This blog post is part of a series that I began for telling our story. You can read the first post here.

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Today would have been Samantha’s 8th birthday. How is that possible? I cannot fathom having an 8-year-old.

So here’s what I remember from that day eight years ago…

They started the night before, actually. The process of being induced begins with medicine. So they started an IV and administered the meds that were supposed to get my body going. I don’t know all of the details of how it is supposed to work, because it didn’t. By the next morning, nothing in my body had moved into labor. No dilation, no effacing, none of the terms you hear thrown about in maternity circles. My doctor came into the room and talked to us frankly about surgery, then left us to make the decision. Despite our fears, we knew it was the best option. What we learned when she came back was that the decision wasn’t really ours, not in the sense that we felt empowered to make it. If we had said no, the convincing would have shifted into the need to have it to save my life and the baby’s. Instead, my doctor did the amazing thing of letting me feel like I had control over the situation, even though I really didn’t.

Once the go-ahead was given for surgery, everything started happening quickly. It seemed like it was only minutes until I was being wheeled down the hall to the operating room. I was surprised by how narrow the table was. And my arms were stretched out to each side in the shape of a cross. I don’t remembered when they did the block that numbed the bottom half of my body, but I felt none of it. I just felt hot. I made Travis keep his hand on my forehead to cool me down. He and the anesthesiologist were the only ones up by my head. The doctor and others (no idea how many) were on the other side of the curtain.

The only thing I remember feeling was an intense pressure, a pulling sensation, when they took her out of me. After they sewed me up, they were counting – I asked later if that was counting stitches. Nope! They counted all of the surgical tools they had used, to make sure nothing was left inside me (oh, good. Glad you paid attention to that!). Our daughter was brought close to my face and I saw her briefly, and then she was off to the NICU. The next thing I knew, I was back in the room and the lactation nurse was trying to get me to pump. Um, ok? I just wanted to sleep. I was so tired, and everything in me was crying out for sleep.

My sister and my husband traded off visiting the NICU and taking photos and video for me. Meanwhile, I was hating that nurse and wanting to sleep and wishing I could see my daughter. None of the things I wanted were going to happen, so I did my pumping and learned to hold a pillow against my abdomen when coughing or laughing, to protect the stitches. At one point I felt nauseous, but thankfully managed to not throw up. I can’t imagine what that would have done to my incision.

The hardest part was how I didn’t get to connect with my daughter. We named her Samantha, and I didn’t even get to hold her yet. I would have to wait until the next day…

Next post coming tomorrow.