We checked in at Portland Adventist Hospital at 6a.m. on Friday, August 6th. We were put in room 2402 and hunkered down to get ready for the surgery. It was strange to sit in the bed, attached to various monitors, knowing that it was simply a count-down until we'd meet our girl (who still didn't have a name, by the way).
Dr. Nakamura was late to the hospital, but Peggy had slept there for two days and nights in a row, so she was on hand. The anesthesiologist, Dr. Lovittz, came in to check on us around 7:30 - and I fell in love immediately! We had three different anesthesiologists when Nathaniel was born and I disliked all of them; we had one with Hazel and she was nice enough; this most recent anesthesiologist was a wonderful man! He took such good care of us. He was our advocate during the birth, making sure we had our moments to take pictures of the birth and to connect with the baby. I remember Nate going over to see our girl when she was being taken care of by the nursery nurse and he stood right in my line of sight; Dr. Lovittz noticed immediately and walked over to Nate; he took him gently by the shoulders and had him step a little to the left so I could see the kiddo, too. I never even said anything to him - he was so perceptive and thoughtful!
Anyway, back to the beginning. Our c-section was scheduled for 7:45a.m., but since Dr. Nakamura was late, we didn't get wheeled in to the operating room until about 8:20. I started to feel really emotionally overwhelmed and anxious while we were waiting for the doctors, so I kinda , um, checked out for awhile. I dozed while Nate and our friend and "event photographer" Lindsi chatted. Finally a nurse and Dr. Lovittz came back into the room to collect us for surgery.
They took me in first to set me up on the operating table and detangle all my wires and such. Nate came in just in time for my blood pressure to drop (because of the spinal) - he was a pro at holding my barf bag. I had so much going on at this point: anxiety, adrenaline, anticipation, fear...I was a mess! I was loopy from the meds, too, so that made it risky to say anything to anyone at any point during the operation (although I did chime in on a conversation between the doctors and nurses about the differences between Rug Rats and Smurfs).
They put up the curtain and started cutting without much ado. I became emotional almost immediately. Nate held my hand and my head while I wept and muttered prayers for our girl. I knew this c-section would take longer than Hazel's, which had been rushed after 46 hours of labor. Finally I felt Peggy climb on top of me and I knew our girl was about to be born.
Something strange and disconcerting happened at that point, though. Peggy climbed back down and there wasn't a baby yet. I felt a shift in the atmosphere of the room. I only found out later what it was. Two things had happened: Dr. Nakamura had opted to make a smaller incision this round than Dr. Sargent had made last time, plus the baby had her right hand up by her face and refused to move it, which made her too wide to fit through the incision. Dr. N couldn't deliver our girl with her hand by her face, so he tried putting his hand in the incision to move her arm, but she would snap it right back before he could get her out. They had to make the incision a little larger and then use a vacuum to get her out.
She was born at exactly 9a.m. - she cried at first, more so than Hazel had initially, but then she calmed down quickly. Hazel settled when Nate began talking to her; Piper calmed all on her own. She was a limp little girl who allowed the nursery nurse to get all her stats quite easily. I knew there wasn't anything wrong with her; she was just content (a word I've used to describe her fairly constantly since her birth).
She weighed in at 6lbs. 8oz. and measured 20 inches long at 38 weeks and 4 days (Hazel was 7lbs. 14oz. and 19 and 3/4 inches long at 40 weeks and 1 day).
I had this incredible moment of recognition when I met Hazel for the first time; I wasn't expecting that this round, though. When I met Piper, I knew her but it wasn't the same as with Hazel. It was so easy to look at Piper and recognize her as my daughter, even though her coloring was so weird to me (her eyelashes are super blonde and her hair has a golden tint; where in the world did that come from). She was happy to nestle in with Nate and I will they cleaned up the OR and stitched up my incision. I have to say, someone should write a book on what should not be said in an OR during an operation. I heard a nurse say, "Wow! I've never had that happen before!" Of course, my immediate thought was something dire having to do with my incision or the baby, but no, she had opened a packaged/sterilized piece of equipment and it had shot out of her hands.
Here's a quick picture of Peggy in the operating room. Notice the blood. I think it's fascinating! I was chuckling at the blood that had landed everywhere during the operation. It was all over the doctors and the lights. I blame the drugs for the fact that I found it funny.
Nate and I had three name options that we kept toying with. We might use them someday, but for this little one, Piper fit best. Don't worry, though: It took three days for us to finally commit to Piper Sue. Other options were Hollis and Padget (still with the middle name Sue, after my mom).
Piper is petite. She is so feminine and adorable. Her cry is so cute to me, and she's very specific about when she cries. I know she'll find her voice someday and cry at anything and everything just to hear it, but for now I'm loving her little wail.
I have pictures of family meeting Piper, but I'll have to post those next time (they're on another CD). I'll leave you with one last picture of Miss Hazel. She was so confused by our stay in the hospital. She spent Friday night through Monday afternoon with Rick and Karen; they brought her by the hospital one or two times a day. She hated the room I was in. She'd run around once she was inside, but it became a battle to get her to cross the threshold. It broke my heart when she wouldn't get near me but just stared at me with this deadpan look on her face.
Piper had jaundice so she spent from noon on Sunday through noon on Monday in the nursery under bilirubin lights. I had to wake up every three hours, trek over to the nursery to nurse her, go back to my room and pump, and then take what I pumped back to the nursery so they could supplement her feeding. By the time we left the hospital Piper's weight was down to 6lbs. 1oz., which wasn't as horrible (percentage wise) as Hazel's drop had been (from 7lbs. 14oz. down to 6lbs. 14oz.), but it still had me worried. Her jaundice was under control for the most part, so we were discharged and brought her home.
Hazel was delivered to us by Rick and Karen that evening. She was super tired and quite unsure of the little baby who had followed us home from the hospital. She's still trying to adjust to Piper, and I know that will take quite a bit of time. She did try to knock the daylights out of Piper the other day, so that was hard on all of us, but for the most part she's fairly impartial.
Okay, if I missed anything about Piper's birth, I'll be sure to include it in the next update. More later!
(P.S. If there are some serious misspellings and blunders in this post, I blame my meds. I'm battling mastitis right now and I'm on quite a list of medication, most of which make me nauseous, dizzy, and disoriented. Good timing when it comes to writing a blog, right?)