My heart is so full it's hard to know where to start. Jackson's birth was a completely different experience from Ryan's. It was a day of great emotional healing for me. I had never experienced a birth where everything went right. I didn't realize how big the hole was in my heart after Ryan's birth, and how Jackson's would fill all the loss I'd been suppressing for nearly three years. But it really did, every whit.
The night before Jackson's scheduled delivery I hardly slept. I was far too excited/nervous, not to mention uncomfortable with a full-term baby inside of me. Luckily, we had to be at the hospital very early so at 4:15AM I gratefully got out of bed to get dressed and ready to go. After packing up some last minute things and Brenton eating breakfast (I had to fast), we loaded everything up and set out for the hospital. I felt so calm during the drive. With no traffic the trip flew by as we followed the pink sunrise to the hospital.
Upon arrival Brenton gave me a blessing stating all would be well and Jackson would be perfectly healthy. I felt calm and very prepared as we walked into the hospital together. After registration and making sure my orders were correct, they taped on my wrist band and lead me to Labor and Delivery. There was no rush, no panic, just friendly nurses who chatted away as I laid on the bed and started an IV of fluids. I began to feel the excitement of knowing in just another hour I'd be holding Jackson. It buoyed me up as they took a blood sample and I swallowed the nasty antacid suspension. Then it was time for Brenton to suit up in his scrubs for the OR.
At this point I was ready to be moved to final prep before surgery. This was the part I was most dreading because I knew it would hurt and Brenton couldn't be in the room with me. Suddenly, I was filled with anxiety as my mind flashed back to Ryan's traumatic delivery. I began to sob uncontrollably almost out of nowhere. It was completely unexpected. I knew all would be well. I knew nothing that happened during Ryan's delivery would happen with Jackson's, but being back in a hospital setting flooded my mind with all the fears and emotions I had suppressed for three years. No matter how I tried I couldn't get myself to calm down. I sobbed all the way down the hall as I was wheeled to the room for the spinal block and waited. Noticing it was taking a while for the doctors to come, Brenton asked if he could sit with me until they performed the spinal block. The nurses agreed and I began to calm down. I felt so foolish for falling apart like that, but I really had no control over it. Thankfully, with Brenton holding my hand and stroking my hair I was able to compose myself somewhat until Dr. South arrived and it was time for the spinal block.
My anxiety returned somewhat when Brenton had to leave, but knowing Dr. South was there and we were minutes away from the surgery gave me strength to handle the spinal block on my own. The nurses and anesthesiologist were very kind. One of the nurses kept talking to me, asking me questions about Jackson to keep me distracted. It was very helpful, and even though I was still crying, it kept my mind off the pain. After a few minutes the spinal block was in and I was wheeled to the operating room.
At this point my anxiety was at its greatest. The last time I was in an operating room was very scary, and the memory of it was almost too much to handle. I was so terrified I began to shake. They brought Brenton in quickly and he helped me calm down significantly. Then, almost as soon as it had started, I stopped crying. I felt a wave of peace flood over me and knew everything was going to be just fine. The worst was over, and in minutes Jackson would be born. As this wasn't an emergency c-section, Dr. South was able to carefully take her time with each layer of the incision. I paid much more attention to what was happening to my body. There was a lot of pressure, and instead of the baby being pulled out of the birth canal as Ryan was, I felt them push down on my stomach to help Jackson come out. It was so much pressure at one point I couldn't breathe. Most importantly I wanted to hear Jackson's first cry. I never heard Ryan's as he was unresponsive at birth. I was afraid it would be too noisy and I'd miss it, so I kept asking the nurses, "is he coming?" about every thirty seconds.
Before we knew it, Jackson was pulled out and Dr. South said, "what a chubby guy! He's huge!," and then I heard it: Jackson's first cry. It was a culmination of relief, joy, gratitude, and love. They brought him over to me right away. I felt his tiny hand that moments earlier was in my belly, wrap around my finger as I watched his perfectly healthy lungs rise and fall with his first breaths. Brenton was right next to me; our baby was fine. It was the moment I had dreamed and wished for three years ago but never got. It was perfect, and more beautiful than I imagined. Jackson Rafael Hoyos was born July 24th, 2013, at 7:59 AM weighing 8 lbs. 14 oz. and 20 1/2 inches long.
