Forest and I agreed early on in our 2nd pregnancy that we were going to have another c-section for delivery instead of trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Well, I said I agreed but really I was praying about it all.the.time. I have a friend who had a successful VBAC just a few months before Sloane was born and she said she’d never have another c-section if she could avoid it. I felt like most of my doctors were gently encouraging me to go for a repeat c-section and I knew that both Forest and I agreed that having another c-section was more up our alley in terms of preparedness and knowing when to expect our girl to be here, especially with all of our family coming from out of town and needing someone to watch Peyton while we were in the hospital.
All of that to say, I wanted to do VBAC but after praying for so long about it and talking Forest’s ear off every day about making a decision, we scheduled a c-section for June 6 at 3:00 pm. Thankfully, I got a call a week prior asking if we wanted to move our time up to 7:00 am and I couldn’t say yes fast enough!
^Our last family picture before Sloane – from Peyton’s 2nd birthday 6/2/17
/We arrived at the hospital at 5:30 am and they immediately had me change into a gown a/nd tried to get my IV in to get fluids started. We had the sweetest nurse who tried several times on both arms to get the IV in but it wasn’t working for her, the needle would go in the vein but the tube/catheter thing wouldn’t advance into the vein. After her 3rd or 4th try she called the anesthesiologist (who was so nice and explained everything and was a different guy from Peyton’s birth, thank goodness) so he could numb the area and start the IV without me feeling any pain. They picked such a weird location, on the side of my left wrist, but it finally went in and fluids were flowing.
During this whole IV ordeal, there was another couple that arrived at the hospital for a scheduled c-section. I don’t know if they were told the wrong time, we obviously didn’t get to hear the whole story, but our nurse said that if had arrived even 10 minutes later than we did, they probably would have started IV’s on the other woman and my time MIGHT have been moved. To which Forest quietly said “That’s why we get to places on time!”
Our nurse went through all of my medical history and, since my IV started late and they wanted as much of the fluids in me as possible, they had me walk back to the operating room right around 7:30. The nurses were all so friendly and I felt much more relaxed during this surgery prep than I did with the first one. I was uncontrollably shaking even though I was trying to stop myself. I was having casual conversation with the nurses and the two doctors doing the procedure came in early so I got to chat with them some too. There was constant activity and movement but I felt so at-ease and comfortable. It probably had a lot to do with the prayer I had Forest pray over me and the baby before I went back to the operating room and a little to do with already knowing what to expect.
Forest came into the operating room not long after so we were able to talk to each other and the doctors (I can’t say it enough how much better I felt having the doctors talking and interacting with us rather than only with each other) and a little after 8:00 am the doctors said they were to the uterus and we’d be meeting our little girl soon!
At 8:11 am on Tuesday June 6, 2017, Sloane Cherylyn Johnson was welcomed to the world weighing 7 pounds 5 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches long!
The doctors said she was breech, just like Peyton, (which they later explained was due to the shape of my uterus) but I remember both doctors saying she had the most perfectly shaped head! And Forest told me that all the nurses were saying the same thing. She had a good pair of lungs on her, I remember hearing her scream as they were getting her cleaned up and wrapped up so Forest could bring her to me.
I remember crying when Forest held her up for me to see – her squishy face poking out of a swaddle of blankets and a pink and white hat. She was (and still is!) so beautiful! We all hung out like that for awhile – Forest holding her so I could kiss her cheeks and touch her nose – before he headed to the recovery room with Sloane to wait for me so Sloane could nurse as soon as possible. As soon as I was in the recovery room the nurse brought Sloane to me, unwrapped her from her blankets (so I could see her scrawny legs and count her toes and fingers!) and she nursed for awhile before falling asleep. She slept on my chest for a little bit and the pediatric nurses took Sloane to the nursery for a bath.
Apparently my heart rate was low and our nurse thought it was from the anesthesia but they said it should have risen after being in recovery for awhile and just to be safe they did an EKG. Everything was ok but we did stay in the recovery room for several hours so they could monitor my heart rate before we got to our postpartum room.
Peyton came to meet Sloane later that day. It is a moment I will cherish and remember forever! Peyton was at home all day with Grandpa and Gigi but they brought her to the hospital after her nap. She was so excited to see me and Forest. But she kept asking about the baby. Sloane was sleeping in my arms so Forest sat with her on the edge of the bed and we let Peyton hold Sloane. She kept looking from Sloane to Forest and me with the biggest smile on her face!
The rest of the time she was there she kept asking about baby. Sloane was sleeping in the bassinet at the end of the bed so, before they left, Forest picked Peyton up so she could see Sloane one more time. Peyton reached out and oh-so-gently touched Sloane’s cheek and looked up at Forest with such a proud smile on her face.
The rest of our time in the hospital was pretty normal – we had a few visitors including Peyton, Grandpa and Gigi everyday, Sloane stayed in the room with us during the day except for the times they took her to the nursery for hearing tests or to be weighed/measured, she was nursing every 2-2.5 hours and I was getting up to move more each day and was so excited to take a shower!
We were getting restless and ready to get home by Friday morning. The doctors (both mine and Sloane’s) said we were ok to go home early if we felt up to it. Sloane was already gaining weight again by the time we were discharged, which is good for newborns so before we knew it we were loading the car, strapping Sloane into the car seat and heading home!
That first night home was tough. Sloane wanted nothing to do with nursing where it was most convenient so there was a lot of crying which woke up Peyton several times. We finally figured out a good routine (and location) for Sloane to nurse that wouldn’t wake up Peyton if there was more crying. And life since then has been a wonderful whirlwind! We had a lot of family at home with us those first 2 weeks and then Forest had several weeks off for paternity leave.
Sloane is now 3.5 months old and sleeping in her own room. Peyton is 2 years old (going on 13….) but loves to help with anything and adores her little sister. Indie 3 years old and tries her darnedest to nap on the couch all day every day.
I still have concerns about when the girls are older and hate each other’s guts. I want them to be friends that share each other’s clothes, stay up late talking about everything under the sun, playing on the same sports teams, dancing on their beds, and choosing each other every day. I know that these are things we have several years before they happen so I will work hard every day to encourage them to play together and be friends.
Until next time — Cindy
*All images are original to A View from the Shore