I've obviously been distracted for a while now, what with the extra work of keeping my kids out of the hospital and stuff, but I didn't want to wait much longer to get Kermit's birth story written down. So here it is, in way too much detail, the story of Kermit's entry into the world.
We had a relatively normal morning, getting LL ready for the day. I had become ridiculously emotional the night before, and that continued into the morning. Every time I tried to talk to LL, I started crying. I'm honestly not even sure why. But I kept sitting down with him on my lap to try to explain to him what was going to be happening over the next few days, and every single time, I had to do it through tears. We'd spent the last two weeks having these conversations once or twice a day, where I would explain to him that very soon, Mommy and Daddy were going to go away for a few days, and he would get to stay home and play with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma would dress him and change his diapers and read to him and rock him and put him down for bed and feed him (even special treats like yogurt shakes and french fries!) and it would be tons of fun. And after a few days, Mommy and Daddy would come back home again, because even though Mommy and Daddy leave sometimes, Mommy and Daddy always come back home. Each time I explained this to him, he would nod his head and say that he understood, and I just hoped that after hearing it a dozen times, it would actually sink in. So, I gave him my speech one final time, through a few tears, and he nodded his head and patted my leg and asked if the baby was coming home. All good. After breakfast, my mom drove LL to Natasha's at more or less the normal time, and he waved and blew me kisses from the car as they drove away. S and I took a few minutes to finish packing up our stuff, and at 10:00, we left for the hospital.
After an emotionally tumultuous evening, I felt more and more calm the closer we got to the c-section. I still wasn't thrilled with how things were going, but I was slowly moving past the disappointment and focusing on the joy of finally meeting our little Kermit. We checked in at the hospital, got settled in an L&D room, and began all of the random things that you have to do to prepare for surgery. (Undress, sign forms, answer tons of questions in triplicate, start an IV.) The IV took several attempts by several people, and ultimately the anesthesiologist had to do it himself, and it took him two tries. One person remarked that it appeared that I did not have a circulatory system, though I assured her that I was fairly certain that I did. It reminded me of my ultrasound 3 weeks earlier, when the technician couldn't find my cervix. I had to reassure her, too, that I was fairly certain it was there, since the baby had not fallen out yet.
Eventually, S and I were left alone, as the IV pumped me full of fluids and we waited for the appointed time. I surprised myself by how calm I was by the time we moved to the operating room. Time to get the show on the road!
Getting the spinal was relatively easy, and I was shocked by how quickly it began to numb my legs. I literally felt the cold spread downwards as I slowly lost sensation. I wasn't quite prepared, though, for how much I was still able to feel. I seemed to recall my epidural at LL's birth blocking just about everything during the c-section -- even when I was warned to expect some pressure at the moment when they took him out, I only really noticed it because it moved my whole body a bit. This time, I spent the entire surgery completely aware that people were rummaging around inside of me. It wasn't painful exactly, but supremely uncomfortable and unsettling.
After 10 minutes or so, Dr. M announced that he was ready to get Kermit out. At my repeated insistent request, they lowered the curtain for me so that I could see him emerge, which was incredible. (I had asked Dr. M about this possibility several weeks ago, and he told me that it would be fine, but to remind him on the day of the c-section. I mentioned it to the anesthesiologist when he was talking to me about the spinal that morning, and he balked and said, "No way!" I sputtered a bit and tried to get him to discuss it with me, but finally just dropped it until Dr. M came into the operating room, at which point I brought it up yet again. Dr. M immediately said, "Sure, that's fine!" and told the anesthesiologist to be sure to lower the curtain at the appropriate time. Score one for speaking up for yourself!)
I didn't get to see LL until after he was washed and swaddled, so it was wonderful for me to be able to see Kermit while he was still attached to his umbilical cord, all naked and alien gray and covered in schmutz, hands clenched in angry fists and squawking in surprise. And at that moment, his method of birth didn't matter. Or rather, it mattered, but it wasn't the earth-shattering disappointment that it seemed the day before. I'm still sad that it happened this way, and I feel like I still need to mourn never getting the opportunity to progress naturally and give birth vaginally, but seeing my brand new son in his very first second of life did indeed heal the worst of the resentment.
Kermit was cleaned up ever so slightly, the bare necessity of stuff was done (apgar scores and very little else) and then he was brought immediately to my side. The nurse supported his body while lying his head on my chest, allowing me to watch him and kiss him and stroke his face with my hand and count his fingers for as long as I wanted. And S and Kermit and I got to spend quite a while staring at each other and murmuring over our perfect little baby. When Kermit was put back in his bassinet, it was only to go with S to my recovery room, where S got to bond with him undisturbed while they waited for my surgery to end. Only after I joined them in the recovery room did the nurses do the rest of the post-birth stuff like weighing and bathing, so that I could observe everything.
Meanwhile, Dr. M and his team were putting me back together. I'm going to skip over that part for now, because it sucked. I'll leave the sucky things for a different post.
When I got to recovery, I asked for Kermit to be unwrapped so that I could hold him on my chest skin to skin while he was still all new and alert, something that I never got to do with LL until an hour or so later. The nurse wanted to bathe him, but cheerfully agreed when I said that I would prefer to nurse him first. And so I got to cuddle my naked little Kermit on my chest and watch him root and twist his way to my breast, where he latched on almost immediately.
After that, we did the usual things you do post-birth. Snuggled Kermit. Called the relatives. Chose a little knit hat for him to wear in the hospital. Remarked about who he looks like (more S than me, but just barely) and what color his eyes are (steely gray) and the incredible quantity of hair (dark and curly, as expected).
The extra fun ending to the birth story: once we were all moved from recovery into the room on the maternity ward where we would be staying for the next several days, our newly assigned nurse smiled at the three of us and said, "All settled?" At which point, right on cue, we had an earthquake. Yes, an actual earthquake. I was on a wheeled hospital bed, so I thought that somebody had just kicked the bed really hard for no good reason, and I was a bit confused about why somebody would do something so mean to a woman who just had surgery, but then S looked around and asked if anyone else felt something, and we all realized what was going on. At the tender age of almost-exactly-three-hours old, Kermit experienced his first earthquake. A magnitude 4.1, for those of you keeping score at home. That number will either make you say, "Wow, that sounds big!" or "Wow, I'm surprised you felt it at all!" depending on whether you've ever lived around earthquakes and how well you understand logarithms.
Welcome to the world, Kermit! Life is full of surprises.