We woke up bright and early on the 12th with Christopher asleep between us in our bed. This is nothing new - he's been showing up a lot since we moved to the new house. It's a disruption, and often it's frustrating, but the good thing is that when we wakes up (even the very first night we were here) he just gets out of his bed, runs down the hallway and up the stairs, and just climbs right in. No crying or screaming from his bed requiring us to make that journey in reverse. So we have to keep the complaining to a minimum. Anyway. As frustrating as the day and night before had been, the morning came early but went smoothly. Chris did wake up before we left, allowing me to take a couple of photos with him - cute ones too, as he showcased his little tiny belly right alongside my big huge one. (You know we don't do photos here, but you can see the evidence of this on facebook.) Jake was still sleeping and, to be honest, it was heart wrenching for me to leave without saying goodbye to him. But leave we did.
Checking in and getting settled at the hospital was a breeze, and before I knew it I was all gowned up and resting comfortably in my bed waiting for the variety of nurses and doctors to come and give me all of the info necessary for the day. I felt calm and comfortable. This c-section thing really is old hat by now. The one thing that did have my blood pressure on the rise was the prospect of having the IV placed. Last time it took four nurses FIVE separate attempts to get that thing in. As a matter of fact, they had to call an anesthesiologist to get the job done. It was AWFUL. So when the nurse came in this time I pulled that whole "be your own advocate" thing and told her, in no uncertain terms, that we were not doing THAT again. She was awesome. So awesome that she immediately called in the nurse on the floor who she considered The Best at this whole IV thing. And you know what? She really was The Best. No problems whatsoever.
With that done, I thought my worries were behind us. I had been informed from the very start that my 10am reservation in the OR had been postponed, as they'd had an emergency c-section early in the morning, bumping the 8am and therefore bumping me. No big deal. I've been the girl having the emergency c-section and bumping the others out. What goes around comes around. They told me we'd be leaving my room for the OR at 10:55. "They" being this awesome nurse...hmmm what was her name? Oh yes, NANCY. I LOVE NANCY. She must have been about 65. She was tough. But not scary tough. She was one of those nurses who knew what she was doing, (she was training a nursing student and every other word out of her mouth was "this is how you have to do it. It's not how *I* do it, but this is protocol and this is how you do it." Hmm. I suppose that sounds bad now, but it was just because she has been doing this for so long that there are things that she just KNOWS you know?) had the tender heart of a nurse, but also had a sense of humor that could carry you through any anxiety that you might have.
So. They were supposed to come get me at 10:55. At 10:50 Nancy pops her head in and says that it looks like we're going to be delayed again. There was a girl down the hall who had been laboring all night, was 100% dilated and effaced and blah blah blah, had been pushing for however long, but the baby just wasn't coming. They were going to take her in and get the baby out pronto. My heart fell for that girl. How horrible to make it that far. To work THAT hard and then to have to go into the OR. I know how that feels - actually, I don't. I didn't get nearly as far as she did. With Christopher I only got to 6cm before they took me, and I was STILL frustrated. So they took her and that was fine with me. I had my IV. I had my husband and my mom with me. I had my cell phone keeping me connected to all of my lovely friends sending me encouraging texts and tweets. No worries. No worries at all.
And then my doctor came in. For the record, he came in with a Starbucks in his hand. To a fasting pre-op pregnant mama who is already having to sit there and watch her husband gobble down a fresh donut, this was torture. And I told him so. As it turns out, I know NOTHING about torture.
His first words as he walked in the door? "We're screwed." He began explaining about the scheduling problems that had taken place that morning and how we just keep getting bumped and bumped. He went on to tell me that he didn't know if we'd be able to "do this today." The fact that it was only 11:00 had me a bit baffled, and I told him so. His response? "But I'm going to the 49er game."
OH YES HE DID.
Now, I have to tell you that this did not come out of thin air. He had told us at my pre-op appointment the day before that he was going to the game. He even made some kind of comment about how he hoped the hospital was running on time because of said game.
I THOUGHT HE WAS KIDDING.
HE WAS NOT KIDDING.
So there he is telling us about this game and I swear to you this was one of those times when if looks could kill he was lucky that we were in a hospital. Between me, Tim, and my mom it's really a miracle that the guy was still standing for the daggers shooting across the room. I don't remember the whole conversation at this point, but I do know that I asked him if he was going to send me home or if I'd stay over night. To be honest, neither was really an option in my mind, but the thought of going home and living the entire Day Before The Surgery AGAIN was already making me want to pull out every single hair on my head one by one. The answer, of course, was that YES HE WOULD be sending me home.
I looked at Tim. He's always the one I look to when the truth needs to be spoken. He is my support. He is my advocate. He is the one who is not afraid to ruffle any feathers. He asked the doctor how long this c-section was really going to take, knowing that the game wasn't going to be starting any time too soon. "Aren't they pretty quick?" we asked him. It's pretty well known in our hospital (as I'd been told many times that morning...as well as during my previous hospital stays) that my doctor is not only an excellent surgeon, but that he is also remarkably fast in the operating room. He runs a tight ship. He doesn't mess around. He gets the job done. So his response to our question was, "well, MY c-sections are pretty fast, but I'm not the one doing the c-section."
