a half days in our postpartum room and I’ll share some of those experiences in another post. We are so thrilled that she is here and are quickly adjusting to our new normal.