Scheduled c-sections are a little light in their story-telling value since they are in fact, planned and very routine. I had a repeat c-section scheduled since September and the big day finally came December 28th.
For a while there I thought (and my OB thought and most importantly, my mother thought!) that I would go into labor early. Eleanor was measuring very long and at one of my appointments my doctor checked me and thought I'd be calling her that weekend to have a baby.
Well, that obviously never happened and the next week Eleanor didn't look like she was coming out any time soon. No more progress.
We found out why when I had my c-section: the cord was wrapped around her neck. Not tight and only once, but she probably would not have come out on her own and a VBAC attempt would have most likely been unsuccessful. I had gone back and forth on a VBAC in my head.
We went in for the c-section at 5am on the 28th. It was Brad and my mom and me. Obviously me. My mom was going to wait in the waiting room outside L&D and come back after my surgery, as I was instructed at my pre-op appointment.
However, the nurse assigned to me said she could go ahead and come back before the surgery and wait in the room for us. That was nice - Brad is a little short in the conversation department so early in the morning. And when you're having major abdominal surgery, it's nice to have your mommy there!
We really just hung out in the room not doing much until the surgery. I got an IV of fluids and some antibiotics. Tried to wrap my head around the whole having another baby thing. Worried about how Charlie was going to feel when he woke up and neither Brad nor I were there.
Brad was excited because instead of the papery clothing covers the nurse gave him to wear into surgery when Charlie was born, he got ACTUAL SCRUBS.
I was a bit bummed because I couldn't wear my hospital gown that my MIL Sue had sewn for me into surgery because they have to wash everything in harsh chemicals first. So the first photos would be in obligatory ugly hospital gown. The nurse helped me get it on when I was back in the room, though. It was really cute. By the way, if you are looking for a pattern on how to sew one (or persuade someone who sews, like I did), I can send it to you. I found it on Pinterest. Like everything else.
All the sudden it was time for surgery. I'm not going to lie, getting the spinal block was no fun. It was scary actually. For some reason they don't want the spouses in the OR while the spinal is being inserted. So I was on my own and it was just kind of scary. And painful.
Once the spinal was in, they hurried up and laid me down. For the first few seconds it felt like I couldn't breathe, but I just took slow, deep breaths and tried to meditate for a minute. Then I was ok. The spinal is different from the epidural because you can still kind of feel things, just not pain. It was disconcerting at first.
I could see some of the surgery in the reflective light up above the table. The anesthesiologist was giving me a play by play. In no time, they were pulling her out! That's when Dr. D told us the cord was around her neck. It took a moment for her to cry. Then they brought her around for me to see!
Brad went over to watch them clean her up and check her out. I just hung out on the operating table. Hardy har. But I chatted with my doctor, who was pleased that she once again avoided cutting in to my tattoo!
Eleanor weighed in at 8lbs even, the same as her brother - though she was born a week earlier than he was. Up in the nursery they measured her at 21 inches, but then adjusted it to 20.75 so she would show some growth by her first well baby check up. At least, that's what my mom was texting me from upstairs while I was in recovery.
We got an hour with her in the recovery room, where we took pictures and oohed and aahed at her very long fingers and big feet. Her eyes couldn't really open because of all the white stuff (too tired to look up actual name) but I was fairly certain they were blue like Charlie's. They ended up being kind of a grey-blue, where his were an intense blue. It will be interesting to see if hers end up changing colors. Brad's eyes are blue, but my eyes are hazel. Kind of a mossy-green color.
I also got a chance to nurse her and she was a bit hesitant at first, but then took to it quickly, just like her brother. Her latch is a little smaller, which ended up being quite painful after a few days.
I don't remember it being this way with Charlie, but they wanted the spinal to have worn off enough for me to move my toes before sending me up to the post partum floor. I think they were also very full upstairs (this was right after a full moon - coincidence?) and were waiting for some rooms to open up.
My mom, of course, took it upon herself to go scout out an empty room for me and texted that 495 was open. And that ended up being my room! It took forever, but I finally got into my room and they brought me some clear liquids to enjoy (not really) and they brought Eleanor back to my room so I could nurse again.
My dad and sisters were at home with Charlie and just dying to come see her. Brad went back to the house to eat lunch and be with Charlie (who by this point was getting worried) and brought everyone back up by mid afternoon (I think?).
I will never forget the look on Charlie's face when he came in the room with Brad. A huge smile, excitement, just sheer joy. I couldn't have asked for him to be more loving or excited about his sister. He was so proud to hold her and kept saying her name over and over. It was one of the most amazing things I've experienced as a parent.
Everyone stayed for a little while and then left so I could rest. I was feeling ok that first day. They gave me some morphine right after surgery. They had to push on my stomach a lot though, which was killer. I was mostly just hungry. I knew the second day was going to be the hardest. But there would be solid food!
The next morning my family took Charlie out to get pancakes at Cracker Barrel (his fav!) and then picked up Starbucks for me and came to the hospital for a while. My sister's husband had flown in the night before. Everyone took turns holding the baby.
Charlie was ready for me to come home and kept asking me to bring Eleanor and come with them back home. That was kind of heartbreaking. I think it was a very long 4 days for him.
Day 2 was painful recovery-wise, but I did get up and walk some and my shower felt fantastic. My dad, who had to fly back home that day, sent enchiladas and some wine up the hospital for dinner. Brad and Eleanor and I had a little dinner date in the room. We did the same thing when Charlie was born and both times are a special memory.
Day 3 I was really feeling better and had some more visitors. Some girlfriends dropped by and my in-laws came to see us, too. They were in town for Sue's birthday and were sadly a little under the weather, so only Aunt Clare got to hold Eleanor. And Dr. D came by to see me, even though it was her day off. She is the best doctor ever, per usual.
By the end of day three I was feeling really ready to go home. Charlie was getting more and more upset that I was still there. He actually woke up really early that morning and climbed in bed with Brad and told him that he thought Eleanor and I were going to live at the hospital. Break. My. Heart.
By that night the rest of my family, with the exception of my mom, had left to go home so the house would be pretty empty when we came home with Eleanor. This was sad for me, since I wanted more time with them, but ended up being a good thing because it is so hectic bringing a new baby home. Plus I wanted to focus my attention on Charlie. But I think it was hard for him seeing everyone come and then leave.
Check out was a piece of cake. We had her all dolled up in a cute outfit, ready for the whopping 7 minute drive home. My mom was at the house with Charlie waiting for us. I was excited to leave, but it's also kind of scary for me.
Both times I've been in the hospital with a baby, I haven't really wanted to leave because it feels so safe there! Everyone is so helpful and I don't have to worry about doing something wrong or needing to ask a question about feeding or my incision or anything. Food just appears. It's really pretty awesome. I love being in the hospital post-partum.
And once again when I got home, I had no idea what to do with myself! It was that way with Charlie's birth, too. It's like you get home and think now what? But I spent some time with Charlie and we figured out what to do for dinner and it ended up being pretty nice.
Overall I couldn't have really asked for anything more out of her birth. Surgery went as well as it could and she was just about as cute and sleepy as she could be. It's definitely not as scary and stressful the second time around. I just felt more at ease with all of it. I think Brad did, too.
Ok, this has gotten long enough. I'm going to try and get caught up on the blog a bit so I can write more of what's going on before I forget it. But this is the first part!