I'm going to indulge myself and be personal here for a brief post or two.
When Bryan and I were first married I had a reoccurring dream about a baby girl with lots of dark hair. The details are foggy now, but I never forgot the feeling I had when I held her and how much I loved her and knew she was supposed to be ours. I had the dream several times... over and over. After I had 3 basically bald (but beautiful ;) ) babies, the dream left my mind and I was swallowed up in motherhood and life.
The path to having another baby wasn't an easy one for me this time. There were many challenges and road blocks to overcome, mostly my own selfishness and weaknesses...but Bryan and I always knew there was another baby for us, so we took the leap of faith.
The night after we had her, I went to the NICU in the middle of the night to feed her. While I was nursing her, I looked down at her and was overwhelmed with the feeling that she was the baby in my dream so many years ago. I cried while I held her. She is a very clear sign that I am on the path intended for me, which was such a gift for me to feel. She is worth every struggle.
As a photographer, having birth photos is a really important part of the birth experience for me. I had a photographer lined up this time, knowing she wouldn't be allowed in the surgery, but hoping she'd be there when I came out and be able to stay until the kids came up to visit to see their baby sister for the first time. As most things in life though, it didn't turn out exactly like I had planned. :)
Our c-section was pushed back, and then took a while once we got started due to significant scar tissue (a gift from 4 c-sections). I warned the anesthesiologist before the surgery began that I had a tendency to throw up during the surgery, and sure enough-- I started feel nauseous while they were operating. He gave me something and it helped for a few minutes. After what seemed like forever (I could smell them burning my flesh, yikes), the baby was out and I couldn't believe it when I heard them all saying she had lots of hair! After a few minutes they showed the baby to me briefly and then she and Bryan left to the nursery and they finished up my surgery. While I was still laying the operating table I had sharp terrible pains in my shoulder. I called for the anesthesiologist and he told me that they were air pockets from taking my uterus out and then putting it back in and there wasn't much he could do for those. I remembered having them in the past.. but this time it was so so so painful.
After the surgery was finished, I went to recovery and waited for my baby. Only.. she didn't come. The longer I sat there, the worse I began to feel and I couldn't figure out what was taking them so long. I felt bugged, because when I had Graham at the U of U hospital, they let me hold him skin to skin on my chest during recovery-- they never took him from me for the first few hours... but this time, I hadn't even gotten a good look at her yet. By the time they took me to my room, I was feeling very nauseous and was in a lot of pain. Shortly after that I began throwing up which was so painful and irritating to my incision. They started pushing the drugs fast to help with the pain and nausea, so by the time they brought the baby in (at least 2 hours after I had had her) I could barely lift my head to get a look at her. I had about 10 minutes with her, when a nurse came in and told us that she didn't look good and whisked her away again.
We eventually got word that Wren was having trouble breathing and would be in the NICU for the next few days at the least to make sure she didn't have any infections and to find out why she was having trouble breathing. I was worried and so sad that I hadn't gotten to spend very much time with her yet. I was also so sad that my kids wouldn't be able to come up, but I wasn't feeling well enough to see them anyway.
By 2 or 3 in the afternoon I couldn't wait any longer and made Bryan wheel me into the NICU with my catheter and IV bags in tow to see our baby and make sure the name we had picked felt right so we could tell our kids and family. As soon as I got her in my arms I knew I was about to throw up, and the NICU nurse had to grab the nearest garbage can and got to me just in the nick of time. She latched right on though and was truly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.. even with the oxygen and IV tubes.
The NICU experience was hard and beautiful at the same time. I wanted to have her with me 100% of the time, and felt so sad that things didn't go as planned, but the time we spent in that little room together was special in it's own way and I'm forever grateful. The day after she was born the kids got to come up and go in to see the baby one at a time. They were all in love with her. We weren't all together as a family until after we came home from the hospital. Wren didn't have any infections and eventually started breathing on her own, once she figured out how to eat and breathe at the same time, so after lots of ups and downs, we got to bring her home with us after 4 days in the NICU. We felt so blessed that she was healthy enough to come home with us.
Her birth video is a conglomeration of photos from my friend Helga Laing (helgalaing.com), Bryan, myself, and my sister Holly- who came over and took the ones of us once we got home. It's a pretty real (sometimes less than pretty) representation of how her birth went. There's always beauty in the struggle. It's something I will always treasure.
We adore you, baby girl.