I took my sleepy medicine, and got in bed for one last sleep. I managed to sleep until 2am, then dozed off and on until 4 when I finally had to get up and moving. I decided to give myself the pedicure I'd be wanting, and it was not a simple task at 40 weeks pregnant, but I think I did okay.
I then took a long hot shower, shaved very carefully since I knew it would be the last time for a while, and prayed over the day ahead. I took some final 40 week pictures for Nathan and the rest of the world, and tried to wait patiently for it to be 7:30 and time to go.
Mom picked me up and we headed to the hospital, arrived a little early, but got checked in and headed upstairs by 8:30. The nurse who was waiting for me was one of my classmates from nursing school, so that was fun to reunite after three years, and to know I was in good hands. She started the monitoring, asked me tons of questions, and told me what to expect from the upcoming hours. She and two other nurses battled my tricky veins before finally getting a good one, and then we waited. We were told that we were getting bumped back from our 10:30 slot because of an emergency, and that there was a good chance of being bumped again because of another. I was really hungry since I hadn't eaten after midnight, and I was contracting and uncomfortable, but Mom and I did our best to pass the time.
Finally, we were told the it looked like we should be rolling by 1pm, and my doctor came in to let us know she was ready and waiting for the word. A cRNA came in soon after 1, and began getting my history and checking me to be ready for anesthesia, and then we were ready to go! I walked over to the OR with the cRNA and my nurse, and they got me seated on the table for my spinal to be placed. The anesthesiologist was very nice, and I was told he was the best one, so I was happy to be in good hands. He took two attempts to get in the space between my vertebrae, and it was a bit uncomfortable for a few minutes, but nothing awful. He said my scoliosis is definitely still noticeable and made his job a little tricky. But, soon enough, the cold numbness was spreading down my left leg and up through my back. Finally it hit my right side too, and I was laid back on the table to finish getting prepped.
I was surprised by just how long I was left completely naked from the ribcage down while people went about their business getting things ready. It helped a little that I was numb, but it was slightly awkward to just be exposed like that, even though to everyone else in the room it was probably not even noticed. Finally, they got my catheter in and my belly scrubbed, and then draped me and got warm blankets for my upper body. While this was happening, a different cRNA came in and started talking to me, and when he heard about Nathan being deployed, he asked if we had Skype. I told him yes, that we were hoping as soon as I got to recovery or my room that we could connect and let him see our baby, and then he surprised me by saying it would be totally fine if I wanted to Skype DURING surgery and let Nathan watch everything.
My mom was still outside the OR, and she had my phone, so I was dying for her to get brought in so we could get Nathan connected.
My doctor had come in and gotten set up on the other side of the drape, and when I looked up, I saw that I had a great view of the surgical field in the reflection of the light above me. I was surprised to see blood already, because nobody had told me they were making the incision. My mom came in just after that (also surprised to see blood when she hadn't even gotten to her seat yet), and I quickly told her to start telling Nathan to get on Skype! She couldn't figure out how, so I ended up getting on Facebook chat and Skype and telling him to hurry and call us. Yes, while I was being operated on. Weird world we live in, isn't it?
Just then, I heard someone say "here comes her butt" and I looked up and saw my baby girl being lifted, butt and back first, out of my belly. They pulled her upright and I was amazed to see a head covered in dark hair--totally not what I had expected!
They held her up briefly for us to see her face, and I definitely teared up with the crazy emotional flood that comes with seeing your baby for the first time. She was so different than I had pictured, and so beautiful and perfect. It was amazing. Just after that, Nathan finally connected with us, and Mom was able to take the phone over to where Ella was getting cleaned up. He got to see her as they weighed her (7lbs, 4oz) and got her swaddled and ready to be held. Mom brought the phone back to me and I spent a minute talking to Nathan and marveling over our beautiful girl, then told him I'd call him once we were out and recovered.
Mom got to bring Ella over to sit beside me, and I started to feel really uncomfortable. Right after she was pulled out, a rush of gas pain hit my shoulders, and I felt nauseous and had a lot of pressure in my head and chest. The cRNA offered me some IV medication to help me relax, but I declined so that I'd be alert and able to hold Ella as soon as I could.
A few minutes later, they finished closing me up, and we were taken down the hall to recovery. As soon as we got there, Mom put Ella on my chest and I let her start breastfeeding--she had been rooting around and gnawing on her fists since the moment she came out! She latched right away and I was amazed by her being in my arms, mine at last...it was breathtaking.
I relinquished her after half an hour or so to the "stork nurse" who came to assess her and measure her length (21 inches!), but got her back as soon as I could. She looked perfect and my assessment looked good as well, so we got to head to our room pretty soon.
My recovery was tough the first couple of days--doing it alone at the hospital is not something I'd recommend after trying it myself, but thankfully my nurses were great and encouraged me and kept me company as much as possible. Ella was starving and very angry until my milk came in on day two, but since then has been so content and wonderful. She lost 9% of her birth-weight those first few days, down to 6lbs 10oz, but I knew once my milk was in that she was feeding great and would gain again in no time.We were released Monday, and since then she has been a beautiful addition to our little world. She is so sweet and content as long as she's fed, and while I am exhausted and sore, I am recovering very well.
I can't wait for the lifetime ahead of this sweet little one--Ella Kathryn Timberlake is already stealing my heart every time I look at her. I am so thankful for 40 weeks of pregnancy, and a healthy girl who is thriving and well. God has been so good to us!