Chad and I were to report to the outpatient surgery department at 6:30am on Friday morning. We checked in, and were pretty quickly herded to Labor and Delivery. I say herded only because there were so many of us that we filled up the entire elevator. In attendance for Johanna's birth were all of Jo's grandparents(4), all of Jo's aunts and uncles(5), plus our special friend and pastor. If you lost count that's 10 people plus Chad and me. One of the managers of the labor and delivery department ushered us upstairs to the Family Center waiting room. You'll see this mentioned a lot in this post, but we are so thankful for all of the extra things the Family Center did for our family. They went out of the way to make sure we were taken care of. They had made coffee and brought in other drinks and snacks for our family to use while they had to wait.
At this point Chad and I were taken to my room to be prepared for the c-section. I changed into my fashion forward hospital gown, gave yet another urine specimen(seriously how many do you really need?), and hopped into bed. Chad and I assumed we would be waiting a while before anything was started. We were totally mistaken. As soon as I had changed, I was given my fancy ID bracelet, and then the IV's were started. Apparently my veins were hiding because they had to call in the anesthesiologist to start the IV. And instead of getting it in my forearm where I've always had them before, this one was started in my left hand. It didn't matter to me where it went, as long as we got one. The anesthesiologist was great. He was a lot of fun, and we had a good laugh about my addiction to all things Internet and Blackberry.
After the IV saw started there was a flurry of activity to get prepped for the big procedure. Including, but not limited to, shaving my tums, and drinking the concoction of death(the really strong, sour, anti-nauseant, anti-acid). That stuff is nasty. I have an iron stomach, but that stuff has made me want to wretch both times I've had the pleasure of consuming. We met the CRNA(the anesthesiologist assistant that actually stays with you during any surgical procedure), and all of the nurses that would be with us in the OR suite.
Once I was dressed and ready to go, Dr. H came in and said good morning. We talked one last time about how everything was going to go down, then the nicest thing happened. Dr. H took our hands and prayed with Chad and me. Prayed for safety, wisdom, and blessings for Johanna. Dr. H then left to get himself ready for the big moment. After he left, our entire family(except Clayton because he was with a friend still snoozing) gathered around our bed and had prayer for us. I'm weeping now thinking about how much love surrounded Chad, myself, and Johanna on Friday morning. After prayer, we hugged, laughed(a must for us), and cryed then the fam headed back to their designated waiting area.
Immediately after we bid our farewells to our family, I was wheeled down to the c-section room. Chad was able to go most of the way with me. I think being seperated from Chad, even for just a few minutes, was the hardest part of the whole process. Prior to 9:12am of course.
While Chad was donning his fashion forward, sterile apparel, I was being drugged from the ribs down. I was given a spinal, which personally I think is fantastic and would highly recommend. With Clayton it went great the first time, no problems. It went well this time, but things went a little differently. As I was hunched over, waiting for my feet to startto go warm, I suddenly feel this strong, sharp, burning, pain shoot down my left leg. I thought to my self, that can't be normal. I mentioned it to the anesthesiologist, and he confirmed that what I was feeling definitely was not the intended outcome. After a few more tries and adjustments, we got it right, and things started to go completely numb. I do highly recommend a spinal, but I must say that not being able to feel your feet, legs, hips, or anything from about the bottom of the lungs down is the absolute strangest feeling in the world. I think even if Chad and I never have more babies, I will never forget that feeling.
After is was determined that the spinal had taken and I wasn't feeling anything, it was time to begin. The sterile field was created, and Chad was finally allowed in the room. Remember that we started getting ready for this moment at 6:30am, and at this point it's not even 8am. I think surgery started about 7:50, or some time close to that. Every single person caring for Chad, Johanna, and me knew of Johanna's T18. They knew the most likely outcome, and they knew what our desires were for her whether she be born still or alive. There definitely an air of expectancy and anticipation prior to Jo's birth. There was some small talk between all of us in the room, but nothing loud, excessive, or inappropriate. I remember those moments being very calm and reverant. I felt the presence of the Lord with me in a way that I have never felt before. He truly gives peace and greace.
Dr. H and the CRNA both tell us that we're getting close, and that it won't be but just a few more minutes until we meet our little girl. Dr. H then tells me that she's perfectly petite(great wording by the way, that makes her mommy smile), and that I did indeed have a lot(a whole lot) of amniotic fluid.
8:09am, Johanna Raye Carswell, with the assistance of Dr. H and the entire medical staff in the OR that day, made her way in to the world. She would weigh in at 3 pounds and 13 ounces. She was 16 1/2 inches long. She looked just like Clayton, and just like Johanna all at the same time.
Tomorrow I'll share her 63 minutes. They were astounding.