The two weeks leading up to Theodore Scott's birth were at once exciting and frustrating.
Exciting because for weeks I had been experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions, which were becoming stronger and more frequent each day. Each morning I prayed to feel the pains of labor, because that would mean escaping the inevitable C-Section if I surpassed my due date. Throughout my pregnancy I had read and reread my copy Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method. Frustrating because I hoped this would be my chance for a natural labor, but it was hard to remain hopeful with a deadline looming over my head. I was supremely uncomfortable with a giant baby bump, excessive swelling in my hands and feet, and constant heartburn.
My mom flew in from Wisconsin the day before my due date, and I was both relieved and disappointed that I had made it that far. So many people had guessed that I would go into labor early, both because my bump looked comically large on my body, and because of the discomfort I was feeling. At the same time, I was glad Pippa would get to stay in the comfort of our home, with someone she knows and loves during our stay at the hospital. At that point I was ready. The bags were packed, the bassinet set up, and the onesies washed and folded.
My due date was Friday the 17th, and the C-Section was scheduled for the following Tuesday, June 21. That left me all weekend plus Monday to go into labor on my own. Several times I was convinced I was starting labor, but it all came to nothing when my doctor gave me the disappointing news on Monday that I was just barely at 1 cm. I cried and prayed for hours that day. I cried because I was sad my chance at going into labor was taken away again, and I cried because for some reason I was more anxious about surgery the second time around.
(I think it's easier for me when I don't know what to expect. That way, I don't have to worry about things ahead of time. Sometimes the anticipation of pain is worse than the pain itself.)
The next day we awoke at 4 a.m. (let's be honest, I was up by 2) so we could be at the hospital by 5. The surgery was scheduled for 7:45. Most of the anxiety was gone - at that point I was just excited to meet our little guy! Once we arrived at the hospital I felt even more at ease with our situation. Each doctor and nurse we had the chance to work with was so kind, efficient, and understanding. I chatted a little bit more in depth with my nurse about why there was a deadline for the C-Section, and the conversation put me at peace.
When the anesthesiologist walked in the room, the medical procedure honestly started to feel more like a party than major abdominal surgery. The only way I can think to use to describe him is "cool dude." He was tall and lanky, super laid back, but really good at his job. He joked around with us, and made me feel so at ease, even with an uncomfortable IV in my hand. (I maintain that the IV was the most painful part of the experience - the only time during the whole procedure and recovery I actually shed tears of discomfort). When I brought up how nauseous my C-Section with Pippa made me, he assured me that there was no way he was going to let me feel sick. At that point, we were ready to rock and roll.
Justin "suited up" somewhere while I got wheeled into the operating room across the hall. The nurse and anesthesiologist got me through the spinal with no issues, and before I knew it I was lying flat on my back. All at once it seemed my husband was whisked into the room and someone told me that the surgery was beginning. "Oh! What a pleasant surprise!" I remember thinking, as I couldn't feel a thing. I remember a lot of pushing and jostling when Pippa was brought into the world, but felt nothing of the sort this time around. Only once did I have to warn the coolest anesthesiologist in town that I was starting to feel ill, and within seconds he worked his magic and the feeling was gone.
I felt so at peace on that operating table, and I'll never forget Justin gasping, "Oh! He's a big boy!" as newborn cries filled the sterile room. Joy and impatience were my primary emotions in that moment. I felt like an interloper- the nerdy kid peering over the cool kids' shoulders- as I tried to get some information about el bebé. "Well how much does he weigh?" "Let me see him!" "How long is he?" But in the moment it was like I didn't exist, save as the vessel that brought him into the world that needed sewing up. I wasn't mad or anything...it was just a few moments after all. But those moments lasted an hour to a mama who is excited to meet the one nestled inside her for 40 weeks.
At long last my husband brought his son to meet me. Immediately a nurse helped me get skin-on-skin time right there on the operating table! We even got a chance to breastfeed for a few moments while the doc took care of sewing me up. Everything I had stressed about, prayed about, cried about for the last few weeks didn't matter anymore. I was blissfully united with our son, and how he arrived didn't matter one bit anymore.
Back in the recovery room, I soaked up newborn cuddles while Justin made the obligatory phone calls to family - which in our case took about 30 minutes, since I have 5 siblings, and Justin has 4. Once it was determined that everyone had heard the news, all that remained was for Theodore Scott to meet his big sister. Pippa was so excited to meet Baby Brother, especially because that meant she got a present "from him." She smothered him with tender hugs, kisses, and head rubs ("Gentle!"), and repeated his name over and over. Then she promptly forgot about him, and focused on her "pwesents!"
We only stayed in the hospital for two nights this time, and the whole experience couldn't have felt more different than it did with Philippa's birth. With Pippa's struggle to gain weight, the jaundice, the hip displaysia, and the trouble we had breastfeeding, there were nurses and doctors constantly in and out of the room, charting ever ounce she ate, grilling us about diapers. This time, the charting of diapers and feedings was half-hearted at best. The pediatrician barely stopped in our room for more than 45 seconds, since everything was so normal. Feedings were coming along swimmingly, and my recovery was going well. One nurse declared that I was her easiest patient ever! I aim to please, what can I say? We were happy to climb into our new minivan on Thursday, July 23rd and drive back to all the comforts of home.
Now here we are, a family of 4 (plus Pablo), and figuring it out together.
The name Theodore means Gift of God, and that is truly what he is to our family. So wanted, prayed for, and loved. Welcome to our family, Teddy!