I think I’m one of those people that doesn’t process emotions well. What does the face of a mom whose baby has stopped growing and is going to have an emergency c-section look like? I just kept looking at Clark with nervous laughter. What’s going on right now? I was so thankful for our doctor in that moment. He laid his hands on us and prayed over us and Charlee Kate for a safe and fast delivery and a healthy baby. How many gynecologists do that?
When he left the room, I stopped trying to process and started making phone calls. I called my school first and explained that I was going to need a sub today. And many more days hereafter. Then, I called the other coaches so that one of them would go watch my 2nd period class until the sub showed up. I tried not to think about the fact that I had no lesson plans for a sub or that my classroom was a mess or that my 6th period class was horrible, terrible, horrible, awful, horrible for subs and that I hadn’t been able to threaten them beforehand. I can’t control it. Bigger fish to fry. Can’t worry about it. Get over it. I didn’t want to call my family yet. I thought I might cry, and I didn’t want to cry. This was going to be a happy day, not sad.
As we walked out of the office, Clark grabbed my hand and squeezed it. We stepped into the elevator, and I started to tear up. It was as if the elevator signified the beginning of a very long journey and I was saying to myself, “Alright. Here we go….” She’s fine. Her organs are good. Her heart rate is good. She’s good. She’s just little. I can do little.
So we just started talking logistics. Who do we need to call? What do we need to do? Did he need to go to the apartment and get anything? Shoot, I don’t know. What do good, prepared moms that pack a bag at 30 weeks take to the hospital? Um. Underwear? All I could think of was the camera. Get the camera.
We walked out of the elevator and sat on the benches in the lobby to call our families. I attempted to be calm as I called my mom, but I knew she could hear the fear in my voice. If she had any stress or anxiety, she hid it well. “Alright. Alright. Okay. Don’t worry. I will call everyone. I’ll be there in 10 minutes. Are you okay?” “I’m okay.” And I was. This was going to be okay. I was going to meet my daughter today.
After we checked in and got settled into the room, Clark left to pack a bag and my mom, Jenna, and Ellie arrived along with some sweet friends soon after. Matt was working and dropped by to ask if I’d like him to assist in the C-section. No thanks, bro. (He was joking.)
I actually began to get a little excited. Nervous, yes. Anxious, yes. But it was the weirdest thing to watch the clock, knowing that in 45 minutes…. 30 minutes…. 10 minutes… my baby is going to be outside of me.
The spinal tap was weird. The first time he tried to insert the needle I felt a sharp pain and my entire right leg jumped/convulsed. “Did you feel that?” he asked. Um, nope. My body usually spasms like that. Second time was more successful and then immediately my body went numb. Like NUMB NUMB. I felt like a floating head. Clark stayed at my head, wisely, and said later that he saw a lot of blood out of the corner of his eye at one point and decided that was as much as he was going to see.
It was so fast. My doctor said my incision was the smallest he’d ever made because he knew she wouldn’t need much of an exit door. I felt pressure and then… I heard her screams. That’s a good sign, right? He held her up over the curtain and tears filled my eyes. I tried to take a mental picture. She was tiny. But just as soon as I was starting to feel all those first-time-mom-feelings, she was gone. And then Clark left with her. I didn’t get to hold her. Or touch her. Or feed her.
You know all those stories you hear about the experience of childbirth and the feeling of pure joy and fulfillment once the baby is out and how they just immediately fell in love like they’ve never been in love before? It wasn’t that. It was so strange. I guess I’d use the analogy of a movie. You start to watch it and all of the sudden, 10 minutes into it, the climax hits. And it’s over. But you weren’t ready for the climax. You hadn’t been invested in the story enough. It had just begun to build up. I was left lying on a hospital bed, alone, except for a few doctors, unable to move with a strange pressure in my chest and a dizziness in my head. I felt like passing out. It was like I didn’t work for it. I didn’t labor at all, so I didn’t have that feeling of satisfaction, seeing the rewards of my labor. It wasn’t birth as much as it was extraction.
I know there’s a million women who have had a c-section, many of them emergency, many not expecting to have their baby when they did. So I’m not trying to dramatize something that millions have done. But there is definitely a part of me that is afraid I’ll never get to feel what it’s like the other way around.
I wouldn’t trade Charlee’s birth story for anything. What I experienced through her wild entrance into this world can’t be put into words. I cherish her and the way I met her. I am so thankful that I got those extra weeks with her and was the mother of a true infant for an even longer time than most. What I didn’t experience through childbirth, I think I made up for in all the weeks she was in the NICU learning to breathe on her own and gaining weight. I gained an appreciation for new life that I’m not sure you can acquire without having gone through something similar.
This post is so long.
I got on a tangent.
Back to the story…
Eh. I’ll just finish later. That’s enough for now.