We get to the hospital right at 10am. We check in and sit in the waiting area while the nurses get our room ready. J eats his breakfast while we brainstorm baby names. He is determined to have it settled as soon as possible. I am less concerned and harder to please. I veto everything because I need to see my baby before choosing a name, and at this point he is just throwing out names at random. Some of them are nice names, but they are not for my child. 

The nurse arrives with my wheelchair. I am escorted to the labor room. I change into a hospital gown and grippy socks and lay on the bed under a warm, inflatable blanket. J and I both put on surgical masks. It takes two mesh caps to fully cover all my hair. 

A physician walks in the room with a medical intern. She explains this is a teaching hospital and asks if I mind having a student observe. I give my consent, and we all have a bit of small talk about this baby in my belly. 

Is it a boy or a girl? 

It’s a surprise

They gasp. They smile. Apparently delivery room gender reveals are rare around here.  

The nurse puts the fetal heart monitor on my stomach, an IV in my arm and multiple tags around my wrists. 

Do you have any allergies? 

Not that i know of

J throws out another baby name. I look at him but choose not to respond. Instead I focus on the sound of the heartbeat that echoes throughout the room. It is such a great sound. 

And you’re having your tubes tied as well, correct?

Um, no? That’s not the plan

J looks confused. We didn’t have that talk, did we?

I look at him and laugh. I make a mental note to remind him he is having a vasectomy when we’re done having kids. But now is not the time for that discussion. 

My doctor arrives to see how i am doing. I introduce my husband for the first time, since he was never able to come to my prenatal appointments. My doctor leaves and the anesthesiologist arrives to introduce herself. Her name is Lauren Hill; I will always remember that. She talks me through the process and asks if I have any questions. 

Will I get the shakes again? Last time i got the shakes and it was horrible. 

You might. It all depends on how your body responds. 

Will I be put to sleep?

That shouldn’t be necessary. Only if you request it

She leaves, and my nurse talks about how great this team is. They are good doctors and good people. They will take good care of me. She taps away on the computer and I look at the clock. I am ready to meet this baby growing inside me. I am ready to put a face to this heartbeat on the monitor. 

J changes into his sterile dressing. The rabbit suit is what they call it. He is so tall it rides up in all the wrong places. Another nurse arrives with another wheelchair. She unhooks my IV bag. I get off the bed and wobble to my chariot. J grabs our bags and follows us down the hallway. The nurse tells him to sit our things down in the recovery area and have a seat. They will let him know when I am prepped and ready. She wheels me into the operating room. It is smaller than i expected. The lights are bright, and there are care techs ready and waiting for me. 

My nurse tells the intern where to stand and what she can and cannot touch. She escorts me to the operating table. it seems so small, too small for me and this huge belly. I step up on the platform and have a seat. The nurse asks me to state my full name and to tell her what is about to happen. Her voice is shaky, and I almost worry that she is nervous, but the more she talks, the more I realize this is just how her voice naturally sounds. 

Dr. Lauren Hill takes a few tries to get the spinal in place. It is very painful. I squeeze my nurse’s hand tight and breathe through each sharp twinge. Finally it’s in place. By the time I lay down, my whole bottom half has started to go numb. I tell my care tech I feel nausea creeping in, and he explains it is a normal low blood pressure response. He gives me something to help raise it. It slowly starts working. Dr. Lauren Hill puts a small alcohol wipe over my nose and I instantly feel better. It is the best smelling isopropyl ever. I made a mental note to sniff some purell the next time I am dealing with morning sickness. 

I look up and focus on the overhead lights. they are shaped like a honeycomb, and the aluminum finish gives me a blurry glimpse into what is going on below. A few minutes pass and they put a curtain below my neck. I try to swallow but cannot. I tell my care tech. 

It’s normal. The spinal block goes pretty high. Just keep breathing

I inhale and try again to swallow. Not being able to almost sends me panicking. For a moment, I contemplate asking to be put to sleep. Instead, I ask for my husband. He appears by my side and asks how I feel. I tell him I am okay but I cannot swallow. It is a weird feeling. He holds my hand and I look up. The room starts to spin a bit, so i focus on the honeycomb lights. 

My doctor get started. The team moves quickly. I see blue gloves and metal instruments being wielded inside me. I see the redness as they dig into each layer of my abdomen. I see suction and watch as a coth catches the excess fluids. I smell skin burning and realize it is mine. I feel mild tugging. My doctor tells J he can look over the curtain if he wants. He declines. that is too up close and personal. I realize I'm seeing more of myself, through the blurry honeycomb, than most people would ever want to see. I feel emotionally numb. Is this another side effect of the spinal? Like the nausea?

Alright, here comes baby. My doctor announces. 

The tugging feels significantly more intense now. I wince and close my eyes to focus on the feeling. A few more tugs and the baby is out. J looks and let’s out an awww. 

What do you think it is, babe?

I have been asked that question for the past nine months by everyone, everywhere. I do not want to hear it again right now, at the moment of delivery. 

Just tell me, please. I’m not guessing. 

It’s a boy

I smile. Damn right it’s a boy!

He’s pooping! One of the nurses announces.

Baby starts crying, and I watch through the honeycomb as they finish clearing me out, stapling me up, and glueing me back together. J lets go of my hand and walks over to cut the umbilical cord and take pictures. 

Eight pounds five ounces, another nurse announces. baby boy keeps screaming. 

My doctor finishes and tells me congratulations. I say thank you and also thank everyone else in the room. I am transferred to a bed and wheeled to the recovery room. 

Baby boy keeps screaming. 

Welcome to the world, Christian! ❤️