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I fell in love in an operating room (Or: Olivia’s Birth Story, Part 2)

Ok so where was I? If you missed part one of the birth story, you can read it here.

So, water breaks at 4:30am Wednesday, November 18th. Where did that come from? It’s actually pretty crazy considering in a few hours I was supposed to get up and get to the birth center to be checked out for preeclampsia and possible delivery anyway. Ready or not, that day was the day she picked to be born.

I think I woke up just prior to it happening and felt this gush. “Whoa!” I said, scrambling up to all fours on my side of the bed. Not an easy feat with a rotund pregnant belly. “Chris!” I hissed and he jerked awake, “My water just broke!” Cue YOUGE gush of fluid.

I got out of bed as fast I could and waddled to the bathroom. I didn’t really know what to do, so I kind of just stood in the doorway of the bathroom, grabbing a towel to stand on and just let the gushing continue. (I didn’t realize how much fluid there actually was in there.)

Chris got out of bed and asked me what we should do. I told him that we had to call the birth center. They said I could take a shower, but that I needed to come in after that. Which I would have done anyway because I started contracting. Like, 3-5 minutes apart. This was not at all what I was expecting when I anticipated her birth. I mean, this stuff only happens in Hollywood. But contractions were coming and they were coming quickly. Like, OMG-am-I-going-to-deliver-this-baby-on-the-bedroom-floor? quickly.

So we rushed around grabbing last minute things and getting ready. I shoved a microwave sausage biscuit into Chris’s mouth and we headed out.

In the triage room, the nurses confirmed (amidst increasingly painful contractions) that baby was still breech, and that we needed to wait for an OR to become available. They gave me Terbutaline, an injection into the back of my arm that burned, twice to try to slow the contractions, but it never worked. I was told that once your water does break, it puts you into active labor and I was dilated to a 3. Most women get their water broken in the hospital; mine just started earlier. I did get to practice my breathing exercises we learned from our childbirth class, but the thing is, while I appreciated actually getting to experience contractions, it was all pretty pointless because I needed the C-section anyway.

We called my mom and our birth photographer, whom we thankfully had given the heads up to the night before. A photographer wasn’t allowed into our OR anyway, so she told us she’d be there afterward.

I told the nurses that I had a birth plan, but hadn’t had time to write it down. It wasn’t a big deal; I requested the delayed cord clamping, the drape to be lowered at the moment she was pulled out, and to have immediate skin to skin if possible. They said that might be fine, but I would have to talk to the doctor on call doing my surgery. Things were such a blur, I don’t even think I remembered to tell her when she came in to introduce herself. 

I wasn’t paying attention to the time, but a few hours later, I was shaved, prepped and consented and on my way to the OR. Chris couldn’t come in with me until I had the spinal. I knew the lidocaine burned but thought I would be numb for the actual spinal needle. I had to lean way over with two staff holding onto me so I wouldn’t topple over and had to remain still for the injection. All the while, I was having stronger contractions. I tried to breathe through them and not think about what would happen if I squirmed while the needle went into my spine. I felt this tingling in my legs almost immediately, like both my legs had fallen asleep. The anesthesiologist instructed me to swing my legs up onto the bed and I apologized and told them they would have to help me do that. After my legs were up, they put the drape up and it felt like it was a mile high above me.

In some way, I’m glad this was all happening unscheduled because it gave me less time to completely freak out about an impending abdominal surgery while awake. The anesthesiologist was wonderful. He stayed right at my head and reassured me every time I’d whimper, “And you’ll make sure I’m completely numb before they cut me, right?”

I had this moment of panic when I heard the voices of the doctor and staff as they prepped. Someone gave my lower body a pinch and I told them, no, I couldn’t feel it.

“And you’ll make sure I’m completely numb before they cut me, right?” I asked the anesthesiologist again, and then remembered.

“Where’s my husband?” I called out.

“Someone get the husband in here!” I heard someone say. I guess at this point they had already started slicing into me.