They put a diaper on Jackson and wiped him down, then placed him on my chest. I felt as though my heart couldn't possibly hold all the love I felt for my sweet baby boy. Just minutes earlier he had been inside me, and now here he was, resting peacefully on my chest, perfect as could be. After a minute or two the nurse adjusted him so he could try to breastfeed. Almost instinctively, Jackson rooted and began to nurse. The other doctors in the OR couldn't believe it. Apparently it is very rare for c-section babies to nurse right after being born. They said they'd only ever seen it happen twice before. I was so proud of him!
Dr. South took extra care with stitching me up to minimize scar tissue, and then I was wheeled to Recovery to be cleaned up. Brenton went to the Nursery where Jackson was cleaned, weighed, and measured. I missed them so much, but couldn't leave Recovery until I could move my toes on my own. I remember staring at my feet, willing every neuron in my brain to make them move, but they just sat there, discouragingly still. Every ten minutes a nurse would come and massage my tummy to help my uterus contract, and each time it hurt more and more, which was a good sign the spinal block was fading. They'd ask, "can you move your toes?" and I felt like a six-year-old misspelling the word 'cat' as my feet stubbornly refused to move. The nurse would give me a patronizing smirk and say, "I guess we'll try again later, won't we?" It was maddening. Finally, I begged one of the nurses to bring Jackson while I waited for the spinal block to wear off. After a few minutes of lecturing and informing me it wasn't procedure to bring the baby into Recovery, I stubbornly insisted they bring him anyway. Looking distinctly ruffled, the nurse called up to the Nursery and a minute later Brenton and Jackson were wheeled into my little partitioned bed space. I was so happy to hold my baby I didn't even realize my feet started moving seconds later. I covered his little face with kisses, and the nurses upon seeing my wriggling toes quickly released me to Postpartum, just like that.
At this point we were ready to call parents and family to announce the good news. Jackson was finally here, safe and sound! My wonderful doctor didn't make me wait 24 hours to eat solid food and had Dining Services bring up a huge celebratory breakfast. Brenton called family while I inhaled my food gratefully. I couldn't believe Jackson was resting so peacefully with me and doctors weren't coming in left and right to check on him. He wasn't hooked up to any monitors or being given any medicines. No one came in insisting they take him away for tests or scans. Everything was different from what I experienced with Ryan. I had all the time in the world to bond with my baby. It was wonderful.
It wasn't until Jackson was born and safely in my arms that I realized how much healing I desperately needed from Ryan's birth. I had no idea how scarred his delivery had made me, and how warped my perception of childbirth was because of it. While I knew Jackson was my second child, for those first 48 hours it was as if I was experiencing motherhood for the very first time, getting to enjoy all the precious first moments I'd dreamed of having but never received. Jackson's birth filled the gaping hole in my heart I never realized was left there. After only two days in the hospital, we were both discharged. It was wonderful to go home all together with no legal battles, haggling with nurses, or flood of paperwork to fill out.
A year ago I was writing posts about the heartbreak of negative pregnancy tests month after month. Now here I sit cradling my sweet baby in my arms, filled with so much gratitude my heart could burst. I have two miraculous little boys. Ryan is proof that miracles happen in a sincere moment of need. Jackson is proof that prayers are answered and the Lord keeps his promises. I am so in love with my sons. They are my two greatest achievements. In a very special blessing I was given in my youth I was told I'd have a "great posterity to raise up unto the Lord." I always assumed that meant I'd have a lot of kids. But maybe it means while my children may be few in number, they will be truly great. Looking into their sweet faces, how could it be anything but the latter?
For those who missed it on my Facebook page, here is a photo slideshow of Jackson's birth. We're so happy he's finally here!