I remember walking into the OR, completely oblivious to anyone or anything. I saw people standing but they didn’t look like people. More like people you see in dreams. Faceless people or people you can see but are blurry. I had to walk to Court from her feet to her head to get past the curtain to see her face. I didn’t see much, just the top of her stomach that seemed like it was flapping in the breeze. They really should think about a different strategic path for fathers to take for c-sections.
I got to her head and I could immediately tell she was just a bit loopy. I could also look in her eyes and see the fear. I could see how quickly this has all happened for her and how uncertain she was feeling. It was difficult to fight back emotion, and let me tell you this: A runny nose and a surgical mask do not mix at all. It’s gross. No, for real.
We talked for a bit and tried to keep conversation as normal as possible. I’m not sure how normal we felt. It wasn’t like I’m asking her, “So when you’re done here, you want to go get a pizza?”. I remember Court telling my welling eyes that it would be okay when I heard the surgeon say, “We’re ready.” They transfer our girl directly behind me to another table where a team of more doctors do what they do.
Courtney starts telling me to turn around and look at her. My eyes were stuck on my wife. I physically couldn’t turn around. I was terrified to find out anything bad. All I knew was that she’s twelve weeks early. I wasn’t sure what a 28 week baby looks like and having to relay something bad back to her, I was not prepared for or even thought about.
I started with small glances like I was testing the water temperature in a pool. Ten fingers. Ten toes. Two eyes. Ears. Check, check, check , and check. The doctor asked me if I wanted to take a picture. I stood up and turned to find this tiny, tiny baby there with eyes wide open. Not crying, she was just there staring. I took a couple of pictures, one more good stare and sat back down.
Court asked me how she looked. I showed her the pictures and we cried. She demanded that I go with our baby when it was time. We had a small back and forth about that but of course I agreed to go with the baby. The doctor said that she would hold the baby up to Court’s face for a few seconds before leaving. For almost three seconds, Court was face to face with our daughter. Then they were gone.
Next thing I know, I’m in an elevator with our baby and a team of doctors but without my wife. It just didn’t feel like we just had a baby. The fact that she didn’t get to hold her kept racing in my mind.
After watching them get the baby in the room and all set up for various monitors, they had me go out in the waiting room. Evidently I nodded okay and found myself back out in the waiting area. This is where I’m bombarded with everyone asking about the name. Turns out, when Court was wheeled through to go to her room, she told everyone that I would announce the name. I smiled because she knew I wouldn’t without her and she got herself off the hook with the questions. Then it turned from the name to wanting pictures. Just so you know, Trying to forward pictures to everyone is not high on the list for a five minute old dad who’s baby is on one floor and wife on another.
All I wanted was to get to my wife and make sure she’s okay. We needed to be together. To make this as normal as any early delivery can be I guess.
After I had some time with Court back in the room, we had everyone come in for a moment to announce the name. It felt bittersweet. We waited nine, strike that, six months to reveal her name and yet we weren’t going to get to enjoy that moment of introduction ( cue The Lion King music). We missed out on me cutting the cord. Court holding her for the first time after delivery. I never felt her kick while in her stomach. Things like that. Bittersweet.
But I knew that the moment where it will be the three of us will be coming soon. Probably with monitors and wires but that doesn’t matter. It’s my family.
And with all we didn’t get to do or experience, we closed out this intense September 5th day in the best possible way. We switched from just us to being parents of this super tiny person that will bring us moments we haven’t even begun to imagine.
Next: September 6th And Everything After