Chris appeared at my side a moment later. I didn’t necessarily feel a tugging sensation that everyone warned me about. It was more that my body seemed to be rocking gently side to side. I had no idea if they had started or not and to me that was honestly fine. A few minutes into it, I asked the anesthesiologist if they had started and he peeked over the mile high blue drape. Yes, he told me and I shut my eyes and waited.

At 7:53 (though I had no idea of the time at that moment) I heard it:

That first cry.

Again, they never told me what was actually going on on the other side of the drape, so that cry took Chris and I completely by surprise.

I wish I could convey what I was feeling at that moment. I wish I could put it into words, but I can’t. I heard that cry and only remember the white ceiling of the OR blurring. I felt Chris stand up beside me with the camera. I remember the anesthesiologist saying, “Mom can’t see the baby. Lower the drape!” and then someone bringing the drape down and my eyes scrambling to catch a glimpse of her before she was whisked away to the warmer.

She looked pissed. I don’t think I ever saw anything that beautiful covered in goop in my life. God, that was my baby.

I guess the girl wasn’t too happy about getting pulled out ass first because she not only pinked right up, but turned bright red with all all her screaming. Seriously, her Apgar scores were 9 and 9. She immediately pooped and made the whole room laugh.

I urged Chris to go over to the warmer. It was a few minutes before I could see her. So basically, my birth plan was moot, but you know, it’s ok. It all worked out.

Getting cleaned off and doesn’t give a shit.

7 pounds, 5 oz and 19 inches and still doesn’t give a shit.

Our first moment.

She immediately stopped crying as soon as she was laid on my chest. We stared at each other sideways. If I ever had any doubts, any at all, about being her mother, about this whole donor egg thing, they all went away in that moment. My breath caught in my throat and I felt tears sliding down the side of my face. She was undoubtedly the loveliest thing I ever laid eyes on.

This picture right here. If seeing a miracle after six years of infertility could be captured at a moment in time, this would be it.

They took her off me to get measurements and do whatever they did. I lay there, my head turned toward the direction of the warmer, my heart already aching to have her back again. I could see Chris holding her after awhile, his eyes red and the biggest smile on his face. I don’t think I ever loved him more.

They finally came back with her and lay her on me again. The nurse moved her in closer and I kissed her head. I couldn’t believe how breathtakingly beautiful she was.

“Olivia,” I whispered.

Once I was stitched up and ready to go, the doctor came to my side to congratulate me. She was covered in my blood and gave me a thumbs up. Child birth. It’s a gross and beautiful time.

They lay her back on me for the ride to the postpartum room.

Once there, a nurse pulled aside my gown and I could put her to my breast.

I remember my breath coming in a gasp as I felt the strong tug of her suck. I could die happy reliving that moment in time.

Three plus months in frank breech will do this to you.

During all this, I didn’t realize how bad my blood pressure was. At one point, during this bonding time with Olivia on my chest, I had a nurse checking my blood pressure on one side, two on the other talking about things like Pitocin and needing a magnesium drip to prevent seizures. I had another nurse appear to push on my abdomen to firm up my uterus. It was the first time, and not the last, that I felt myself wanting to scream at them to get out of my face and leave me with my baby.

On the magnesium drip I went, after a breakdown of tears and the nurses repositioning me to make me more comfortable and reassure me. It was overwhelming.

Our birth photographer had arrived during all this, and Chris was out of the room grabbing something to eat quickly and meet with her downstairs. They came up together and as happy as I was to see her (she photographed our wedding 7 years ago) I was also starting to feel the effects of the magnesium and was still pissed off at all the attention I was getting from multiple nurses. Pain-wise, I was doing fine on an IV of morphine and then later, IV Dilaudid.

When everyone finally left us alone and I could hold her skin to skin.

