Last night, Vanessa gave birth to our daughter, Aria. That's her middle name; because the internet is forever, I'm keeping her full name private for now. Her birthday is 11/7 at 7:12 pm, one minute off from being a palindrome!
She is three weeks early, but Aria is full-term and doing fine in an incubator. Vanessa went in Saturday for her scheduled weekly checkup, and when the doctor found she had developed pregnancy-induced hypertension, he immediately performed an emergency C-section. Talk about a huge shock out of left field! Vanessa was trembling as she sat down in a wheelchair to be brought to surgery, and I was likewise fraught with worry. In that moment while seeing her off, if I had let myself dwell on all the possible things that might go wrong, my face would have been a sopping mess.
Waiting. Just waiting. Maybe I could pass the time by reading? Nope! Can't focus. Waiting and more waiting. Have you ever realized how much white noise there is from electrical devices? How long has it been? Oh? 30 seconds? Okay then.
Several hours later...
I was able to see Aria in her incubator around 8pm. It was almost surreal to finally see her in person, and not just an ultrasound image. She was so... big! How did all of that fit in Vanessa! All 2600 grams of her!
Aria's tiny hands and feet looked like she had overstayed in the bath by about 9 months; they were so puffy, wrinkly to the point of cracking, and colored a bluish-purplish white, in contrast with her sunburn-red body. To my relief, in these past few hours, the color of her hands and feet have since normalized to the same shade as the rest of her body.
Aria was flailing her little limbs, alternating between crying and resting. She would stick out her tongue and make a swallowing motion repeatedly. While filming her with my phone, she opened her sleepy green eyes and looked around for the first time. I wondered if Aria could make me out behind all those layers of glass, but babies can't see too far at first so that may be unlikely.
Ahh! I want to hold her! Vanessa does too. She only got to see Aria briefly and hasn't held her yet. While watching Aria, I couldn't help but worry about how Vanessa was after being gutted. They finally wheeled her out around 9pm and let her look at Aria with me for a bit. Too little! Vanessa was saddened by that. She was carted off to a shared room with another mother who had also undergone a cesarean. The room was kind of hot and stuffy, and the nurses layered an electric blanket and a comforter on Vanessa. She was so hot she was sweating! The nurse peeled back the comforter when Vanessa complained, but why no air-conditioning! I wiped off her damp forehead, and to cheer her up we watched the videos I had taken.
As of writing this, it is now 8am the following day. Sleeping in a hospital is no fun! I am sitting next to Vanessa, and the big belly that was ever present these many months has flattened. She can finally lay on her back!
I snuck a peek at Vanessa's scar while a nurse was applying something to it. The stitched cut runs vertically from an inch below her navel down to her lower waist. I hope it heals okay! Although it's slightly to the right of her bellybutton, Vanessa feels most of the pain on her left. Referred pain, maybe? She has a button she can press to administer a dose of painkillers once in a half-hour. There's some weird deflated plastic bottle slightly filled with a diluted-wine colored liquid that might be her blood, resting on her belly with a tube connecting somewhere. Wut R Dis Medical Apparatus!
I wonder how long it will take before we can take our new human home. Cesareans take longer to heal, and Aria is 3 weeks early, so it might be awhile. Vanessa is feeling frustrated that she still has not been able to hold her daughter. She wants to bond with her baby, dammit! Maybe because she has to lay flat due to her surgery she can't? Or maybe it's a culture difference? Hard to say right now.
I've been kicked out of the room now. No idea what's to come. They want to prick my finger and take my blood for science! I hate needles, noooooooo! I don't know my own blood type, so the doctor wants to find out.
Well, wish us luck! We'll need about eighteen years worth!