Waiting outside the operating room has always been an odd experience. You walk through locked doors to get to the hallway which leads to the operating room. In that hallway is one lone chair, and I have to sit their while they prepare Caroline in the operating room. That wait is about 10 – 15 minutes of pretty much complete silence except for some nurses going in and out of the operating room. When Preston was born, I decided to quell some of that silence by video taping myself and basically giving an update of what was going on and the awkwardness I was experiencing. I did the same with Alayna. For Chandler, I made another video, but this time I made a message directly to Chandler to listen to when he is older.
Part of that wait makes you think a lot too. I thought about the births of our other children and how beautiful they were when they came out (Taylynn was a little beat up, but she was still a beautiful baby). I prayed about keeping Chandler healthy, just like our other children, and that no matter what, Caroline and I would love him as much as all our other children. As part of this C-Section, Caroline and I had decided to get her tubes tied as we felt comfortable that God told us four children was the right number. However, sitting there waiting just made me start second guessing. At one point, I debated running into the room real quick just to tell them to NOT tie her tubes (though I knew they wouldn’t do that until a good time after I was already in the room). I came to my senses though and realized that it was time for us to stop. At any rate, the nervous excitement I had all day was about to come to an end as I was called into the room.
Going into the operating room, I expected to see Caroline groggy and pretty much out of it, though still awake, as that is how she was with Preston and Alayna. However, this time, when I walked in, she was talking and pretty much alert as if she wasn’t even on any drugs. It was a surprise, but a pleasant one. It was nice to be able to talk to her and listen to her response; it made it even more special. It also calmed my nervousness down being able to talk to her about how excited we were and how much God has blessed us. I was just sitting there waiting to be able to look over the screen when Chandler was coming out in order to take some pictures. It seemed to take a long time and nobody told me the policy of taking pictures while the doctors were working, so eventually I stood up and watched as the doctors were still preparing Caroline. I’m not too much into the bloody doctor thing, but it was so interesting to see your wife’s stomach opened up on the table in front of you. I couldn’t really see insider her, but I still couldn’t help but watch. Then, it was time.
Once I saw the doctor get the tool to help pull Caroline’s stomach open, I knew it was time, so I readied the camera. In no time, little (or should I say not so little?) Chandler came out as I started snapping photos. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to see God’s gift come into this world. I looked at Caroline, smiled and told her “She did it”. Then, I was off to watch them start cleaning Chandler and doing his exam. At this point, I’m pretty overwhelmed, not only with joy and excitement, but because I have a video camera rolling in one hand and a digital camera snapping pictures in the other. I inspected Chandler with my own eyes just making sure he had all of his fingers and toes and no extra arms or anything. He was a beautiful and perfect baby boy. I could only watch in amazement as I had no words at that moment. At that moment, I just admired what a beautiful gift God had given us. I basically would go back and forth between admiring Chandler and checking in on Caroline to make sure she was doing OK. She had to get her tubes tied, which was supposed to only take a couple extra minutes, but it seemed like we were in the room for a lot longer than any of the other deliveries. Once the doctor was done checking Chandler, it was time to finally hold him. By the way, he was quite the screamer while he was being checked. It made us worry that we were going to have a loud child.
It’s pretty amazing to think 9 months ago, you planted a seed that you are now holding in your arms, nothing short of awesome. I took him to show to Caroline and to spend our first moments together. The anesthesiologist took some of our first family pictures for us. Eventually, Caroline was ready to go to the recovery room and Chandler and I followed.
I was really excited because at that point I went to get the kids to come see Chandler. I know Preston was so excited to meet him. As we were walking to the room, Preston asked me if baby Chandler was here and I told him that he was and we were on our way to see him. It was so cute to see Preston’s excitement as he had been waiting a long time to meet his brother. Once we got to the room, it was overwhelming and that part is pretty much a blur in my mind as I can’t even remember the reactions of the kids. I’m pretty sure we have it on video or at least on the digital camera. I wish I remembered it better, so hopefully God brings that memory back to me.
Eventually, the kids went home and things calmed down. Caroline fed Chandler for the first time and the nurse gave him his first bath. Then, it was off to our room. Finally, there was time to be able to hold him and just relax, cherish the moment, gaze at God’s glory and the beauty he provides us. It is just an awesome feeling to know that you have, not only four beautiful children, but four healthy children.
