on saturday night, april 3, ken and i were watching the movie, the time traveler's wife. my cousin called so we put the movie on pause. i talked to her for awhile to hear about the birth of her twins. she had to have them that day at 31 weeks because of her preeclampsia and her son's kidneys. after i hung up with her around 11pm i went to the bathroom. i felt a gush of water and wondered if this could be it. i called out to ken and told him that i thought my water broke. since i was not having any contractions i wasn't sure if i was actually in labor. i decided to call my friend joni whose water broke before her contractions. i told her what was going on and she told me to hang up and call the doctor. when i realized what might be happening, i got very overwhelmed with the fact that my parents were not here and that i would not be delivering with my doctor. (i was scheduled for a c-section on april 12th.)
i called the doctor's office and chose the option "if you think you might be in labor, press 1." i was connected to the answering service and i explained to her that i thought my water broke and that i was scheduled for a c-section with dr. haddock 8 days from now. then i said "i can't believe this might be happening. i only really know dr. haddock and i'm scared to not have him deliver me." she must have smiled to herself before she told me "you're in luck. dr. haddock is on call tonight." she let me know he would call me back in just a few minutes. at that moment i felt an incredible amount of comfort. i could not instantaneously have my parents here but i was going to have the doctor i was most comfortable with. dr. haddock called me back within a few minutes, asked me a few questions about what was going on, and then said, "yes, sounds like we're going to have a baby tonight. pack a bag, take your time, and we'll see you in a little while."
i had a pile of stuff that we were going to take the hospital but it was not packed. we grabbed a few more things (which took longer than i expected) and finally we were on our way to the hospital. as ken was driving i called my mom quickly so she could change her flight. then i tried my dad and got voicemail so i left him a message. i called my sister and told her i was in labor and having the baby soon. as we pulled into the circular drive before entering the parking garage, i distinctly remember seeing the advertisement "donate your boat to charity" at the bus stop. i don't know why this stood out to me because i have driven this way several times but i remember seeing it in the midst of calling my family. finally i got a hold of my brother and told him to call dad. ken unloaded the suitcase and we started walking in the hospital. my dad called back and i told him i was having the baby.
we checked in around midnight and headed to triage. i realized it was now sunday and we were going to have an easter baby. i thought about the redemption that Jesus signifies on easter sunday and then how having our baby on easter was a story of redemption to parents who had to give their first child back to Jesus. it was a wow moment for me. further confirmation that God's timing is perfect.
while in triage the contractions began and got intense pretty quickly. the nurse hooked me up to the monitors and confirmed my water broke. i told her i couldn't take the pain much longer and asked when i was going to get my spinal. she looked at me puzzled and said "you mean you would like pain medication in the form of an epidural?" i told her no it was a spinal because i was having a c-section. she had a shocked look on her face, picked up the phone and said "it would have been nice to know mrs. schwalbe was having a c-section." then they came and prepped me for the surgery and still no anesthesiologist. the triage nurse introduced me to nurse julie and explained that she would see us through surgery and post-op recovery. julie helped me to breath through the contractions but just before i was to the point of tears i told her i couldn't take them anymore. she made a call and came back to tell me that the anesthesiologist was with 2 women who were getting epidurals for their vaginal deliveries. she said "you wouldn't want them to have to do it nauturally, would you?" i wanted to tell her that i didn't care about the other women because i just wanted MY spinal, but i refrained. then dr. haddock came by and said we're just waiting for the anesthesiologist and asked if i had any questions. i didn't but i told him how glad i was that he was on call and would be delivering me.
we headed to the OR where finally a guy who looked 18 explained he would be sticking a large needle in my back and i would go numb from the chest down. the contractions were so intense by this point i was like great, let's get started! they never checked my dialation because i was not delivering vaginally but compared to the pain i had with matthew when i was a 4, i would guess i was a 6-7 with a leaning towards 8. i was having a contraction right when he was getting ready to stick me and he asked if i wanted to wait. i told him no, just do it. and almost immediately i felt my body go completely numb. within a few minutes ken was up at my head and they put the curtain up so we couldn't see my insides. dr. haddock said "cortney, can you feel that?" i told him no and expected it would be another 15 minutes or so before we met our baby. especially since i was told a repeat section takes longer because they have scar tissue to cut through. to my surprise, just 5 minutes later at 1:59am, we heard a baby screaming and the nurse said, "daddy, you call it." ken stood up and said, "it's a girl!" we were both completely surprised and excited it was a girl. ken thought we were going to have a boy and although i had initially thought a girl, i had pretty much changed my mind mostly because everyone else seemed to think it was a boy too. some c-section babies have to be suctioned out right away and the parents can't see the baby when she first comes out. but not our sweet baby kennedy. the girl's got some pipes and made her presense known! they held her up and we got to see her immediately after she came out. she was even dripping blood on my face. ken didn't get a picture of her coming out but they made sure he got a picture of the knot in her cord after they cut it. then ken got to go over to kennedy and cut the cord close to her belly button. the nurses got her all cleaned up and brought her over to me where i got to give her a kiss and we posed for our first family photo. if you had ever asked me if i believed in love at first sight i would have said no. but after meeting our son, even though he was already in heaven, and after meeting our daughter, i would say i most definitely believe in love at first sight.
ken was with kennedy when dr. haddock informed me while i was being sewn up that my uterus was extremely thin. he said it was like saran wrap and that we could have had a real problem on our hands with a uterine rupture. i asked him why it was so thin and he said that it was a result of how my uterus healed from my first c-section. (i don't know if he meant how the uterus was stitched or just how it healed. obviously we have a lot of questions about this and will learn more when we go in for our 6-week check-up.) i was really worried when he told me this and asked if i would be able to have more children. he said yes, but that he would not recommend going any longer than 36 weeks.
after i was all stitched up, they wheeled me to post-op recovery where i met ken and kennedy. there i got to breastfeed her for the first time and we all hung out spending the first moments bonding as a family. of course we were already a mommy and daddy to our precious son matthew but in a lot of ways it was experiencing everything for the first time. the first time we held our son was at the funeral home in austin. the first time we held our daughter was minutes after she was born. although we were sad that matthew was not still with us, we were overwhelmed with joy that kennedy had joined our family.
we got back to our room around 5am and they took kennedy for about 30 minutes to warm her up and check her vitals. she came back to the room and we tried to get a little sleep. her bassinet was right next to me and i didn't really sleep because i was checking to make sure she was breathing more times that i will admit. on easter sunday we took in every moment with our sweet little miracle. there was a point when we both got a little teary-eyed and embraced one another. i asked ken what was wrong and he said that having kennedy here with us made it even more real what we were missing by not having matthew with us. it was exactly what i was thinking. i felt so much better with this recovery than with my first c-section and was up in the chair that afternoon. my mom, aka as juju, got to the hospital about 7pm and met her first granddaughter. she was so excited for us and also fell in love at first sight.
kennedy was literally our little miracle with the knot in her cord. i later learned that the doctor sees this 2-3 times a year that result in a live birth. cord knots can result in a miscarriage or stillborn birth. they usually form early on when the baby is small and swimming around but some can form late in the pregnancy. we have no way of knowing how long the knot was there but thankfully kennedy never showed any signs of distress. our sweet Jesus protected our precious baby girl and gave this mommy and daddy the chance to finally become parents.
finally, please be in prayer for my cousin and her family. on april 10, her sweet son henry joined matthew in heaven. his little kidneys just gave out and he was called home. their daughter contessa is doing well and still in the NICU. she is expected to go home towards the end of may.