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A Mia Story

Mia is four weeks old today, so I decided I had better finally get around to posting her birth story. It's long and there's not much drama, so I threw in some pictures just to keep it interesting.

Amelia's birth was nothing like I expected. I expected to go past my due date, to have a natural childbirth, to do my best to cowboy up and skip the epidural. Instead, I had a scheduled, heavily-medicated cesarean nine days before my due date. It took me a while to come to terms with the drastic difference between my expectations and my reality, but in the end I found that it doesn't matter a bit. Mia is beautiful and healthy and we both came through surgery very well, nothing else is relevant.

I was scheduled for surgery at 9 AM on July 22. We had to show up by 7:30 and we live 15 minutes from the hospital. Clearly, I had to get up at 5 AM. I managed about 4 hours of sleep the night before, which was a lot better than I expected. The benefit of a scheduled c-section was that I got to shower, do my hair, even shave my legs before going to the hospital. I was in a state of low-grade panic the entire time. We took a last belly picture and a last picture of ourselves as non-parents, and I think I look terrified. I was.

When we got to the hospital, we were shuffled into a triage room where I got to change into my very sexy hospital gown and equally sexy green socks with rubber treads on the bottom. The socks did not match the gown, which I found offensive. I was hooked up to monitors and for the next hour Mia's heartbeat was our soundtrack. The nurse ran an IV and I didn't even cry (my A number one irrational fear is of IVs) and drew about a gallon of blood. Half the blood was for the hospital, which the nurse threw away when she realized I had come in the day before and had blood drawn. The other half was for the cord blood storage company, which we discovered had sent us a collection kit but no paperwork and no way to label the random vials of blood we were about to air courier to them.

Once I was drained of all that pesky blood, I started getting saline through my IV and the nurse came back with her electric razor to, um, clear a path for the surgeon. She also treated us to a discussion of the grooming habits of her other patients and I am now fully up to date on the most popular pubic hair fashions in the Northern Virginia area. I don't know how I survived so long without the information.

Setting the theme for the rest of our hospital stay, people were in and out of the room at random. Several nurses, my surgeon, someone who made me sign all the same paperwork I had signed the day before, the asshole anesthesiologist , and my in-laws. I wish I knew which helpful nurse told my in-laws where I was and to come on back so I could smack her soundly across the jaw. I wasn't exactly in the mood for company.

Anyway, the in-laws finally picked up on my "get the hell out of here" vibe, Chris donned his sexy blue scrubs, I made my last unassisted trip to the bathroom for the next few days carrying my IV bag along with me, I put on my very stylish hat and at almost exactly 9:00 sauntered casually down the hall to the OR. I'm pretty sure that was when I started crying.

The OR was freezing. There was a very nice nurse there who introduced herself to me and gave me tissues, the asshole anesthesiologist, and a couple other random people who were seemingly just hanging out. Chris was made to wait in the hallway, which at first I thought was good because he wouldn't be there to watch the random humiliations to which I was about to be subjected, but then I realized that there was a spot of clear glass in the door where he (or anyone else for that matter) could watch the show.

The first step was getting a spinal. The asshole anesthesiologist numbed my back and then spent at least 10 minutes poking, prodding and pushing without telling me what he was doing. He finally stopped, to my huge relief, only to announce that he couldn't get the spinal in and was going to do an epidural instead. Lather, rinse, repeat. I was definitely crying at this point, scared out of my mind that someone was about to cut me open.

The epidural was finally installed and taped to my back with at least three rolls of tape and I was laid out on the table. Next step, the catheter, item number 1 on the list of things I am requiring Chris to forget he ever witnessed. They put up the drape and from that point on I have very little idea what was going on and nobody bothered to tell me. For all I know, they drew a checkerboard on my stomach and played a few games. The most surreal moment was when they did what they called a "time out" and asked me to state my name and why I was there. They were not amused when I ordered a double latte.

Finally, Chris was allowed to come in, the surgeon came in and started poking me. Can you feel this? No. This? No. This? Ouch! So, not quite numb, more epidural please. The medication feels cold going in, did you know that? Anyway, the surgeon pokes me again, I can still feel it, more drugs. Again. Again. Finally, I am numb up to my armpits and actually paralyzed from the waist down, and still feeling pain at that one spot where the surgeon is going to make the incision. They finally gave me a local.

I expected to feel pressure, but no pain. I guess I was too drugged for that. The only way I knew the surgery had started was when I heard the surgeon report the time of the incision. It was amazingly soon after that that the surgeon started giving us updates. "It's a girl." "The cord is wrapped three times around her neck and once around her body." "She's peeing." And then 9:52 and Mia screamed. There is nothing that compares to that sound.

Mia was moved off to the warming table to be checked by the pediatrician. I could see her amazing head of black hair and her legs folded up almost to her chest and her eyes open and slowly blinking. I don't know how many times I asked if she was ok. I asked the pediatrician, I asked the surgeon, I asked Chris. She was perfect. I kept asking anyway, just to be sure.

