As I’ve written before, I had reservations when I got pregnant about actually having a baby, but after prayer and meditation, I began to believe that parenting was something I could do, something that I would even want to do and that I needed to have faith. In God. In myself. In her. In other people.
Her delivery was the first (the hardest?) application of this faith.
She was scheduled to arrive via c-section on February 27, a Friday. Just to check on things before the final week, I went to the OB’s office on the 23rd, Monday. They did their usual run on vital “checks,” including my blood pressure, which they took again. And again. Then again on the other arm. Shit.
Cohiba predicted what the OB would say next. “Go home and pack, check into the hospital, and we’ll get her out this afternoon.”
I beg your pardon?
No. The crib is being delivered tomorrow. And I still have to pay bills for this month. And I planned on getting a coffee at that awesome Comet coffee shop next door, plus I really didn’t eat much this morning. So, no. We can’t do it today. No.
But babies come on their own time, even when a c-section is scheduled, so home we went, arranging things with our parents. I was admitted to the hospital and spend the day in bed with a saline IV drip and monitors strapped to my belly, listening to her heartbeat. I answered questions about myself and we filled out cord blood donation paperwork for her. I was really hungry and couldn’t wait to eat again. I tried to nap. (Something I didn’t expect was that several nurses asked me several times, privately, if I was safe at home or if Cohiba was abusive. At first, I was jarred by the question, but then I really began to appreciate that they did – good reaching out if someone needed help.) I kept watching the clock.
Finally it was time.
I wheeled my IV stand into the brightly lit operating room and sat on the bed in the middle of the room. A lot of people were bustling around. I was scared and painfully aware of how out of my depth I was.
The anesthesiologist, a talkative man with tired jokes, had been asking questions since I left the prep room, and was getting on my nerves. He had me hug a pillow and lean forward into a nurse to get the spinal block injected. Oh, did that hurt: I actually growled. I tried to feel the anesthesia begin to work. The anesthesiologist kept talking and asking me questions; it became hard to keep them all straight. I knew I was laid out on the table, and my modesty was screaming about the bright lights and so many strange people.
I tried to focus on my breathing and that’s all I remember until I became aware of a heaviness in my body. I could barely move my hands and I couldn’t remember them being stretched out to my sides. I also couldn’t remember Cohiba coming into the operating room, but I was happy to see him. His eyes were red, like he’d been crying. I thought he had seen her and was happy, but I couldn’t hear her crying. I didn’t know that my blood pressure had suddenly fallen dramatically and she wasn’t breathing when she came out, though her heart was beating.
Finally, I did hear her cry, and he was called over to cut the umbilical cord. People started talking to me, telling me she was beautiful. (Do people say that about all babies? Although mine truly is beautiful. 😉 I wanted to see her, but I kind of didn’t. I knew that getting her meant she really would be mine; this was the last moment of my life without her, and this would be my first moment of walking in pure faith that having a child was the right thing to do. They brought her to me and they put her on me as I had asked. She was small and warm as I had written before. This was the moment; this was the start of a walk in faith.
Even on trembling feet, it was a good start.