I went and had a baby this Halloween. (We also bought a house—two houses, in fact, since I last posted—and moved halfway across the state due to a job promotion stemming from me freaking out about having this baby, but that's another story.) Obviously it's a bit more complicated than that. A lot, actually. I couldn't sleep because of the urge I have to try to write out my emotions involving our daughter. (I write our because she's not just mine. One only has to see her with her dad to know that.) I know I'll want to write our birth story and about our pregnancy experience, but for now perhaps I'll just introduce her.
Aleah was early and didn't want to come out so easily. Once she was out, the doctor put her on my stomach but she wasn't moving much. Her eyes were open yet there was little response to stimulus. A respiratory therapist team grabbed her and took her over to the incubator where they encouraged her to expand those lungs, which she was having trouble with.
I told Casey to go over there while I was taken care of. The photo above is when they started working on her. We had decided earlier that if she needed to go to the nursery or NICU then Casey needed to go with her. Below is a photo from in the nursery, where she's looking much better. While walking down Casey called my mom and sister Emilie, who had been waiting at our house about 5 minutes away, to come be with me in case Aleah was in the nursery for a while. The marks on her head are from the forceps used to get her out quickly due to her fetal distress. I had decided to try the forceps before going straight to a c-section, which was the next step.
It was only about 20-30 minutes (it's difficult to remember the exact time—the situation was tense and emotional) before Casey walked back into the room holding her. I think Mom and Emilie had been there for about 10 minutes...? I lost it when I finally got to hold her again.
Knowing she was well enough to be back with me, after only a brief time, meant she was doing okay. I knew that without Casey or someone else telling me that. I immediately put her against me, craving her skin against mine. It was more instinct than want. She had just been inside me. I wasn't ready for her to be so far away.
We stared at her for a while and then some more. My family counted fingers and toes (I didn't even think of that at that point... I was just glad to have her safe with me) and admired her long limbs. Seriously, you should see her toes. She was 6 lbs 10 oz and 19.5 inches. Long and skinny, probably from being 3.5 weeks early.
I ate a sandwich while my mom, Emilie, and Casey held her. I'd thrown up anything I'd eaten in the last 24 hours. At one point I remember thinking I was more hungry than tired and wanted raspberries and cantaloup due to a tempting TV commercial.
To be honest, very little turned out like we planned or wanted, which I know is normal with many births. I'm okay with that for the most part, but that's something I'll get into later. After the scare we had with her I quickly became appreciative of the fact that she and I were alive and well.
The above photo is when we brought her home at 3 days old. Below is from Tuesday, when she was 12 days old. Sometimes I think I could stare at her all day long. Right now I'm just listening to her squeaks wondering how long I can resist pulling her into bed with me. We weren't planning on having her here yet, but I don't think we regret a single thing.