I sat down to write this post about 43 times and I never make it past the first line (see above). I think I needed some time to “let the dust settle” and attempt to catch up on some sleep. The dust settled although sleep is just a distant memory. I’ll sleep again one day, right?
Where do I begin? How about the latter part of my pregnancy…
My pregnancy was wonderful and totally uneventful (exactly what you want out of pregnancy!). I felt great after the first trimester, my skin was clear, baby was healthy, I had energy and I didn’t gain much weight – winning! The only thing that caused constant worry and anxiety was the fact that I was having a scheduled c-section. I totally obsessed over the c-section from the minute my OB told me at around 13 weeks that I would be having one. When I say obsessed, I mean totally and utterly obsessed! I pestered my mama friends who have had c-sections, I Googled constantly, I read message boards, I bothered my OB with about a million and a half questions every time I saw him – completely obsessed, I tell you!
I struggled with it because A.) It’s major surgery and I thought of all the horrible things that COULD happen (but are totally rare!) B.) My recovery after Charlee was wonderful! I was up and running within a couple days. I worried that a c-section would leave me out of commission for forever and I would be in a ton of pain C.) I was totally scared of the unknown. D.) I didn’t want to stay in the hospital for a lengthy period of time away from Charlee
So you see all of those silly worries in that previous paragraph? Go ahead and tell me I’m silly. Go ahead! I totally give you permission! My birth story and c-section experience was great!
My due date was December 23rd and I had chosen December 19th as William’s birthdate. It was kind of nice knowing exactly when my baby boy would be joining us although, I was nervous that he would try to come sooner. Thankfully, he was patient and waited until his scheduled birthday to grace us with his presence.
The day before his birth, I went to the hospital in the morning for my blood work. Justin and Charlee joined me and then we went to lunch and ran some last minute errands before the big day. The remainder of the day was spent savoring every single second as a family of 3. I never realized just how emotional I would be on that final day. I continuously said things like, “This is Charlee’s last day as an only child.”, “This is our last dinner as a family of 3.”, “Tomorrow we will no longer be a family of 3.”. I can’t lie, while I was super excited to meet our little man and welcome him into our family, there was a bit of sadness. I fought back tears all day and it wasn’t until then that I thought about how it had been Charlee and I (and her daddy) for the last 3+ years. Just my little girl and I. Two peas in a pod. Her excitement helped me realize how ridiculous some of my negative thoughts were. I had to remind myself that I wasn’t losing something, we were gaining something wonderful! It’s all about perspective.
So that night, my parents came over to go over Charlee’s schedule, how to use the coffee pot, etc. because they would be staying with Charlee at our house while we were in the hospital. After my parents left, Justin, Charlee and I snuggled into her bed, read a book about being a big sister and talked about the exciting day that would follow. It was such a bittersweet evening.
The next morning, my mom came over and we said our goodbyes. We took a few photos and it was then that I realized that within 4 hours, we would have a son. I was a complete basket case and my emotions were running wild. We hugged and kissed Charlee, told her that we would miss her and that we couldn’t wait to see her that evening when she came to meet her baby brother. I’ll never forget her gleeful squeal.
Justin and I drove to the hospital and I was oddly calm. On the other hand, Justin was losing his marbles with anxiety and nerves taking over! We joked the entire time about how I was the one who was supposed to be flipping out. We laughed and talked the entire 25 minute drive to the hospital; we kept repeating, “I can’t believe we are going to meet our baby boy today.”. We arrived at the hospital and checked in a couple minutes after 10:00am – my c-section was scheduled for 12:00.
I immediately was taken back when we got there to get my IV, go over the procedure and meet with the anesthesiologist, nurses and doctors. Justin wasn’t allowed back initially and that’s when my nerves kicked in. I remember feeling weepy and getting the shakes as the nurses were asking me questions and prepping me for the c-section. After I was prepped and ready, Justin was allowed to come back and we spent the next hour and a half chatting and attempting to calm each others nerves.
