the epistle (or... a very long update on birth, baby and coming home) (part 1)

>> Saturday, October 31, 2009

Once upon a time, not so very long ago... there was a blogger who needed to get around to writing down the birth story! You know, between long feedings and short nappings and the frantic accomplishment of bare essentials in spare snatches.

Monday, October 26, 2009 was the big date on our calendar. For a variety of reasons (my severe medical allergies, size of baby, family birthing history, etc), we had decided to schedule the birth as a Cesarean section. Any birth is fraught with anxiousness, I think, especially the first time around. I was as much at peace with the decision as possible, but that doesn't erase nerves about all the unknowns.

Sunday night we re-packed the hospital bags (that had been sitting in the corner of our room since 35 weeks). I got very little sleep between baby moving and kicking most of the night, and my dreams that he would come out with his legs attached to his shoulders and his arms attached to his hips.

Or that he'd be cross-eyed.

And there was the dream where the spinal block worked from the waist up instead of the waist down, and I was knocked out for an indefinite period of time, and when I finally woke up and asked for my baby he was already the size of a small toddler. That dream was fun.


Then I started having contractions about 4 minutes apart during the wee hours. That didn't help me sleep either.

So after an hour and a half of sleep, I got up early Monday morning to get ready. By 8:30 AM the Hubby, my sister and I were ready to rock 'n roll. We snapped a few last photos on the back porch before driving away.

The hospital wanted us to be there by 9 o'clock, but they just made us sit in the waiting room for a while anyway. My mom and sister were with us, and dad came a bit later.

Then we went back to the pre-op/recovery room.

I got all glammed up in the latest hospital gown fashion - backless and pastel blue calico - and as comfortable in the bed as a big belly can be.

Three nurses tried to set my IV, and four sticks later it was established that I have ornery veins. So we waited for an expert nurse from "hard stick" to come and do a fifth one. By the time cold IV fluids poured into my bloodstream, I had band-aids on several places along my forearms and wrists.

Hubby got all dressed up in scrubs, hat and mask, and they rolled my bed to the Operating Room to get started. The OR was FREEZING, and they made Hubby wait outside until the anesthesiologist got me all numbed up.

They sat me on the edge of the operating table - which was about as wide as a 6 foot long pencil - and a nurse came over to me. "Put your hands on my shoulders and hunch forward," she said. I made some crack about them wanting me to hunch forward around a watermelon and just how exactly was that supposed to be possible?

At this moment I started thinking to myself, "Did I make the right decision?" The freezing operating room seemed overwhelmingly cold and unfriendly, and I felt suddenly and deeply alone. I wanted to cry and wished the Hubby was there beside me.

Then the anesthesiologist was there. "Three cold sponges," he said, and then "Two little sticks", and then my legs started to go all numb and tingly. They laid me back and stretched my arms out onto extenders like I was about to be crucified. Then they clipped a blue paper drape across my chest so that I couldn't see the action.

The table tilted back and then I felt my legs being plopped onto the table cross-legged Indian style so they could insert the catheter.

"No claims for modesty in here!" was all I could think. And, "Couldn't they do that under a drape or something?" No such luck.

A moment later Marius was standing beside me holding my hand and the doctor was asking me "Sarah, are we hurting you?" I didn't even know they'd started! After a bit I felt them wrestling and tugging in my belly, and the anesthesiologist started a snatchy narration of the events.

"He's got a really big head!"
"Lots of hair!"

It felt like elephants dancing on my stomach as the doctor and a few nurses tried to grasp him. Apparently he kept turning sideways to escape his liberators, and they had to suction his head to get him out! Who wants to leave behind the custom-made resort with indoor pool and 24-hour buffet, anyway?

"Slow and steady wins the race."
"Here he comes, here he comes!"

The doctor stuck him up over the curtain so that I could see before he got toweled off. He was bloody and gloppy, and the most beautiful creature I'd ever seen. Huge gray almond-shaped eyes, a head of wavy black hair and the brightest pink little arms.

It took a minute for him to cry, and then he screamed like a future singer (or preacher, depending on your point of view). Hubby got to cut the cord, and a nurse held the video camera to record the moment.

Hubby was crying so hard his shoulders were shaking, as the nurses toweled baby off and swaddled him. By that time they were done stitching me up, and I was rolled off the skinny table and back onto the transport bed. Then they brought me my son, and laid him on my chest.

I couldn't stop crying. All I could see was his perfect little face, with those massive bambi eyes looking up at me. He was calm and quiet, staring curiously at the big bright world. I choked on the sobs of wonder as I stared at this miracle that had just come from my body.


This was the miracle that had kept me sick for nearly 8 months with all-day nausea. This was the miracle that kept me up so many nights with swift strong kicks and flutters and rolling tumbles up where my lungs used to breathe.

And it all melted away.

© Sarah K. Asaftei, 2009 unless otherwise sourced. Use allowed by express written permission only.


Anonymous,  November 1, 2009 at 8:35 AM  

Beautiful depiction Sarah--I am glad you both are safe and sound and you are done with the nine months of nausea and heartburn and constipation and headaches, and sleepless nights....the list goes on and on right? It truly is all worth it in the end. Congrats to you and Marius--Tristan is beautiful.

Kara Urbano

A and L November 1, 2009 at 10:01 AM  

I could copy/paste this post into my blog (besides the 8 months of miserableness, sorry!). You're such a descriptive writer - I love it! I totally understand every step and emotion... it's so surreal and hard to understand unless you've experienced it yourself. Such a miracle! Congrats! Tristan is beautiful. So glad you're both doing so well.

Nabila Grace November 1, 2009 at 11:02 AM  

And that's why we have kids and even think about more because that moment you see them and hold them all the suffering truelly does melt away... Good job mommy! So proud of you! :0) enjoy every second for sometimes it's when we hold our first born that we find our "true" God given calling...that of motherhood. :0)

saranjetoo November 1, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

Wow! Sarah! This is incredible! I loved reading your blog! I can't believe you are a mother! I have heard so many stories about the mommys having their babies, but every time I hear one my heart gets bigger, softer, and my lips smile. I am soooo happy for you and pastor Marius. Your baby is precious. Congratulations Sarah.
You are a GREAT mother!
Love you so much

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