Sunday, February 14 ... Vivian is 60 hours old.
Since Miss V's snoozing peacefully in my lap and J left to go shower at home (where he can use a towel that's bigger than a postage stamp and not constructed of sandpaper), I wanted to take the time to write up my memories from Friday. This isn't so much "super entertaining blog material I think anyone would care about" as it is "I know I'll forget half of this within a week when sleep deprivation causes new mommy amnesia so I better write it down". And since it's my blog, I'll be boring and self indulgent if I want to. If you're not up for a novel, you can just scroll down, look at pictures and tell me how cute my kids (OMG! PLURAL!) are. Or go back to watching the Olympics. Whatever. Here goes ....
Friday, February 12, 2010.
The birth story of Vivian Jenae.
I was up every hour between midnight and our 4:00am alarm. I was relatively comfortable and not at all nervous, but just much too excited about the coming day to sleep soundly. Every time I woke I thought "please please please be 4:00 now", until finally, I looked at the clock and it was 3:57am. Good enough. I got up, woke J with a kiss on the cheek, and whispered into his ear "it's Bumblebee time!" We got ready, gathered our things, tip-toed down the stairs so not to wake A or the family, and were pulling out of the driveway just four minutes after our scheduled 4:40 departure time. It was so unlike the last morning we drove off to meet our baby (A's September birth morning was in the upper 80s before 8am, sun already baking hot as we walked into the hospital). This morning was cold and our breath hung in the darkness. I-35 was wet and eerily deserted as we drove through downtown, too anxious and excited to talk much, other than me telling J to drive a little faster and him telling me (politely) that I was welcome to drive if I'd like to. Point taken.
We finally made it to the hospital, so strange and quiet at 5:00 am, and went through the check-in process. Afterwards we were taken upstairs, then to the pre-operative area by our nurse. I was still feeling calm, but after about an hour of preparation, question answering, anesthesia discussing, and IV-getting, the nerves really kicked in. I wasn't nervous about anything in particular- just jittery. As the nurse anesthetist talked to me, that jittery feeling turned into feeling dizzy and that turned into feeling like I'd had one margarita too many and was going to pass out or throw up or shout something wildly inappropriate. I laid down for awhile and started to improve ... until we went to walk into the OR. I had to say goodbye to J in the hall (he'd be brought in with my doctor just prior to the surgery), and after we kissed goodbye in the hallway and I left him standing there in his white surgical 'bunny suit' ... I just kind of lost it. I've never had an anxiety attack before, but that's definitely what happened as I walked into that bright, freezing cold room full of strangers and was helped onto the surgical table. It was not a sensation I'd like to ever feel again, because I felt really out of control and alone and terrified in those minutes. I just kept repeating "I'm sorry, I'm so scared, I'm sorry". Everyone was so kind, reassuring me that it was okay to be nervous, but to focus on the very exciting fact that within a half hour, I'd meet my daughter. Dr. S came in at this point and wiped tears from my face while reassuring me that I was safe, I was cared for, my baby and I were both going to be fine and to just get excited now, because we'd come a long way to get to this point. I remember telling him I had to be okay, begging him- I had to be okay for Anderson, I needed to be Anderson's mommy, so please not to let anything happen to me because I love him so. In Dr. S's mellow, calming way, he got me breathing again and feeling ready to do this. J came in around this point, and we were ready to start. It all happened so quickly from there.
The next thing I remember clearly is our beautiful Vivian, making her arrival. With a whole lot of excited cheer on the other end of the curtain, she was pulled out to meet the world on this February morning. Up over the curtain she was lifted, all pink arms and pink legs flailing, bright pink scrunched face screaming and screaming. I was sobbing, of course, so relieved and in awe and so eager to have her brought to me, to kiss her face and feel her skin and take in the enchanting first few moments of her life, to show her my face and assure her that her mommy was right there, that I would keep her safe in this bright cold new place. I thought she looked so TINY! Everyone kept exclaiming about her size, how big she was and especially for an early gestational age, and I kept thinking "what? No! She's little!" They brought her to my face and it goes without saying - I was flooded, positively swallowed up by instantaneous life long love for this tiny little person. She looked nothing like what I'd expected, with the hair and the not humungous head. But at the same time, I looked into those deep blue eyes and recognized her soul as part of us, accepted her as a part of my heart let out, set free into the world, a mind of her own now. Our Bumblebee, the baby sister, the best happy surprise of our life, our Vivian.
Her first two and a half days have been cozy and calm, the three of us nestled into our hospital room, away from the hustle and bustle of outside world things that go on without us knowing or caring. Any doubt I had about loving another as much as the first ... so long gone. It's true, what they told me (talking to you, Cari and Sara and Sarah and Lisa and all my other mom-of-two friends)- your heart just expands, it doubles, there's room for both of my babies.
My recovery has been obnoxiously easy. I'd heard horror stories of c-section #2 being awful after an easy first c-section ... not at all the case for me. I remain an avowed lover of the c-sections. Sure, there's pain here and there, but I was up and walking by Friday afternoon, showered Saturday morning with hair done and makeup on, and it's been relatively smooth sailing since then. (Minus a milk of magnesia OD by a nurse overly eager to see me, um, function properly in the bathroom area. Do NOT OD on the milk of magnesia. I won't tell you what happens ... but trust me, you DON'T want too much of that stuff and particularly not within hours of bedtime. Yikes.)
Back to Bumblebee, the sweet Miss V - she's so different than her brother was. Girly. Her squeaks and squeals are so much more delicate than the sniffles and grunts I remember of her brother (when he made any noise at all, that is). Her screams are rare, but when undressed and left exposed to the cold air for more than the acceptable V standard of 2.2 seconds, her cries are frantic and high pitched and very "STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING BECAUSE YOU'RE MAKING VIVI VERY ANGRY! DON'T ANGER MISS V!" We laugh because she sounds like a very mad kitten, her sweet faced adorability far outweighing the seriousness of her screeching.
Her brother's brief daily visits have gone well, but he'll likely not understand the permanence of this situation until she arrives home, infiltrates "his" space, wakes him with her cries. Here, when he visits the hospital, a HUNDRED things are more interesting than the little pink bundle atop mom's bed. Ice cubes, plastic spoons, closet doors, his own feet. This is okay, this is expected, that loving boy of mine will soon enough take notice and begin to love baby sister on his own terms. And it brings tears to my eyes to know what a gift she'll someday be to him (and him to her) as they share their lives ... blanket forts and secrets and rolled eyes across the dinner table when mom and dad are being dorks (again). My prayer is that they cherish one another as I cherish my brother and sister, as J cherishes his own baby sister.
It's so obvious by this point to say how amazingly blessed I am- but I AM and I think of it throughout each day- what spectacular blessings these babies are to us! How phenomenally lucky to have come so far from those long ago days of pain and longing. How fulfilled I feel, how surrounded by love, how in awe of the true world-altering miracle that happens in the middle of a hospital in the middle of a city as everyone else just marches along with everyday business.
So now, a few first photos of Vivian Jenae's birth day: