Two years ago, very insanely early in the morning, Matthew and I walked (yes, walked) to the hospital carrying what we needed for our expected c-section and short stay afterward. I was a nervous wreck. I’d never had a c-section and I knew from previous surgery that I didn’t do so well with anesthesia. Despite an intense desire to meet the little girl that had been doing roundhouse kicks and tai chi in my belly, I wasn’t at all eager to get the show on the road.
Abigail and I had a high risk pregnancy, and despite making it to delivery safely I had already been told that we could “still have a catastrophe.” For us, there wouldn’t be any relaxing until after Abby had been delivered and my insides dealt with. I faced the surgery with “This is it. I could die today. If that happens, please let Abby be all right. Matt couldn’t stand to lose both of us.”
Matt made jokes and reassured me the whole way to the hospital and the entire time we waited for the surgical team. When they finally wheeled me into the delivery room they took Matt to sterilize him and dress him in funny clothes. (He was very handsome.) While the doctors were preparing and I was waiting for Matt (that’s all I wanted, just get Matt in here) the nurse strapped me to the operating table cruciform. Like Jesus. I couldn’t run away if I’d had the nerve to try.
The anesthesia guy told me what he was doing, and also told me what the doctors were doing so that I wouldn’t be scared. It didn’t work. Well, not really. All I wanted was Matt.
Before the medication was completely working my doctor made the incision that would bring our baby to us. It burned and I panicked momentarily thinking the medication wasn’t working and I’d be able to feel everything (like those horror stories on Oprah). Then Matt came in. Finally.
He was torn between wanting to see his baby being born and diverting his attention to me to help me calm down. He peeked and they didn’t have her yet so he leaned over me and spoke softly in my ear and helped me to take some deep breaths which helped me relax. He kept peeking over the drape and got to see Abigail way before I did. A nurse wrapped her and brought her to me and unhooked my left arm so I could touch her. Then they took her to the nursery, and as SOP Matt went with her.
I was left in that cold scary room alone. I didn’t know what was going on or what the doctors were doing anymore. The anesthesia guy stopped talking to me when Matt came in and didn’t think to pick up again once he left. I was laying there feeling “pressure”, feeling them push things and pull things and I didn’t like it at all. Then the anesthesia guy said he was giving me something to make me sleepy.
I woke up in my room and waited to see how I was doing. When I heard I was okay I asked for Matt even though SOP was no visitors for the first hour. They let him in anyway. He told me Abby was fine, she was beautiful and everything was okay. That’s all I wanted to hear.
You forget how small and incredible new babies are. Their delicate features, their thin wisps of hair, their impossibly tiny hands and fingers and even smaller fingernails. She was perfect.
Two years later, she still is.
Happy second birthday, baby girl. Thank you for showing me the world through your eyes and reminding me how much I am capable of giving…and receiving. You’re amazing, you’re beautiful, you’re smart, funny and brave and you are so very, very loved.