This morning, I cleaned off the last bits of stickiness from my c-section band-aid. It’s been a whirlwind of just over a week and nothing has been as we expected or planned.
At 10:45am on May 2nd, Tuck and I went for our normal scheduled appointment to hear baby’s heartbeat and get measured. One of the normal mid-wives is on maternity leave so we saw a new visiting nurse practitioner after answering all of the normal “are you bleeding or leaking from anywhere” sort of questions. She noticed that I was measuring small and brought in our normal midwife, Misti, who came back in to see us and confirmed that they’d like to see us back that day for an ultrasound – something that had been mentioned previously in passing as a possibility since I am a small person. Tuck and I both had busy days – extra planning for a split night at REV – but said we could make the 2pm ultrasound work if that is what they recommended.
As soon as we left the hospital, I felt sick. It felt like something was wrong. Any ridiculous Web-MD sort of problem ran through my mind as a possibility. I cried in the car and Tucker assured me that it was normal and told me all of the logical things I knew to be true, but his voice and my logical reasoning were drowned out by dread. Something felt worrying and I couldn’t shake it.
Tucker picked me back up to head back for the ultrasound. James and his robotic assistant who’s name I think James was constantly mispronouncing did the ultrasound. When he finished taking pictures, he asked a series of questions about baby’s movement that day – where it was, when it was, how often – and said that he’d have results in ten minutes… no, five minutes.
So we waited.
When the time came to go over our results, our nurse practitioner – whose name I didn’t even commit to memory – said everything looked good except for the amniotic fluid. It was low and she was going to talk to the doctor. When she came back, she said if the fluid was really that low, then we may be having a baby today.
They were going to get another ultrasound to make sure, but there was a danger with low fluid that baby would sit on its umbilical cord and cut off the needed nutrients. She left and came back in a rush. Spotting my water bottle on the floor, she said not to drink anymore and asked when I ate lunch.
Baby is breech.
You’re scheduled for a c-section.
The next several hours were a whirlwind of moving room to room, tears, and getting prepped for surgery. So much for our “plan” (which consisted of “do what the doctors recommend”) and the way we pictured our little one entering the world. We had to help the nurses and doctors understand exactly what was happening at first, Tucker went back for our hospital bag that we had packed literally just the night before, and the little life I’d been carrying for 38 weeks was scheduled to be born at 8pm.
We texted friends and family to let them know this wasn’t a drill. I braided my hair – the one part of the situation I felt like I could control – and braced for whatever was next. Nurses, the doctor, and anesthesiologists went in and out, had us sign forms, and told us what was going to happen next. They all asked if we had questions. “Not yet,” we said.
Then it was time. I kissed Tucker and they walked me across the hall in sticky yellow socks to the freezing cold OR. It felt like a weird point-of-view shot of someone else’s life on a medical drama. Getting the spinal block. Laying out with arms stretched and taped down. Machines. Curtain drawn. Instruments being counted. Is this shot really going to keep me from feeling being cut open and a PERSON taken out of me?
They went to get dad and Tuck sat with me behind a blue tarp and held my hand while I shook – still freezing and unable to get warm. Finally, the anesthesiologist said, “Dad, do you want to watch this happen?” Tucker stood up and watched our girl be pulled out – feet…then body… then slowly, the head. I could hear little cries getting louder and more insistent. “We have a little girl!” Tuck said.
They brought her over to be put on the little bit of my chest that was on the awake side of the curtain. We talked about what to name her – find something new? Or the remaining name on our list that we had decided maybe we didn’t like anymore? Everly. Everly Alice. That was it. Our little girl was here.