It has only been one week since Camden’s arrival, but I find myself already losing bits of memories from the experience. So before my mind is completely absorbed by newborn smells and snuggles, I have to take a moment to take note of Camden’s birthday weekend.
From the moment my c-section was scheduled, a laundry list of cons kept playing through my head like a broken record. It was practically all I could think about.
One of the biggest cons that was difficult for me to accept about Cam’s arrival was how anticlimactic and forced it all felt. Waiting to go into labor with Wrigley and Parker was something I loved about their birthdays. And having the suspense taken out of the equation made me wrestle with everything surrounding the c-section. It felt so stressful to have a birthday date and time set on the calendar, like some big countdown on a story that should have a mystery ending. Where only the baby would decide the when and how.
And then there was the whole surgery thing. I had been so fortunate with my health to date, only needing modern medicine twice, on two separate occasions when I broke my arm. It felt incredibly overwhelming to give up my birth experience and expectations to something that was all so clinical, medical…
In the wee hours of another sleepless night, waiting to feel a baby flip, I decided to get up and start my day. A birth story I had read awhile ago suddenly came to mind, and I pulled it up.
I did no research on c-sections, sought input from no one, but this post became my map. And it pulled me away from the laundry list and reminded me of the only two things in this entire equation that mattered. A healthy heart was beating in my belly. And a healthy heart was beating in my chest. All the other pieces were simply logistics. For better or for worse. Just the logistics.
I pointed my feet in a new direction and tuned everything and everyone else out. I focused on connecting with the end of my pregnancy. Soaking up time with Wrigley and Parker. And leaning on Dan to support me during a time where I felt truly scared for what lie ahead.
I didn’t talk about the c-section at all after that point, I really didn’t even acknowledge it was going to happen. I needed to be in the present and try to undo the weeks of stress that came with trying to avoid a c-section.
And when the day came, I did my best to carry about the morning as usual, but felt on the verge of tears the entire time. I was so overwhelmed by everything, and the thought of surgery truly terrified me. So I let my mind be absorbed by the individual tasks of preparing for our 9:30 a.m. departure to the hospital. Shower, check. Brush teeth, check. Pack, check. Squeeze the boys, check.
We dropped Wrigley off at school, my Mom was waiting at the house for us after preschool drop off, and we quickly said goodbye to Parker and were on our way. Dan tried for small talk, but I kept the radio on and busied myself with fidgeting.
I thought we would be sitting around a lot once we got to the hospital, but things moved pretty quickly once we arrived. Changed into hospital gown, sat for a bit of fetal monitoring, met with our anesthesiologist, met with our OB, signed a ton of papers with an overwhelming amount of information about risks and medical consents, and then the nurses were in to bring me to the OR.
Dan did his best to keep me laughing as much as possible. But actually brought me to tears from laughter when he confirmed with the nurses, prior to suiting up, if he needed to remove all his clothing before putting on his OR attire. He was serious with the question. And it made me all the more desperate to not leave his side, but it is custom for just Mom to head to the OR first, and for Dad to join her after the anesthesiologists have worked their magic.
The nurses had me stand and they covered my head, and then we walked to the OR. The hallway was so insanely cold. I shivered and rubbed my belly, trying to freeze the memory of what life in my belly feels like.
The two OR doors were opened, the lights were bright, the room was filled with all sorts of things, and another set of nurses were quickly by my side ushering me to my table, and wrapping me in a heated blanket.
I was the woman of the hour and everyone moved quickly around me, completing their individual tasks – making surgery prep look as simple as scrambling an egg.
I found it hard to focus on any one thing. Everything around me was moving so quickly and everyone was so cheerful. From the moment we checked into the hospital everyone kept saying happy birthday, and sharing their excitement for our baby to be born and for us to learn if we were having a boy or a girl. The OR room was no different, every staff member who was with us was remarkable, positive, and comforting.
My last pregnant memory before things were officially underway was when the spinal medication set in. One minute I was lying on my back feeling the weight of my baby, and the next the weight was gone. I kept taking deep breaths to stay calm, but suddenly felt like I could take a breath deeper than I had been able to take in months. And there it was, no feeling in my lower half. Not even the ability to wiggle a toe.
My surgical team completed a debrief to confirm the plans and said they were ready to go, and then they went and got Dan.
I was able to hold back tears all morning, but the second I saw Dan, tears began silently rolling out of my eyes.
He sat down by my side, cupped my cheek in his hand, and I kept my head turned to the side in his direction, as he caught each of my tears and rubbed my cheek.
We stayed like that for the entire first half of the procedure. Things were pretty quiet, outside of medical confirmations amongst the team. The only thing I felt was Dan’s warm hand on my cheek.
And then the silence was broken when the OB announced – there it is, one very healthy baby. The baby began to cry. They told Dan to stand up and to look, and Dan turned to me and announced it was a boy.
Camden filled the room with his cries. They quickly brought him to the warmer to check vitals, Dan scooped him up, and there he was crying on my chest – eyes open. Here. Mine. Healthy. My third boy.
I moved him down to my chest, and he latched on to nurse as if we had been nursing together for months.
The tears kept streaming down my face as we were congratulated by everyone in the room.
Not long after, we were wheeled to a recovery room where I continued to nurse Camden and Dan notified the family of our wonderful news.
I kept telling Dan that I couldn’t believe any of that had just happened – the previous hours had felt like some out of body experience. But there we were, on the other side of the surgery, holding our baby – so in love and at peace with it all.
The rest of the afternoon was filled with lots of post surgery happenings for both Camden and I – lots to do to get us stabilized and officially on the mend. But eventually we were in our postpartum room and settling in for the night.
I had experienced some heart complications post surgery that kept things moving slow on Friday, and on Saturday Cam spiked a fever that kept us focused on another recovery path. But both of us were perfectly fine; each of us just had to spice up the whole surgery recovery process in our own way. 😉
However, because of the complications we were told that there would be no talk of discharge until Sunday afternoon at the very earliest – assuming Camden passed all his labs with flying colors.
The boys did visit twice, and my parents came by as well, but otherwise we had a very quiet weekend snuggling with Camden. I remained in bed much of the time, and when I wasn’t napping or we weren’t ooing and ahing over Camden, we watched a few movies and shows.
And while I missed the boys greatly, and they sure were missing us, I really enjoyed being in our own little bubble for those few days.
The amazing thing about marrying your best friend is their ability to make every situation and experience feel like a memorable and happy one. There we were in a hospital, me barely walking as I recovered from surgery, us discussing stressful lab scenarios with a pediatrician, but still feeling like we were on some little vacation together, enjoying each other and our new little baby.
It was such an emotional weekend. Four days that felt like a month, but in reality was such a little blip of time in our lives.
And four days that I hope to never forget. From the time when Dan joked with the anesthesiologist about being the one to complete my pinch checks to test if the medications had me fully numbed – to the time the recovery room nurse snuck me crackers and I hungrily inhaled them as if I hadn’t eaten in weeks – to Wrigley’s reaction when he first saw Camden and Parker yelling Cam Bam up in the little man’s face – to Dan making me laugh through tears as I realized how bad it hurts to laugh post c-section – to how monumental it felt to walk to the ice machine on my own – to our nurse Bekah who felt like a best friend caring for us for those few days – to the boys running out into the garage when our car pulled in, as they couldn’t wait another second for their baby to officially be home…..and everything else in between.
Camden, everything about your arrival was unexpected. And yet somehow it was exactly as it was meant to be.
And here you are. On my chest a snooze. In our lives. A piece of the puzzle just waiting to be filled, and so perfectly filled by you.