This is usually a thing that the mother does, but she's resting in her bed with the baby right now, so I'm going to write up a quick summary of what happened today. Tamsen might interject with some of her personal experiences, but I was there for just about all of it, so I think I've got a reasonable grasp on what happened.
We woke up and did our best to get ready to go to the hospital this morning. I have no idea what it's like to be in labor and have to rush to the hospital, but I imagine this was a very different experience than that. Tamsen had a C-section scheduled for 12:30 today, since the baby was in breech position; she was going to come out feet first, which could have been dangerous for her. So we packed up everything we thought we'd need, did a once-over of the house, and around 9:45 looked at each other and said, "Well, is this it?" It was it. We got in the car and headed to the hospital. (We considered getting an oil change on the way over, but there was a line and we didn't want to be late, so we decided to just head to the hospital.)
We checked in, and even saw someone from our church in the lobby, after which we headed up to our room. This hospital looks really, really impressive; when Tamsen and I came for a walk-through, we both thought the place looked like a ski lodge. It's very large, there are hardwood floors everywhere, and the lobby has a two-story fireplace. All it needed were some bearskin rugs. We got up to our very nice birthing suite and Tamsen changed into some very stylish (i.e., see-through) hospital robes. We were flooded with nurses who were extremely helpful and who all told me their names as soon as they came in, which I promptly forgot because there were so many of them and they were all so wonderful.
They got Tamsen started on an IV, and before long, the flurry of activity was over and we were left to wait until the scheduled time for the C-section. (Those who followed the live-tweet may note that my tweets became very boring at this point.) For me, it still didn't feel real at this point. (It still doesn't, and I've been holding the baby for most of the day.) After a bit of waiting, they told me to put on my scrubs, and they helped Tamsen walk into the OR. It blows my mind a little that patients get to walk into any procedure, but there she was, carrying her IV bag, shuffling her way into the operating room. I sat out in the hall; they told me that once they got the spinal tap going, I could come in.
So I sat in the hall. Our obstetrician and another doctor hung out with me for a bit while they put on their scrubs. One of them explained to me exactly why it was that breech babies needed to be delivered via C-section (the umbilical cord can get pinched against their head on its way out, at which point they only have four minutes to get the child out). They both headed into the OR, so I sat back in my chair and waited. And waited. And waited a little more. There's a tree that they've drawn on their bulletin board with leaves on it for each baby born in the last six months, so I took a moment and read the babies' names and birth weights. Some were very tiny. One was just less than two pounds. My hands started shaking. I sat back down and counted multiple names. Three Ellas. Two Trinitys. No, one Trinity and one Trinitee. Two Abbys. Lots of girls born at this hospital. A nurse walked by and saw me still sitting there. "Must be having trouble with the spinal," she said as she walked by. My heartrate picked up a bit. Trouble with her spine? Is Tamsen okay? I didn't have long to worry, though; a nurse came out after about 45 seconds and told me they were ready for me to come in.
In I went. They had a tarp set up to cover her bottom half while I sat with her by her head, but it almost wouldn't have mattered. There were so many people standing around her and bustling everywhere that I couldn't see anything except her head. I sat down, and the doctors got started. Tamsen was so calm. We talked a bit and made a couple jokes (who remembers what about), and the doctors kept us informed about what was going on. "That suction you're hearing? That's the amniotic fluid." What suction? I can't hear anything. "You're going to feel a lot of pulling, Tamsen." This must be it. Are you okay? "There's a leg. Two legs! And arms! And a head!" We heard our baby crying. Tamsen joked that she heard there were all these baby parts, but they didn't say if they were all attached. They showed us our girl. Everything was attached. She looked very purple with white crust. They brought me over to a table to get her dried off. They started mopping her up, and I got my first real look at her head. Was that red hair? It looked red to me, but I wanted independent verification. I asked both nurses what they thought. "Yeah, that looks red to me." A redhead! We couldn't ask for more. They handed me a pair of forceps to cut the umbilical cord. It was really curly. It looked like a big purple phone cord. I cut the cord, and we brought the baby back over to Tamsen, who was getting sewn back up. She laid on Tamsen's chest for a couple of minutes until Tamsen said she was starting to feel lightheaded and nauseous, so I took her back to our room to get measured and weighed.
She didn't really like being weighed. She just wanted someone to hold her and touch her. It didn't help that the scale wouldn't come up with an accurate measurement, so we had to try weighing her a ton of times. The thermometer wouldn't work the first couple of times, either. We finally got it to work. Eight pounds, seven ounces. This is a big, healthy baby, and she still had a week to go until full term. They let me hold her and rock her while they got Tamsen finished up. I held her in one hand and did my best to let everyone know she had arrived safe and sound with the other. I'm sure everyone following on Twitter was going crazy, since there hadn't been any updates for about an hour. Once I got that finished, they wheeled Tamsen back into the room. We put the baby back on Tamsen's chest for some skin to skin contact. The nurses were still very, very helpful at helping Tamsen and the baby to bond.
They asked for a name. We told them Edith Sinclair. They asked how to spell it, and I told them E-D-T-I-H. Tamsen had to correct them.
My parents had just arrived, so I left Edith with Tamsen and went to say hello. We got a quick lunch in the cafeteria. I talked with my parents for a bit and then headed back upstairs to check on everyone. Tamsen wasn't recovering from the anesthesia as quickly or as well as they would have liked, so they had her on oxygen and were monitoring her blood pressure. It got pretty low just after I left, which made me feel like a bit of a jerk, but it's not as though there was anything that I could have done to help. They watched over her for about an hour while she got her strength back up. I got to hold Edith. She was very warm, and very sleepy. She really liked being held and being wrapped up tight.
After a while, Tamsen had stabilized to the point where she could be moved to her room. They have these terrific mattresses here that you can inflate and move someone easily from bed to bed. They didn't need to get a bunch of orderlies to pick her up and move her; just one nurse inflated the mattress and scooted her over. Easy peasy. Once we got everything set up in our new room, my parents came to visit. I'd never really seen them around a newborn baby, since I was only seven when my youngest brother was born and didn't particularly care about anything that wasn't me. They adored her. They both fought to get to hold her. It was nice to get a chance to rest a bit, not that I'd done much besides hold the baby all day. We talked for an hour or so, and then they left to head up to Portland. Tamsen and I stayed here at the hospital with Edith. Soon Tamsen tried to get some sleep; I just sat and held Edith as it got darker and darker.
Everything feels really sedate right now. I'm sure things will liven up in the morning, and things will really get wild once Edith moves past her first calm day and becomes more active and fussy, but for right now, everything is very tranquil. It's been a good, if long day.
Everyone has been telling us all day long how much they love this new baby. We love her, too.