If all goes as planned (I KNOW. But it might, okay?), I’ll deliver my second baby girl this morning. As I planned and prepared over the past month, my emotions swung from one extreme to another, fueled by memories and fears and anticipation and nerves.
And, you know, hormones.
Last week, when I couldn’t stop the tape in my head from replaying one continuous loop, I felt a tiny bit like I was getting ready for a vacation or business trip. As I mentally listed the clothes I couldn’t wear again (because I needed to pack them) and then figured out the last possible minute I could safely wash the last load of towels and underwear, I was excited.
Things were getting checked off my to-do list, the nursery was taking shape and almost organized, and the six-year-old who’s been so very argumentative and sassy and baby-talking-y for the past couple of months morphed into the sweetest, most excited almost-big-sister I’ve ever seen.
Then she asked me, quietly, at bedtime: “Mommy…how will they get the baby out of your tummy?”
We’ve talked about this several times over the past several months. She knows the doctors are going to perform surgery and that they’ll sew me up afterwards. This time she was asking specifically about what kind of tool they’d be using.
Answering with honesty and simplicity seemed the way to go, so I said gently, “They’ll use a sharp knife.”
Well, I’m sure you can imagine how THAT went. Soon we were both panicky and teary-eyed – hopefully with me hiding it better than her.
Still, I can’t help but be as scared as a little girl about parts of this delivery.
[Which is why it’s no coincidence at all that our most recent readings in Annalyn’s Jesus Storybook Bible are all about trusting God and not giving into fear. I tell you what, every single time we pick it up, that book is like a love letter to me as well as my daughter, the supposed target audience!]
See, the last time I had a baby, things didn’t exactly go as planned or expected. Not even close.
But today as I’m writing this post (about a week before you’re reading it), all I can think of is a list of random bits that start with The last time I had a baby…
The Last Time I Had a Baby…
…I was not ready. (I’m not really ready now, either.)
…The nursery didn’t have cute curtains yet. (It doesn’t now, either.)
…I hadn’t taken a birthing class or finished reading those books. (Nope.)
…I had no idea what was happening with my body. (Still don’t.)
…I had time to shave my legs before going to the hospital. (Here’s hoping!)
…My bag wasn’t packed. (Well, kind of. But not completely. Yet.)
…My entire family showed up to stare at me and those monitors.
…I heard, “Did you feel that? Was that a contraction?” more than I wanted.
…I was poked and prodded mercilessly with steroid shots, an IV and an epidural.
…My doctor was out of town. (She’s got me on her calendar this time!)
…The on-call doctor was mean. (Fingers crossed I only deal with MY doctor!)
…A specialist came in to tell me why the only way to save me was to deliver early.
…The room turned orange.
…Mark called my parents to come back to the hospital NOW.
…I asked if I was going to die. He said, “I don’t know.”
…I cried when they told me to curl up for the big shot.
…We laughed when we were scared out of our minds.
…I looked at that teeny tiny person, confused by how sick she made me.
…I said weird things while drugged up.
…I lost control of, um, bodily functions.
…I let my cousin and mom see me naked because a shower trumped modesty.
…The nurse told my mom my baby might die if I didn’t breastfeed right away.
…My mom made sure I didn’t see that nurse again.
…They brought my baby to my room, from the NICU, in case…I’m not sure why…
…They wheeled me to the NICU, and I held her.
…I got sick again and wanted to leave.
…I went back to my room and wanted to stay there.
…I started feeling better.
…I finally held my baby without feeling dizzy.
…I went home without her.
Annalyn was born seven weeks early because I developed severe pre-eclampsia. She weighed less than four pounds but only stayed in the NICU for about two and a half weeks. Eventually, I recovered, she came home, and we bonded like crazy.
But the scars are still there. And the fear of what if it happens again has been close to the surface for this entire second pregnancy. I’ve mostly held the panic at bay, but it hasn’t completely disappeared. And as I’m getting ready to do the same thing so differently, I’m finding it a bit difficult to focus on the here and the now and the miraculous and the redemption.
I keeping trying, though, because the miracle and the redeeming are REAL – and while they’re not really more important than my memories and my fears, they will certainly overshadow those hard things in the long run.
No matter what happens this time, I have had a fairly problem-free pregnancy this time around. No swelling, no blood pressure spikes, no crazy weight gains, no bed rest and no early delivery. No matter how things go this morning, TODAY is different than the last time I had a baby.
I can’t wait to share my new delivery story with you, my new memories – the ones that might not erase the old ones, but will certainly balance them out and redeem that scary experience for our family’s big picture story. And pictures – definitely stay tuned for pictures!
[If you want a sneak peek at photos, get thee to Facebook, where I’m sure I’ll share them first!]
For now, here are a few of my favorites from LAST TIME…because the last time I had a baby? She was strong-willed from the get-go, super sweet, a great sleeper and eater, and the biggest reason we’re doing this ANOTHER TIME.