At 8am I shuffled down the hallway followed by a nurse who had my IV pole in one hand while holding my robe closed with the other. Exactly on time.
A few minutes later I was hunched over, gripping the life out of another poor young nurse’s hands while a needle was inserted into my spinal fluid to deliver the anesthesia. There was a bit of trouble finding the right spot and it took a couple tries-OUCH- but soon I was being laid down as a warm tingling very quickly flooded my body into numbness. Exactly as they said it would happen.
My nerves shown in my elevating blood pressure. I got nauseous but there was medicine for that. It was all happening so fast. Only a couple of more minutes passed before I felt those strange tugs they had mentioned and then—“WAHHH WAHHH WAHHH!” At 8:32am my ears and heart filled with that beautifully strained cry of a newborn that I had never heard before. She was held up so I could see her- my lovely baby girl. She continued to cry as they wiped her down and weighed her. My eyes filled with tears. This is the way it’s supposed to happen!
Sometimes things actually go as planned. I was overwhelmed! She was laid down on my chest and I officially met Lucy Rae for the first time a mere 3 minutes after she was born. She was 7lbs. 11oz. and 19in long. She looked nothing like I imagined with her surprisingly full head of nearly black, straight hair and her olive complexion. I never had heartburn during my pregnancy with her, so we were expecting a pale, bald baby who would look just like her dad when she came out. Nope. Sorry, dad. Some family even said she would have red hair; probably because of the influence of Lucille Ball in our naming of Lucy Rae. Nope. She entered this world perfectly healthy, perfectly beautiful, and ready to eat (which is a task she always seems to be ready for)!
We were kept for observation after my surgery where we enjoyed skin-to-skin time with dad right by our side. I was completely clear minded. My blood pressure had returned to normal and I felt so happy. It wasn’t long before we were taken to our room where we would get to stay with our baby and finally order lunch. This was all so foreign to me! But I was thrilled to finally be experiencing it all. We got to explain to each nurse that, yes, this was our second child, but that it was our first time on this floor and that we didn’t really know how this part of the process works. Lucy’s big brother Jonah wasn’t breathing when he was born and was taken to the NICU straight away (you can read more about his story here or here). When that happens, you don’t get to go to the mother-baby floor. They keep you on a separate floor so you don’t have to hear the neighboring newborn cries. It’s weird to have a baby for the second time but to have so many firsts.
However, in the same breath, how special it is to still get to have some firsts with our second child! We had never heard those first “just born” cries. We had never had that skin-to-skin time straight away. We had never gotten to room-in with our baby. Breastfeeding wasn’t this easy before. We had never been discharged from the hospital on the same day as our baby; and certainly not after only 2 1/2 days of recovery! It felt too soon, but it was good to go home where Jonah was and to have the weekend together in our own home as a new family of four.
Everything about Lucy’s birth was different. Everything about her life so far has been different. “Normal” isn’t normal for us. We have a two year old with cerebral palsy and a newborn who is typical. It will never be “normal” for us, but we are blessed beyond measure to have our kids the way we do. We look forward to them growing up together. In many ways they may be like twins. They will likely (and hopefully) learn to do many things at the same time. I pray they will be best friends, that they will encourage one another, and that they will protect each other.
What’s next for this atypical family of ours? We’re a family of four now, but we’re only just getting started. Our story is only partially written. We can’t wait to see what, and who, God has in store for us next!
“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” Ecclesiastes 11:5 NIV
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28 NIV