Also, there are a dozen or so pictures at the bottom of this post, for your viewing pleasure! :)
We all got ready and threw our last minute items into our bags. It felt so different having a scheduled c-section, and so much calmer! (With Nicholas I went into labor naturally and then it ended in a c-section.) We piled into the car, clicked Nicky into his carseat - next to the empty one that awaited his brother! - and drove to my parents. Of course my mom was teary-eyed as we pulled up. Those moments of cuddling Nicholas and getting him situated for his "sleepover" with Grandma and Grandpa were so sweet. Brian and I gave him extra long hugs and a million kisses. I held his chubby cheeks in my hands and told him how much I loved him and how special he was to me. And he was so excited to tell Grandma that we were going to the "hop-ital" to have his brother! (More tears.)
Brian and I drove to the hospital, holding hands and listening to Ellie Holcomb. Her music is so calming and speaks so much of Jesus' grace, so I'd planned to listen to her during that morning as a way to prepare my heart and calm my mind. We checked in, and the fun began! :) God's grace was so present in the room. My nurse and the nursing student helping her were so funny and sweet. We all chatted and laughed through putting in my IV and all the other surgery prep that took place. This hospital is ranked as one of the best hospitals in Washington for maternal care, and randomly their computer system was down that day. So prep for surgery took a little longer than expected. But soon enough, they had me walking to the OR as I dragged my IV stand alongside of me. A new nurse helped me put on a sweet shower cap type of thing, and she told me that her nephew was named Rainier! My OBGYN met me outside of the OR and we walked in together, as Brian got his scrubs on outside. More prep happened, Brian joined me in the room, and they were preparing for my epidural.
Then the computer glitch took over.
Because the computers were down, they couldn't get some important bloodwork numbers that were necessary to start surgery. So we sat for about 15 minutes with everyone in the operating room totally ready to go - just waiting for that little number. Nurses were on the phone trying to get it worked out, and for some reason, I started to panick. I had felt totally calm up to that point, but I think the total STOP in momentum made me realize I was about to have major surgery. I half was starting to fall asleep (weird? hormones? who knows.) and half going to freak out and cry. Brian was sitting in front of me and I asked him to pray. From behind his sterile face mask, he spoke to the Lord on my behalf and asked Him to be with us as our son entered the world. We held each other's hands and took that moment together. After a few minutes, my bloodwork numbers came through, and we were a go!
C-sections are so weird, if you've never had one. You can't feel the surgical instruments, pain wise, but you can feel ALL the pressure and tugging. It's pretty uncomfortable. I was happy that this wasn't my first c-section, because I knew to expect that. Brian held my hand and told me how well I was doing as they cut, pulled, and tugged. (Sorry if that's TMI!) After about 10 minutes, they said, "He's almost out!" (So fast!) The pressure in my adbdomen got super intense, and I felt a giant push and pull. My OBGYN said, "Wow, look at all that hair!" (AHH! Amazing to hear.) Then one more giant tug, which almost felt like a balloon popping - and my sweet boy. He was here.
The anesthesiologist quickly opened a flap in the big curtain that was in front of my belly, and my doc held our sweet Rainier up for us to see - TONS OF DARK BROWN HAIR! He let out a little squeak, and then a big o'l cry (just like when Nicholas was born). I immediately burst into tears and said thankful, thankful prayers to my God.
The doctors took Rainier over to a table to be checked out (normal with a c-section, as there is more risk involved), and Brian narrated to me as they cut his cord. 7 lbs 9 ounces, 21 and a half inches long! I was sure he'd be an 8 pounder, but wouldn't you know he was a few ounces smaller than his big brother. As my boys were a few feet away, I began to feel a lot of pain in my abdomen, right above my belly button. It was as if the epidural was wearing off, and the pain started getting pretty intense. I tried to take a few deep breaths and stay calm, and told the anesthesiologist what was happening. He quickly gave me more pain medication, and a few minutes later the pain subsided. That was the only scary part, which I am quite thankful for. About 3 minutes after he was born, Brian brought Rainier wrapped in a blanket and laid him on my chest. I couldn't really hold him, because of where the curtain was, but I held my face on his cheek and he just stared at me, wide awake. Oh that moment. My sweet boy was healthy, chunky, and a brunette like his daddy! Amazing.
I got to enjoy him like that for about 15 minutes as they sewed me up, and then we headed to my recovery room. Rainier was awake the whole time, and Brian was falling in love with his mini-me. They used this awesome inflatable type of mattress to slide me onto my hospital bed (I don't know how it worked, but it was cool!), then a few minutes of wrestling with IV cords and getting my pain medication managed, and then I really got to hold my boy for the first time. I will never forget that first moment when I held Rainer on my chest, his little naked body so warm and sweet. I ran my fingers across his tiny body and just cried and smiled. He. Was. Perfect. AND THE HAIR! So much of it. He breastfed for about an hour straight, and we just soaked in every heavenly moment. That moment right there makes me want to have a million babies.
The day was so sweet. Rainier slept a LOT (duh). Our parents came, and there were many happy tears. Rainier got a bath and we realized then that he had a true natural faux hawk. My mom brought Nicholas to meet Rainier, and it was so great. I'll probably post on that more later, but it was wonderful. Nicholas wasn't 100% interested in Rainier, but it was happy and sweet and he knew right away that the baby was his little brother, so I couldn't have asked for more. Several of our siblings came to visit, and in between Brian and I just stared at our little guy.
I'm so, so grateful for such a good birth experience. The Lord brought incredible nurses to us for our entire 3-day stay. One of my nurses happened to be the mom of one of our friends, and she went above and beyond - bringing us gifts for Rainier and praying over him that he would trust in Jesus. Rainier ate and ate and ate the entire time we were there (ouch!), and we had a few hiccups in breastfeeding, but by his 2nd week we were both doing great in that regard. (Which I am so grateful for because I know that a ton of moms have a way harder time with breastfeeding, from no fault of their own.)
I can't believe that those first days were two months ago. They were quiet, sweet, exhausting, and wonderful. Rainier Caleb, our little "wise warrior, faithful and bold." We love you and we are so grateful that God has entrusted us with you. May you know Him intimately and boldly trust Him.
And now, the pictures:
Dropping off Nicholas at my mom's house, our last photo as a family of 3!
Getting prepped for the OR
Our sweet boy is here!
Our first moments.
Back in the recovery room an hour later.
Big brother meeting little brother! (With a car in hand, of course.)
Mohawk right after his first bath.
My boys, all together at home.
And finally, a picture to show just how much Rainier and Brian look alike!