Greer's Birth Story

January 4, 2016

Today makes two weeks since our sweet Greer girl came into this world. It makes my mama heart so excited to see her grow and also so sad to see her getting bigger and slowly (rapidly to me) moving out of the newborn stage. It's bittersweet, that's the best word for it.
So today, before I get too much further away from her birth day, I wanted to share her birth story. Because I want to remember every detail for always.

As you might know, our OB discovered that Greer was transverse around 34 weeks. After an unsuccessful attempt to turn her into the head down position at 37 weeks and 2 days, a c-section was scheduled for December 21.

I felt pretty certain that I could count on my girl to make her appearance on her own time, but I was wrong. My sweet girl stayed put until the date that had been set for her arrival. And I'm thankful for that in hindsight. It gave husband and I plenty of extra time together before the two of us became the three of us. So Monday, December 21st is where we pick up.

Our c-section had been scheduled for 9:30 a.m., and we had been instructed to be at the hospital at 7:00 that morning to get checked in, settled into our room, and get the IV fluids pumping through me. Not long after we arrived we were told that our c-section would be bumped another couple of hours, around 11:00. One mom-to-be had gone into natural labor and our doctor was readying to deliver her baby. The c-section ahead of us was moving into our spot and we were being moved to a later time. 

Part of me was sad that we would have to wait even longer to meet our girl, but it was also a blessing in disguise. It gave me time to calm down, let the jitters subside, and enjoy the morning. Because when you're about to go into a major surgery to give birth to your child, all the nerves are going. That and you're about to be a mom for the first time. Nerves times a million.

My parents and sister waited with husband and I in our room until go time. Dressed in a hospital gown, that annoying IV hooked to my left hand, we made light conversation. Husband and I shared a lot of "is this really happening" moments, and before I knew it, the clock was hitting 11:00. 

About that time the prep for a move into surgery started happening. They upped the IV fluids, I downed a shot-size of anti-acid, which tasted like soured grape (it was gross!), and another dose of anti-acid medicine went into my IV. My temperature was taken and the band on my arm scanned several times. 

It all started feeling much more real when husband began dressing in his paper scrubs. It was happening. We were about to meet our girl for the first time, a fact that hadn't settled into my core quite yet. The nurse donned my head with my own cap, and I said my goodbyes and shared hugs and kisses with everyone before they wheeled me off to the OR for the last part of my prep. I left an excited and anxious husband outside of our room waiting for the nurse to bring him into the operating room.

Operating rooms are funny things. In my case, they wheeled my bed through one set of double doors and parked it. Then I walked through the next set of double doors and set sideways on a very thin operating table. The nurse gave me a pillow for hugging and fanned my gown out in the back, leaving me exposed to the nurses prepping for surgery. I would have cared, but in that moment I was trying to calm my nerves and keep from crying. I had just spotted the warming bed across from me where Greer would be taken just after delivery, and all the feels and reality of what was about to happen began to hit me. The Christmas music floating in the sterile OR helped make things feel a little less structured and serious. It was a nice touch and I appreciated the holiday noise in comparison to the clanking of metal instruments being put out on a tray.

Not long after getting into the OR, the spinal block process began. There was a lot of me bending over my pillow, shoulders hunched, and chin tucked into my chest. The nurse that had been taking care of me earlier in the day was holding me steady with her hands on my shoulders. After finding the spot he would insert the needle, the nurse anesthetist then rubbed my back down with iodine and placed a sterile shield over it. The numbing shot wasn't my favorite and it definitely stung. The pressure of the spinal block going in was probably the most uncomfortable. During that part Dr. Roberts had entered and talked me through the process, letting me know it was almost done.

Once the spinal block was placed they laid me back and began setting up their work space. It took about 15 minutes for my torso and legs to go numb, a much longer amount of time than anyone in the OR expected. (Typically, it takes about 3 minutes for the numbness to settle in.) They poked me and pinched me to make sure I was truly numb, and then husband was brought in. He found his spot to the left of head, and I welcomed his warm hand in mine as the procedure started.

No one ever said the c-section had started, leaving me unsure what was going on until the sensation of pressure began. The nurse anesthetist was also back at my head, and he let us know that it was just about time for our baby to be born. The pressure being applied to my torso area was quite telling in itself, but I appreciated being told where we were in the process. Husband was allowed to stand up as they were delivering her, and he snapped a couple of photos of it (I won't be sharing those here!). But, then he unexpectedly plopped back down next to me because, as he said, he wanted to see her face and meet her at the same time I did. I couldn't love him more.

