Today, I thought I'd kick off regular blogging again by sharing the little story of Ainsley's birthday. It was such a sweet and memorable day, and I'm more than happy to share it with you all.
I'll start by saying, we didn't really know that we'd be having her on December 10th. We had a bag packed just in case, and my parents came up earlier that week because I just knew that my body wasn't going to hold Ainsley in much longer. However, we had no guarantee that Wednesday would be the day.
The morning of December 10th, I had my regular twice-weekly appointment, as well as my (regular, twice-weekly) non-stress test. Ainsley hadn't been moving as much the night before -- something I immediately reported to my O.B.'s nurse when she was getting my vitals. After the non-stress test, which showed heavy contractions, (I could have told them this without a non-stress test, ha!), Dr. D came in and "checked" me.
After a few seconds, he announced I had progressed significantly and he said Ainsley would likely have arrived within the next 48 hours anyway. Since this was a repeat C-section and I was considered a high-risk pregnancy due to my heart history, we decided to get her out that night at 5:00 p.m. (Dr. D likes to deliver his own babies whenever possible, especially his high-risk patients.) So, he called Labor & Delivery and told them to admit us.
Ten minutes later, a nurse came into the exam room with a wheelchair and up to Floor 5 we went...
Apparently, there was a mass exodus of babies from uteruses (uteri?) across Northwest Arkansas that day because EVERY SINGLE ROOM was occupied. So, they had us wait in the L&D family waiting room while a space opened up. An hour or so later, they called us back.
Because Labor & Delivery was hopping that day, they had to set us up in one of the doctors' on-call rooms, (where the docs sleep when they're on call.) It was the size of a shoebox and had no windows, which gave both of us a little anxiety, but I was so excited that we were meeting Ainsley, that I'd have stayed in that tiny room for a week!
Our sweet nurse Mary assured us that one of the birthing suites would be ready for us as soon as the surgery was over, which was great because....windows. #necessarythings
By that time, it was about noon and our five hour wait to meet Ainsley began.
The nurse started my IV, had me sign approximately 150 papers and change into the oh-so-chic hospital gown.
Those five hours of waiting were amazing, though. Stephen and I had time to laugh and talk, watch some TV, make calls to some friends and family, and just enjoy each other's company. We also had ample time to really talk to our nurses, the anesthesiology team and our doctor for any last-minute questions. I mean it when I say, I've never been that calm about such a huge event.
Around 3:30, the anesthesiologist came in to start my epidural. Just like last time, because of some issues surrounding my heart and blood pressure, a spinal wasn't a possibility. I was nervous about that and told him the story of what happened during Caroline's birth. I'll never forget what he said next:
Well, I'm running this show today and that won't happen again. I promise. Believe me?
I did. Fully.
He told me that the reason (at least he thought) that the epi didn't work the last time was because they didn't give it enough time to kick in completely. So, he brought his little cart of needles in and the fun began...
I'll be honest, it hurt. Well, the numbing shot, anyway. The sensation of the epidural going in was just weird. Stephen was able to sit beside me and hold my hand, and my nurse held my shoulders and reminded me to breathe, ha! The entire thing took less than four minutes. The last epidural took 20 minutes to place. So yeah, it was already making out to be a better experience.
After that, a nurse from the nursery came in to let me know who the on-call pediatrician would be, as well as find out what our birth plan was. Our hospital is amazingly respectful of mommas' wishes for those crucial moments right after the baby is born, whether it's a C-section or regular delivery. I LOVE that they ask even the C-section mommas how they'd like things to go. I told her that I wanted to hold Ainsley skin-to-skin ASAP in recovery, as well as let her nurse immediately.
Around 4:40, Dr. D came in and handed Stephen a pair of scrubs to wear in the O.R. - it was go time!
Stephen and I gave each other a quick kiss and they wheeled me across the hall to the operating room. Until then, I hadn't been that nervous, but it hit me like a ton of bricks then. Thankfully, everyone was so sweet and reassuring, plus I could tell the epidural was really kicking in.
After testing me to make sure I was completely numb, they let Stephen come in and the surgery was underway!
I felt a whoooooole lot of pulling and tugging - it was so weird. But strangely, nothing hurt. (Stephen told me later that night that he was shocked at how rough they have to be to get the baby out!)
Just moments after they began, I heard Dr. D say, "Ready to meet her?"
Before I could answer yes, I heard a beautiful, mighty cry fill the room.
It was Ainsley.
My baby girl was born.
I'm serious when I say, it was one of the most surreal moments of my life.
They weighed her and announced that she weighed 5 lbs., 13 oz. - a tiny little thing with a big, healthy set of lungs! While they checked her out, they finished my surgery, which felt like it took forever. I was so ready to hold my girl!
Stephen joined me in recovery almost immediately and, just a few minutes later, they brought Ains in for some skin-to-skin bonding and breastfeeding. I couldn't get over how teeny and delicate she was! I just kept saying, "She's beautiful!"
We enjoyed a few quiet minutes with just the three of us before they took us to our room.
It was a perfect birth experience.
Soon thereafter, Stephen's mom brought Caroline into the room to meet Ainsley. She immediately smiled when she saw Ains, then started to whimper when she saw me. I think she was a little scared of all the tubes and machines in the room. After a few minutes though, she was totally fine. It was so neat to have our family of four all together!
The hospital stay was smooth and FAST. We really only spent a couple days there. (Wednesday evening, Thursday and a few hours on Friday morning.) Ainsley was nursing well, she passed all her newborn screenings with flying colors and I was recovering quickly. That Friday morning, they discharged us and we took our second baby girl home!
If you read all of that, props to you ; ) If you didn't, I can't say I blame you, ha!
Thanks so much for indulging my momma-ness and letting me tell Ainsley's birth story. I treat this blog like a journal for our life, so I wanted to jot this down while it was still fresh.