Raina is officially a month old today! I don’t know where the time went. This has been the fastest, haziest, scariest, loveliest month everever in my life!
Ohmy! I didn’t mean to go this long without updating, but as I said in my last entry, I had a C-section scheduled for October 21st. My daughter, Raina Lauri, was born at 7:10am on that day. (A Libra baby! I was secretly hoping I’d have her early enough for her to be that zodiac sign!)
Besides the fact that I’ve been too incredibly busy and/or exhausted to update my blog, I’ve also been putting it off because I wanted to post the most perfect entry about my daughter. There’s so much to say. But how could I even begin to explain the storm of thoughts & emotions swirling through my body? Really, there’s no way that I can properly (or at least eloquently) relay all of the details from the past 2-ish weeks. So I’m just going to dive in and see what I can sum up for you.
The night before my C-section, I had half a nervous breakdown / half a spiritual revelation. I’m prone to panic attacks and often get lost in my head, wading through murky thoughts and emotional oceans. Realising just how real everything became, it was overwhelming. I was about to go through major surgery. About to meet the baby girl that’s been living inside me. About to change my life completely.
Chad and I arrived at the hospital around 4:30am. The entire place was so calm and quiet, it felt like we were the only ones there. It helped a bit in easing my anxiety over the whole process. While all the preparation for the C-section was going on, I recall thinking to myself, “I never, ever want to go through this again.” The poking and prodding of an I.V. being inserted, endless and seemingly random questions being asked of me, and the awkwardness of the catheter and other embarassing things, and this was before the surgery even began.
The worst part for me was when they took me to get a spinal block to numb me for the surgery. I was wheeled from a cozy, little room where Chad sat next to me, to a scary-looking operating room, where they wouldn’t allow Chad to be with me until after the spinal block was administered. I was afraid of what it was going to feel like. Afraid of what was going to happen next. I get major anxiety over having new experiences. I like to know exactly what I’m in for when I do new things. Even though I did tons of research about C-sections, I still didn’t really feel adequately prepared.
After I was entirely numbed from my breastbone down to my feet, they let Chad into the room to be with me. It was perfect timing because I was about two seconds away from a major panic attack. My right arm was restrained, while my left arm was left free for Chad to hold my hand. The surgery then began without me even realising it. There wasn’t any sort of announcement like, “Ok! We’re gonna cut you open now and get your baby out! Are you ready?” It just sort of happened without my knowledge. I felt some slight pressure on my abdomen, but absolutely no pain. Within about 10 to 15 minutes, I heard my baby girl squawking. She was not happy to be outside of my womb. She sounded quite angry. Ha.
Even though I very distinctly remember hearing her first cries, everything else seems extremely hazy to me when I try to remember it. I barely remember looking at her face for the first time. I think perhaps, by that point, the morphine they were giving me had kicked in. I remember feeling wonder and euphoria about my baby girl. And I also remember that I had a hard time keeping my eyes open. I felt exhausted.
Long before I ever even thought about having kids, I recalled a friend of mine mentioning something about motherhood to me. She had two children, and she told me, “The love you feel for your kids is unlike any other feeling you will ever have.” At the time, I wondered what it must feel like and I tried comparing it to the love I feel for my cat. Because he has always been my baby & I love him dearly. Well, after having my daughter, I can explain this feeling to the non-parents in this manner: “The love you feel for your child is like the love you feel for your pet, but multiply that by at least 100. That’s what having a child feels like.”
Why did Chad and I choose to name her Raina Lauri? Well, the origins of her first name have no deep, significant meaning. During my first trimester or two, I was obsessively searching through lists of baby names, scrawling multiple lists of my personal favourites. (You can one find one draft of my name list here.) I shared my lists and ideas with Chad, but he didn’t seem to care for any of the names I chose. So, one day, I downloaded an iphone app for more baby name ideas. I handed the phone to Chad and asked him to look for names that he liked. He says he doesn’t even remember doing this, but he scrolled through the list and randomly picked a name, saying “I like this one,” as he handed the phone back to me. The name he chose was Raina. And as it turned out, I absolutely loved the name. The name made me think of rainy weather. I’ve never liked sunny days; I’ve always loved the rain, so I sort of instantly fell in love with this choice. And all kinds of lovely variations are available with the name. Raina, Rain, Rainy. Out of all the names I had as possibilities, Chad liked Raina the best, so that became her name. As for her middle name, I chose Lauri as an homage to my mom, whose name was Laura. She passed away in March of 2010. So she wasn’t around to see me through my pregnancy or the birth of my daughter. Even though she’s been gone over a year, I still find myself forgetting and wanting to call her or stop by her place of work. I wish more than anything that she and my dad could have both been around to meet Raina.
While Raina and I were still staying at the hospital, the nurses noticed that Raina seemed to breathing too fast. Some tests were done and they found that she has a heart murmur. The news didn’t really phase me, as I happen to have a heart murmur too. My murmur has always been benign and has never caused me any sort of problems. But an appointment was scheduled at the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh to check out her murmur and make sure everything was fine. On Halloween, we dressed Raina in a cute, little skeleton sleeper and took her to her appointment. After her exam, it was found that her murmur is being caused by a hole in her heart. The doctor said that this is something that can possibly heal itself. The hole may very well close up on its own, though it could take months or years. If nothing changes though, she may need surgery to close the hole. I’m praying to the universe & God & my parents in heaven, to watch over her and help her heal. I’m trying my best to stay positive & not worry. Either way, Raina is beautiful and happy. She really doesn’t seem to be in any sort of distress over her condition, so I’m absolutely grateful for that.