The 28th

Right now in our family, all of the new generation were born on the 28th ...

Shelby Hope July 28th, 2012

Cousin Caleb June 28th, 2013

Victoria Grace May 28th, 2014

All exactly 11 months apart! You can't plan that. Well, maybe just a little ... when you have a repeat Cesarean. But it was mostly a coincidence that my Dr does surgery on Wednesdays, and the Wednesday that was within a week of my due date was the 28th.

Anyways - today is the 28th, so Shelby is exactly 2 1/2 ... Victoria Grace is 8 months old ... and Cousin Caleb is 19 months old!

Shelby when she was about 8 months old
Thinking about Tori's birth reminded me that I wanted to write about my C-section. With Shelby, my HELLP syndrome was so advanced that I couldn't receive an epidural or a spinal block because my platelets were too low. It was an emergency, full anesthesia Cesarean from which I awoke some time later, stitched up and being offered my sweet baby girl for the first time. Everyone else had already met her! It was a little surreal ... though the memory that broke through the foggy mist of my very sick and drugged state is her little hands. I noticed those delicate, tiny, yet graceful hands first.

With Victoria, we arrived at the hospital the morning of surgery. Everything was planned out - GiGi and Dude were taking Shelby and though she seemed a little nervous and apprehensive she was excited too. She still loves to look at the pictures GiGi printed up in a little album for us!

We went upstairs and I waited in a prep room curtained off from a few others who were having surgery that day. I still felt a little "made over" as apparently even the L&D nurses don't see a lot of HELLP and they wanted to be sure I didn't have it again. Other than an elevated blood pressure though, I was fine for a "normal" Cesarean.

Once again, the anesthesiologist assistant was my hero. I know there are a lot of unsung heroes in the medical field, but for me these guys take the cake. They know all about what is going on, and seem specially trained to put you at ease without you feeling hoodwinked. Neither of mine have been patronizing at all, they were quick to tell me exactly what was going on. She  prepped me (and turned off the weird heater suit when it made me feel sick) and worked her magic. I still didn't like the idea of a needle in my spine, but there it went and with a little rocking of the table to make sure I was even I had the strange sensation of having NO sensation from about mid-chest down.

Now people had tried to explain a regular Cesarean to me, and while it is accurate to say that you "feeling tugging" but no pain - that makes it sound so much worse. Sure, I could tell they were moving and manipulating my body - but I couldn't TELL what they were doing. There was no moment where my brain screamed "THEY'RE CUTTING MY BELLY!" I had no idea exactly when it happened.

Do be warned ... if you are squeamish, do NOT look up at the reflector in the lights. I was able to see at one point that my intestines were out of my body and that my body was unbelievably wide open. Nah - you don't need to see that. Even Tim had to look away (he watched quite a bit of it over the curtain) when they stretched the incision open.

They struggled some to get Victoria Grace out ... she was breach and had her head tucked up nicely into my ribcage area. She had to be essentially folded up to come out. It was weird hearing all this going on, and being apologized to because I'd be sore later from all the tugging and stretching, but soon she was out and I got to see her right away! And you know what, it was still magical. She was angry and I was shivering uncontrollably from the "hormone dump" ... but it was magic, there she was this angry little wriggling thing who had been in my tummy so many months. Welcome to the world sweetheart!

So while I have no point of reference about recovery, it wasn't THAT bad. It is annoying, but a surgical laceration heals a lot faster than an accidental one and eventually you do feel normal again. The hardest thing the second time around was not being able to pick Shelby up, but I had done my best to do so as much as possible beforehand and to tell her mommy wouldn't be able to for a while but that I still love her just as much. And while I'm pretty "crunchy" ... I have to say I enjoyed my Cesarean. The first one saved my life and Shelby's life, and the second one just had to be. I try not to waste time lamenting the natural birth I dreamed of. I just wasn't meant to know true labor.

She was so excited to meet her sister. She still gets excited about her, even though we're getting to the stage (8 months old and cruising) that Shelby doesn't always appreciate her attention or her efforts to play together. Victoria, on the other hand, ADORES Shelby. No one has gotten her to laugh the way big sister can.

Shelby seeing Victoria for the first time

"Sharing" the Little People castle

I hope they will always be close at heart ... not just in age.