Just seconds later I felt a sudden release and knew my girl had been born, which was quickly followed by the most shrill cry coming from the other side of the drape hanging in front of us. We were hearing our Greer for the first time and the sound was the sweetest. The anticipation of seeing her was overwhelming. A minute or two later the drape was lowered on my right side, and Dr. Roberts was holding my girl low enough for me to take all of her in. I loved that he allowed me more than just a couple of seconds to look at her and that he made sure she was as close to me as he could get her. My very first thought was, "My daughter!" and that thought was quickly followed with, "She's absolutely beautiful! I have such a cute baby!"

They whisked my crying girl to the warming table that had just 20 minutes before almost brought me to tears. Husband followed our daughter and I basked in the shrill pitch of her cries as they cleaned her up and checked her APGAR scores. It felt like an eternity before I got to see her again.

Per my request, I got to hold Greer skin-on-skin while they stitched me back together. It was the first time my sweet girl stopped crying after being delivered, and the connection was instant. I think I had about 20 minutes with her on my chest and husband at my head until the surgery was completed. We reveled in our joy and blessing taking notice to nothing else going on in the room. 

Once done, Dr. Roberts came around to my head and stared at her with us. I asked him if his job ever got old, and he replied, "Not this part." Before leaving the operating room, he asked her name and her birth weight and length, which he jotted down on a scrap of paper. I like to think that he keeps these little tidbits from each baby he has delivered in a special place. That each delivery is more than just another baby, but one with a name, weight and length unique to them.  

About that time husband and Greer were sent to the nursery and the nurses took down the drape that had been keeping head and chest separate from my lower half, giving me the chance to ask how Greer's delivery had gone. Turns out her umbilical cord had been wrapped around her neck once leaving too little cord left for her to make a turn head down. When the nurse shared that with me I recognized God's hand in the unsuccessful attempt at turning her two weeks earlier. I was also told that Greer came out sucking on her cord, another piece of God's handiwork that I discovered when I was finally able to nurse her the first time. More on that further down.

I spent the next 30 minutes in recovery, being checked out by another nurse and monitored for leg movement to ensure the spinal block was beginning to wear off. Once I successfully twitched my feet, I was allowed to move on to my room. And the sweet nurses that wheeled me back to the Birth Center made a special pit stop by the nursery where I got to see Pete holding our girl before he even knew I was there. (Talk about falling even more in love with your spouse. This does the trick!) The nurse pecked on the window to grab his attention and he brought Greer over for me to gaze at. We were reunited in our room about three minutes later. 

Meeting Greer for the second time was just as magical as the first. I loved getting to take every bit of her in, from her fingers and toes, to her sweet little nose. Falling in love never gets old, and I did it over and over again that day.

Shortly after getting her in my arms the nurse helped me with breastfeeding for the first time. To my surprise (and delight) she latched immediately, without a problem. This was the moment I knew God had done a little prep work with my girl, getting her ready to latch by practicing on her umbilical cord. Bizarre, but it felt like an answer to an unspoken prayer; one where I had held anxiety about successfully bonding with her/feeding her after spending time away from Greer in recovery during the first big moments of her life. The Lord came through like He always does and made our transition smooth and uncomplicated. Greer and I had such an easy experience with feeding, and for that I was so thankful.

After spending time as a new family of three, we welcomed my parents and sister back into the room to meet their first grandchild/niece. It's surreal to see your family holding your child and certainly special.

A little later Greer's paternal grandparents dropped in to meet her. She makes their sixth grandchild. And then she met her uncle and aunt. This girl of ours is loved by so many.

After visitation I got my snuggles in with her. She slept while I stared at her. There is nothing in this world like holding your child for the first time. After dreaming of her for nine months, seeing her in person, holding her to my chest, and covering her in sweet kisses was just what my mama heart needed.

We finished out our first day together with Greer's first bath, some time under a "sunlamp" to warm her up pre-bath, and lots more cuddles. Our first night was an adjustment, but wonderful. Husband and I couldn't have asked for a better birth day for our girl. From a smooth c-section to a very healthy and beautiful baby, we were gifted the most special day and girl. We were released from the hospital a day early, on Wednesday, December 23, and headed home with our sweet new addition. We're completely smitten and over the moon with our Greer girl!