Julie was born at 3:41 AM on Saturday morning April 18, 2009. We had scheduled a C-Section to be done that same morning at 9:30 AM, but Julie didn't want to wait for that appointment. Julie's mother and I were up all night Friday because we were so anxious, excited and a little nervous about what has become one of the greatest days of our lives. I decided to go downstairs and watch some television. I had recorded Theology of the Body for Teens - I'm currently reading Theology of the Body so the program was of great interest to me - and I highly, highly recommend watching that series that can be found on EWTN. I decided to give sleep one more try around 12:30. Shelly was still awake. There was no way we were getting any sleep. It was going to be a long, long night. Then at 12:45 the unexpected happened; Shelly's water broke. We went into minor hysteria. The doctor didn't think her water would break, because she was not dialated at all on her last visit and Julie was sitting breech. Well, it happened and thankfully we had already packed up everything earlier that night. Shelly was asking me what to do and my mind was racing trying to think of what I had been told and what I had read. I said, I'll get you a towel and you can go ahead and call the doctor. Shelly called her mom first, then her doctor. The doctor was very calm and reassuring, but that didn't completely ease our anxiety. I was running around the house like I was back in little league baseball rounding the bases. My mind was racing faster. I grabbed all our bags and threw them in the car. I grabbed a couple extra towels, my medicine because I'd been having nose issues, our camera and all the essentials. With that we were off to the hospital. The ride seemed like it was an eternity. I gave my mom a call and let her know we were headed to the hospital and I prayed the rosary twice and tried to calm Shelly down in the process.
When we finally got to the hospital, we parked in the labor/delivery drive through. The woman at the desk seemed extremely calm to me; we were having a baby! I guess it was just another late night for her. We got the necessary papers signed and we were off to one of their rooms where Shelly was going to be checked. It turned out that she was 2 inches dilated and our doctor decided we should proceed with the c-section rather than wait. It was go time. Shelly was hooked up to IV, received a catheter, and finally an epidural. Each one of these procedures was uncomfortable for Shelly. All I could do was sit there, hold her hand, and tell her everything would be alright. Shelly was asking the nurses a million questions which is something that runs in the family. The nurses were very nice and continued to reassure her and calm her down. I put on the operating clothes, boots, mask and all and we headed to the operating room.
I had to sit outside the room for five minutes while the doctors - there were several of them - got Shelly ready for operation. The next ten minutes were the tensest minutes of my life. I had several emotions going through my head. Up until that point I felt like I was fairly calm and level headed, but sitting outside that room really hit me hard. I started to breathe quickly and heavily. I was having a minor panic attack I think. I just love Shelly and our baby Julie so much and I was concerned. I was also excited so it was a weird feeling. When the doctor came to me and told me it was time, I started to the room. I was so baffled that I had put my mask on incorrectly; the doctor had to help me put it on right. Then I looked through the window and saw Shelly's incision. They had already cut her open, and I saw it. That only increased my anxiety. As I walked past, I made sure not to look back at the incision, and I was seated next to Shelly's head. She was awake and appeared to be doing pretty well. She could see that I was very nervous and she kept telling me she was alright and that it didn't hurt. I shook my head in understanding but it didn't easy my anxiety. I started breathing fast and hard and my eyes started to water. This moment is something I knew I'd never forget. When one of the doctor's said, "It's not long now," the anticipation was unreal. I started to cry, Shelly started to cry and then one of the doctor's said, "here she comes." I said I wouldn't look, but I had to see, so I stood up and I saw our baby Julie. I saw her! She was covered in white fluid. I was crying and smiling. Shelly kept asking me, can you see her? Yes. Shelly desperately wanted to see her, but the doctors had to clean Julie off first. I had my camera with me and took close to 100 pictures. I didn't want to miss anything and I wanted Shelly to be able to see what I saw. Once she was cleaned I was able to hold Julie and bring her to mom. Shelly finally got to see baby Julie and the family was together for the first time. Shelly's first words at the sight of Julie was, "She's so perfect," and she couldn't have been more right. Julie was a very beautiful and healthy baby.
I followed Julie to the operating delivery room, where she was weighed, bathed and checked out. Shelly was getting stitched up. Eventually Shelly came and joined us. She looked pretty good considering she just had a serious surgery, but her heart rate was racing very high so the doctors and nurses were monitoring her closely. I could now tell the parents-in-law the good news and show them the pictures I took. They had been at the hospital the whole time we were there. It must have been hard for them to just sit in the waiting room for hours, but they wanted to be there and I know Shelly was glad to have them there. After I told them the situation, I headed back to the operating room. The nurses took Julie up to the nursery where they had to do some further tests. I was to stay with mom for 15 minutes, before heading to our room. My parents-in-law and myself went up to the 4th floor after 15 minutes and went to visit the nursery. We called to get the attention of the nurses in the nursery and had them bring Julie close to the window. They finally got to see their first granddaughter in person. Then we went to the room and waited for Shelly. Shelly arrived shortly and so did baby. I don't know what time it was when we were all in the room together, but I think it was around 5 or 6 am. I had gotten no sleep. It was the first time in my life that I went an entire day and night without sleep. I was running on adrenaline and Shelly was even more exhausted than me, but Julie was finally here. Our lives will never be the same. It didn't take me long to realize that. In my next post, I'll post my thoughts on the first week of Julie's life.