The night before we were scheduled to meet Kaleb, John and I went on one last date before we welcomed our son into the world. After a nice Italian meal, we came home and tried hard to fall asleep... which was nearly an impossible task. I found myself tossing and turning... anxious and excited. Finally uncomfortable enough and exhausted, I got up and tried to sleep on the couch in our room. I didn't want to leave John's side though... knowing that in the morning our lives would change forever. I wanted to wake up next to him, excited to head to the hospital to meet our little boy... the day we had imagined often over the previous months. And so I would soon leave the couch to return to my husband's side, so that we could wake up on such a special day together.
It all seemed so surreal. The alarm clock going off, the good morning kiss. John exclaiming how excited he was to meet our son. My stomach growled relentlessly, but having strict instructions not to eat or drink anything after midnight I couldn't do anything to help. I put on a maternity dress, thinking to myself it would be the last time I would be able to look in the mirror and see my son inside of me. I would look in the mirror and rub my belly a countless number of times that morning.
Before we knew it, we were taking some last photos and heading on our way out the door. Most of our bags had been packed the night before, the car seat awaiting us in the backseat. It seemed so surreal that in a matter of days we would be bringing home our son.
On the way to the hospital I tried hard to soak it all in. The morning sun not quite out yet, the drive seemed so peaceful. Klove played on the radio, with the announcer saying a prayer that seemed to fit the morning perfectly. John and I held hands, waiting for what was in store.
Arriving to the maternity ward, we were welcomed by the nursing staff and taken to a labor and delivery room to prepare for the c-section. We had several nurses, prepping me... asking questions, explaining procedures, getting scrubs for John. Somewhere in between the nurse explaining, in detail, what would take place I started feeling queasy and knew I was about to throw up. So, I politely stopped her while she rushed for a bedside pan so I wouldn't have to get out of bed. Needless to say, she stopped explaining everything from there.
At some point John and I were left alone. He pulled up the chair next to me, holding my hand and praying for what was ahead of us. Our son's heart beat loud on the monitoring system. I kept looking at the clock, counting down the minutes until he would enter the world.
At 7:00 a.m. the nursing staff changed and a familiar face entered my room. A mutual friend entered the room, said she had talked to our friend the night before and asked if we wanted her to be our nurse. Of course I was more than happy to have her assisting on such a special day. She had a way of calming my nerves, for which I was more than thankful. I told her I was nervous and she said, "Well, I'm not... I'm excited!"
Finally our doctor came into the room, and it was then that I was able to move past the nervousness into complete excitement. I knew we were in good hands and another familiar face was more than welcomed at that point in time. She said that we had a great anesthesiologist and helped reassure that everything would be just fine. Off she went to get ready for the surgery, and we were soon headed out of the room down the corridor and into the operating room.
The operating room seemed small and filled with what seemed like a sea of people. My nurse, a nursing student, a resident doctor, my doctor, an operating assistant, NICU nurses, the anesthesiologist... the room was a buzz. Doctors were cracking jokes, the place was alive. Which is just how it should have been. There was a sense of excitement in the air, like everyone knew exactly what needed to be done and were completely calm about what was in store.
Soon I would have my spinal and go almost completely numb. They had to help my lay down on the narrow operating table. I must have said something about how small it was, because the response I got was something along the lines of, "And you are tiny, imagine getting some other patients on here."
And then it was a matter of minutes before I heard the doctor jokingly say, "Your water broke." And then, "Your stomach just totally deflated." And then...
I heard his cries. Those sweet, precious first cries. They weren't very loud... just sweet little cries telling his mommy and daddy that he was here, and that everything was okay. A nurse rushed him to my side as I heard everyone exclaiming how big he was. Laying eyes on him I felt a rush of love. I would already do anything for him. I just wanted to hold him, but at the same time I was just relieved that everything was okay and that my son was healthy and strong.
I touched him briefly, telling him I loved him before they would take him across the room to clean him up, weigh him and measure him. The scale registered at 9 lb. 1 oz. and the nurses measured him to be 21.5 inches long. Finally they brought him back to my side to see him and touch him again. I was overwhelmed with emotions... joy, thankfulness, relief, love, pride and a bit of sadness that it would be a while longer until I was able to hold him.
The rest was kind of a blur. The doctors finished "putting me back together" before I was wheeled to a recovery room. I remember waiting for what seemed like eternity for them to bring me my son. At that point, John and I hadn't given each other "the look" yet to settle once and for all on a name. I found myself wondering how he was doing in the nursery, yet struggling to stay awake and keep my hunger at bay. At some point I started vomiting all over again and my sweet nurse pulled my hair back with her own hair tie, but to be honest I don't remember if that was before or after Kaleb was finally wheeled to my room.
Finally our little boy arrived... he was already smacking his lips and searching for food. I am almost certain he was crying when he entered the room too, but my memories are a bit of a haze. We did skin to skin immediately and he latched on right away, obviously a hungry little boy! Then he had to do the heat lamp a little longer before he could have his bath. At that point I was so out of it that I couldn't have given him a bath if I wanted to. I just remember fighting to stay awake, trying so hard to soak it all in while my eyelids felt progressively heavier and heavier.
I'm not sure how much time lapsed, but after a while I started to feel a little better. I had insisted that when I get hungry I get weak, and thus they gave me sugar water in my IV to help the situation as I wouldn't be allowed to eat for another 24 hours. They wheeled Kaleb and me out the room and down the corridor to the elevator in which we saw my parents out in the waiting room through the glass doors. I could tell they were excited, curious and growing probably growing impatient by the minute. I was pretty much just focused on getting to my room.
And then, finally Kaleb's grandparents were allowed to come meet him. While it was a joyous occasion, I started throwing up yet again all the while some of the alarms started sounding on my monitoring system. John's dad made a dash for the exit to get a nurse all the while I was trying to convince him I was just fine. Pretty sure the sight of me said otherwise.
Later John and I were able to spend time snuggling our little boy, just the three of us, before we allowed more visitors to come see us. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it exactly the same way. Although a bit of a blur, we'll never be able to get back those first hours spent bonding as a family... and they are sweet memories indeed.
One night we were all settled in at the hospital. Kaleb had been fed, changed, cuddled and laid down for bed. I had made it back into bed after brushing my teeth and taking out my contacts, and John had pulled out the couch to turn it into his bed for the night. We were all exhausted after a long day and ready for bed.
The lights were turned out and we had prayed together. After a few moments of silence I heard John say, "Do you ever feel too happy? Like everything in your life is just perfect?"
Yes, yes I do. I have been given such a beautiful life, and I don't deserve a single bit of it. An amazing husband and now an absolutely precious and beautiful son. I know I am one hundred percent biased, but he has to be the sweetest baby I have ever met. His little facial expressions make me laugh and his little feet, hands, ears, lips, nose and eyes make me smile in awe at how he is perfectly and wonderfully made.