After not sleeping the entire night, despite being told over and over to get rest (but how can you?) it was finally 6:00am. My family was arriving and everyone was sitting around me to say their best wishes and tell me good luck.
I had blankets prepared that I had snuggled with for weeks leading up to the delivery so baby girl could get familiar with my scent. I also prepared a short video that Toby could show her so she could see and hear me. This video was one of the hardest and emotional things I’ve ever recorded. I wanted it to be a light, cheery video just telling her how much I love her and I’m going to be holding her in my arms very soon. The second I started recording and speaking – reality of all the what if’s hit. What was going to happen to her during the c-section? Would she be ok when they fully anesthetize me? Would I be ok? We were at the finish line and everything seemed to be going great, I felt like at some point our bubble would burst.
A little while after recording the video, my nurse brought in the cutest little newborn beanie that she had cut and tied a big bow to. Things got REAL. I couldn’t wait to see this sweet little beanie on our cutie’s head.
A little while later, my anesthesiologist came in and started administering all the lines. I had a PICC line inserted in the side of my neck, normally it’s done while fully asleep – unfortunately pheochromocytoma and being pregnant don’t mix well for comfort and I had to be fully awake and aware for this one. I also had an arterial line put in, which goes in the front of your wrist, into an artery. These were all just in case the tumors acted up and they needed to administer medication fast to counteract them. They also inserted an epidural. You’d think that being fully anesthetized, you wouldn’t need an epidural. Unfortunately for pheochromocytoma – an epidural is a good way to block adrenaline from traveling up your body and reaching your heart. It was another precaution. The PICC line and arterial line both hurt and I remember them clearly, the epidural though is more of a fuzzy memory. I think it was quick, but uncomfortable. More so, just uncomfortable to have to lean forward while sitting and have a giant pregnant belly in the way!
Next, they wheeled me into the operating room. The surprisingly were going to let Toby be in the operating room, despite me having to be fully asleep. He was excited but SUPER nervous.
I was getting more and more nervous, but excited.
The last few seconds I remember being awake, they had put the mask over my face and I began choking and yelling I couldn’t breathe. I was terrified. I don’t remember these issues from past surgeries so I thought something was going seriously wrong.
Next thing you know, I was awake – still on the operating table with my sweet girl getting checked on right next to me.
The first thing I said was, “Is she pretty?”
My nurse took her beanie off and said “She’s beautiful!! She has a lot of hair just like you!”
I still don’t know why that was the first thing that came to my mind! Maybe because I just wanted to look at her finally! I was in and out of coherence and before I knew it, they had wheeled her off to the NICU and I was waking up in the ICU.
I had to wait to meet my sweet girl, but that was ok. She was in the best care possible. She was fine! She needed some extra oxygen, likely due to me having to be fully out during the c-section, but besides that was a healthy, tiny, beautiful little girl.
Little side note, while waiting for the ICU nurses to figure everything out on how to wheel me to the NICU, my sister and her husband wanted to grab me some lunch. They left and I fell asleep after for a little while. I woke up about 2 hours later and they still weren’t back. I was just confused thinking they decided to go eat lunch and were really taking their time getting back. I called my sister, Lindsay, and got no answer. I waited a bit and my dad came and hung out with me. Toby and my mom were with my baby girl. I finally called my mom to ask where Lindsay was and my mom sounded frantic when she answered.
“I gotta go, Lauren!! I’ll call you back!” Keep in mind – she was with my new baby!
I freaked out and made her tell me what was going on. Turned out my sister and brother in law had gotten side swiped on their way to get me lunch. They were downstairs in the emergency room.
How do these things even happen?!
Luckily, they were ok. Had a few cuts and bruises, their brand new car was totaled – BUT, this was a day of celebration, and now we were adding to the celebration that they were alive!
Anyway, back to baby news –
Finally around 6pm, after pushing, begging, and asking over and over – the night nurse in the ICU finally took a minute to bring me down to officially meet my baby.
On the way down I was so nervous. Was she going to recognize me? Would she be ok? Would I be able to hold her?
They began wheeling me into her room.
There she was.
My sweet Mila Reu.
All my wires still attached, hurt oxygen still in – we finally got untangled enough to snuggle each other. That second there, my life changed. My perfect little brunette, tan, beautiful little bundle.