Today’s blog post is by a mama recounting the very first moments meeting her baby; these are the moments which Stitches by Natalie is all about! While you will remember these moments forever, we’re here to help you transform those memories into lifelong stitches. Don’t forget to save your baby’s first blanket and send it in to become a lifelong family heirloom.
I remember the operating room being kind of pleasant, actually. I had expected a cold, sterile room, but all the white fixtures gave it a Scandinavian kitchen vibe, impossibly organized like an IKEA magazine photo. I’d been on bed rest since the 29th week of my pregnancy – 5 weeks ago – when my water unexpectedly broke. It was plenty of time to google everything related to c-sections, so when the doctors came to my room, I enthusiastically asked whether they would let me watch so I could experience the “family-centric gentle cesarean” I had read so much about. They also reviewed what would happen to my baby, for the umpteenth time, who being born at 34 weeks would have to be whisked away to the NICU. Don’t get your hopes up, they said. They would do their best to give us skin-to-skin, but no promises. Your baby might not be breathing. Its heart rate might drop.
As the spinal block took full effect, my husband was escorted into the room and he took a seat by my right shoulder. I asked anxiously whether he’d remembered the camera. “First incision, 9:20 AM.” None of my googling had prepared me for the feeling of abdominal surgery; my stomach felt like that one drawer everyone has in their kitchen, the one full of junk, and the doctor was rummaging around in it to find a pen. Slamming the drawer farther open, to check the back. These last few minutes with my baby inside my uterus felt so short. I had been struggling with the sadness of knowing my pregnancy wouldn’t go full term, and feeling robbed of those last months.
“Okay, your baby is about to be born!” It was 9:27. I craned my neck to peer down towards my belly. The doctor on my right had two small purple feet, and seconds later I saw a bottom, a spine and wrinkly torso. The second doctor held what looked like a shoe horn. With a last jolt and a firm pressure under my ribs, he cranked down on the lever. Out popped a head, breaking suction with the fluids and other junk in the drawer. I heard two short, but determined cries. “Dad, do you want to announce the gender?” the doctor asked my husband, holding the baby for him to see as nurses orbited with suction bulbs and towels. My husband turned to me, “It’s a boy!”
Moments later a nurse held a small bundle near my head. I reached out and found his arm, stroking it with my finger. I remember his tightly shut eyes, his face like a raisin. And then they were gone. We didn’t have our midwife, we didn’t have a newborn photo shoot. We had seven weeks in the NICU. Today, the memory of my 4.5 pound purple raisin being pulled out of me in an IKEA kitchen is the most precious thing I have, and I’m so glad I saw it happen.