I cried with you when you entered this world. You were loud, your hands in the air, your legs folded up against your belly like a frog. They brought you to me and it wasn’t after they had taken you away to clean you that I realized I had vernix all over my hands and face from kissing you over and over. A baby girl, bright pink with curly black hair and a swollen face. My baby girl. I cried hard with you.
Before they were done stitching and plastering me up, the nurse who took you away came back into the operation room. She announced that your birth weight was low (2.4kg) and so they were prepping you for the Neonatal ICU. My heart skipped. I was already missing you. I wanted you by my side immediately. ICU? What was wrong with you? I looked up at the anesthetist to my right, Dr. Lorraine (God bless her sweet heart), questioning. She said something to the effect that you sounded loud and perfectly fine, so there was no need to send you there based on just your weight. I asked her again just to be sure; “they are not taking her to NICU are they?” “No, they are not, don’t worry.” I relaxed. Just a little bit.
Soon after they set me up in the recovery room, I started shivering violently. Even after I was wrapped up in blankets, and a steam tube was hooked underneath, I shook, teeth clattering, the metals on the bed clanging. It took so much effort not to bite my tongue. I was still starving. I had been starving for hours before the surgery, actually. It was getting much worse. About 20 minutes into feeling like I was freezing to death, the pain hit me from EVERYWHERE! EVERY TINY WHERE!!! As a person living with a chronic illness associated with chronic widespread pain, trust me when I say I had never felt such pain in my entire life! I was in pure agony and if my shouting (I couldn’t help it) was not a sure enough sign that I was dying from it, everything was beeping.
I overheard one of the staff in the room asking if they had seen my heart rate. I didn’t need to look up at the screen above my head that showed what she was referring to, to know that it was not good. There are two sides to this story, darling, because your father was right outside the recovery room, hearing me scream, as he waited to see you. Maybe one day he will tell his side. But at that moment, with all the chaos, I thought of you. I wondered if I was dying. I had seen you just once for barely 2 minutes, was I dying? I cried again.
They passed meds up each cannula on my arms and I do not know when or which one knocked me out, but when I woke I could feel my legs again, it was late in the night of the same day. I had been asleep for about 6 hours and the pain was gone. I was happy to learn that I was good to go back to the lie-in ward. I was happier to learn you were going with me. They brought you, swaddled in your white calico, and placed you in between my open legs. You started to cry and I caressed the top of your head, which was how far down my hand could reach. “Shhh…shhh…shhhh,” I said over and over and over, till we got to the ward, was transferred to my bed, propped up, and you were placed in my arms, already rooting.
I looked at you well, spotting your dimpled chin like your father’s. I looked at you, and discovered that you had an auricular pit you inherited from me. I looked at you and found that you had a sacral dimple too. I looked at you, with all these minor indicators of the delicate nature of growing you inside me, and you were perfect and absolutely worth it. And oh…I cried again!