I want to get the story of Ani's arrival written out before I lose it in a fog of postpartum hormones and sleep deprivation. It's a special one, in a much different way than Soren's - but special nonetheless. Unfortunately, I don't have many pictures to show you, since most of the ones from the OR are trapped on a camera that has no cord to download them. The ones I do have will have to cut it for now.
So here is the story of Ani's Birthday...
4:30 am on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 and my alarm clock starts beeping, although I didn't need it to - I had been awake all night. After thinking Soren might have chickenpox and anticipating my first major surgery, I just couldn't seem to get myself into dreamland. I was exhausted, which in a weird way made the thought of having a baby a little less strange (I only know how to have babies when I'm exhausted.) At 5:15 Karl, Stancie (my big sister) and I got in the van and drove in the dark to French Hospital. We met my best friend Flo outside with all of the luggage we had packed for a week in the hospital and all entered the hospital together. They took me to a little "cubby" of a room to get my IV placed, vitals taken, papers signed, etc. I was curiously not nervous at all - just really tired.
After waiting a while, we got a call from my OB saying she was having car trouble and wanted to know if it was OK with me to postpone the surgery 3 hours. I thought it was weird that she was giving me that option, but I figured it was better to have her not stressed about her car while performing surgery on me - so I waited. My birth team all left (at my request) so they could get some breakfast and I could try to get some sleep. While they were gone I lied there on the hospital bed, listening to a terrible cry from a newborn baby in the nursery who they were attempting to place an IV in. The sound was way too sad to sleep through, so I just closed my eyes and prayed for that baby.
At around 10:15 am everything started moving pretty fast. Flo and Karl put on their scrubs and we waited in what would be my postpartum room for the OR manager to come and get me. Up until this point everyone who read my birth plan was amenable to everything on it, except having Karl with me the entire time I was in the OR.
After some persuading, they allowed Karl to come into the OR with me as they placed the spinal. They explained that they don't usually let the husbands in because they can't handle two people needing care at the same time. In other words, "we can't deal with your husband passing out from seeing you get injected with a big needle." I assured the staff that my husband had seen me through much worse (i.e. a 21-hour drug-free labor) and they agreed that Karl had been "road-tested" and would be allowed to come with me. He wasn't anywhere close to me when they gave me the spinal and I couldn't see him, but he told me he was there which calmed me down.
One important part of my birth plan, aside from having two of "my people" in the OR with me, was that my own music be played throughout the surgery. The surgery staff was more than accommodating with this request and made sure that there was a way to play my birth music. As soon as they started prepping me for surgery, the sound of one of my favorite Nanci Griffith songs started playing. I was immediately calmed and that feeling lasted the entire surgery. Each song had been hand-picked for it's ability to make me feel safe, relaxed, loved, etc. I honestly do not know what I would have done without this important element of the birth.
Everything started happening very fast at this point. I started to feel nervous because Flo was not in the room yet and I asked where she was as soon as she entered the room. Apparently, she and my nurse got locked out of the OR and it took several minutes to find someone to let them in. They almost missed the surgery! I felt very weird at this point, the numbness had taken over most of my body and bright lights shone in my face while the staff hurried around me. No, it did not feel like a birth.
I was warned a few minutes beforehand that Ani was almost here. I started to feel excitement, which was relieving for me. They lowered the curtain in front of my eyes so I could see Ani leave my body. She entered the world to the sound of soothing music and beeping and that was pretty much it. Very peaceful. Karl says it was even more peaceful than Soren's birth. She cried immediately which was very reassuring but I felt pangs of guilt as I thought about how her time in my womb had been cut short. I told her I was sorry through tears of joy/sadness.
They took her tiny little body over to the warmer where her papa met her with his own teary eyes. I watched as Karl studied Ani's face and held her body with the same love that he did with Soren when he first entered the world. While I will not use or condone the use of the phrases, "Daddy's little princess" or something about him being "wrapped around her little finger", I do think that these two will have a special kind of relationship for life. Karl has really had to play mama AND papa in these first weeks of Ani's life, since I have been out of commission in a lot of ways. He changed all of her diapers, gave her the first bath, went with her everywhere she had to go and walked her in circles around the hospital room at night when she thought it was time to be awake. These two were are quite the pair. I can already see how alike they are in personality and it makes me incredibly happy that this little lady will be able to judge real love someday with how her papa loves her.
It took me 39 weeks and 3 days, but I did eventually feel excited about my little girl when I saw her tiny little body. I didn't fall head-over-heels in love with her right away like I did with Soren, but it eventually came to me. I feel like the surgery (and subsequent recovery) set us back a little from initial bonding. It took us a couple weeks to get acquainted but I am amazed at how much I just want to be with her now. Just like everyone told me, my capacity to love somehow grew when she entered the world. I love that she is so little and so different from Soren. I love that she wears pink, but in a cool way. I love the "disgruntled employee" facial expressions she gives when she's unhappy about something. I love how she squeaks like a mouse and squeals like a piglet. I love her light hair and long fingers. I love her one dimple. I love everything about her. She is my little lady.
So there it is.
The birth story of Anika Jane.
We are so happy she's here.
My favorite lullaby for Ani - A cover of the Wilco song, My Darling