Looking back on my tongue-in-cheek pregnancy update from January 29th, I smile, but also shake my head at my blithe approach to only half the story. The other half was that from 32 weeks on, I was being monitored fairly closely for a partial placental abruption--when part of the placenta detaches from the uterine wall. I was not put on bed rest, but I was being pretty careful not to overdo it and we were scheduled to deliver our girl by c-section on February 13th at 37 weeks, just to play it safe. This was confirmed for certain on Friday, January 31st.
So at 8:00 PM on Saturday, February 1st when we said goodnight to Ford, shut his door and then shortly realized that we needed to go to the hospital, the MM and I were pretty shaken, to say the least. We couldn't reach our back-up babysitters to stay with Ford, but miraculously caught a family friend at home. "I'll be there in five minutes" were the sweetest six words in the English language at that moment. We met her on the front steps, said a quick thank you, and headed out.
The drive to the hospital was the longest fifteen minutes of my life. I felt the baby move a few times, but no number of kicks would have been enough to convince me to stay calm. When we finally arrived, "I'll be there in five minutes" was totally eclipsed by the sound of her steady heartbeat on the fetal monitor and the nurse saying "she sounds great." We still weren't sure what would happen next, and waited for the OB on call to arrive. He walked in and said, "So we're going to have this baby tonight, then, aren't we?" In our state of relief, we'd barely noticed the nurses starting to scurry around, bring the MM a pair of scrubs and page the anesthesiologist. It was go-time.
We had a very, very abbreviated discussion about the surgery, but did get the nod from the medical team that we could have her on my chest ASAP if she was stable. Still breech, Eleanor Thomas Cundy entered the world butt-first (girlfriend is going to have a sense of humor, right?) at 10:10 PM and promptly started crying. That sound topped all the others! She weighed five pounds and seven ounces and was 18 inches long. A little thing, but for arriving at 35 and a 1/2 weeks, we were thrilled. Because she was stable, they brought her to me very quickly and I got to spend about fifteen minutes with her on my chest and nursed her. This clearly blew some of the nurses away, but I was glad they supported it.
In a strange way, sweet Eleanor's birth was more calm and relaxed for me than Ford's. I had already made peace with not having that hoped-for VBAC, so the c-section was expected. I wasn't strung out on exhaustion, pitocin and epidural anethesia, and I hadn't had the time to get the excited jitters as I might have the night before a scheduled delivery. It happened so fast and was over practically before we would have turned out the lights for the night at home. Except that we were now asleep in a cramped hospital room and I had a catheter. But you know, details.
By gaining weight and avoiding jaundice, Eleanor was discharged from the hospital with me on Tuesday and came home. This felt like a huge victory when there could have been so many possible complications. The ensuing two and a half weeks have been predictably foggy and exhausting as we adjust to being a family of four, remember what it feels like to only sleep for two and three hours at a time (pre-terms have to nurse all the time), and I recover from the c-section. Toss in three utterly miserable days of stomach flu for the MM, Ford and I each (that's one way to drop the baby weight, but I would not recommend it), and you can understand why it's taken awhile to announce our darling girl's arrival.
Welcome to our family, Eleanor! We wish you could have cooked a few weeks longer, but want to thank God and you for being such a strong, beautiful little thing thus far. We hope to do right by you until you're bigger and stronger. Even if that means your mama has turned into a slightly crazy, house-bound germaphobe on your behalf. We love you so much!