We woke up knowing that Judith was arriving that day. My c-section was scheduled for around 10:00, and our family, pastor from our church, and the lay parish assistant from my parents' church all arrived at the hospital bright and early to support John and me (my parents' pastor sat with my grandmother since she was unable to make the long trip to Bethlehem).
The mag was shut off in preparation for the surgery, and that was such a relief for me; I didn't feel the effects wear off for a little bit, but it was nice to not have that constant flow anymore.
Naturally, they were running behind in the OR, and I was taken to surgery later than anticipated. John looked a little silly in the scrubs they gave him, but I was looking forward to seeing his reaction when Judith was born. I decided that, as much as I would've liked pictures of her birth, it was easier to not have him try to learn to use my camera so he could get shots, and we doubted we'd be able to get any good shots since the NICU team would have to whisk her off to stabilize her. It's a good thing we didn't plan on it, because it never would've happened anyway.
I was supposed to get a spinal, and once that was placed, John would join me in the OR. God bless the anesthesiologist: he tried 6 times to place it, but couldn't advance it past my vertebrae for some reason. So general anesthesia it was, and John was not permitted in the OR.
Judith was born at 11:44 AM, weighing 2 lbs even and measuring 14 1/4" long. Her Apgar scores were decent for a preemie: 6 and 8, I believe. More stunning was the news that she was breathing room air, and needed little oxygen intervention. They did place her on CPAP - the pressure was needed to help keep her tiny lungs open, and she essentially was breathing pressurized room air (or 21% oxygen).
Let me tell you: waking up from general anesthesia after a c-section hurts. They couldn't start the morphine before that, and I was in the worst pain of my life. It took a few hours for things to settle down, but once it did I was good to go. I am sad, though, that because of everything I was unable to see Judith her first day of life, save for a couple minutes when they wheeled me into the NICU before taking me back to my room.
John took pictures (after me giving a very drowsy crash course on using my DSLR), and participated in her first care times. I'm grateful that he spent so much time with her the first day, so she knew her daddy loves her and would be there for her. He brought reports back to me, and I was excited to hear that she was doing well.
Judith, only a few hours old
I cannot believe it's been a full year since our lives were changed so drastically. No one ever anticipates a preemie or a NICU stay, and I truly never believed we would be in that boat. A lot has happened over the past year, and I am thankful that Judith has done and is doing as well as she is. She truly is a little miracle!