Monday, November 20, 2006

This is Your Birth Story

By 36 weeks you were very, very big. By 37 weeks you were ready to come out.

I got the call while I wandered the aisles at Party City, killing time until my new glasses were ready at the optometrist next door. The doctor called at 6pm to tell me to be at the hospital at 7:30 the next morning for my scheduled c-section (we always knew it would be a c-section because the same surgery that made me subfertile also made my uterus too weak to withstand contractions). I still have the note I made in my Palm Pilot for January 18, 2006 "7:30am: Have baby-North Tower/3rd floor."

The next morning we arrived at Cedars-Sinai hospital, giddy and carrying pillows and pjs, thinking we were prepared. As can only happen in Los Angeles, the nurse who checked us in was the winner of that season's The Bachelor (God, I hope you don't know what that is) and your father recognized her immediately.

I was so huge at that point that all I could think about was getting you out. It never occurred to me how much I would miss having you in there. Being able to give you a poke good morning. Freaking people out with my undulating belly. But that morning I'd had enough.

I was ushered into an operating room and given an epidural to numb me for surgery. Soon they started poking me to make sure I was numb and, it turns out, I was not. There was a quadrant on my right side that would not go numb no matter what. They jacked me full of vial after vial of Novocaine and still I could feel them poking and prodding. Somehow they started cutting anyway and when I completely freaked out that I could feel them, they jammed Nitrous over my face and, although I still had sensation, I no longer cared.

After what felt like a lifetime but was actually only a couple of hours, they pulled you out. I was so high that when the doctor said, "I see his head," all I could think was that my legs were closed and I wasn't pushing. I had forgotten that I was having a c-section.

Soon enough they brought you to me and you were beautiful. I kissed your head before they took you away again so Daddy could cut your cord. All I saw of you was your hand and I remember thinking how big it was. Your Apgar numbers were high.

You weren't immediately hale and hearty. You were taken away from me to be treated for wet lung and I didn't see you again for nine hours. They were the worst nine hours of my life. But eventually, finally, you came to us and have stayed nearby ever since. It was a long, hard day. The payoff, however, was immeasurably wonderful.

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