12:00 had come and gone and I was finally taken back to the operating room around 1:00pm. Justin walked with us to the operating room doors and that’s where he said goodbye for a bit once again. He had to get dressed in scrubs, booties and a head cover while I was getting my spinal and prepped for surgery. From the minute I was wheeled into the operating room with the bright white lights and sudden drop in temperature, I was a mess. The nurse anesthetist and my nurse were absolutely wonderful and tried everything in their power to calm me down. I was told to sit up on the table with my back exposed, lean over and hold tight to my nurses hands. The NA asked me what type of music I liked and I blurted out “Sam Smith!” just because he was the first artist who came to mind. She put on his new album and tried to make small talk but my teeth were chattering so hard, I could barely make out any recognizable words. The anesthesiologist told me to arch my back like a cat and administered the spinal. The moment I had been dreading pretty much my entire pregnancy was now happening – I was instantly numb from the chest down. I immediately began to panic as they quickly told me to lay down on the table and began the final preparations. They put the drape in front of me, scrubbed my belly and strapped my arms down. I was shaking uncontrollably, dry heaving, sweating and my heart rate was over 200. Panic is an understatement and everything turned into bit of a blur. The nurse anesthetist cranked up the music and kept telling me to work on getting my heart rate down (which only made it worse!). All I could focus on was the heart rate monitor beeping ridiculously fast and I asked, “Am I going to have a heart attack?”. She giggled and said, “You’re young and healthy so that’s unlikely. Just try to relax and think about meeting your son.” It was then that my doctor (who I absolutely LOVE) asked, “Why is there music playing? Who turned that on?”. It took my mind off of my numb body for a few seconds and I was actually able to let out a laugh.
I could tell that things were progressing quickly and the doctor was ready to get things going. I was worried they forgot to bring Justin in and they reassured me that they were going to get him then and there. He came in looking like he walked straight off the set of Grey’s Anatomy and with tears in his eyes. He sat down next to me, grabbed my hand and the doctor, pretty much immediately, made the first incision. What a weird sensation! I was totally numb but I could feel them pulling the baby out, along with pressure and tugging. Within minutes, they dropped the drape and showed me my sweet boy! William Banks Gerock, 7 lbs 2 oz, 20 inches long with a fuzzy little head of hair. He was blue, bloody and crying but he was absolutely beautiful. I’ll never forget that moment. I turned to look at Justin who couldn’t hold back his tears and we both just sat, cried and hugged while they were weighing our little man and getting him cleaned up. I was able to kiss and snuggle him for a few moments before he and Justin went to my recovery room where I would be meeting them once I was all sewn up.
Thankfully, it didn’t take long and I met up with my boys where they were enjoying some skin to skin action. To be completely honest, I don’t remember a ton while in the recovery room. I think I was given something in my IV to help relax me a bit prior. I do, however, remember nursing him and he latched like a pro! Thank goodness because I was nervous that having a c-section would effect breastfeeding.
After about an hour or so, we were taken to our room and settled in with our little bundle of love. I have to say that our nurses were absolutely amazing! A little side story: I gave birth to Charlee in Cary, NC in a very well renowned women’s birthing center at a very reputable hospital. While I had a good experience, the nurses were not my favorite. I felt like “just another patient” vs. a human who had just given birth to another human (a quite traumatic birth, at that!). Since we moved back to my hometown, William was to be born in the local hospital. We were a tiny bit worried because people didn’t have the most fond words regarding the quality of care, nurses, doctors, etc. Let me set the record straight – I had a WONDERFUL experience at Carteret Health Care and would choose to deliver there again in a heartbeat (if I ever had another child…which I’m not. We are GOOD with two!).
Back to William’s birth story…
My parents arrived with Charlee that afternoon and it was then that I realized that my family was complete and that there definitely was enough love in my heart for my two beautiful kids. It’s funny how we worry that we won’t be able to love our children equally; that couldn’t be further from the truth. The instantaneous love that I felt and I saw when Charlee met her brother, I have no words. My heart has never been so full.
Justin’s mother and brother also paid us a visit while we were in the hospital. I was worried that I wouldn’t feel up to having guests but thankfully, I felt awesome! I was up and walking the halls the morning after giving birth, I took a shower, put on makeup and overall, felt really great. We arrived and I had William Tuesday afternoon and we were able to go home early Thursday morning. I assumed that we would be in the hospital for 4 days and I would want to be under nurse care and supervision for as long as I could but, that wasn’t the case at all.
We were home on the 21st and settled in for many days of snuggling. We enjoyed a very relaxed and low-key Christmas – it was absolutely wonderful. Charlee still likes to tell us, “William is my most favorite Christmas present EVER!” We always smile and laugh as if it’s the first time we heard it. That girl – she’s something else.
William is now 6 weeks old and we couldn’t be more in love. Things are starting to fall into place, Charlee is the best big sister and we are slowly returning to normalcy. Now if only William will let this tired mama sleep… 😉