So much of what happened over the next few days was a blur. I know we called our families to let them know what was going on and within hours, the waiting room starting filling up with our loved ones. Everyone knew that I was in the midst of delivery and could not spend much time with them, but they wanted to be there just in case. My mother was at the hospital in no time. My father-in-law and brother-in-law drove from NJ to PA at midnight that night. My brother and his wife flew in from Austin, TX. My friends skipped work and got sitters for their kids and came and sat with each other. No one wanted to believe what was happening and no one wanted us to be alone. Nor did they want to be alone.
Since I was not ready to go into labor naturally, I had to be induced. I believe the process started around 12:30-1:00 am and whatever they gave me immediately made me vomit. Oh, so that is how it's gonna be, huh? Luckily there was not much in my stomach at that hour and I did not get sick again. They started me on pain meds and then we waited to see how far along I was. And we waited. And we waited. At some point, I got an epidural. In hindsight, I think they may have administered it too early as I never really progressed after that. At 6:00 in the morning, I was 2 cm. Same at 9. Same at noon. At one point I got to 3.5 cm, but we were a long way from the desired 10. We were exhausted and drained and starting to fade. My mom and Gary had both asked about a c-section and were both told that it was better for me to deliver vaginally. (Side note: this experience has made me add the word "vaginally" to my vocabulary and I am not happy about it!!).
At some point, the doctor told Gary that it was the patient's right to choose how she wanted to deliver. That was all we needed to hear! After the OB checked me at 4:15 and announced that I had still not progressed that much, we made the decision that although it was major abdominal surgery, we had to agree to the c-section. None of us could sit in that room any more and wait for my body to be ready to push our baby out. It could have easily been another day at that point. So we said let's do it and waited for the shift change at 7pm to move on with this next chapter in our lives.
Gary gowned up and sat beside me for the whole procedure. He looked so handsome and proud! He had dreamed of this moment for the past 9 months! The anesthesiologist was the father of a friend that I had grown up with and that turned out to be a good thing as I was distracted, asking him questions about his kids and his grand kids. Gary sat next to me and supported me and loved me and somehow, we made it through.
When they first pulled Allie out, Gary walked around to see her and came back to report that she was beautiful. She had his long toes and my dark curly hair. They let him cut the cord (symbolically, since she was already removed from me) and that meant so much to him. The doctors finished working on me and then we went back to the Labor and Delivery room. Our little girl was born.
As they were checking me closely and monitoring all my vitals, they brought Allison to see us. They took such great care and swaddled her up so nicely in a hand knit blanket that I assume was made my a volunteer at the hospital. We introduced ourselves to her and stared at this wonder that our love had created. There really is no love like the love you have for your child. I get that now. I do not remember what we said as there were so many tears, but I know we promised her that we would always love her and always love each other for she deserved that. We both held her and kissed her hello and then goodbye. We then asked the nurse to take her away as we did not want to dwell on the fact that she was like a doll - beautiful and still. We had our time with her and that would have to be enough. It was all we had but it was so much.
The moved us off the Maternity floor so that we could start to heal emotionally as well as physically and they got Gary a cot in a private room with me so that we could be together. It was close to midnight at this point on Friday and we had not slept since Wednesday night. As soon as we were in our new room, we both collapsed. We brought our Allie into this world as we planned to do all along and now it was up to us to do right by her and make her proud and that meant we had to take care of ourselves and each other. So that is what we did. And it is what we have been doing ever since.