Well the day has finally come! We welcomed Ashley Marie to the world on January 18th 2012. We showed up at the hospital bright and early for my scheduled C-section. Waiting for us was both sets of grandparents with cameras flashing, it was as if we were on the red carpet and they were the Paparazzi. The first thing we did was deliver the books that we purchased in memory of Angel. We collected enough money to buy over 200 books to donate to the labor and delivery unit. The books were called "We Were Gonna Have a Baby, but We Had An Angel Instead". It was a great way to bring closure and meaning to Angel's life and help us start out Ashley's life.
We checked into Pre-op and gowned up. Paul was way too tall for his little outfit, but he managed to squeeze into just fine. I was a nervous wreck in the Operating room. They took me in there by myself to start the epidural. I was shaking and had a hard time trying not to be too emotional. The staff were all very nice and understanding. Once I was numbed up, Paul was brought in and Dr. Illeck started the surgery. I was pretty convinced that my legs kept falling off the table, Paul and the anesthesiologist kept reassuring me that they were in fact up on the table where they should be. It is such a weird feeling being completely numb but feeling the pressure of them manipulating my body and pulling the baby out. It was so uncomfortable and it took my breath away when they had to push her down from under my lungs. With a lot of effort, Ashley Marie was born weighing 7 pounds and 5 ounces. The anesthesiologist held up a mirror so I could see them taking her out of me. All I remember seeing was a white little thing and thinking to myself "OK it is really confirmed, she is a girl!" I don't know why I thought that. I never had any doubts that she was going to be a boy. It seemed like forever for them to bring her over to me. I instantly had a rush of happy hormones and I kept kissing her over and over again.
In the recovery room my arms were aching to hold her. Paul handed her to me and my heart melted. She was so beautiful. My first thought was she looked nothing like Allison, but looked an awful lot like Andrew when he was an infant. She immediately wanted to nurse and latched on right away. Once again my happy hormones were making me float on air, or maybe it was the dilaudid :)
We were able to have our "golden hour" with her. It is an hour of bonding uninterrupted time for just Paul and I. We investigated her little body, played with her little white fingers and explored her belly button and full head of hair. Paul asked the nurse if I was allowed to wear my jewelry now, she said yes, and he pulled out a wooden box with a diamond ring in it. I love that man! Not only was I holding the most perfect baby, but I was rewarded with a sparkly.
We fianlly made it to our room, not ocean view, but once again the happy hormones didn't let me get bothered by anything. It felt like an eternity until the kids and grandparents came up. Andrew and Allison were the first to enter the room. They were immediatly trying to climb up on the bed to meet their little sister. It was so precious and a moment I will never forget. The kisses seemed to never stop. The grandmas were crying and I was in heaven. Andrew and Allison of course wanted to hold her, which made me a little nervous, but they did just fine with a little help from daddy.
The grandparents all had a turn with her and they she was all mine again to cuddle and feed.
We spent 2 nights in the hospital. The first night, Paul stayed with me and my parents were at our house with the kids. The second night we had our first dinner as a family of 5. They gave us sparking cider and filet mignon. Paul took the kids back to the house and my mom stayed the night with me. We watched Grey's Anatomy and fell asleep for 5 hours! The nurse was really nice and kept checking in on us, but we were tired girls and didn't wake up at all.
We were discharged the next evening. Paul picked us up ina beautifully clean car and we picked up Enrique's on the way home. Happy hormones flying the whole time. I am truly blessed.