This may be a long one - feel free to tune in and out at will :)
Wednesday was a very long day but a very hopeful one. We were almost certain that the doctor wouldn't warn us to prepare for surgery "just in case" and then send us home afterwards. Of course, that's not 100% certain, so it was nervous energy. We tried to do all we could to stay busy and to prepare - buy final things at the store and things like that.
Well, that night was a long one - I was way too excited to sleep. Same with the next morning. We dropped Katie off at preschool and made our way to the doctor's office. However, then things took a scary turn. I had been told that we were coming in solely for a NST to determine what we would do. Instead, we were taken back to a regular exam room with no monitors and they had me get undressed and draped. At this point, everything caught up with me and I was so emotionally exhausted I started to cry (I was doing that a lot by this point) because we thought that there had been a miscommunication somewhere and this was just going to be a standard, day before surgery pre-op appointment.
Within five minutes the doctor came in and before even saying hello was asking if we wanted to have our baby that day. I was so happy that I threw my arms around her neck and cried a lot more :) She checked me and I had dilated to a 3, so she said between that and the contractions she could tell the hospital that I was finally in active labor and we could go for it. She had a meeting at noon, but said we could do the C-section right afterwards, so she went to call the hospital. They weren't ready for us until about 10:45am, so we had two hours to kill.
We left the doctor's office and headed home to take care of last minute packing and anything else that needed to be done. Brian had some lunch to make sure he'd be ok, but I still couldn't eat since there was now certainly going to be surgery. We still had an hour to kill, so we went to walk around the mall. My contractions were still every two to three minutes apart, but knowing they were about to end made it much easier to wander around.
When we got to the hospital, we checked in at labor and delivery and were not surprised to find that we knew everyone who was working at that point in time. They were all very pleased to see that we were the scheduled "section" for 1pm and that we weren't back for more preterm labor fun. We got all set up in the outpatient room and prepared for all the fun stuff preceding surgery - it was a very busy day in L&D; there were three other women in there with preterm labor while we were getting ready. I felt a little badly for them because I could only imagine too easily how it must feel to see someone getting ready to deliver while you're worried about your preterm labor. I knew that feeling well.
My contractions were going pretty well at this point, but I wasn't eligible for pain meds since we would be heading into surgery. My parents were on their way and I knew they would be there, and Katie would be there, soon, so we tried to distract ourselves with TV. After going over some medical history (it hadn't changed in the past week), they started to set up all the IVs and whatnot. Unfortunately, my luck took a small turn here as they brought in a student nurse from IWU who had never done this particular procedure before. She stuck the back of my hand and missed, but they were not deterred - the lead nurse tried to help her wiggle it into the vein or whatever it is they were doing. Between this and contractions, I was in tears - it hurt!!! I'm all for teaching - I go to the cosmetology school for haircuts and I know they all need to practice, but let's not practice on the patient in active labor, huh? The nurse took over and got it all set up and started the IV drip (I needed two bags of fluid prior to surgery) and finally everyone showed up and we visited for a while.
After signing all the papers and talking to everyone, we heard the surgery was changed to 1:15pm (no big deal) and before I knew it they had me walking down the hall to the O.R. It was a little overwhelming and terrifying - I had somehow built myself up against the spinal block even though I had an epidural in my first pregnancy and it wasn't that bad. We walked into that really bright and freezing cold room and I sat on the table to get ready for the spinal. Thankfully, Brian was allowed to be in there with me (he hadn't been allowed until the actual surgery before - lots of things were different since this time the baby wasn't in distress). As we went to do the spinal, I was informed that another new person would be performing the procedure (I don't think he was a student, but he was new) and I groaned internally. It took them two tries and I was a total baby - whimpering and sniffling. I felt I had earned that right and just milked it. They put on my oxygen and laid me down very quickly (the spinal works instantly, so my body would have given out if I'd taken my time. It numbs you from the chest to the feet).
At this point, everything started to heat up as everyone was rushing around doing things I couldn't see. I didn't really know what was going on (they didn't put up a shield in front of me like last time, but I still couldn't see anything) and I started to get an anxiety attack because I felt like I couldn't breathe. The anesthesiologist said that was the medication making me feel heavy and warned me that if I couldn't calm down, she'd have to put me out and I wouldn't see the birth. Uhm, that was NOT going to happen. Thankfully, the feeling passed.
They were in and out so quickly, I can't even process it. If you figure that we went into surgery at 1:15 and Hope was born at 1:23, it probably only took them a minute or two to get her out. I could hear them talking about how deep she was buried and that they felt like they were reaching back to my spine but, unlike with Katie, I didn't feel any of the tugging, pulling, or pressure that I felt before. It was easy. They pulled her out, she cried, and it was done. Brian was reassuring me that she was completely perfect and that there was everything that should be there. They wiped her off briefly and then let Brian hold her next to me for a few minutes so we could see and talk to her before she had to take off. Again, this was different; I didn't get to see Katie until I was in recovery due to the distress, so it was nice to have these moments to get to know her.
Brian left with Hope and I was left during the tedious closing up procedure. It doesn't hurt, it just feels like it takes forever and I just wanted to get to recovery to see Hope. When we finally got there, we realized my bed was backwards and I had my head at the foot end of the bed. Not a problem, but it meant we couldn't raise my head up so I could hold her. They propped me with a few pillows, but I wasn't comfortable in that position, so Brian held her and we watched her inhale her first bottle. She was clearly starving - I've never heard someone so little suck so loudly. We were in recovery for about an hour and a half - the whole time my parents waited patiently with Katie in the waiting room. They still didn't know her name or what she looked like. Brian had come in to tell them she was born and had shown Katie pictures, but everyone else had to wait.
I was very relieved when we finally got to our room. I felt like I had been manhandled more than enough for one day. Katie came running into our room screaming, "Awwwww....she's so cute!" and wanted to just keep kissing her face. We gave her some gifts from us and from Hope and she was just in heaven - all she wanted to do was to bring in the rest of the family and tell them Hope's name (we told Katie she could be the one to introduce her sister).
After that, there were visitors and diapers and feedings and lots of walking up and down hospital hallways to ensure that I was well enough to come home. Thanks to the wonders of Lovenox and Heparin, my incision began bleeding severely the day after surgery and continued up until yesterday, which was a bit of a complication. I ended up in the ER on Thanksgiving because it was so bad, but thankfully it appears to have subsided and I will see the doctor again tomorrow to check on it. Staples are out, but there are still some open gaps because of the bleeding (they had to keep areas open to let the blood out, so I guess we'll see how we close them now). I'm moving pretty well and down to Tylenol and Ibuprofen.
Hope is an amazing baby. Although she has her fussy moments (we've had a long night or two), she's been very mellow so far and is content to watch the world around her and snooze. Katie has been a wonderful helper and simply can't do enough for her sister. In short, it might be a bit stressful and we might feel a bit overwhelmed trying to figure out how to work with two kids at home, but it's so worth it. I think we all feel complete and we're all just thankful to have Hope home.
BTW - Katie is now asking when she gets a baby brother. I did end up having my tubes tied during surgery because all parties involved agreed another pregnancy would just be too dangerous for me, so Brian informed her that any children we have from here on in will be named Jesus. It was sacrilegious, but really funny :)