Once we got the official word we were having our baby immediately, we started calling family to let them know I was being taken in for an emergency c section. It was happening fast but it didn’t seem truly emergent, so I like to call it my semi-emergency c section. We only called my mom, my dad, Nolan’s parents (who were in Dallas for Nolan’s dad’s work, 6 hours away), my friend Kaitlin, and Nolan’s sister. We didn’t want the entire family coming down there because we knew we were facing a rough road with Whitlee. We told the ones we did call that I was going in very soon but not to rush because I’d be in recovery for a while, and we had no idea what would happen with Whitlee. So most likely, they wouldn’t be able to see me or her for a while anyway.
They were running the bag of fluids through me really fast, which was very cold, and I started shaking like crazy. I couldn’t tell if I was shivering because I was cold or nervous. The neonatologist came in to explain what we were facing delivering Whitlee at 34 weeks. He told us she would most likely have respiratory problems but we wouldn’t know anything concrete until she got here. He explained a lot of other things that made her being a preemie sound very scary. Nolan said he felt calm until then, then he was nervous for our baby’s health.
About 2:45, they had all my bracelets on me, fluids ran through, compression socks on, Nolan in the fancy paper scrubs, and had us walking to the operating room. I don’t know why but I thought I’d be wheeled in, so walking felt kind of strange. Very surreal. I held Nolan’s hand and felt really nervous, still shaking like crazy. Everything happened very fast and unfortunately I wasn’t thinking about taking any pictures, which for me is crazy! I wish I had a picture of him in his scrubs, waiting to meet our baby girl.
They had him wait in the hall, and took me in. They helped me up on the table and started my spinal block. It was very weird. It didn’t hurt going in, but I kept getting really sharp painful twitch like feelings in my right hip. The anesthesiologist kept asking where it hurt so he could adjust it. I kept hearing them talk about the “swirl”, like “did you get a swirl?”, then “there’s the swirl,” and I suddenly felt a flood of warmth down my right side. I told them I only felt it on my right and they said not to worry, it would spread to the left. I later figured out the “swirl” was something they look for to know they’re in the right spot – it’s a swirl of cerebral spinal fluid. (Or at least that’s what Google told me.)
They layed me back on the table, put a sheet up in front of me and I could feel them doing things, but not really. I was fully numb pretty quick. The anesthesiologist showed me a little needle with a blunt tip and poked my neck and asked if I could feel it – I could – then he started at my ribs and moved up asking if I could feel anything. I couldn’t feel anything until he got to about my collar bone. So I was definitely numb.
I was doing really well mentally until that moment and I remember trying to wiggle my toes and couldn’t feel them and started to feel panicky. I started breathing hard and knew if I didn’t stay calm I’d risk them putting me under completely and I wanted to be awake so I kept pep talking myself. I wanted Nolan in the room so bad because I knew he’d calm me down. They finally let him in and he sat down by my head and held my hand. I immediately felt more calm.
They started the c section probably as soon as he sat down because about 5 minutes later I asked, “Have they started yet??” and the anesthesiologist said “Oh yea, they’re halfway in.” He was stationed above my head and kept making small talk with us to keep me distracted. Occasionally my doctor would ask me how I was doing and ask about my blood pressure, which was holding steady. There was a lot of tugging, a lot of pressure sometimes, and then they said, “Okay, Jaime, you’re gonna feel a lot of pressure.” Then there was very intense pressure and the operating table was even moving like crazy. It felt like they were going to jerk me off the table! Then I heard the most wonderful sound in the world – Whitlee crying! She was here at 3:40 PM and she was breathing and crying, which were great signs of some strong lungs. I immediately started crying. I was so relieved to hear her and know she was here safely. They told us she’s definitely a girl and held her around the curtain for me to see really quick. She was so beautiful! A few seconds later they said, “Dad, come see her and get some pictures.” So Nolan went over to her while they assessed her and weighed her. She weighed 4lbs 3oz and I could hear her crying the whole time. Nolan came back to me and showed me pictures on my phone. I kept saying, “She’s so pretty.” and “Look at those long legs!” Then they brought her over to me and said, “We’re headed to the NICU, give her a quick kiss and get a picture.” So Nolan grabbed a few pictures of me and her and then she was gone. I missed her the second she was out of my sight, but I was so glad she was here and seemed to be fairly okay.
I was in the OR for another 30 minutes or so getting sewn up, then they wheeled us into a recovery room. They had me in there for a while and the neonatologist came back in and explained that she had a little trouble breathing and would be on a ventilator for 48 hours, but other than that she was doing wonderful. So that began her stay in the NICU, where she’s progressing every day. She’s currently still there, today is her 8th day. I miss her so much when I’m away from her, but I try to stay positive and know she’ll be home soon.
So that’s Whitlee’s birth story. It’s a far cry from what I had in mind, nothing near my original birth plan. But our baby girl is here and we get to love on her every day. We can’t wait for her to be home!
Our first family picture!