Monday, July 30, 2007

Annika's Birth Story

July 17th
By tuesday morning it was pretty obvious that I was going to have a scheduled c-section the next morning whether I wanted to or not. I was having a really hard time seeing past my dread of the c-section itself to the excitement of meeting our baby. I actually can't pinpoint my emotions, but I was nervous, near tears and needed something to distract.

I thought of the final things left on my "to do before baby" list and called up Vale to help me go pick blueberries. I called ahead to make sure the bushes were well loaded so that it wouldn't take to long or be too hard, but I forgot to ask how tall the bushes were. We arrived and found out that though they had plenty of berries, the bushes were only knee high. Sigh.

Berries frozen, blueberry coffee cake made (we ate almost an entire pan later that evening), final meal of steaks grilled, and our last day as a three person family was drawing to a close. After I (tearfully once again) sang Saben to sleep, we watched some Simpsons and miraculously I felt completely at ease for the first time all day. I fell asleep almost immediately without once worrying about the next day. (ok, maybe just once)

July 18th
4:30 am I wake up to use the washroom, yet again, and suddenly I am wide awake. Really really wide awake, thinking about what's going to happen in a few hours. After admitting to God that I am sort of freaked out about being cut open again, I start thinking about the baby and suddenly I am completely euphoric and excited. "I'm having a baby! Today! In just a few hours!" She is kicking me and it is hard to imagine that I will soon get to see her sweet face and that she will be jerked out of her warm happy world.

I fall back asleep finally an hour or so later and the big day arrives. Wanting to take full advantage of the benefits that a planned birth allow, I woke up early to put on makeup and straighten my hair so I'd look awesome for all the pictures to be taken later with the baby. : )

My parents arrive to watch Saben and we hurry out the door a few minutes late.

At the hospital I am nervous, but not terribly so. Now here's something I certainly don't remember from my first childbirth - how much the dang IV hurts when they insert it. I had no clue it was coming and it just kept hurting and hurting.... I survived until five minutes later when suddenly I got extremely light headed & my blood pressure dropped. My wonderful nurse kept assuring me that the IV was the worst part of the whole morning and she ended up being right.

My nurse Krista talked a mile a minute. This was a God send for me because I love being distracted when icky things are happening. When Saben was born, I spent the entire c-section calculating exactly what Kyle & I had been doing one year prior on our trip to Egypt. (laying on the beach in Sharmel Sheikh) We went into the operating room which was possibly the 2nd most terrifying part of the morning. Something about the table, bright lights, lots of blue sheets, and it was FREEZING.

I buried my head in the nurses chest and survived my spinal block. Then I found out that not only was my nurse chatty, she also loved gardening. So we chatted about her favorite roses while they got me ready for surgery.

Kyle came in, my doctor arrived and I laid there waiting for it to start, talking with Kyle the whole time. He peeked over the bluesheet and to my relief, told me that they had actually started quite some time ago. Euphoria flooded over me because everything I was nervous about was over and I was about to have a baby! Or maybe the anesthetician gave me a hit of something because I was loving every single person in the whole room.

A small tug and suddenly one of the nurses squawked. Oh wait, no, that was my daughter! The happiness I had always hoped for washed over me and Kyle looked over the sheet again to watch our daughter being born, head out, screaming her head off as they pushed on my upper abdomen to get the rest of her out.

The next five (It felt more like twenty) minutes were excruciating because I didn't get a single glimpse of her before they whisked her off to the cleaning table. Luckily I could hear her (quite loudly) the whole time and the first I saw of her was actually on the camera from a picture Kyle took of her getting cleaned up. (the one I posted previously actually)

FINALLY, they brought her over and I was able to snuggle and sort of hold her next to my head. Then off she went again with Kyle & the nurse for supposedly "5-10 minutes" while the doctor finished sealing me up. That was probably the loneliest part because no one in the room talked to me at all. Sort of weird, but hey, it can't all be perfect right? I swear it took at least 15 minutes and finally we were back in our room and I got to hold and nurse Annika for the first time.

After 1 1/2 hours of "recovery", Saben got to come in with Kyle to meet his sister. Its a little hazy, but pretty much his whole attitude about her from the get go has been "uh huh. That is a baby, just like you said mom. Can I go play now?" Grandparents came in shortly after and visited for about 30 minutes. Saben got his railroad crossing sign and his eyes lit up much more than they had for his new sister.

Our pastor came next and its funny to call him that because I've felt so "churchless" since we've moved here, drifting from one place to another. It was so nice to finally feel like we actually had "our pastor".

In the evening we were flooded with visitors. My brother & sister-in-law drove all the way up from Seattle, which was the nicest thing ever. Kevin, Cam & Mike all showed up from transition bikes and Kevin amused us with his caricatures of the other guys, done on Saben's magnadoodle.

Thursday evening, 48hours from our final steak meal, I was finally allowed solid food again. By Thursday lunch I was starting to turn into a basket case because I was so hungry. As much as I am madly in love with St. Joseph's ice machine and cranberry juice, woman can not live on fabulously crunchy ice alone.

The days in the hospital whizzed by and I so appreciated everyone who came to visit us and keep me company. Kyle left on Friday for several hours to meet his other "baby" for the first time - the brand new women's bike, fresh in from Taiwan. Its right there in the midst of al our other baby pictures and makes me chuckle each time I see it.

The best thing about this childbirth is that I was so much more relaxed and happy. I had a really hard time with Saben - I think it was actually the magnesium they put me on for my pre-eclampsia, combined with the shock of everything and it basically had me comatose emotionally for about 3 days. So I am so thankful that I got to experience all the excitement, euphoria and happiness this time around.

Ok, by now I am sure I've lost most readers, but it completely amazes me how much I've forgotten about Saben's birth and my pregnancy, so I've really tried to recreate it all for myself to read later. .


AndiMae said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, Kari! What a beautiful story- you had me tearing up more than once :) I am so glad that everything went so well for you and that your sweet girl is finally here! Speaking of which...when am I going to get to see her again?

P.S. Did you really post this on Thursday? I've checked your blog several times between now and then and this is the first time this post has shown up.

Kristen said...

I just read this out loud to Kyle, and we both feel so blessed to know how the day went for you and your family. Your details are wonderful, and woven throughout are such incredible revelations of God's blessing and faithfulness to you, Kari! Reading this was such an encouragement to me. I appreciate your honesty and your sense of humor. Congratulations, again, on the birth of your daughter Annika!

Jenny said...

I made it through and with pleasure. I know I've said it before but I LOVE how you use this site. It's such a perfect way to share life and to keep your memories stored safely on the internet.

I am curious though...what was it about magnesium that was so horrible? I'm on it right now and love's a natural muscle relaxer so I feel great!

Was it possibly some other drug?

Kari said...

Andi - I started the post on Thursday and finished it monday, but I changed the post date so you can relax now. : )

Jenny - hmmm... I'm not sure what the difference is, but it is different from pills/supplements and is administered via IV, possibly just in much higher doses?

Jenny said...

Oh, that must be it! Thanks!