Mary and Brendan are thrilled to announce the birth of their son Matthew Alexander. February 11, 2013 at 11:15 am 6 pounds, 12.6 ounces (3080 grams) and 18.75 inches. A little smaller than expected but out of the miniature range that Elizabeth had been in. He has a strong resemblance to his sister and just like her, he is cute as a button. Mom and baby are both doing well.
It is amazing how much more relaxed we were about the whole hospital experience this time around. We arrived on time (a reasonable 8:30am) and only got mildly lost trying to get all registered. We then proceeded with the routine checks where they ask you the same things three or four times just to make sure that you are being consistent and really are telling them the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This time around the resident doing the ultrasound explained a bit of the reasoning behind why they bother to do another one at the last minute despite it being quite obvious that baby is still not head down. Apparently they also want to check on the positioning of the baby so that they know how to tackle the job of getting him or her out. In our case baby was firmly transverse and spine down.
Elizabeth was also technically transverse, but she'd gotten herself stuck more on one side of my uterus which meant that she was not spine down (and actually almost breech). Turns out that a spine down sideways baby is much more complicated to get out since there is really nothing to grab onto and pull by. As a result we were warned that there was a high chance that they would need to T the incision to get the necessary access. This in turn would mean a more complex recovery and absolutely no chance of a VBAC (although there is no chance of that anyway as this is a repeat c-section and they won't let you try a VBAC after more than one). This was then repeated to us by Dr. Gravelle just outside the OR. She tried not to sound too pessimistic but the tone was definitely a bit glum. She did perk up upon discovering that the anesthetist was one of her classmates from way back whom she quite enjoys working with (and by chance the same one that had been present for Elizabeth's birth). Once in the OR there was a steady trickle of students piling in to watch (each asking if they could first). I guess that the particular situation is sufficiently rare that I qualified as an interesting learning opportunity. The OR seemed smaller than the one we had for Elizabeth, and there were definitely more people.
The IV hurt a lot as usual and the nurse seemed quite surprised by how much I hate them. "It's not supposed to hurt anymore", she said. "I know" I said, but that didn't actually change the fact that it was painful and stinging. I was worried the operation would be delayed but I was wheeled in right on time at 10:30am.
The prep was just the same, though I'd forgotten that the spinal pinched on the way in. It still felt wonderfully warm as it took effect. The OR was much noisier than I remembered as well, partly because the students were continuously being quizzed throughout the surgery. It was quite neat to listen to questions and answers though!
Once I was properly frozen they spent a great deal of time planning the operation, shifting my hips first one way and then the other, and drawing on my abdomen. Elizabeth had been very stuck, but since Matthew spent most of his days wiggling from transverse to breech position Dr Gravelle decided she'd try to wiggle Matthew into a position that would avoid the requirement for the dreaded T. Suddenly I felt really terrible. I thought I was about to be extremely violently ill. My blood pressure had dropped "like a stone" and the anesthetists got busy adding things to my IV and squeezing various meds through with great vim and vigour. I started to wonder if they were going to start the operation without Brendan, and I remember I asked after him three or four times. Eventually I started to feel better, Brendan and midwife Laurence were invited into the OR and the actual operation started. I started to get dreadfully itchy around my eyes, which was horrible since both arms were strapped down and I couldn't scratch. Apparently I had a reaction to the anesthetic - not uncommon but very annoying!
There was a brief moment when we wondered what was going on as they all cried "oh!" in startled voices. It turned out that the volume of fluid was much greater than expected and when the membrane was ruptured there was a great gush that sprayed around the room. Otherwise things appeared to go well and at 11:15 AM Matthew was brought out into the world squirming and crying. There have been quite a number of minor refinements to the process since Elizabeth was born and this time around we were allowed to place Matthew on my chest and allow him to nurse right in the OR. This was pretty awkward as I still didn't have the use of my arms. The operation must have been more complicated than last time because it also took them a lot longer to sew me up. After a little while Daddy and Matthew went across the hall to get a quick inspection done while Mommy was detached from the machinery and wheeled across the hall as well.
Last time the anesthetic wore off really quickly - I remember starting to be able to wiggle my toes within a few minutes of arriving in recovery. This time we had to hang around for an hour and a half while the nurse periodically placed an ice pack around my body to see where I'd recovered sensation. It's pretty disconcerting not to be able to move when you want to! I was quite anxious to get out of recovery because Brendan had left our phones with his mom and we were therefore unable to let anyone know that Matthew had been born!
Eventually my legs came back to life and we called Elizabeth to let her know she could come and meet her brother.
Elizabeth has been talking about "Maffew's birthday party" for quite a while. She had her heart set on balloons, party hats and cake - so we indulged her, even singing a round of happy birthday. Too bad I didn't get to have any as I was on a "clear fluids" diet at first, but we still had a fun little party!
A couple of years after starting to ask God for a little brother her prayer has been answered and she couldn't be more pleased with the result. Almost four years ago when Elizabeth was born we had the following verse in our devotional book for the day.
Joshua prayed to the LORD ... "Let the sun stand still ..." So the sun stood still ... There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the LORD answered such a prayer. (NLT)
With this question:
Who knows what God might do because of your prayer today! If you knew God would grant your prayer request, what would you pray for?
We can't help but think how fitting it still is today.