What an immensely different experience welcoming our second baby into the world. You can read more about our first experience on this post, from when I had my darling winter baby in a snow storm.
This time around it was May 2018, an unseasonably hot month with flowers in full bloom and the entire town enjoying the heat. It was a far different experience to start, since we knew that it was a scheduled c-section this time (we discovered in my last delivery that my pelvic bone would never allow for a vaginal birth). It was weird (and hard!) to fall asleep the night before the surgery. It was like trying to fall asleep on Christmas Eve. Our hospital bags were expertly packed and we were snuggled into bed talking about how much our lives were about to change, again. My amazing sister moved in that day to stay with us for a few weeks to help while I recovered and with the transition for Louella, so she was there that night. We wanted everything to stay as routine as possible for the 15 month old.
We set our alarm for 5:00am. One of the hardest parts, on top of the natural nerves you feel prior to a major surgery, was not being able to eat or drink. I could handle no food (as a mom, I'm used to eating last, and sometimes missing breakfast...) but the lack of water was absolute torture. I was especially accustomed to being extremely hydrated since my biggest craving while pregnant is ice water. Everything was already packed in the car, so we just had to have a shower with the cleansing sponges they ask you to use, and then through the Tim Horton's drive thru (for Jakob... he drank his coffee in front of me... still bitter!), and within 15 minutes from leaving our driveway, we were checking into our hospital suite. It was a different hospital from our first delivery and what a beautiful space its as in comparison. Fortunately, we had most of the same amazing maternity nurses.
Though it was only a couple of hours, it felt like an eternity waiting to meet our new baby. There were forms to be filled, surgery preparations to be made, and then we were finally in the OR. It was the same team of surgeon, doctor and anesthesiologist so we felt particularly at ease. I was a bit more tense with the spinal the second time around. The first time, I had laboured for so many hours and was so exhausted from lack of sleep through the days of labour, that the epidural was a welcome respite and I recall no pain. This time around, I was well rested and sound of mind so felt slightly more nervous as the anesthesiologist looked for the right spot in my spine. Plus I discovered I have a slight scoliosis so this process took more time. All the things I didn't know were wrong with my insides! The needle hurt a bit more than I remember, but the pain was sharp and over quickly.
The anesthesiologist made pleasant conversation to get my mind off of things as my toes became numb and I lost function of my lower half. He then asked what kind of music we like. I told him we'd been listening to a lot of reggae in the sun, so he actually put on a playlist through the overhead speakers. That was a luxury because it made me feel much more relaxed and blissful in an otherwise angsty experience.
Unfortunately, no delivery can go without a surprise or two, and this one was no different. In this case, when the surgeon made her first incision, she hit a network of veins on my uterus that then began letting out blood like a faucet. It made for a tense experience for the medical team as they rushed to deliver the baby and quickly zip me up again. There was blood on the ground, I felt extremely light headed and the anesthesiologist worked to stabilize my blood pressure. I felt more physical pain in the actual delivery process. Someone mentioned to me that an epidural (which I had while I laboured with Louella, and what remained in during her c-section) is more effective for the pain than the spinal they give you in a scheduled delivery. Either way, I was very thankful for a steady stream of narcs and an experienced team of professionals.
We didn't know the gender going in. We really enjoyed the surprise of our first baby and wanted to have the same experience this time around. When the doctors told us it was a girl, I think I squealed "yes! a girl!". Seeing her face for the first time was an incredible experience. When you have your first baby, you can't imagine what they'll possibly look like when they come. When you have your second, you can't imagine them looking anything other than like our first. As I held her on my chest (while they were quietly panicking to seal me up), I studied her face for similarities and differences from her sister. She had a lot more hair, the same mouth and a slightly different nose. All newborns have squishy faces so it took a couple more days to really get a sense for her features.
In the end, the surgery was much harder on me physically and I had to have a transfusion of 4 units of blood, plus an IV drip for the duration of my stay. I absolutely loathe IV's and catheters. So, although I had a much more calm experience in my 3rd trimester, with the comforting knowledge of when and how my baby would arrive, the surgery and recovery were much more difficult. In the end, both of my beautiful baby girls put me through the ringer. And I don't expect them to stop keeping me on my toes. All of that said, they are both incredible babies; great eaters, sleepers, and very snuggly. The reward was more than worth the pain.