Still flailing from the labor shakes, I was wheeled into a sterile, white operating room.
"We're going to numb you a little more" explained the anesthesiologist. "Patients sometimes say it feels like they can't breath - but it's just the medication."
"Okay." I nodded.
Slowly the feeling completely drained from my chest and abdomen.
"Can you feel this?" asked a nurse.
I couldn't. I couldn't feel anything.
The room quickly filled with people: my OB, a surgical assistant, a pediatrician and lots of nurses.
"We ready to go?" asked my OB.
"No - I need my husband. Where's my husband?" I asked, trying to stay calm.
"Where's Dad?" yelled the OB.
A door opened and there he was, all scrubbed up. He quickly took his place by my side as a nurse hoisted a blue sheet to block our view.
"We're going to get started." my doctor said.
"Please," I begged "don't give me a play-by-play - just get in and get out."
"You got it" my doctor chuckled. "We'll be totally done in twenty minutes."
I squeezed Will's hand and looked into his eyes.
"I love you." I whispered.
He smiled gently back at me. "I love you, too."
Just then, I gasped desperately for air.
The nurse is right I thought. It really feels like I can't breath.
I gasped again. "ItfeelslikeIcan'tbreathbutIknowIcan..." I blurted quickly on the exhale.
"Yup," confirmed the anesthesiologist "it's just the medication - your oxygen level is normal."
Shake, gasp, squeeze, apologize - rinse and repeat. That's what was happening on my side of the blue divider. Meanwhile my doctor and her assistant chatted politely as they peeled me open.
"Where did you go to school?" I heard my OB ask.
What is this, a cocktail party? I thought. Focus, ladies...
Finally, I heard a collective "awww" from the group.
"He's nine pounds!" my doctor declared. OH MY GOD.
The nurses around me shook their heads in disbelief.
"A nine pound baby inside such a small woman" I heard one remark.
"He's stuck in your pelvic bone and the chord's wrapped around his neck" said the doctor.
"Is he okay?" I asked.
"Yup, we'll have him out in just a minute."
"Now, don't be worried if you don't hear him cry right away" a nurse came in close to whisper. "It's totally normal."
"Okay" I nodded.
"Here he is!" shouted the doctor.
I heard one little coo and then nothing.
"Oh my God!" I smiled "Will, can you see him?!"
"Yes - he's beautiful!" Will answered.
They whisked my baby to the pediatrician seated about ten feet behind me on the left. The doctors were reassembling me layer by layer - but all I could focus on was Bobby. I craned my neck trying desperately to catch a glimpse.
After roughly an eternity and a half, he was clean, swaddled and by my side. He was the most beautiful child I'd ever seen in my whole life. Blonde, pink and absolutely perfect. Will held him up as a nurse snapped a picture.
"Because of the meconium" she said "he'll have to go to the NICU for monitoring - but I don't think he'll be in there long."
And just like that we were separated again.
We wouldn't be reunited until an hour into my recovery. After 9 long months - the exhaustion, the mood swings, the aches, the weight gain, the worry, the rash, the induction, the labor and the surgery - there he was in my arms at last.