The surgeon asked her name and became the first person to hear it, Amelia Morgan. Chris went to take pictures, and then brought her back over to see me. I was still strapped to the table and could barely move my arms thanks to the epidural, but I could move my hand enough to feel her hair peeking out under the back of her hat.

I thought going in that the part after the delivery would be strange - knowing that various organs were being shoved back into my body and stitched back together. It didn't even occur to me to think about it at the time. The world shrank to the very small space around me, Chris and Mia and nothing else even registered.

Eventually, Chris went with a nurse to show Mia to the waiting grandparents and take her to the nursery to be checked out. I got all my bits back where they belong and was rolled off into recovery. After a couple of hours I made another excursion to my room and the bed I would not leave for more than 24 hours, where Chris and I were greeted by four ecstatic looking grandparents who had spent the last couple of hours cooing at Mia through the nursery window.

Finally, at about 1:00, I got to hold my daughter and immediately forgot everything other than the shape of her nose, the curve of her cheek, the sound of her cry.

Most pictures by Chris - I was a little busy.

Comments (52)

Beth, I've never commented before but I feel I must after reading your newest post. I love to read the things you write. I laugh at the spin you put on some things. I almost cried when you described how there is nothing like hearing your baby cry for the first time. Thankyou for sharing with us. Jennifer

What a beautiful story and a beautiful family. Can you beieve it's been four weeks ?! Happy one month old, Amelia Morgan!

i am just speechless. i loved reading that, Beth. thank you for sharing.

Why are anesthesiologist such asses? They have so much power and can be your friend, yet they have less personality than your garden variety toad? When I had my second child, mine said I was too "juicy" to get the epidural in. What was that about? But congrats, she's beautiful!

Wow... incredible story!! :) Thank you for sharing that. We're moving to Northern VA next week, and I'll be delivering up there... hope we don't run into the same trouble w/ doctors and such.

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you so much for sharing that. I'm sitting here at work, all teary-eyed. You and Chris and Mia? All hardcore rockstars in my book.

That was quite lovely, thanks for sharing.

Aw, that made me all mushy and welled-up and that is not good for my hard-ass reputation! ;-)

She's a beautiful baby!

ah,..that was a wonderful birth story. Thanks for sharing it with us in internet land!

That was both lovely and nerve-wracking. So glad it went well. Mia is absolutely perfect.

You just made me cry with your last paragraph. Too sweet. She is really a very pretty baby girl.

Sooo beautiful. I can't wait to have my own babies!

Shame on you for making me cry at work! How am I going to explain this to my boss?

Thanks for sharing the story. It was beautiful.

She's beautiful. Happy first month outside the womb, Mia.

My dentist put headphones on me during a routine root canal once. When my "time out" came and they checked on me, drugged up, I took the headphones off and said, "Dude, you gotta hear this song." He didn't think it was funny either. Doctors just don't have a sense of humor.

I'm glad everything worked out great for you and Mia is indeed perfect.

Thank you for sharing Beth!

yes..epidural feel very cold!!

Oh that was a wonderful story... I Was LMAO about the um... shaver...bwahahah

I had a C-section at a Northern VA hospital. That operating room was freaking freezing, too. Can anyone tell us, what's the deal with that?

Awww what a sweet story, Beth. (For some reason it has made my boobs tingle [!!])

Thank you for sharing!

Awww. That's just amazing. I think there's something in my eye...

You're lucky...They tried to get my epidural in NINE times. It looked like I had horrible snake bites on my back.

Well, the baby is precious and you guys are quite possible the cutest blogging family!

Glad you had a safe delivery and a healthy wee-one!

Melanie S.

thanks for sharing, Beth. I know how scary everything with a c-section is. I'm so glad everything turned out so wonderful.

Happy 1st month to all!

Did they bring you the latte?

I remember telling the guy doing my epidural about the tattoo on my back and where I got it and just how drunk I was at the time, etc. (Nubain, y'know?)

I know he was sitting there thinking "this one's not going to get any mommy awards."

I also remember being asked if students could watch. I vaguely recall saying something like "sure- it's Ok if 30 people see my ass." Again, no mommy awards.

So don't be embarassed about any of it- even the horrible parts, because it happens to everyone.

That was a great, beautiful story. As the proud mom of a 7 year old, all I can say is... it was just the beginning of the beautiful story.

Thanks so much for sharing. Mia sure does have a head of hair, she is simply beautiful. Hope youve had a speedy recovery! Best of wishes to your family.

Beautiful story, beautiful memory now. Life is always made so much more special with little ones in our lives.

Congratulations again...she's did great!

I walked down that corridor with you Beth. I so remember everything you write about here, with my last birth, right down to crying.

Beth you did a absolutely amazing job of bringing that little angel into the world. You go Momma!

Did you get your latte?

