I have to say the next hour was the scariest hour of my life. They took Billy first to get him scrubbed and dressed for surgery and I was left with the nurses. Then I had to say goodbye to Nancy, my one nurse, and totally lost it. Then as they were wheeling me to the OR, I passed by Bill who was putting on his scrubs, and then lost it again. Luckily, Mary Ruth stayed with me the whole time, so that was very comforting. but once we got to the OR, it was a whole different world. There were so many people and tools and machines. I remember moving from the one gurney to the operating table and asking to keep my pillow from home and I remember asking the assisting surgeon if he knew about my baby's condition and if my crying was going to screw up my stitches. I kept envisioning myself crying so hard when he was finally born that my whole body would be shaking. But he reassured me that it would fine.
I laid on the operating table for what seemed like forever until the rest of the team scrubbed in and took their places. Between the c-section team, the NICU/neonatologist team, and the anesthesiologists, it seemed like there were 20 people in the room staring at my big, naked body. Then finally, Bill was allowed in and the neonatologist came over to chat quickly again about our wishes for Stephen's care.
Then I think the surgery began. I remember feeling nauseous a few times and the anesthesiologist gave me something in my IV a few times, but I spent the time just focusing on Bill's eyes and his hand which clung to mine as we waited. I don't recall if Dr. AK kept us updated on where we were with the surgery, but I do remember Kelly snapping pictures and saying they we were almost there. That Stephen was coming out. And both Bill and I could not contain our emotions. Would he breath, would he be okay, would he be deformed from no fluid? It was so scary! But seconds later we heard him cry and Dr. AK held him up over the curtain so I could see him. Hearing him cry was the most amazing feeling in the entire world. We never imagined we would get the chance to hear him enter the world like a normal baby.
They whisked him across the room to the team of neonatologists and respiratory therapists to evaluate him and get him breathing. Bill stayed with me for another minute or two and then wait over to see Stephen. From where I was, I could see Bill and the doctors, and every once in awhile I got a glimpse of Stephen's hand. I could even see at one point, Bill holding his hand. I can't remember if it was Bill or Kelly who first told me that Stephen was breathing, he didn't need to be intubated, and he was only on CPAP. I couldn't believe it. How could that be?!?! Is it possible my baby really did defy all the odds and is alive and doing well!?
And then a few minutes later they scooped him up and brought him over for me to finally see. I still had that darn oxygen mask on my face, but I remember trying to kiss him and telling him that I loved him. Then finally Kelly ripped the mask off my face and I was able to actually kiss him and feel his beautiful skin. And then he was off.
Bill left to go with Stephen to the NICU while they finished putting me back together. I have nom idea how long it took for them to put my organs back I side and sew me up, but it felt like an eternity. And it did not feel good. I was numb, but yet I could feel pressure. I don't really no how to describe the feeling, but I didn't like it and even though Kelly was there for a bit, I was also very alone.
Eventually I met back up with Bill in a private area they had set aside for us for my recovery. And the poor guy was a mess. He had gone to the NICU with Stephen, but then had to leave and was by himself, but didn't know where I was. Eventually he made his way down to the lobby where he found our families to share with them the good news and then Kelly sat with him for awhile until I was out of surgery. Bill says that time after he left Stephen but before he could see me, was the scariest moment of his life.
A few hours later once we were settled into our room and everyone had gone home, I was able to convince the nurses to allow me to get out of bed for a trip to the NICU. I don't remember much from that first visit with Stephen, but nothing was going to stop me that night from seeing my baby boy!
I don't remember if I have shared any photos yet from Stephen's birthday, but here are just a few of my favorites: