Two years ago, when Bekah was born, we learned very quickly that things don’t always go exactly as planned. Maybe we’re slow learners, or maybe we’re just forgetful, but we were once again surpr
ised by the entry of a baby into the world on Friday, Nov. 15.
It started out like any regular day. At 39 weeks and one day pregnant, I had an 8 a.m. appointment for a regular exam and an ultrasound to check the baby’s measurements one last time. We had known for months that this baby was measuring big—95th percentile big—and I assumed that at my appointment I would hear that it was still big.
I also figured that we’d be discussing options like induction and Cesarean delivery. My doctors had already gone over the very real fact that this labor and delivery would most likely not be anything like it was with Bekah.
Early in the morning on Nov. 12, 2011, my water broke and about 8 fairly easy hours of labor later with no epidural, and no pain medication, Bekah was born.
Everyone laughed that a baby potentially twice the size of 5 lb, 9 oz Bekah was not going to be so easy…but on the bright side, he or she should be able to go home when I did. Still, I had been hoping for another fairly easy delivery.
I expected to hear that the baby was still big, and that we would schedule a date for a baby eviction.
What I did not expect (knowing that I had been to the hospital 3 times to have real, but preterm, labor stopped) was for my doctor to say that the ultrasound showed a 9 lb, 8 oz baby and could be off by a pound either direction, and that if it were her, she’d opt for the C-section instead of chancing a very ugly delivery, which may easily include an emergency C-section anyhow.
The real surprise came when I asked about when to schedule one.
She and one of my other doctors were scheduled for surgery in a few hours, and if my other doctor didn’t have plans for the afternoon, anesthesia wasn’t busy, and the O.R. was open, they’d like me to go home (where my mom took one last sideways photo of my GIANT tummy), meet up with Christopher, who was rather surprised when I called him at work and asked just how busy of a day he was having, and be back at the hospital…in an hour. That’s right. An hour.
Since having Bekah I’ve become a lot more open about listening to the suggestions of doctors. That’s not to say that I don’t ever question or doubt.
In fact, I spent the hours from 10:30 (when I arrived at the hospital) until 2:12 (the moment the baby was born) doubting my decision to choose the C-section. I worried that the ultrasound was off on the higher side, and I could have had the baby without the C-section, and been without the added dangers and restrictions that come with surgery.
Having never had any operation (other than a tooth implant, for which I had some Novocain…not scary) I did not know what to expect as I walked into the O.R. and climbed onto the table. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, at least in my situation, it was actually fun.
I know…you’re thinking, fun? Since we had been to the hospital to stop preterm labor, we knew most of the nurses in the room, even the ones who asked to stay when they were sending extra people home, just so they could find out if we were having a boy or a girl.
We knew my doctors, two of whom were there. The only person we didn’t already know was the nurse anesthetist, and she seemed to be enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.
The most intense time was before surgery when everyone stopped to vote on whether they thought the baby would be a boy or girl, and how much he or she would weigh.
I am proud to say that I was closest, with a guess of a 10 lb.boy. I really think no one else had the nerve to say the baby would weigh more.
When one doctor said, “look how big that head is,” and the other said, “look at those shoulders,” I started to be more confident that I had made the right choice. When immediately after Chris announced, “It’s a boy,” someone yelled, “get him to the scale,” I was even more sure. The scale results solidified it though.
At 10 lb, 4 oz, and 22 inches long, everyone in the room started to laugh when I said, “Whew, thank goodness!”
They probably thought that I was thankful I had decided to have the C-section, but really, I had just been praying that somehow I would know I had made the right decision.
As soon as I saw Samuel Ryan Plant, all 10 lb, 4 oz of him, I knew that it didn’t matter how he entered the world. It just mattered that he was here, and he was safe.
All of our worries about heart problems and preterm delivery were over, and Chris and I spent the next few moments enjoying the incredible new gift we had spent the past months praying for.
My doctors quickly finished, and less than an hour after he was born, Bekah was allowed to come into the recovery room to meet her little brother. She smiled a proud little smile, and said “Hi Sammy!”
Then, unphased by the procession of doctors and nurses and the beeps of machines (one perk of being exposed to so many of them from such an early age), Bekah proceeded to play with the buttons on my hospital bed, laughing at giving Sam and I our first ride.
Now, a little over a week later, I am still amazed at how different birth experiences can be, and that even though both of ours were scary in their own ways, we have two precious people as a result. And, in the end, that’s all that really matters.
Read the rest of the Plant family’s story through her blog, Following Your Heart.