Dear self on July 8th,
Here are some things you need to know for your C-section tomorrow. This will help you immensely in the process.
-You may think as you are walking into the hospital that you will soon get rid of your belly. You will take a picture right before you walk in thinking that when you walk out you will look thinner. This is a lie, and a cruel form of self-deception. You will hardly look less pregnant, and you will in fact only lose about 10 pounds. Your doctor won't do a tummy tuck while she's in there, so stop hoping.
-Your husband is amazing. Don't ever forget this. In the next week, he will prove to you time and again that you don't deserve him. Thank him in advance.
-When you are being wheeled down the hall into the OR on a stretcher and you say out loud, "I feel like I'm in a movie," nobody, including your dear husband, will answer you. And you will feel a little dumb. But it's okay, because you'll still feel like you are on a movie. Live it up.
-You will have an anxiety attack as you are waiting to go into surgery. You will all of a sudden feel hot and extremely uncofortable, and you want to rip the IV out of your arm and run away and hit all the nurses in the face--especially the one standing by your side talking Harley Davidsons with Andrew when all you want to do it close your eyes and breath deeply. But you will live through it.
-Your anesthosiologist, Musa, a kind black woman with a sweet voice and a calm hand, will be your new best friend. She will hold your hand through the whole process. But be warned--the spinal will hurt. Really bad. WAY worse than your epidural. Prepare yourself.
-You won't remember much of the surgery--it will be like an out-of body experience. You will hear your doctor yelling, "Vacuum! Vacuum!" but it won't really scare you. You won't feel a thing--I promise. Except when Dr. Hagedorn is rummaging around in your ribcage to find the baby's head, but it will feel more like a tickle.
-When you see your baby, you will feel a strange feeling. Like you didn't have much to do with him being born, but you are still overcome. But also very drugged. You will feel weird, but you'll still cry. And the nurse that is violently beating your seconds-old child on the back is helping him breathe, and he will not die from it. Oh, and he will be pretty much the smallest thing you'll ever see.
-When they remove your uterus from your body to sew it back up, you will be completely overcome with nausea like you have never experienced, and within seconds you will be vomiting your guts out. But you will have no stomch muscle control, so you'll be just spitting really hard. But this will only happen 3 or 4 times, and then you'll be fine. They'll give you medicine to put you into the best sleep of your life, and you'll wake up empty of a baby with 14 staples holding you together. Just like a big packet of paper.
-The medicine in your spinal will cause you to itch SEVERELY for the next 24 plus hours. With all that scratching you will do, you will cause your nose to peel. And all the Benadryl they will give you won't really help. And that huge IV in your hand? That will stay in until the morning you leave the hospital. Despite the fact that it will not be hooked up to anything and is only left in to annoy you. And you'll have a large gaping hole in your hand that will remain a week later.
-Seeing this little face will bring your heart into your throat and you will feel more love than you ever thought possible.
-Andrew will do EVERYTHING for you. From where I sit a week later, you'll still have only changed a total of three diapers. I repeat--your husband is amazing. Appreciate him. And he will LOVE little Leighton, and it will melt your heart to see them together.
-Tonight at midnight, you will start your long fast from food and water. When you finally taste a graham cracker on Thursday morning, you will think you have died and gone to heaven. So enjoy your last supper of Pickup Taco and a snowcone tonight, because it will have to tide you over for a LONG time.
-Eva will be difficult when she comes to visit you. She will run around barefoot looking like a dirty orphan, and there will not be a miraculous moment when she sees her new little brother and runs to him with open, loving arms. In fact, she'll pretend he doesn't exist for quite some time. And that's okay. She'll get used to it, and she'll never remember a time without him.
-When your mom walks in the room, you will break down crying for no reason.
-Don't let the nurses bully you about breastfeeding, or anything else. You do what you want. You are the mother.
-The hospital food will be pretty good. You'll get to order from a menu. And when you order unhealthy things, like fried shrimp or biscuits and gravy...don't worry. They'll throw a nice wilted sprig of parsley on the plate to make it look colorful and healthy. So eat up--with no guilt. Because if there's green on the plate, it has to be a balanced meal. Right?
-When Andrew makes you laugh hard, you will experience a tremendous amount of pain. But that doesn't mean you'll be able to make yourself stop laughing. Just hold your stomach really tight and laugh away. Your stiches or staples will not pop out.
-When it comes time for you to go home from the hospital, you won't be excited to leave like you were with Eva. This hospital experience is MUCH better than your first, and you won't mind the thought of staying there longer. And bringing your new child home to a hotel room will feel strange. But hey--it's home.
I hope these suggestions help, self. Tomorrow will be one of the biggest days of your life. And after it's all over and you're holding your tiny baby Leighton, you'll think to yourself, "Self, I never knew it could be this good."
Yourself in a week