She got some great pictures of Olivia and Chris. I didn’t want a lot of pictures of me because I felt like crap and was sweaty and didn’t realize how puffy I had gotten from the IV fluids and preeclampsia. But it would be a shame if I didn’t post family pictures so here it is:

I will post some of the hospital birth photos in another blog post. Because photo dump. And I’ve done enough of that already.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about my hospital stay. It ended up being 6 days. It was a long stay, with me breaking down in tears multiple times, an incredible amount of frustration and sleep deprivation brought on not all by a newborn, but by the hospital stay in general. In all, I had some wonderful nurses that helped maintain my sanity, but in some ways, I was traumatized by the stay. But that is for another post.

She’s here. She is really, truly here.Welcome to the world, my dear Olive. Oh God we’ve waited so long for you.

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Steph
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So happy for you! Congratulations to you and your husband. What a sweet baby girl!

BabyBlueSunday
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Congratulations again! She is beautiful and you are too. You look lik you just gave birth in the picture you posted- tired, sweaty, swollen and happy! Just the way it should be.

Cristy
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She absolutely beautiful!!! And what a beautiful story. Congratulations to all of you. And welcome again Miss Olive. You are truly a miracle.

Erika
Guest

Oh, this is just such a perfect story. What a beautiful miracle.

Rebecca
Guest

She is breathtaking.

(I was just looking through the photos of my c-section/birth and postpartum hospital stay, and I look like a huge bloated whale. Those IV fluids are CRAZY! I felt like a giant marshmallow)

Gypsy Mama
Guest

Congratulations, she really is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story. Beautiful photos too! I am so happy for you 🙂

Gypsy Mama
Guest

Congratulations, she really is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story. Beautiful photos too! I am so happy for you 🙂

Aramis
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Looking at that photo of you crying with her on you, made me cry. So beautiful! Congrats again momma!

Brianna
Guest

Yes, she truly is here. Congratulations.

jAllen
Guest

Love this post!

Amy @ Carriage Before Marriage
Guest

Over the moon for you. I can tell she is an awesome baby. Big personality, beautiful, healthy, ready to go. You're going to have fun XO

Holly
Guest

Yes yes yes. FINALLY. What an amazing story and a perfectly gorgeous little girl. I feel so much happiness for you as I've followed you for a long time. This is what beating infertility looks like. You have won. I love this. Perfect!!!

Amber
Guest

She is soooo beautiful! I love reading your birth story. We have many similarities, but also vast differences to our stories. My water broke (at work!!!), but I never did experience any real contractions. You had a 6 day hospital stay after birth and I had 6 days prior. We both had to deal with pre-e. In socials that you got to see Olivia and hold her (almost) right away. That is something that a greatly missed out on. You did so amazing growing that sweet girl of hers! What a good weight for being delivered at 36+4! Love. I… Read more »

Amie
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Cue big tears!! Granted I'm already a teary mess because our little guy is having tummy troubles that we can't seem to figure out but this is amazing!! I'm so happy for you! I only stayed 2 nights in the hospital and that was torture so I can only imagine how 6 days must have been.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Thanks for writing. It is so great to see your beautiful girl! Best wishes on your recovery.

Rachel

Non Sequitur Chica
Guest

I think you look great- you look just like you should as you just gave birth! Having had a c-section myself I know firsthand how puffy you get from the fluid/meds/etc. Olivia is wonderful and congratulations mommy!

Jenny
Guest

So many happy tears for you. 🙂 Congratulations on your perfectly beautiful little girl.

Suzanne
Guest

This post makes me so incredibly happy. xoxo

Dream Chase
Guest

What a sweet story and she is so beautiful!! Welcome Olivia!

Amanda
Guest

I might die of happiness. That photo of you meeting sweet Olivia for the first time. Ugh. Ugly cry. Risa, I'm so happy for you! You deserve every moment of happiness from here on out. And I hope that your heart is so overwhelmed with all the feelings of love, that any doubt about your path to your sweet baby would be erased. But if not, know that in my experience the love only grows, the bond only deepens. It actually gets so much better from here. Sending you two lots of love. Big hugs, sweet friend.

pdot95
Guest

I'm a little (okay, a lot late) to the party, but I am just so happy for you! She is gorgeous!!! Congratulations to you and Christ!

JustHeather
Guest

Huge huge congratulations! She's beautiful!