Monday, December 19, 2011

Birth story

first time I saw my daughter was about 6 hours after surgery
I'm a mommy! My beautiful daughter, whom we named Naama Rachel, was born Dec 18th 2011 at 3:37pm in Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital. She weighed just 5.5 lbs!

Naama, a Hebrew name, means to be pleasant,delightful and sweet. We didn't know the meaning of her name when we named her. I have a cousin named Naama and I just love the sound of the name, but so far our daughter's name suits her wonderfully. She really is pleasant,delightful and sweet and not just when she's asleep!

Since I have a rare neurological condition called Dandy Walker Malformation, a C section under general anesthesia was scheduled. From the moment I knew I was going to have the C section, I was scared and not at all excited about giving birth, but when I woke up the morning of the surgery, I was calm and ready to go. My hospital bag was packed with things for myself as well as my unborn baby. My father had flown in from the U.S. a few days before. We were all very happy and excited this day was finally here.

We were told to be at the hospital at 8:30am for an 11am C section, but as anyone who has had surgery knows, operations never begin on time and when you are fasting from the night before, being hungry and anxious isn't a good combination, now add pregnancy to the mix and it's not really a happy situation.I was started on IV to curb the hunger when I got to the hospital, but it didn't really help. I was STARVING! because I hadn't eaten much the night before. Thankfully, my best friend came to the hospital to be there for me so I had some good distractions.

Daddy to be kissing the belly

All the distractions were great since I kept getting pushed back because there were a few emergency C sections that had to be done. I ended up going into surgery after 3pm!
                          Before being taken to the OR, I got all nervous again.
              I thought of my little baby I couldn't wait to meet and my anxiety disappeared
us w/my dad right before going into C section
My dad and Raizy

 Because the C section was being done under general anesthesia, no one was allowed in the O.R. My best friend Raizy, my father, and my husband waited outside the operating room for news. I was so grateful that my best friend was there that day. she has 4 small kids of her own and she had a long bus ride to get to the hospital. I totally would've understood if she couldn't make it, but she said she wasn't missing my baby's birth for anything. In addition to being best friends since we were 12 years old, Raizy was our matchmaker, so it was really special sharing this moment in our lives with her. Apparently Raizy was so excited that she started crocheting the baby a hat while waiting for the birth! My father passed the time saying psalms.

Since general anesthesia would affect the baby, I was awake during all the prep work in the O.R. and was put to sleep right before the incision to deliver the baby was made. I've written about how operating rooms freak me out because of all my previous surgeries, but I was totally calm during the preparations. I was very proud of myself :)  The anesthesiologist said he was going to give me morphine as well. I said I didn't want morphine because I wasn't sure how I would react to it. I also told him I was never given morphine before. He looked at me and said "with all the surgeries you've had in the past, TRUST me they gave you morphine." I realized he was probably right which shut me up real fast :) Before getting onto the operating table, I handed my camera to a woman in the O.R. who was going to take pictures as soon as the baby was born. I wanted some memory of the baby's birth if I was going to be knocked out for it!! I wish now that I had asked if  video could be taken instead of pictures, but at least I have something.

Once on the operating table, a sheet was put up so I couldn't see what was going on. My arms were laid out straight and put on arm rests at each side of me so IV lines could be inserted. I seriously looked and felt like someone being given a lethal injection! My OBGYN walked into the O.R., told me everything was going to be fine and disappeared behind the sheet. I felt the catheter being inserted which was quite painful. The last thing I remember was feeling a burning, heavy sensation overcome me as the anesthesiologist placed a mask over my face. I was a bit confused by that since I knew the anesthesia was being administered through IV and not a mask, but I had like a second to think about it before everything went dark.

The next thing I know, I hear someone tell me I had a beautiful, healthy baby girl. "Where is she?" I mumbled. As I opened my eyes, I see Raizy and my father standing next to me in the recovery room. Raizy said my husband was with the baby in the nursery.

 As it sunk in through my groggy mind that I had a baby, I took a deep breath. I fully expected to smell the anesthesia I hate so much, but there was no smell! I was however totally parched. Raizy was ready with water which she gave me by letting me suck on a sponge she kept dipping in water. We talked for a bit and then my husband came in and showed me a picture of our daughter who was upstairs in the nursery.

After awhile, my father went to get a bite to eat. Raizy told me that when my OBGYN came out of the O.R. smiling saying everything went beautifully, my father who was in tears, hugged him and told him how much of a miracle this baby is. When I was born 3 months premature 30 years ago, I wasn't expected to make it through my first night. I was very touched to hear about the exchange between my father and my doctor.

