At 3am my alarm went off. Time to eat. I couldn’t eat 8 hours prior to the c-section so Dr. Lum suggested that I wake up at 3am and eat. I sat at Chris’ desk eating peanut butter and jelly with a side of Raisin Nut Bran. I then waddled my swollen body down the hall back to sleep as much as I could. It was going to be a big, special day.
At 10:30am I was dressed, Chris was packing the car with our suitcase and our parents and Mark were grabbing cameras to take last minute photos of us. We were about to head to the hospital to have a baby. Our baby. It was so surreal.
At 11:00am we checked into Christ Hospital. The receptionist, Patty (I have no idea how I remember her name), was super friendly and even told us how much she loves Dr. Lum and his killer margaritas. My nerves started to set in when they took me back to a room to get the IV and answer a bunch of questions. And I was reallllly hungry. I felt a bit light headed but I figured it was just all the emotions. Angela, my nurse, was so sweet. We talked about my fear of the IV and I cried as I pleaded for putting it in my hand. She was really understanding and Chris held on to me while she “did her thing”. It took me about 20 minutes to calm down. I felt so silly crying… here I was going back to have surgery and my only real fear was catching a glimpse of the IV in my hand.
Dr Lum and the anesthesiologist both visited me. Dr. Lum was perky and excited and I tried to hide the fact that I cried over the IV. He had actually talked to the anesthesiologist about my fear so he came in and talked to me beforehand. He was so kind and understanding and said he would take care of me. Dr Lum also ordered a blood sugar check before I went back because I told him about being light headed. It came back at 56 which is really low for me. Dr. Lum actually talked to Chris and said I was borderline for postponing the c-section with such low blood sugar. But they ended up giving me some sugar in my IV afterwards and I was fine.
The anesthesiologist stayed right next to me as the wheeled me down the hall to the operating room. He never stopped talking to me and trying to keep me calm. I was so fortunate to have him there. Not that I was scared but it was comforting knowing someone was right there to tell me exactly what was happening and assure me that I was fine. When he did the spinal to numb me from my chest down I didn’t feel anything. I felt the two numbing shots that were literally bee stings on my back. I then asked him when the spinal was coming and he said it was done. My feet were dangling over the side of the hard table and they started to tingle. Then I carefully laid on my back and everything went numb.
Dr. Lum bounced into the room and put on a CD of music and came to crack jokes with me. I told him I wasn’t looking forward to the catheter and he laughed. He said it was already in. Oh… wow I really had no idea what was going on below the sheet. There were several medical staff in the room all talking and relaxed. Chris came in and sat down by my head. I felt a little loopy and sleepy but I couldn’t feel a thing. Not even the “pressure” other c-section moms talked about.
At 1:26pm Dr. Lum said, “Dad get your camera ready!” Chris snapped her first photo as they held her up for me to see. I instantly started crying. (oh boy, my hormones are kicking in ’cause I’m crying just typing about it). She was perfect. Chris then followed the nurse behind my head to clean her off. Then Chris came back by my head and held her there for me until they finished with the surgery. Next thing I knew they were wheeling me back to the recovery room with baby Annalise in my arms.
Meanwhile in the waiting room…
Still feeling a bit loopy a nurse helped me breast feed and then said I could have 2 people at a time come back to see us. I of course just wanted to see my mom. Chris darted for the waiting room and said, “Alicia wants her mom.”
The friends and family in the waiting room then took turns coming back to see us. I knew I felt loopy and I mentioned it to Jaime later and she said I was a litttttle out of it during this time.
Next they took us to our room where everyone could be together. Everyone took turns holding Annalise and then filtered out when a nurse came in to help me breast feed. My mom was wonderful and could see it on my face that I was overwhelmed with all the people, the pain meds, breast feeding, etc. So she made sure everyone left to give us Courtney Family Time.
Not long after the surgery I told the nurse I wanted to eat. She said that the first night most are too nauseous and can’t keep food down. BUT if I kept a Sierra Mist down then I could eat something other than clear liquids. I sucked that soda down in nothing flat and told them to bring on the menu Iron stomach award here!
