When we arrived at the hospital (after we made a ton of phone calls from the parking deck to tell our family and friends that we were having a baby, like, today), the nurses in triage were waiting on us. We were immediately taken to a room. Those moments in the hospital room alone, before everything started and before our family and friends arrived, were precious. I think we whispered, "We're having a baby!" to each other a hundred times. It was one of those times in life when everything seems so real, yet so dreamlike. The day we had waited for was finally here. After years of waiting, we were having a baby!
The nurse started the Pitocin drip and I was hooked up to all kinds of monitors. We listened constantly to Aniston's heartbeat on the monitor. All throughout the pregnancy, I loved listening to that sweet sound--the affirmation that there was indeed a life inside of me, strong and healthy--and on her birthday was no exception.
I didn't make fast progress with the Pitocin, and Aniston didn't tolerate it well. Her heart rate would drop then pick back up again, a series of peaks and valleys that alarmed the nurses and caused them to stop the Pitocin. Dr. A arrived soon and decided to speed things up by breaking my water. (At this point, I'll tell you two things: First, I only thought I was dying when Dr. F checked my cervix and stripped my membranes. Dr. A checking my cervix and breaking my water was a thousand times worse. Second, the feeling of having my water broken was the worst. feeling. ever. No details need to be given. End of story.) He also placed an internal monitor on the top of Aniston's head to keep a better check on her heart rate.
Dr. A determined that I was at 3 cm and decided to try the Pitocin again. This time, the contractions were much, much stronger. The anesthesiologist came in and administered an epidural soon after and the pain immediately lessened. I was able to rest a little. Then everything turned upside down.
Several nurses rushed into the room at once. Aniston's heart rate had dropped dangerously low. I was immediately given oxygen and told to get on my hands and knees as Dr. A was paged. Dr. A quickly came into the room and sat at the top of the bed, leaning down to look in my eyes. He explained that Aniston was in distress and that an emergency C-section was needed. I was terrified--not of the surgery, but of losing her. Dr. A and all of the nurses were wonderful. I was amazed at how organized it all was. Everyone had a job and moved quickly. The moments before the C-section were a blur. I just remember thinking the whole time, Hurry, hurry, hurry! and straining to hear the beep-beep-beep of the monitor for Aniston's heart.
The operating room was a surreal experience. Thankfully, I had the epidural and didn't have to be put under anesthesia for the surgery. I prayed the entire time as I continued to listen to the beep-beep-beep of her monitor. After they brought Bradley into the OR, I asked him to pray for us, too. He sat by my head, and, even though the anesthesiologist continually encouraged him to look over the curtain, he remained seated through the surgery. :) (Later we would laugh about that, and he would tell me that there were some things you just can't get out of your mind, and that would probably be one of those images.) I asked, "Is everything okay? Is she okay?" over and over--I'm sure I drove everyone in the OR crazy with my questioning, but I was still so afraid of losing Aniston. The anesthesiologist was wonderful during the surgery. He kept a running commentary of what was going on, and provided the constant reassurance I so desperately needed. Dr. A and the nurses laughed as they pulled Aniston out because she immediately yawned. And then she gave a single, loud cry. It was the sweetest sound I've ever heard. Her color was slightly off for her first few minutes of life because of the drop in heart rate, but she quickly "pinked up". The nurses suctioned her mouth and nose, cleaned her up, and gave her to Bradley. I can't even begin to describe how I felt when he carried her over to me. We finally had our precious miracle in our arms!
So, that's the end of Aniston's birth story....and it only took three weeks for me to finish writing it! I'm (finally) beginning to get a grip on things, and hope to blog more regularly in the coming weeks. There's so much going on, and Aniston is growing and changing every day. I don't want to forget anything, and the best way for me to record all that's happening is to blog...even if it's only a tiny post. Stay tuned!