My eyes are misty, because you described your experience in magnificent detail but also because I remember holding Princess for the first time. There is nothing like it in the whole world. Wonderful post!

What a great story - thanks for sharing!

hi beth-

i always read and rarely comment, but i just have to say that your story was beautiful. also, i cannot believe it's been 4 weeks already! have a wonderful weekend.


Just beautiful Beth. That photo of you before the c-section started is so telling. As is the last one. gorgeous.

Isn't is crazy how it just doesn't turn out like we plan it. I planned a water birth and a very peaceful entry into the world for my first son. Ha!! Nothing of the sort for that little guy. He wasn't coming out of there without a fight and I thought not having drugs was a good option. For baby No.2 there was an epidural and all I can remember was telling the anesthesiologist how madly in love I was with him. Too bad yours was so crummy! Of course, in the immediate aftermath of both all I can remember was how beautiful and perfect they were and I remember saying how sorry I was that they had to squish their way into the world!!

Mia's birth sounds like it turned out just right and that's what counts. She's a beauty and I'm so happy that you share her pictures with us bloggers. Congrats on doing a super job, even if it wasn't the one you planned!!

This made me cry -- I love the ending! Happy 1st month to you and Chris and Mia.

What a great story. I'm sitting here tearing up. Happy 1 month Mia!

BTW, the reason that operating rooms are so cold is because most viruses/bacteria thrive in warm climated. (No, I'm not a medical person...just someone who's spent way too much time in the hospital and finally asked.)

She's beautiful and lucky to have you and Chris as her parents!

Wow! You have no idea what intensity I just read this with... knowing that I may have this to look forward to in another 5 or so months. I, also, am PETRIFIED of having an IV (I have never had to have one before). I try to explain to people that it's not the PAIN I am afraid of - it's just the fact that there is something in my vein (another thing that freaks me out). I had no idea that the medication was cold going in and I was happy to hear that you weren't traumatized by the after- events of them "putting you back together". Of course I have asked my sister (who has had 2 c-sections) all of these things but having her children 6 and 9 years ago, there isn't much she remembers. Thanks for sharing that! I'm not sure if I'm relieved to know the process or even more nervous. ;) And happy 1 month birthday, little Mia! :)

Thanks for sharing Mia's birth story! I LOVED reading every word. You really should put a box of tissues on your weblog, I sure need one right now :)

wow, how amazing is that? ;)

so glad you shared that sweet story with us.

Thanks for sharing the story of Mia's birth. I don't think many women like to share what happens in labor either because it's very intimate or because there are many surprises. Thank you again and I'm glad all three of you are safe and happy now.

First time to your site. I came by way of Casey's.
Anyway, what a great story and an even better outcome. Congratulations!!! It brought me back to the day my daughter was born, so long ago, now. You never forget that moment when you memorized their face and the love swelled in your heart.

i totally cried. that was so beautiful. thank you for sharing!! so so happy for you!

Wow, Beth. That story was amazing! I was teary-eyed reading it. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story.

Thanks for sharing your story. I can't believe she's already four weeks old! That's, like, a whole month!

Happy one month, Mia! Thank you for sharing the birth story - you are a beautiful mom.

Great story Beth. I was there for the birth of my little girls and while I didn't have to do any of the hard work, other than keep my wife from hurting me, I did experience how the world fades out when you are holding your newborn child. It was an emotional moment to say the least. I would not have had my wits about me to take photos. Chris either has nerves of steel, or he was relying on the autofocus a lot, it's hard to focus through tears of joy.

that was amazing! you made it sound like it would be boring... "theres not much drama, so i threw in some pictures" that was really, really neat, thanks for telling us about it.

Thank you.

You all did good.

Beth, that was beautiful, achingly beautiful! Thank you for posting it... congratulations!!!!

She has a beautiful head of hair already! Lucky girl.
And it must be universal that anesthesiologists are assholes. I remember when he asked me 'Have you had anything to eat or drink?' and I told him, 'yes, we stopped off at Big Boy and I ate a four-egg omelet complete with pancakes, bisuits and gravy, and french toast while I read your instructions on not eating before I came.' He blinked, muttered a few obscentities and then said, 'Ok, that's it, I'm calling your doctor and telling him we WON'T be doing surgery this morning!' No sense of humor at all...

It's taken me awhile to get to reading this post. So why is the anatheseologist an asshole?? Sounds like you had some boring doctors if they didn't even laugh when you ordered a latte. You have to have a sense of humor.

Beth, I am sitting here in tears at my office! Thankfully, I am alone and won't have to explain why I am choking up at a stranger's birth story but that's the thing...the way you and your hubby write, you bring us into your world and relate your experiences in a very meaningful way and make us feel like we've known you forever. This was so lovely.

Sorry about the asshole in the OR - after my own 15+ surgeries I have met some doozies, and have a few good stories of my own. Unfortunately none have resulted in a little Mia of my own, but some day. I hope my experience is as wonderful as yours.



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