Since my 20-week appointment in early December 2010, I knew my son Branch was going to have a sister.
My husband said he knew it was a girl all along and just agreed with my boy-choice for a name (It was Banner. Cute, no?) because he knew it would never happen. We had a time coming up with her name, and finally settled on Virginia (“Ginny”).
This was my second pregnancy—Branch was born in 2008. At 3 years old, he continues to rock our world—literally. He loves to play music and bang on his drums—and so, this time around, I was a bit distracted during my gestation. The time flew by and suddenly it was springtime. I was swollen, uncomfortable and staring down a due date with little to no preparation. We knew what was coming—we’d done it before, right? So what was the big deal? Nursery’s not finished? Bah. We’ll get it there before she needs it. No car seat two weeks out? Whatevs. We’ll get one. No worries.
Seriously. We were taking it easy.
So, I stopped working a couple weeks before the due date (teaching middle school while ENORMOUS is a fresh hell I was glad to step away from) and hung out at home getting “ready” for Ginny. Basically, I washed every stitch of clothing I’d been given for her, opened a box of diapers, and watched a LOT of Netflix.
On April 8, I woke up late, which I could hardly believe. I had a scheduled C-section at 10 a.m. that morning in another town, and I managed to sleep in? I shake my head every time I think of that little detail. My husband and I had packed our bags the night before (See? Still taking it easy!) and left for the hospital when my parents arrived to watch Branch. I wasn’t worried. I’d had a section with Branch, and was up, walking, talking and holding a baby that same evening. All that I’d heard about sections and the pain in recovery was just talk—I’d done well the last time around. I wasn’t worried in the least.
At the hospital, we were checked in, got to our room, and I promptly had my wedding rings cut off by a gentleman from the emergency room. I’d got so swollen so quickly, I never could get them off while pregnant. I think my finger is still thanking me for that sweet relief. I was wheeled into the operating room right on time, and got ready for the big hey-you-get-a-baby-with-almost-no-work-and-really-not-that-bad-of-recovery BIRTH OF GINNY.
Things went differently from what I had pictured almost from the get-go. I was getting a spinal block for the surgery— and it simply wouldn’t take. They told my husband it’d be about 10 minutes, and it turned into almost 40. When I finally was numb, and the doctors and nurses got started, I was incredibly nervous. I’m sure it was the drugs—I told myself it was the drugs—but nevertheless, I was in anxiety DEFCON 1. It took forever to get through my scar-tissue leftover from Branch—almost an hour of hard work by my OB. (I picture her sweating and out of breath, but maybe my brain is just making that part up.)
Ginny was born at 11:47. We learned that she had developed a “true knot” in her umbilical cord—and that had she been a vaginal birth she most likely wouldn’t have made it. They danced around that little tidbit and focused on the screaming little lady in the warmer on the other side of the room—so it really didn’t sink in that Branch helped his sister survive (by assuring I’d need another section) until later in the day. And sink in it did. She’s a miracle, and Branch is even more of one for helping give her to us.
Back to the table—good gravy was I uncomfortable. When I was closed up after Branch’s delivery, I remember there being 15 minutes worth of surgery, 20 TOPS. We talked about Memorial Day plans and going to the lake for Pete’s sake! But this time around, after laying there for another almost 45 minutes getting put back together (and mind you, I was on heavy drugs at this point) I was getting very, very irritated and was ready to flee. At about this point I end my own recollections and have to depend on my husband’s replay:
He says I had an ‘Incredible Hulk’ moment when I tried to sit up and ended up tearing out of my arm restraints. I was yelling at the doctor and nurses, cussing at them in combinations I simply don’t use. That’s how my husband says he knew I was out of it—my profanities took a turn for the weird. I also stated my favorite place to vacation was Bristol Metals. Bristol Metals is where my husband works. Apparently I also answered all questions while growling. Nice. There are more little gems of this nature, but we’ll leave it at that. I was a mess. Case closed. It’s a lovely, delicate, heart-warming experience for some to have babies—but I just lose my damn mind.
I simply remember waking up, back in my room, with my family around Ginny. Holding her, talking to her, and saying how much she resembled her brother. I was sick through most of the day from the anesthesia, which wasn’t a surprise. But I held Ginny. She slept on my chest. We had skin-to-skin time and I thought I’d conquered childbirth yet again with little to no pain and/or humiliation. (My husband filled me in on my lively O.R. antics later than night when everyone else had gone home. Bless that guy for saving it for a time I’d laugh as hard as he did telling me about it.)
Ginny was 7 lbs, 11 oz, 18 inches long, and she was alive—and really, I didn’t care about much else. I was in pain—a lot of it this time—and under no illusions that I’d formerly held that “it’s easier the second time.” It was difficult to walk, hard to sit up to nurse, and just plain bloody in ways that I hated people to had to deal with- but, y’all—Ginny was HERE.
Now she’s smiling, vocalizing, and looking me, her daddy and her brother dead in the eye. She’s already loved by so many, and goodness GRACIOUS I’m so glad she’s here in the swing next to me as I write this story.
Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!