Avery Heather - My first birth story!
After having three children of my own, I thought nothing could ever rock my world like the birth of my own sweet babes.
Until I watched a perfect pink screaming baby enter the world from a completely different perspective.
Carla and I had agreed from, well, conception that I would document as much of what would be her last pregnancy and last baby as was humanly possible. We made an announcement video, took maternity photos, and then took some final days with her two ladies before their brand new little sister arrived bringing the tally up to three. We talked about birth but being a cesarian section mom like my self, we weren't sure if it would be possible. Carla snuck in requests and chatted with everyone of importance at all of her many appointments. Much to our surprise, the odds were in our favour and it was looking like all systems were a go!
The backup power system at the hospital went into failure and all elective surgeries were being forwarded to Halifax.
So we went, and we waited. Poor Carla was instructed not to eat anything after midnight the day before so when we arrived at the IWK at 10:30 am she was already starving. Carla (the peach) filled in all the Nurses and Dr's we met of our previous arrangement with Kentville that I would be allowed to photograph the main event. Everyone sort of passed the buck saying it was fine with them but up to so and so. I wasn't very hopeful but Carla stayed positive. (she is a better person then I)
We were told her section was scheduled to happen at 1:00pm. It didn't. An emergency section happened instead. Then another one, and another. Turns out the entire labour and delivery ward was full and there was only enough staff to run one of the two OR's.
Every time someone came in to check on us, poor starving Carla's section was pushed back another hour. I don't know what saint was riding on her shoulders that day but she handled every set back and time change like Mother Theresa. She even sat and endured eight separate attempts to draw blood and put in an IV. Have you ever seen a Dr use an ultrasound machine to find a vein before? Me neither.
After over 24 hours without a crumb in her belly and 10 hours after arriving at the hospital, the beautiful, wonderful, amazing saviour of a nurse brought in two pairs of scrubs for Brian and I to change into. I was going in. (I think I held in my squeal of delight, I'll have to ask Carla about that later)
We walked down the hall toward the OR (pretty sure I was strutting like a peacock) and I was instructed to wait outside until the spinal was in. Her anesthesiologist beckoned me in and we chatted camera bodies and lenses while we waited for the OB to arrive. Everything after that happened incredibly slow and incredibly fast at the same time. Gloves went on, sheets went up, lights were adjusted and the team of Dr's and Nurses went to work.
I remember Carla asking if I was ready to get her coming out as I literally stood over her head, camera poised and finger ready to jam the shutter like my life depended on it. And then the familiar words...
"lots of pressure now!"
I saw the first wisps of her thick hair and that's when I started crying. I shook and sobbed silently while they pulled out that perfect vernix covered baby. She wailed her protests into the room, arms spread wide, suddenly a part of a much bigger and brighter world and I cried with her. I have three babies, three beautiful perfect babies birthed in the same way but I was not prepared to feel all those emotions wash over me as hard and as fast as they did. My world had literally been altered. I felt like I was seeing life, real honest to god, crying, messy, perfect life for the first time. My new perspective on the literal miracle of birth shook me hard and just like that, I'm hooked.
I don't know if I'll ever be able to thank Carla enough for giving me this experience and the incredible medical team that so generously let me in the operating room. Snuggly sweet Avery Heather will always have a very prominent place in my heart. How could I not feel connected to someone who shared her first breaths with me <3
And now I'm crying again.