It has been hard for our kids to realize mom and dad are staying at the hospital and they can’t stay. Every night they have left, Preston has thrown a fit because he didn’t want us to stay. It makes it really hard, but I did go home and spend some time with Preston and Alayna one day. I was excited to go home and I think the kids couldn't wait for us to be home with them. I can’t wait for us to start this new chapter in our lives with our complete family. Crazy to think that when Caroline and I met for the first time in 2001, that 10 years later we would be married with four children. I couldn’t ask for a better wife or better kids. God has truly blessed me and I can’t praise Him enough for all He has done.
Tuesday finally rolled around and I was up and at 'em at four o'clock. Four was my cutoff for any food or drink so I had to get something in my stomach before it was too late. The day seemed unreal. I had been counting down for 9 months and now I was out of days to count. I am not sure if I was in a state of shock, excitement or just numb, but I wasn't all there. I was nervous, that was clear.
As we were driving to the hospital I was calm. Aaron had prayed a beautiful prayer for us the night before and I held on to his words and repeated them in my head. My calmness comes from the Lord in times when I would normally be anything but calm.
After we checked in and got settled we were told our c-section was going to be delayed. We could either wait for my Dr. to come back after five or we could use the on-call Dr. and go in as soon as the room was available. I was hungry and ready to meet my baby boy, so I went with the on-call Dr. The thought of switching Dr.'s made me nervous, but I just gave my fears and nerves up to the Lord. I had about 30 minutes of quiet while Aaron went and got lunch. I could have turned on the TV and filled my head with distractions, but instead I decided to sit still. I wanted to pray and let God speak to me. I wanted to dream of what Chandler would look like and the little man he would one day be. I just sat there; it was nice.
Before we headed back to the operating room my mom and sister brought Taylynn, Preston and Alayna to see us. It was a quick hello and a couple photo snaps and we headed off to the OR. The walk there is short. I get a sweet kiss from Aaron and I head into the room. I know this room all too well. It seems very empty this time around which brought me peace. I am asked to hop up on the table and the process of my spinal begins. I expect the worse. This has been really painful in the past. In fact the last time I got my spinal it hurt so bad my body jolted away from the anesthesiologist. As they asked me to arch my back as much as I could, I tried to find a focus point. A song came to my head.....we'll a few lyrics came to my head and I repeated them over and over again. "My heart will sing, no other name, Jesus, Jesus." Before I knew it the spinal was over and honestly I felt no pain from it. I had to ask if they did anything, they did I began to feel the tingle in my toes.
After the spinal the process began. I was just waiting to feel nauseous, but I actually felt pretty good. Before I knew it they said we're starting and Aaron wasn't even there yet, but they assured me he was on his way.
I couldn't tell what they were doing so with Aaron by my side I just began praying and praising the Lord. I continued to sing the song I had sang during the spinal (not aloud...to my self of course).
Within moments, or what seemed like moments I heard a cry.......I think maybe he came out crying :) I was told to look up and there he was. The Dr. held Chandler up over the screen so I can see him. I didn't expect this, usually I don't get to see my babies until they are all wrapped up and cleaned up. This doctor surprised me and it brought me to tears. Such a beautiful moment, from that first glance I was in love, COMPLETELY in love!
Once he was cleaned up Aaron brought him over to me and I got to get a closer look, smell and touch. I began whispering in his ear, this is what I remember saying "Chandler, I am your mommy and I love you so much. There is so much I want to tell you and teach you, but you first need to know about the wonderful God that has brought you here and gave you to me. He loves you even more than this love I feel right now for you. You also have a brother and two sisters that are waiting to meet you and love you like crazy." At this point Chandler began to cry so I began to sing " My heart will sing no other name, Jesus, Jesus" and he stopped. I kissed him and put my cheek next to his. This is one of the best moments of my life.
From the OR we went to the recovery room, from here I don't recall much. I know My mom and sister brought in Taylynn, Preston and Alayna and the feel of the room was excitement all around. I do have this time recorded on video so I am looking forward to watching it and seeing what I can't remember. Once everyone was gone I nursed Chandler and just stared at him. I was a lone in the room (other than the nurse) while Aaron ran to get some things from the car. The moment was still and I praised the Lord for the miracle I was now holding in my arms.
We moved to our hospital room and get all settled. We had lots of visitors during our stay. We are so blessed that so many people care and love for Chandler, it's a great feeling.
Aaron and I had a very special moment with Chandler Thursday night. We were both laying on the bed with Chandler laying on our legs facing us. We both held on to him and prayed aloud for Chandler and our family of six. We then just talked , laughed and I cried a little. It was a special moment with Aaron, one I won't ever forget.
I cried a little the morning we were leaving just thinking how this is our last baby and the last time to bring a baby into this world. I am excited to have our family complete and I am excited to see where God takes us on His journey.