On Tuesday, January 12, 2010 Chip and I woke up at about 4:30am. We set every alarm clock we could find and even had the hotel front desk ring us. If you recall, I made sure to explain the urgency to the person at the front desk that I was having a baby and couldn’t be late. They MUST call me to remind me. Like for some reason they wouldn’t, they never haven’t called me when I asked. True to their word, they called at 4:30 but I was already awake…imagine that!
I jumped up and turned to Chip and said…we are having a baby today! You ready, daddy? He assured me he was. I know I was ready! I showered and blow dried my hair, put on some jogging pants and a t-shirt since I knew once I got to the hospital they’d have me put on a gown anyway. I put on make-up, which I never do when I’m not at work, I had some photo ops ahead of me with my little tiny new life today so I must make a good first impression!
Chip and I gathered our things and my mom and were off to the hospital. My dad and step mom would follow soon after. We were at Woman’s Hospital at 5:30am sharp. I went through registration, which was a breeze because I had just done that Sunday when we had the water break / pee in my pants episode. They took me to a room in the labor section where Nurse Ratched started prepping me for my stay. She was such a negative Nellie that Chip and I kept looking at each other like gee whiz lady. This was going to be the best day of my life and I wasn’t going to let Sponge Bob Grouchy Pants ruin it. So, I decided to make small talk to figure out if she was really going to be my nurse the rest of the time. It was about 6:10 and I was hoping she was out with the next shift change and dirty laundry. As she missed every vein in my hand I asked if she had been here all night or if she was just coming on for the day. She said she’d been there all night. Wheew, thank goodness. Then so she wouldn’t catch onto my scheme I asked if she’d been busy delivering babies all night and how their shifts work. She assured me that at 7:00am she was outta here. Thank you Jesus ! As she continued to hook me up to blood pressure monitors and try to get in my IV Manna from Heaven arrived with her nice side kick. I think maybe she was just as glad as I was when they walked in because she let them know, in front of me, that she had other patients to tend to.
Manna from Heaven - I think her name was Trish or Tina, I feel awful for not knowing my guardian angels name but God love her and her side kick, who I can’t remember her name either…wow that’s awful – Anyway, they came in and we had a moment where we all just sort of looked at each other and tried not to laugh. T was so professional and had been doing this for a long time. She took my beat up hands where Nurse Ratched tried vigorously to get my IV in and 2 seconds later had that IV in there no problem. She finished getting me all cleaned me up for my surgery and gave Chip his daddy attire for surgery and off we went. At 7:00 am they rolled me into the OR where T was by my side the whole time. She never talked above a calming whisper once we got to the OR. She made me feel safe, this was not her first rodeo, I trusted her whole heartedly as she explained to me step by step what they would do and how it would feel and how to react. I needed her there. She stood by me as I sat on the cold tiny operating table and just held me close to her. I was shaking so bad. I was unsure if it was my nerves or because I was freezing. T and I watched as all the ladies prepared the cold metallic off white room with medical instruments and gauze and things I was sure they were going to use on me, but wished they wouldn’t. As if people couldn’t get any nicer or more helpful; Alan came in, he was the nurse anesthetist. I loved him so much I wanted to put him in my pocket. Too bad I only had on a gown and nada else so there was no pocket to put him in. He, just like T, explained step by step what would happen once the anesthesiologist came in. I had to have my spinal and was really nervous about it. The one thing I remember T saying multiple times and then Alan reiterated was when the anesthesiologist came in he was going to ask me a couple of questions and then have me hunch over and I’d be uncomfortable, but it was DIRE that I stood still. T suggested I focus on the clock that was directly in front of me on the wall when they had me do this. Then they said as soon as the doctor got my spinal going they would throw me on my back immediately. Alan and T were there for me, I fully trusted them to take total care of me. They had mentally prepared me for everything that was about to happen. If I lost focus I knew they’d be there to help me get back on track of what I needed to do. It was team work.
Chip was out in the hall the whole time. Evidently they have a bench right outside the OR for dads to sit until after the anesthesiologist comes. I heard Dr. North’s happy voice in the hall talking to Chip. He was just as comforting as T was. I felt safe instantly. Dr. North came in and started scrubbing in for surgery. As I was sitting there on the OR table with T holding me tight and Alan behind me getting his machinery ready I noticed the nice straight crease that Dr. North was sporting on his scrubs, I couldn’t not comment on them. I said, wow Dr. North does your wife iron your scrubs? Look at that crease! He said his cleaning lady did that. He probably could have cut me open to do my c section with that razor sharp crease. About that time Dr. S (can’t remember his name, but it started with an S) the anesthesiologist came in. He was a jocular old fella. He instantly lit up the room with his “let’s get this show on the road” attitude. He said, wow it’s cold in here. I said wouldn’t that help keep things sterilized? He assured me that just because it was cold didn’t mean it had to be sterilized. Well alrighty then, doc. He was right and I was nervous talking out of my head.