That first night I walked to the restroom with the help of two nurses. It wasn’t pretty and well… I will spare you the details of all that. Nothing quite like depending solely on people you don’t know to help you with embarrassing things. I probably said I’m sorry hundreds of times to the nurses over every little thing. Some people say “It is their job. No need to apologize.” But to me I wanted to make sure they knew how much I appreciated all the little things they did for me that I couldn’t do alone.
The next few days were a blur of people visiting, lactation consultants, nurses (good and bad ones), Family Feud and no sleep at all. Every time I would get a second to shut my eyes another doc or nurse would come in. We did send Annalise to the nursery for a few hours at night but they brought her back because she was hungry and I wanted her to breast feed.
Getting the catheter and IV out weren’t bad at all. I of course cried about the IV because I was terrified but it was over quickly. I opted for a vaccine for tetanus and whooping cough. It was a student nurse that did it and if it wasn’t for Brittany telling me to let a student nurse do anything because it really helps their learning experience, I would have probably declined her doing it. The nurse with her stepped her through the whole thing. I bet my eyes were prettty wide and she explained how to give me the shot. Deeeep breaths, Alicia. It was just fine and I told her how wonderful she did. I hope patients do that for my sister… but then again she is pretty awesome so I’m sure they do all the time. It was great to have Brittany there to keep a close watch on everything. At one point, my leg compress thingy stopped working on my left leg. When they took too long to bring me another I thought she was going to take someone down. Then they brought a new one but it was sitting outside the room. Brittany wanted to grab it and put it on. I told her not to (which she didn’t like) so she went and found the nurse. I have a feeling she wasn’t the nicest about it. Ha!
The hospital records came in to get her name. Annalise is a special little girl and yes I know I am her mother so I will always say this. But she has so many people that love her. A couple weeks ago at my weekly lunch with my grandparents, my grandpa George said he had a birthday wish. He said he had been thinking a lot about his mother lately. They were very close. And he always wanted a grandchild or great grandchild named after his mother, Arizona. He said before he dies that would mean a lot to him. At this point we already had her name decided. He said if she is born on his birthday, September 28th, to please consider it. Chris and I talked it over and no matter when she was born we were going to add the name Arizona to her birth certificate. I can even see her as a teenager insisting that we call her Arizona during her phase of self discovery which would actually be pretty cool. Our little girl now has two angels up above watching over her for the rest of time. I know my Aunt Kathleen was there the whole time she was being born. She helped me stay calm and even blessed her with a double crown on the back of head; something only my aunts Kathleen and Maxine and sister Brittany have. I know my aunt Kathleen wouldn’t have missed her birth for anything and I just knew she was there with us. Now she has my great grandmother Arizona watching over her too.
On Saturday, Dr Lum came in with his “street clothes” on and talked to us before discharging me. I told him proudly that I was a day ahead of the norm with all my bodily functions. ”Oh, most don’t pass gas the first night? Challenge accepted and conquered.” He told us he would miss seeing us all the time. We kept him on his toes and were always cracking jokes
After getting all the proper discharge papers signed I slowly helped Chris pack up. I wasn’t feeling 100% so we took our time.
On our way home I sat in the back seat of the CRVEX with Annalise. We were in the car about 10 minutes before Chris yelled at another driver, “Don’t you come over here in my lane! I have my baby in here!” And he was serious. I’ve never seen road rage from Chris before but as soon as it may have threatened his little girl… game on!
We arrived home with flashing cameras from our parents, Mark, his girlfriend Jessica and Aunt Maxine. We took her up to our place and they took turns coming up to see us and I took a cat nap.
The hardest part: Absolute exhaustion from the lack of sleep
The easiest part: her actual birth. No contractions, no pain, done in an hour.
The best part: Holding her on my chest with just our little family in the room.
Welcome to the world little Annalise Kathleen Arizona Courtney. You are for sure the most loved child in all the world.