Thursday, August 8, 2013

The BIRTH Story: Part 2

The last few months have been pretty crazy around the Cooper house.  We sold our townhouse in Rexburg in 7 weeks, much faster than we anticipated.  We were thankfully able to find a house in Idaho Falls that we LOVE, and we closed on it just one week after our house in Rexburg closed.  With the stress of moving, unpacking, working on putting a yard in, and having my photography business pick up so much, I have just been treading water to stay afloat.  However, I am so content with the wonderful things that fill my day and keep me busy that I can't complain.  Now that I have things somewhat under control, I am ready to pick up where I left of a few months ago.

My pregnancy with Emrie was a dream!  I was never sick, still slept very well, and I was able to go about my daily tasks as a teacher and coach with very little change.  I was at the school before 7:00 for practice, and I managed to stay awake into the late evening hours each night, whether I was grading or attending games with my cheerleaders.  I attribute a lot of my energy to the fact that I was up and moving around all the time.  I think if I had been at home without as many opportunities to stay active, I might not have had that energy.  I will have to really work on that with my next pregnancy.   For obvious reasons, I LOVED being pregnant.  Feeling that baby move inside me was always an exciting event, and even my students would share in the fun when they could see the baby move visibly from the comfort of their desks.  So much fun!  I remember waiting for the day to come when I would have to waddle around and dramatically raise and lower myself from seats.  Television shows always make that last month seem like a woman is a walking planet that can't easily navigate or gain momentum.  However, I remember jogging around cheer practice the morning I had my baby like a crazy person.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for the next pregnancy to be as comfortable.  However, I doubt I will be that lucky.

On a Friday morning in January, I had my 39 week appointment.  I remember telling my girls at practice that morning that I hoped I would end up with a baby sometime the next week, and that we should all pray that the appointment went well.  I had no signs of baby earlier----no contractions of any kind my whole pregnancy.  I was sure they would tell me they saw no progress and tell me to schedule another appointment for the next week. However, at this appointment, it was determined that I needed to have a C-section that same day.  Baby and Mommy were fine----but long story short, there was a condition that concerned us all enough that we didn't want to take our chances.  We set an appointment for 5:00 that evening.

I cried the whole way home.

The whole idea of having this a C-section just scared me.  People talked about longer recovery time, more intense recovery pain, etc.  I called every member of my family and sobbed into the phone as I explained that I would need the surgery.  However, I was comforted by some great people in my life (my mom, my mother-in-law, and one of my besties, Amy Leatham).  They calmed me down and brought to light some things about the surgery that I hadn't considered.  By the time I arrived to our house in Rexburg, most fears had vanished.

Josh and I grabbed our things, packed up the car, then laughed together as we wondered what we would do to pass the time for the next few hours.  We tried unsuccessfully to nap.  We distracted ourselves by watching television.  Finally, we made the drive back to Idaho Falls to have the baby.

We met Marsha, Josh's mom, in the labor and delivery unit of the hospital.  She works there as a nurse.  Over the next couple hours until my 5:00 surgery, she worked to get me prepped.  She hooked me up to my IV to get fluids in me.  She set up to the monitors to keep an eye on the baby.  Because they had so many deliveries that day, we were sent to a smaller room that was usually not used.   Ironically, it was the same room that we had visited a few times during the pregnancy to watch the baby on the monitors with Marsha when she wasn't working.  We already had so many memories of that place, so I was happy to revisit it on that special day.

As we waiting to go into surgery, our families came to visit.  It was such a relaxed atmosphere.  I felt no pain, although Marsha was showing on the monitor that my contractions were starting.  I loved being able to spend that time waiting with the people I love the most.  Our surgery was pushed back behind a couple others that were higher-risk deliveries, so we were able to spend a few hours just talking.  Marsha talked us through the process of what would happen.  She got Josh ready for surgery.  This is the picture he took right before we left the prepping room, posting it with the caption: "It's baby time!!!"
I felt like time moved in slow motion as I was wheeled into the operating room. I remember passing the waiting room and seeing my family through the window. I remember being so thankful in that moment that I had such supportive and loving family members; Emrie would be welcomed by a lot of people that already adore her.  Once I entered the operating room itself, I immediately noticed the change in temperature.  They keep those rooms so cold!! The room also reminded me of the Mike TV's scene in the newer version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The room was white, and the machinery appeared to be larger than life. I was half expecting the doctor to enter wearing Willy Wonka glasses.
The anesthesiologist came in to give me my spinal----and it was so much more pleasant than I expected. I would rather have another one of those than get a cavity filled at the dentist. He was such a fun, personable guy. He worked with me throughout the surgery to regulate the medication to keep me from getting nauseous or feeling pain. Once the surgery began, Josh was in the room with me, and Marsha was assisting Dr. Isbell.  It was such a quick and pleasant process--- so much different than the nightmareish scenario that had me nervous all morning. I could feel a vague sensation of Becky, Dr. Isbell's daughter, applying A LOT of pressure on my abdomen to push the baby into the right position.

Then, within what seemed to be about 15 minutes, they were ready to pull the baby out.  Because Dr. Isbell is a family friend (he delivered Josh, he was my bishop and in my stake presidency, and Josh's mom works for him), the whole atmosphere of our delivery and all our previous appointments were all very comfortable.  Because of this, Josh watched the surgery as close as Dr. Isbell would let him, although he was occasionally scolded for getting too close to the sterile areas.  Next, Dr. Isbell asked if we thought the baby had hair.  I took a look at Josh and answered "No."  The doctor could see her head, and he surprised us by telling us that she had hair!

The next few moments were the most beautiful I have ever experienced.  I had spent time anticipating what it would feel like to meet my first child for the first time.  Like so may other moments, I spent years seeing the Hollywood version of the experiences.  However, other moments never really seemed to meet my high expectations.  Graduation?  I had a great time, but I didn't even get to toss my cap.  Sweet sixteen?  Just another birthday. First pair of Dr. Martens?  They looked great with my flared jeans, but they were surprisingly heavy.  Would this delivery be all that I had ever dreamed it would be?  Would I cry when I heard the baby cry for the first time?  Would seeing my husband hold our baby burn forever in my memory as the most beautiful thing I have ever seen?  Would I feel the most intense love imaginable when I held her for the first time?

The answer to every question is YES.  A thousand times yes.

While the doctor and nurses worked to finish the surgery, I watched Josh and Marsha holding Emrie and taking pictures.  Josh kept bringing Emrie over to me so that I could see her.  It was beautiful.  Here is one of my favorite pictures from that day of Josh, his mom, and Emrie.
At this rate, I am never going to get caught up on the last 7 months of Emrie's life!  However, I don't want to forget any of these moments. I'll sign off for now and be back shortly!  

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