On this day, seven years ago I was getting ready for my appointment at the hospital. Nerves were high, mostly due to a combination of fear and excitement. The day was here. D and I were going to be parents.
I packed a small suitcase, with everything that was ever put on a “hospital bag” list. My What to Expect book was on the top. My birth plan, of which I had several copies, was now in the garbage. Things were not going to go as expected. And I only had a couple days to digest that.
I couldn’t breathe for the past 38 weeks, as it felt like the baby was resting in the centre of my chest. I also used to feel the kicking down low. It’s hard to pretend it doesn’t hurt when you get kicked in the crotch from the inside, while in an important meeting at work. I would hunch over and pretend to scratch my leg.
Speaking of my legs, I was so swollen for the last half of my pregnancy. My toes looked like those little cocktail sausages, it was bad. And my legs were so itchy all the time!
I knew my baby was straight up and down inside me. But my doctor kept saying that everything could change. The baby will move around until the very last day.
What did I know?! This was our first.
Well I did know. And on my last ultrasound on Friday April 18, 2008, I lay on that table for over 45 minutes. Those technicians kept pressing that scanner over my belly, squeezing cold gel again and again and whispering to each other in the corner. I started to feel that something was wrong, but when I asked, they told me the results would be sent to my doctor. My back was killing me, and this was taking a very long time. Too long. But I had to wait to see the doctor on Tuesday.
When I went in for my appointment, the doctor confirmed that the baby was literally straight up and down. The feet were exactly where I said they were, and the head, right under my rib cage.
My umbilical cord was short, so the baby couldn’t turn around.
We were having a cesarean section.
The doctor looked at the calendar and said, “Um…how about Wednesday April 30?” To which I quickly agreed, since that wasn’t actually anyone’s birthday. (I have way too many birthdays in April as is) And she then shook her head, saying she wanted to deliver this baby, so Friday April 25th it was.
I was having a baby on my uncle’s birthday. And it was going to be via C-section.
Wait?! I skipped that pre-natal class!
A few weeks prior, I was tired and knew I wouldn’t be having a C-section, so I convinced D NOT to go to that class. So now what?! I didn’t know what to do, what to expect or what to think.
It was too late. The decision was made and my date was booked. I went into work, advised them that tomorrow would be my last day, as I had to take Thursday off to visit the hospital once more before the big day. There was no time to absorb that this was happening.
In the early morning of Friday April 25, D and I would walk into the hospital, about to face the unknown. Sure, I read as much as I could in the past 48 hours to try to understand what was in store for me, but I’m not sure D and I really understood it. It all seemed overwhelming.
I was brought to my room, given an IV and catheter, (nowhere did I read I was getting one of those!) and waited for our turn to go to the OR.
D had to wait outside until they were ready for him. So I said goodbye and followed my nurse. She sat me on the table and I had to wait for the anesthesiologist to come to give me the epidural. I remember telling myself NOT to look around. I didn’t want to see what they were doing. I didn’t want to see the instruments and tools and imagine where it would be used.
A young student nurse had asked me right before going in if she could stay in the OR and watch, as she had never seen a C-section before, I told her that I didn’t’ care. If that was something she wanted to watch, she could.
I was on that table for a while, and so eventually I had to look up. I couldn’t help it. And I started to see all these shiny and sharp tools laid out on the table and I started to freak out. I don’t even know if I was breathing.
Eventually, after what seemed like an hour, the guy showed up. Again, I remember thinking, D was supposed to be with me. To hold my hand while they were about to shove this giant needle in my back. Instead my beautiful nurse, an English lady with the biggest boobs ever, told me, “Alright love. Stay calm, hug me and put your head right here.” As she pointed to her cleavage. So I didn’t ask any questions and did what she said.
I dove right on in and hugged this lady, my head comfortably in her cleavage and didn’t move.
After they lay me down, I remember thinking that the epidural didn’t work, that I could still feel everything. And then I looked up! I could see the reflection of my belly in the chrome of the light fixture above us.
Oh. My. Goodness. I was going to be able to see this happening?!
As quickly as I had that thought, I heard the lovely nurse call my husband in to sit beside me. When he was to the left of my head, I looked back up and they had placed the curtain, so I could no longer see the light.
Then it happened. Within what felt like a few minutes, the nurses and doctor were in the room and we heard the words, “It’s a girl.”
On Friday April 25th at 11:28 a.m., the Little Bird was born. She weighed 7lbs, 6oz and had a full head of hair. She had my nose and was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I couldn’t believe we were parents. And this little creature was all ours.
No matter what the journey looked like to get there, it was all worth it. I wear my birth story – and C-section scar – as a badge of honour.
This Little Bird has kept me on my toes ever since. She is a thinker and a worrier. She is sensitive and caring and smart. She still loves to snuggle, but not as much as she did when she was little.
She has the best laugh, and a good sense of humour to go along with it. She is methodical and thoughtful and those are traits that will come in handy as she matures.
The Little Bird is a girly girl, who loves sparkle and dresses, fancy shoes and jewellery. She lights up when she talks about the older kids at school, and the things that they like. Yet, she still loves to play with babies and Barbies. She can be kind to her sister, and enjoys helping her out, and I love to watch them play well together.
She’s a creative spirit, drawing and making scrapbooks with her favourite pictures cut out and glued into a notebook. She is a collector of all things little and plastic, and has taken to carrying around a little pink purse with all her treasures, and lip balm.
I am in awe that you will be seven tomorrow. You made me a mommy and showed me what it is to love in a way I never understood. You are a part of my heart and I love you with every breath I have. You keep me on my toes and push my buttons, and while I may not be ready, I’m looking forward to watching you grow and mature and find your place in this world.
I love you my Little Bird and hope you enjoy your birthday celebrations tomorrow.