Dr. S did all the things Alan said he would. Asked me all the questions Alan said he would and then immediately started. I hunched over and stared at the clock. T was still at my side holding my hand reminding me to breathe and focus on the clock. It was 7:22am; I only watched the minute hand because the second hand was too distracting. My instructions from Dr. S were to let him know if at any time the needle didn’t feel straight as he inserted it. Yeeaaw, I felt it go in. Things were alright, T to my right reminding me to breathe - and Dr. S in my spine “moving to the left,” I said. He straightened it up and said OK and I felt Alan’s hand on my back where Dr. S was and about 97 people threw me down on my back. It was crazy. It felt crazy. I had been so nervous about the spinal and I had no reason to worry. Everything happened just as Alan and T said it would at the exact time they said I should feel this way – I did. I laid there on the tiny operating table that I was way wider than with my arms extended out from my side, like a cross.
Dr. S commended Alan on such a fine prep job and thanked him for everything he did. He also let the nurses know he appreciated their hard work. How fabulous. How stinking fabulous. What fine people that were helping me bring my sweet Charles Hill Hawkins IV into this world.
Another doctor came in to assist Dr. North, his name was Dr. Bush. The neonatal specialist nurse came in and I reminded her that my son was going to be born with a cleft lip and potentially a cleft palate. She was aware and prepared. They started hanging the drape in front of me and brought Chip in. They had him sit to my left and he was really quiet, almost distant. He was nervous, I could tell. Sweet hubby couldn’t get excited until he knew both his baby and I were safe. (Side note, Chip doesn’t do needles, blood, hospitals, etc.) My IV was in my left hand so he had to sit next to a needle in my hand. I’m sure he was goobed out. Alan was directly behind me constantly talking to me and asking how I felt. I asked Alan to please make sure my husband is ok, he was white as a ghost. Fast forward…Chip’s rendition of the story later on was that he was fine, but he didn’t really have anywhere to look. If he looked up there was smoke coming from behind the drape, so he looked down as a big pile of blood splattered out onto Dr. North’s shoe bootie. Then he said they were shaking my whole body at one point. Poor fella, he was lost and confused.
I was fine the whole time, I don’t remember my body being shaken, but I assume it was when they were trying to get big ol Hill out of my belly. That may have been about the time I felt them repeatedly press on my chest. It felt like the air had been knocked out of me. I had to do a few of the breathing tricks we learned in child birthing class. A few times I let Alan know I was having trouble breathing. He would magically fix it. Later I was told my blood pressure dropped and I lost a lot of blood which may have contributed that feeling. At one point I felt like I was having difficulty swallowing, but I was never scared or panicky during the whole process. I remember Dr. North saying, wow he’s a big baby! They suggested we get the camera ready. Then the next thing Dr. North said was, “Awe, this isn’t bad at all!” I had no idea what that meant, but it sounded like happy news to me! I heard the sweetest baby cry and I cried too. Dr. North held up my baby for his first picture. Funky stuff all over him, it didn’t matter, it’s the best picture ever. They took Hill and Chip behind me to my right to clean up our sweet boy and check his palate. He was good. I heard Chip say his lip wasn’t bad at all and my heart rested easy knowing my sweet boy was ok. We took a couple of pictures of our new little family. As the doctors put me back together, they sent Chip and Hill to meet his new family and friends on the way to the nursery.
They have this video monitor set up where I can see everyone’s reaction when Chip brings Hill out. That is the part I was looking forward to. I was so tired though. I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I remember praying to God to please let me stay awake so I can see everyone’s face when they see my sweet husband and son for the first time. I saw my mom standing at the door trying to be so patient waiting for them…but then I missed it all. I fell asleep. There waiting to meet Hill Hawkins was Mama Lou (my mom), Papi (my dad), Mimi (my step mom), Nana (Chip’s step mom), Papa (Chip’s dad), and our sweet friends Tasha and Fred Grantham… and I missed it.
I woke up with T back by my side; my guardian angel was there to care for me in recovery. I asked to see my baby and they were about to bring him to me to try to feed, just finishing up testing him and giving him a bath. He scored a perfect 10 on the APGAR test. The neonatal specialist came in and we talked about Hill and how his palate is perfect and it seems that his lip is merely a cosmetic issue. I asked about time lines for surgery and he said he would happily refer me to any doctor we needed. He commented about how I was the most alert mother after surgery he’d ever seen. I guess it is funny how that protection mode instinct immediately kicked in like my sole mission the rest of my life is to be there for Hill and his well being. The doctor assured me that there were no worries and my baby was perfect. I knew that before he was born, but it’s nice to hear a doctor reiterate that to you. I know God doesn’t make mistakes.
Welcome, Hill. I’ve loved you since before I even met you and that love grows more and more every day. People say, “Once you have kids you won’t remember your life before them.” I don’t feel that true. I never want to forget about all the fabulous and also the not so fabulous things I’ve experienced in my life. They have made me who I am today and I consider Hill as a positive part of this journey. I remember my life before him and I hope I don’t forget about those times, yet I wouldn’t want to live nor could I imagine living the rest of my life without him in it. You are my sunshine Charles Hill Hawkins IV, mommy loves you always and forever!