Here it is, finally (thanks to a long nap from both kiddos!) It's a bit long-winded but I included as much as possible both to share and to help jog my memory some day far into the future when I can no longer remember the tiny details of such an important event:
I spent the days leading up to my c-section feeling anxious. I was anxious that I would go in to labor before my in-laws came to watch the toddler. That I wouldn't get everything at work resolved or things at home set up for our new arrival. I was anxious about how the birth would go, whether things would be as planned, whether there would be complications. We spent the weekend "prepping" Ben with the idea that Nana and Poppa would be coming to stay and Mommy and Daddy would be going to the hospital and coming home with baby sister. He seemed thrilled at the idea that he would get to stay with his grandparents and wasn't much phased by the idea that we'd be gone but I was still nervous about leaving him.
Sunday came and went uneventfully. My in-laws came and settled in. They prayed with us Sunday night before bedtime. They assured me that Ben would be fine, that we would be fine. I slept fitfully. And then it was Monday morning. Early, dark and cold. We had to get up by 4:30 in order to be at the hospital by 5:30. I rushed around grabbing last minute items while the husband packed the car and we both tried to be as quiet as possible to avoid waking the tot or the grandparents. As it was, we still left late and ended up rushing a bit to the hospital. It wasn't the panicked, "oh my gosh, I'm in labor" car ride that I'd always imagined making, but it still added to the excitement!
Once I got to the hospital and was admitted, the harried pace seemed to slow to a crawl. I was attached to various monitors and asked 101 questions about my health, my history, my favorite movies and music (kidding on that last one). They started me on fluids and I kept having to pee. This wouldn't have been a big deal had I not already been so wired up that I looked like Frankenstein. Not to mention that there was another couple in the next bed so I had to maneuver carefully as not to give them a full shot of my backside on my way by - thanks to my classy hospital gown that didn't close fully. To make matters worse, someone else had an emergency c-section right before mine, so we were bumped back almost twenty minutes. As anxious as I was to meet my daughter, I welcomed the reprieve and felt sympathy for the other woman as I had been in her place not long ago.
Finally, we were ready. One of the ladies I knew from church who was also a hospital employee came in to give me a hug and wish us luck. I was instantly comforted by the friendly face and felt some of my anxiety dissipate. I was wheeled to the delivery room and seeing the operating table brought it all back for me. I could feel myself starting to get nervous. The nurse that was with me, Lori, was very reassuring. She showed my husband where to sit and helped me up on the table. The anesthesiologist assured me he would do his best to make sure that I was able to be awake for the whole procedure. Lori had me lean over and put my chin to my chest. She held my shoulders and whispered comfort in my ear. "It's going so well. Almost done. Hang in there" and then the spinal block was done. The staff assisted me with getting situated on the table and let me know that I would lose feeling in my legs very quickly. My OB put the catheter in and I felt the pinch and then after that, nothing. My legs, thighs, and stomach were all numb. I was still concerned that even though I thought I couldn't feel a thing, once the cutting started, I would.
They placed the drape and my husband sat next to my head and held my hand. He kept peering around the drape and squeezing my hand. I don't remember having much conversation as I was so anxious and felt odd talking with so many people listening. All of the sudden, I heard my doctor say "She doesn't want to come out of here. She's all snuggly!" A baby cried and there she was! Alexandra Danielle! They held her up over the curtain and she was squalling and slick and perfect. They brought her over to the warmer where the pediatrician was waiting to check her out and clean her up. They held her up again for me to see and called my husband over to be with her. Soon he left with the pediatrician to take her to the nursery to be weighed and cleaned.
And I laid there. And laid there. And laid there. The nurses and the doctor were all talking and joking with each other while they cleaned me up. I could feel the pressure of their hands, pulling and tugging on me. Putting things back in order. I was a rag doll being stitched and stapled. The spinal block numbed me all the way up to my chest resulting a feeling like there was an enormous weight on my chest. Every breath was taking effort and I was starting to panic that I couldn't get enough air. I had to force myself to focus on the surgical light above my head and take slow breaths. I could hear my own heart rate slowing over the monitors as I calmed myself. After what seemed like an year (but was more like thirty minutes) they were done. I was wheeled to recovery with my new best friend, Lori, who stayed with me while I got my bearings. She gave me ice chips, cool wash cloths and anti nausea medication. My husband came in with our new daughter and I was finally able to hold her close to me. To feel the weight of her and marvel at her tiny features. She was absolutely perfect. My daughter.