Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Ruby is Born

I hardly slept. When counting sheep didn't work I tried other animals but eventually gave up and listened to the rain. I finally started to drift to sleep when Jason's alarm went off at 4:30 am. We looked at each other and smiled before jumping out of bed. He leaned over to kiss me and whispered, "here we go!" After getting dressed and gathering our things I snuck into Jade's room and said goodbye then got in the car. It was still raining and dark outside. We were both chatty on the way to the hospital and I appreciated Jason's humorous mood.

I had said the date October 11th so many times but it felt strange writing it as I filled out paperwork at the hospital. October 11th was in the future for so long and now it was here! After checking in we were sent to Labor and Delivery where we were greeted with, "Oh! You must be our c-section. Welcome!" That was nice to know that the hospital wasn't buzzing with a billion patients and the staff was aware of me. We were brought to a hospital room where I changed into a gown and climbed in the bed. Whoa, this was really happening. When they started an antibiotic through my IV I asked the nurse if it would make me sick and she promised I wouldn't feel a thing. I was throwing up thirty seconds later.

Before long I was in the bright, sterile room getting prepped for the spinal block. That was the part I feared more than anything and it really wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. But when they laid me down after the shot my body started to fall asleep and that was an uncomfortable feeling. I could no longer see what the staff were doing, only hear them chat with each other as they got things ready. The doctors came in, followed by Jason and I immediately felt comforted seeing his face appear on my side of the curtain. He held my hand and my nerves settled a bit. I couldn't feel a thing. I listened to the two doctors banter back and forth and take an occasional playful jab at the anesthesiologist or one of the nurses. They were all friends that seemed to work together often and the way they bickered about politics and the upcoming election, sports, and whatever else was on their mind made me think that they hadn't started yet. When I asked Jason if they had he responded, "oh yeah!" and a minute later they announced they were ready to pull her out. My head was fuzzy and I couldn't tell if it was the medication or the circumstance. The doctor asked the time and it was 7:59am. He said they would wait till 8am so she would be born on the dot and then almost in unison the room started chanting, "55, 56, 57, 58, 59..."

And then I heard her scream. My honest first thought was, "there really was a baby in there? She made it full-term? I grew a baby inside me??" You'd think I would have known! She didn't stop screaming and panic set in. My honest second thought, and please don't judge me (or you can but I'm just being honest) was, "put her back! I'm not ready to do this!"

A lot of people told me what I would feel when I saw my child for the first time. I was told that I would feel closer to heaven the moment I saw her than ever before, that it would be more spiritual and magical than anything I'd ever experienced. I am so happy for those that feel such things at first sight but having been prepped for that made me feel terribly guilty when I didn't. Trust me, I have had incredible experiences with my babies and felt more love than I had ever imagined possible since their birth but for me it didn't happen right away. Of course I immediately loved her, but the whole experience for me was strange and new. I felt nervous and a little uncomfortable and guilty that I was bawling my head off.

I could sort of see her from across the room as they wiped her down and weighed her. 7 lbs. 8.5 oz. Again, she really grew in me? And she's healthy? I still couldn't get my head around the fact that the little baby that I was looking at was the little moving thing we called Ruby in my belly. They wrapped her up and started taking her out when I asked if they would let me see her. They brought her over and held her close to my head. It was hard to see her and my mind was going a million miles a minute. She looked so unfamiliar. She was just a tiny little stranger that I was looking at yet I couldn't stop kissing her cheeks. She continued to scream and finally they took her out of the room. I laid there trying to process what just happened while they finished stitching me up.

When they brought me back to the room Ruby was already in there on a little heating table, still screaming. Jason and his mom were in the room near her but weren't allowed to pick her up. Nurses kept coming in asking each other if they had found it yet. Found what? And why was my baby just lying there screaming? Couldn't I just hold her now? Shouldn't I be trying to feed her? Finally a nurse came to tell me that they had lost my paperwork and they couldn't bathe her and give her shots without it. Her body temperature was also low and they needed to raise it, which is why she had to remain on the heating pad. TWO HOURS went by. My poor baby was starving and making sure we all knew it!  They never found my paperwork and eventually had me fill it out again. Then they took her temperature with a different thermometer and learned that her body temperature was fine the whole time but the batteries in the first thermometer were low. So my newborn baby was taken from her cozy little womb and left starving on a table for over two hours without being fed or held or snuggled for no better reason than their stupid thermometer was dying! I was so upset and sad for my little Ruby, who was finally bathed and brought over to me to really see for the first time. She latched on immediately and ate as I stared at her, trying to see at least one familiar feature on her face. To me, she looked nothing like either of us.

I believe the whole experienced traumatized her a bit and she had a hard time adjusting to the world for the first few weeks. She fought against me when I tried to feed her, fussed and cried incessantly, and hardly slept day and night. What was I doing wrong? Jade never cried, ate well, slept all the time and woke up happy so I had no idea what to do or how to help Ruby. Luckily I had help. Jason's mom came for the first week and a half and took great care of me while I healed and helped with Jade. My mom came for the second week and a half and took over and I am so thankful for moms!

Before I knew it my three weeks of help were up and it was time for me to do it on my own. All of a sudden the crazy story of adopting and then going to have another baby 3 1/2 months later became real. I had no idea how I was going to do it. I hadn't been left alone yet so my skills were still untested but ready or not, I was on my own. I said goodbye to my mom and Jason drove her to the airport and I was officially alone with my two girls. I laid Jade down for her last nap of the day and was getting ready to feed Ruby when madness erupted. I was alone with them not five minutes when my world flipped upside down. I could NOT believe what was happening!