I've just realised I never posted Anders' birth story, the way I did Connor's 5 years ago. So here we go.
There are some parallels with Connor's birth story. We moved to UK when I was approximately 16 weeks pregnant with Anders - almost the same stage we moved to Jakarta when I was pregnant with Connor in 2008. Obama was elected President of the United States the day before Connor's birth... and re-elected shortly before I discovered I was pregnant with Anders. So I am a) never going to move to another country ever again and b) thank God this is Obama's last term as POTUS because I seriously cannot afford another baby!
Anyway, I decided to have a planned C-section for Anders. It was mainly for practical reasons as we had to consider we now had another child to take care of and unlike KL, childcare is not that easy to arrange here. But I have to confess another reason was my own terror. I will always remember the terror I'd felt 5 years ago, realising that with each contraction I had, Connor's heart rate was slowing. That was why we had an emergency C-section.
That fear has never left me and I could not face it again with my Anders. So I decided for a c-section again. I was given a set of pamphlets by the hospital to read through before I made my mind up so that I knew exactly what I was going in for. Once we reached the decision to go ahead, they booked me in for the procedure in my 39th week and I met the medical team who would be handling it.
In many ways, it was much more relaxing as we now knew when the baby would be coming... assuming he didn't arrive earlier! We arranged for childcare, Daddy knew exactly what dates he needed to take off work, I packed my bag knowing when we would need it, we knew Daddy could come into the operation theatre to be with me... I felt like a lot of uncertainty had been taken care of. The date chosen by the medical team was 12 June and I was quite amused because that was the date I would have chosen as well had I been given the chance. It just seemed like a nice sequence of numbers to me.
On the day of the operation, we dropped Connor off at a friend's. Dear Hubby and I then went to the hospital where we had to wait for a really long time. There were two other women in the same waiting room with me, both also scheduled for procedures on the same day. Even though I knew it was happening, I was still nervous.
Mine was scheduled at noon. About a quarter to, I was called and told I could change into the hospital gown. Yucks, I hate that garment. We still took a picture of me in it though... the last picture of me pregnant and whale-like, beaming at the thought of meeting our second child. I have to go dig it up, it's in another computer.
At noon, I was wheeled in. The anaes... er... how to spell? - the person who knocks you out chatted with me as they prepped me for the operation. After I was ready, Dear Hubby was allowed in to see me. It's pretty weird. I had lost sensation so I couldn't feel pain or cold. But I could feel if someone pulled or tugged.
And that was what the operation was like. I could feel someone pressing and tugging but no pain. Like someone rummaging in a drawer... and I'm the drawer! Weird as hell. All through, I chatted with Dear Hubby and the anaes... erm.. however you spell it. Altogether a much more pleasant experience than Connor's birth!
We kept asking "Is the baby out yet?" "Is he okay?" Each time we were assured the baby was doing fine and no, he wasn't out yet. Finally, the doctor said, "Here he comes!" I felt one final tug and he lifted our baby boy high up for us to see. He was pink, covered in whitish stuff... and then he peed all over the doctor who'd just brought him into the world. Whoops.
I'll never forget the relief I felt when I heard his first cry. He's okay, I thought. He's okay. I looked over to my husband. He was looking at our son with tears in his eyes and a big smile on his face.
They wrapped him up and brought him to me. How tiny he was! I'd forgotten how tiny newborns are. I kissed him tearfully, I was so relieved everything had gone well and that he was here safe and healthy. It'd been such a stressful few months - the visa dingdong, the move, looking for a new home, moving in... I'd been so worried for Anders. Dear Hubby cuddled him and Anders looked so very, very small and new in daddy's hands.
After they'd stitched me up, Anders followed me into the recovery room while Daddy went to change back into his normal clothes and drove off to get Connor.
It was a grey cloudy day in Aberdeen that day but I had my own little ray of sunshine.
It was almost 4pm before Connor got to meet his baby brother. When I saw Connor, he just seemed so grown up and enormous to me. This morning when I'd kissed him goodbye, he'd been my little boy. Now standing next to the bassinet and peering at his new baby brother, he seemed so tall, so big, so knowing. No one told me things would change like that. I wasn't prepared for it.
And just like that, my world became a little bigger, a little brighter, a little busier.
Daddy, Connor, Anders... and me.