And then my brilliant husband spoke up and TOLD him that he'd be assisting with this first surgery to ensure that I could get in for mine. Okay. Well. He didn't really TELL him the way I made it sound, but he did it in his only gentle way that I knew exactly what he meant but the doctor didn't get pissed off and send us home immediately. He left us saying that he would go and offer to assist the other doctor, thereby hurrying things up a bit, so that we could meet our boy today.
When Nancy came to check on us several minutes later, I asked her if I was going to be having a baby that day. She had seen him heading toward the OR but knew nothing beyond that. I took that to be a good sign while she went to find out whatever she could. When she finally returned, she walked into the room quickly with a Strictly Business look on her face.
"Let's go." She said.
She put my little blue grippy socks on my feet, wrapped a blanket around my naked bum, and off we went to the operating room. For those of you who have not had the experience of walking yourself into your own surgery, let me just say that it is one of the most surreal experiences of your life. I've had three c-sections, two of which I have walked myself into that room. It's so casual - you walk all the time, you know? Walk to the park. Walk to the mailbox. Walk to the kitchen. Walk into a completely sterile room where they will paralyze you from the waist down, cut into your abdomen and remove a new person from your body. No big deal, really.
RIGHT. NO BIG DEAL.
I left Tim and my mom in the hallway, and Nancy brought me to the operating table. My memory of doing this with Jake was so much different than what I experienced this time. With Jake, everything was ready. I went in, they gave me my shot while I cried into the nurse's shoulder, they laid me down and got me ready, Tim came in, Jake came out. This time, I suppose because that room had seen so much action already, nothing was prepared. I sat there on the operating table for at least ten minutes while I watched the different nurses and technicians set everything up. I find it surprising (even looking back after the fact) that it was not nearly as nerve-wracking as one would think. I sat there and studied the room around me, looking at all of the supplies that lined the walls, asking questions about what's this and what's that, watching the tools being laid out and the baby station being set up. It was rather fascinating. My doctor came in and HE was the one who had me curl into his shoulder while they gave me my spinal. He chatted with me the whole time and even though I was still remarkably PISSED OFF with him, he made me feel comfortable in the situation. After all, he was the only person in the room who I'd known for longer than a couple of hours, so I figured it was better to be appreciative of his presence than anything else. After all, we'd passed the point of no return. I was definitely having a baby that day.
Once they got me all set up and pulled that curtain up over my face, Tim came in. It made me cry to see him. Suddenly, I was anxious. It's such a strange experience - I know I've said that before, but it really is. Being awake to hear all of the Doctor Speak, to feel the tugging and pulling, to hear the suction, to smell the cauterizing. Ugh. There is a reason I'm not a nurse.
And then. All of a sudden. THE SQUAWKING.
If I wasn't crying already, it definitely started at that moment when I heard that very tiny but very loud SQUAWK. I remember looking at Tim and asking if he could see him. I remember waiting to hear FOR SURE that "It's a boy!" I remember my doctor saying, "he looks good, Anne" just as he's done twice before. I remember being aware this time that I could not stop crying. Sobbing. There was nothing I could do to stifle my sobs. Nor did I have any interest in doing so.
Although I couldn't see over the curtain, I was aware of the fact that they were carrying my little Nathaniel over to my right to where the baby station was set up and in the flurry of activity taking place around my own table I suddenly heard a hearty laugh spread throughout the room. I knew what happened because my Jake had done the same thing. I looked at Tim and asked, "did he pee?" Boy did he. He peed all over that operating room. I joined in the laughter in between my sobs.
Nancy pulled the curtain away just enough that I could see that little slimy naked baby. They held him up and there he was. My boy. My Nathaniel. My baby who looked EXACTLY like his oldest brother....except for the fact that he weighed nearly three pounds less. Yes, my friends, THREE POUNDS. Weighing in at 7lbs, 14oz, little Nate had the stats of his brother Jake and the face of his brother Chris. A true combination.
I could not take my eyes from him. And I could not stop the sobbing.
I cried more with this delivery than, I think, I did with either of the other boys. Don't get me wrong - there were tears shed with my big boys. Lots and lots of tears. But these were different These were cries of joy, of course, but I think the real cause of the tears was relief. This was a hard pregnancy that ended with so much activity and so much "to do" that I felt like now we could finally get on with things. We could finally just start loving our boy.
They let me hold him before they took him off to the nursery for all of his tests. "Hold" is really a relative term when you're strapped down to that operating table and you've got narcotics screaming through your system. The nurse laid that little hat-wearing burrito on my chest while Tim held him in place. And I kissed him. And I cried. And I remembered, once again, that any anxiety I had over how to love ANOTHER one wasn't worth any of the time that I'd wasted on it. I loved him. Plain and simple. Son number three hasn't pushed the other two out of the way. He doesn't take more love from me at the expense of the others. He just slides right into place, filed in my heart next to his two brothers and his daddy. Right where he'll always be, and really, right where he always has been.