Several hours later. I was moved to a room upstairs. Still lying on the bed, the nurse wheeled me into the room, placing me next to a vacant bed. "OK move over to the empty bed," said the nurse. I looked at her and almost asked her if she was on crack. I just had a baby cut out of me! I can't move and she wants me to transfer beds?! "just move on your tush," the nurse said again. I told her I couldn't. At this point my father and Raizy started getting real upset at the nurse, telling her that aside from the pain of surgery, I was disabled so I really couldn't move on my own. My father demanded the nurse find two men who could lift me to the adjacent bed. The nurse had no idea what to do with herself. Her facial expression said it all as she told my father they didn't have anyone who could help me. My father told her he didn't buy it and again demanded she find someone. The nurse was back 5 minutes later with two men;) They each took one end of the sheet I was on and lifted me to the next bed. Now that's what I'm talkin about!

Soon after, my husband walked into the room with our daughter. I was in shock that this little thing was mine. I waited so long to see her and now here she was right in front of me! 

Looks like Naama was excited to meet mommy! she gripped my finger so tightly!

Finally after all our hardships we were a family! Dec 18 2011 was the happiest, most fulfilling day of my life.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


So here I am, T-5 days away from becoming a mommy. Holy crap! I will be delivered at 38 weeks by C section under general anesthesia on Sunday Dec 18.

This may be one of the last quiet times I'll have for awhile to sit and write, so even though I have other things to do like my husband's tax return, I'm writing first.

The anesthesiologist and my OBGYN decided a scheduled C-section under general anesthesia is the safest option to avoid me having any possible neurological damage by having an epidural. Am I crazy about more surgery? No way, and that's why I'm more scared than excited by this life changing event, but I understand they are doing what's best. I also know they are covering their butts by scheduling a C section. They don't want to touch a neurological condition they know very little about.

For about a month, I have looked toward the birth of my baby with fear rather than excitement because delivery will be via surgery and after having more than ten orthopedic and eye surgeries throughout my life, I don't ever want to hear the word surgery spoken again. It's like a bad word=) A big part of my fear and hesitation is because I'm very afraid for the recovery period. Unlike the orthopedic surgeries I've had, I don't know what to expect with a C section in terms of pain or how I will deal with the recovery process. I know that I will need to walk soon after the surgery to prevent blood clots and other complications, but walking after abdominal surgery?? No thanks!
Also, I can tell that just moving positions in a bed will be very painful because every time I move position in bed now while pregnant, I feel I strain my belly. sometimes my husband literally has to move me so that I don't strain my belly, so knowing that I will be in hospital for at least 5 days after the birth without my husband for support at night.....uuuuggghhh!!

The other thing that weirds me out is the smell of anesthesia. I don't deal well with that. I have trauma from when I had a mask put over my face during orthopedic surgery when I was 8 years old. The smell was so overpowering and sort of sweet but so nasty that I struggled with the nurse as she was putting the mask on. Thankfully now the anesthesia is administered through an IV in the arm, so there's no mask, but the smell when you wake is all encompassing and just gross, so I'm sure that will bring back a lot of unpleasant memories and nausea. Now I have a new factor to add to my concerns. I know I will be intubated for surgery. Intubation is when a tube is stuck down your throat after you are asleep. It's to help you breathe during surgery. I'm afraid of choking during the procedure or of me not dealing well when I wake up since I have esophogus issues that weren't present in 2008 when I had my last surgery, so I gotta talk to the anesthesiologist and see what can be done.

So yea I'm scared, but the good thing is that I will g-d willing have my baby in the end and my OBGYN agreed to operate under my insurance, so we don't have to pay bundles of money we don't have for a private operation. I know any doctor could've operated but I feel comfortable knowing who my surgeon will be. Also it's kind of a nice finish to a process started in Dec 2008, when this same doctor removed an obstruction in my uterus that is believed to have caused my two miscarriages, and he will now be delivering my baby. kinda makes you teary doesn't it? I actually said most of this to my OBGYN when we talked about who would deliver me since he usually delivers privately. My mom was so thankful when I told her he was delivering me that she is sending him a gift. My sister who organized the gift, made me laugh when she said "If he hurts you, we want the gift back!"

Unfortunately my mom can't be here till February, but my father arrives tomorrow, so I'm excited about him coming in from the U.S. for the birth. I will be in hospital over some of the Hanukkah holiday which kinda sucks but oh well. Also today we finally secured a live in nanny for at least the first month after birth. My family insists I can't do without one, especially after a C section and they may be right, although I'm not crazy about having a stranger live in my house, but with my husband at work I need someone here. I can't be alone with a newborn. If I drop the baby, it's all over....

As nervous as I am because of the C section, I'm excited now too since our last ultrasound yesterday. I love feeling the baby's movements in my belly and I will miss that, (My husband already says he misses my belly)! but there's something extraordinary about seeing my baby in such detail on an ultrasound! it makes the whole thing more real. I can't wait to hold my baby and kiss those cheeks!! I will deal with the pain of recovery like I always have....I hope!