Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Year Ago

Your father and I took Clay to preschool, and then we ran home to gather a few things. "Do we have time to stop at the bank?" he asked. I laughed and said "Sure, and while we're at it, let's pick up some milk and bread." In the end, we decided to forgo all errands except for the most important one.

We arrived a little early, and had to wait for about a half hour. It was a lovely bright day, and the lobby had big windows that were understandably, but most unfortunately, bordering a covered driveway. Up the elevator to another waiting area, where we answered tedious questions. No, nothing to eat at all. Yes, I need to use the restroom. Yes to saving cord blood. Breast if possible.

And here's the doctor! She had just arrived from mass, which she attends before every surgery. I find this comforting, and refreshing to find a surgeon so humble. She squeezes my arm and goes off to change. I've already changed, and am laying in a most uncomfortable position listening to the swish swish of your heartbeat.

In comes the anesthesiologist with his questions. In goes the IV, which I do not look forward to but realize is not the worst part of this procedure.

And before we know it, it's time to go! They take your dad to change, and I'm wheeled into a cold room full of metal. Between the bright lights and the clinking noises, I'm told to step onto the table. My back is swabbed, and although they won't let your dad in for this, fortunately in comes the surgeon. She embraces me in a tight bear hug and whispers comforting words into my ear while I wait for the needle. A cold wash of iodine. A burning prick. Nothing. The anesthesiologist can't find a good spot. Swell. He withdraws and moves lower. Another burning prick, and I really REALLY hope this is it. It is, and now for the most amusing part. I'm instructed to lie down as quickly as possible, to allow the anesthesia to travel down my spine. Right. I'm 4 feet off the floor on a narrow table in a gown tucked under me and I'm supposed to move in one fell swoop, or else all of this has been useless. I manage it somehow, and my legs begin to feel the warm fingers of the spinal move to my toes.

In comes your dad! While my arms are pulled out to each side and all of the machines are hooked up, he is seated right by my head. Up goes my gown, and it serves as a little drape so we can't see the business end of this transaction. A nurse notices I'm cold, and gives me a toasty warm blanket for the half of me that can still feel. The room is really moving now. There must be 8 people here, none of whom we recognize. There's a man with a thick Russian accent, and I later learn that he was a surgeon in Russia, but immigrated here and now works as a surgical assistant. He certainly knew his way around the room.

Strangely, a white rope is tossed over my head and a technician grabs it and ties it off by my head. "What was that?" I whisper? Your dad stands a little and says "um, it's just an extra pair of hands." I wonder with eight people, how many hands do they need? Later the pictures show that the rope was tied to a clamp, which was attached to one side of my incision and held me open. Our doctor warns me that I'm going to feel a lot of tugging, and I remind her that she should hold you up! (The doctor who delivered your brother didn't do that!)

And next thing we knew, you were here! Red hair and hollering, with a patch of white on the side of your head ("How cool!" said one of the nurses). I cried and your dad jumped up to follow you to the bassinet.

Happy Birthday Drew. We love you!

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