I had a scheduled C section for two reasons. One reasons was because I had had a C with Jonathan and the other was the fact that I had so much fluid and they didn't know why. Once they got me open, they were suctioning out all the fluid. My level of fluid was amazing to everyone in the room, and they had to get a second suction canister. My doctor told me I had 2 1/2 liters of fluid, which apparently is a lot. Next, to get Zadie out, there was a lot of pulling and pushing. She was out! It's a girl! I teared up a little when I heard those words. Lots of hair, just like when Jonathan came out. They brought her over to the exam table and the neonatologist examined her. BJ went over to take pictures and I saw the doctor talking to him. I heard "cleft palate" and I was trying to hear more. I finally caught BJ's eye and asked, "is she ok?" He smiled and said, "she's fine!" He told me that the doctor said she had a small cleft palate, but that it wasn't a huge concern. There would be surgery down the line. My OB further reassured me, saying she hadn't even seen it (not that she necessarily would). If only anyone had any clue what we all had ahead of us!
Anyway, I got to hold her and she looked so much like Jonathan!
I was finally taken up to my room on the 6th floor. Since I had given birth to Jonathan in the same hospital, almost exactly three years earlier, they had changed a lot. All maternity rooms were now private, there were no set visiting hours, and you could have as many visitors as you liked. I was looking forward to these changes, since the day Jonathan was born, I had a roommate and they were strict about the two visitors at a time rule. My room looked like a hotel suite. My sister-in-law brought Jonathan later on in the afternoon, along with my niece and nephew, Stevi and Nicholas (future Godparents, although no one knew that at the time). My father-in-law also came. Meanwhile, we were all (im)patiently waiting for Zadie to be brought to the room. I called my nurse several times asking where Zadie was. Finally, I was told to call the newborn nursery to ask.
I gave birth to Zadie at 11 am. At this point, it was probably around 5 pm. I called the nursery and was put on hold. When the nurse came back on the line, she said, "oh, they tried to feed her, and she didn't do well, so she's going to the NICU." That was the beginning of one of the best days of my life being turned into one of the worst. BJ was out of the room at the time and he came back in to see me sobbing on the phone. I could just barely tell him that she was ok so that I didn't freak him out even more. Even worse, BJ couldn't go see her immediately. They had to set her up in the NICU, so he had to wait for about an hour. He finally got to see her and reassured me that she was ok.
Meanwhile, a plastic surgeon from the craniofacial team at St. Barnabas had been called in by Zadie's pediatrician. He examined her and was the one who diagnosed her with Pierre Robin Sequence. He told us that she would have to stay until she learned to eat on her own. I asked him how long he expected that to take, and he said maybe several days to a week. A week! Just the idea of her being in the hospital for a week killed me. Again, if only we had known what we had ahead of us!
Since I had a C section, I couldn't get out of bed for 12 hours from the surgery, so that meant I had to wait until 11 pm. I was able to be wheeled down in a wheelchair to see my little girl. She was sleeping, but hooked up to all sorts of tubes and wires. It was a relief to see her, but so sad to know I couldn't hold her or feed her or even sleep near her. Unfortunately, the NICU is on the 3rd floor and I was on the 6th floor, so I was about as far away from her as I could have been. And this is how I left Zadie on her first day of life.
I'm so grateful that tonight, I get to tuck her into her own crib right down the little hall from our bedroom and tomorrow morning I get to get her up and play with her and feed her. Happy birthday, sweet baby girl. You've come so far in the past year and I can only imagine what you'll accomplish in the next year!