February 1, 2013, at 5:34pm Gayland and I officially began living life! This is the moment our beautiful daughter, Elyse Harlan Paffe, made her way into our hearts, souls and lives. We are forever changed and finally found the kind of love only a child can bring into a family.
Elyse came into the world the only way she could…making a grandiose introduction! As with the entire pregnancy, the delivery did not go as planned. We learned from our Austin OB/GYN a few weeks prior to her birth the reason I stayed pregnant as long as I did was because of severe scar tissue on my cervix that acted as "cement", keeping the baby in place. This obviously is a Godsend when you go into labor at 23 weeks but when it's time for the baby to arrive; it's a nightmare to deal with. Being armed with this additional knowledge, we still did not discuss the option of Cesarean because my doctor felt like the scar tissue could be massaged away during true labor. My water broke on Thursday evening at 7pm but that too was not 100% until I woke-up in a puddle of fluid at 3:45am. We arrived at the hospital at 5:30am, were quickly admitted and had very few contractions. I obviously had not dilated so by 10:30am with a little help from technology, I was dilated to 3 centimeters where I stayed all darn day. I had two different doctors and a nurse try to massage the tissue away but at 5pm it was determined there was a "knot" of scar tissue on my cervix that would not move regardless of how much manual massage was done. The doctor said I would not dilate and recommended we move forward with a C-section. Though not an ideal option for delivery, the baby's head had been hitting that spot on my cervix for over 7 hours and they did not feel like this would be healthy for the baby long-term (we saw a red mark on her had after she was delivered where she, with every contraction, was hitting my cervix). I was whisked into the operating room where a frenzy of activity began preparing my body for the surgery. All went well initially but evidently, the epidural that was put into place earlier in the day had jarred lose or was not connected properly because I could feel every cut the surgeon was doing on my abdomen. Even after administering additional medication, I was still able to feel the cuts and we made the split second decision to go under general anesthesia (which isn't the norm at all…but of course not, nothing has been normal with me and this pregnancy). They made Gayland leave the room and Elyse was born about 15 minutes later weighing 7 pounds 6 ounces and 19 inches long.
Ultimately what we wanted was a healthy baby regardless how she arrived. This has always been our stance but it never crossed my mind that I would miss her whole birth and be so drugged after she arrived that I would not have much memory of the rest of the day. It has been nothing short of heart breaking. When I finally woke-up I remember the nurses saying, "It's a girl" and I had no idea what they were talking about. Even when I figured out I was coming out of surgery and our Baby P was in fact a girl, it didn't really register with me I had finally given birth. To add insult to injury, Gayland was not allowed to witness her birth either and learned it was a girl by hearing nurses in the operating room refer to the new baby as "she". Again, I can hardly think about the whole experience as it makes me nauseous.
On a happier note, I was able to breast-feed her fairly quickly after she arrived but I don't remember that either. My parents made their way into the recovery room but I was so out of it I didn't talk with them very much. Everyone did get to hold the baby, which was great, but not as we had hoped that part of the birth would unfold.
The first night was incredibly difficult. Gayland, Elyse and I did not sleep at all. Between the tiny noises she made, trying to figure out how to change her diaper and feed her, I was an absolute mess by 4:30am. I woke-up with the worst anxiety I've ever had due to the fact I missed out on what I perceived to be the most important part of delivery...her actual birth. I was in a panic as I felt as though we had not bonded properly and that too was almost more than I could stand.
Over the next few days our experiences with the baby began to grow. I was able to hold and nurse her on a more regular basis, Gayland began his designated daddy duties as the "CDC" (Chief Diaper Changer) and my Mom (Chi Chi) came to the hospital each morning to spend the day with us. We also welcomed my grandmother and aunts as well. It slowly started feeling like Elyse was finally part of our family.
Like many of you told me, it is hard being a Mom...the sleep deprivation, nursing, learning about our new little person, etc. but the wonderful things this little angel brings to our life far out weigh any negativity we have experienced.