Collin’s birth story is much different than Camryn’s birth story. With Camryn, I was induced, labored for 24 hours, and ended up with a c-section. With Collin, I had a scheduled c-section. I thought a scheduled c-section would be easier. In some ways it was, but in other ways it was just as hard.
The best part about a scheduled c-section is that I had an end date for my pregnancy. I’m incredibly thankful for this pregnancy, but it was not pleasant. I was nauseous and had terrible heartburn almost every day since week three. There was complication after complication – many of which were mild and only one that ended up with two ER visits.
A scheduled c-section also meant that I had a firm deadline for things that needed to be done. I knew I probably would not feel like doing anything other than taking care of the kids after having a c-section, so I put a lot of pressure on myself to get everything done. I needed to have all photos edited (including a wedding I photographed two weeks earlier), all albums designed and ordered, all presents wrapped, our house organized, the tree decorated, the list goes on. Everything got done except the last two. Our tree that we ordered got canceled, which forced us to order another tree from a different company. It was supposed to arrive on Tuesday before my c-section on Friday. The tree finally arrived the Tuesday after we came home, but we did get it decorated within a couple of days. And we’re still unpacking boxes at our new house weeks later.
Weston and I also wanted to make sure we had plenty of one-on-one time with Camryn before we brought Collin home. Two days before we went to the hospital, we took Camryn to a kid’s play place called Newtopia. We also ate at ChickFilA and went to Target to ride in the red buggy and drink hot chocolate. All of her favorite things. I was worried about how our relationship would change with Camryn after her brother arrived. I knew she would be a great big sister, but would she feel neglected? Would we have enough time and energy to give her?
Clearly, I had plenty to keep my mind distracted from thinking about what was going to happen during and after the c-section.
I knew I would have my same doctor perform the surgery. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the same nurse, Jordan, that prepped me for labor and a c-section with Camryn was the same one prepping me for my second c-section. Weston was impressed with how much Jordan and I remembered about each other from two years ago. I told him you don’t forget someone that gets you through something so scary.
After getting checked in and having all the prep work done, they walked me into the operating room. I sat on the table and anxious thoughts immediately flooded my mind.
“What if something goes wrong?”
“What if she doesn’t put the epidural in the right spot and I become paralyzed?”
“What if I die and Weston has to take care of Camryn and Collin by himself?”
I tried to shake it off and calm down. Chills kept going down my spine. The anesthesiologist told me exactly what position to get in for the epidural, but my body was cold and shaking uncontrollably. The nurse grabbed a heated blanket and tried to help me calm down. With an unpleasant pinch, the epidural was finished. They laid me down on the table and I slowly started losing feeling throughout my body.
More anxious thoughts creeped in my mind.
“I wish Camryn could be at the hospital. I feel like I abandoned her.”
“I wonder how Camryn will feel about having a baby in the house.”
“I hope Weston gets in here soon.”
“I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this. I’m scared of what’s going to happen.”
As my body became numb, I started to panic. I felt trapped because I couldn’t feel anything anymore. I started crying and telling them I didn’t want to do this. The anesthesiologist had to put oxygen on me to help me calm down. It helped, but I finally relaxed when Weston came in the room. My focus shifted to making sure he got good pictures. I changed the camera settings for him and was positive he would get some good photos just like he did last time.
My doctor told Weston he could start taking pictures as she was pulling Collin out. He was too shocked to make sure that the camera settings were correct, so those photos are overexposed. Weston told me later that he was glad he didn’t pass out after seeing my insides 😂
I didn’t feel the tugging or pressure like I did last time. Maybe because my mind was already bogged down with anxiety. I was already weak from crying so much.
The nurse brought Collin around to us and started taking pictures. They had trouble understanding how to get the camera to focus on all three of us. I was so out of it that I had trouble communicating what they needed to do. It was all on Weston to show them. After multiple attempts, we finally got one that had decent focus.
I remembered not smiling in a lot of the pictures I had with Camryn. I tried to force a smile for these pictures even though I didn’t feel like smiling. My heart was happy with both of them, but my body was too weak to smile.
Recovering from my second c-section was slightly easier than the first. I assume because I wasn’t exhausted from 24 hours of labor this time. However, the itching from the epidural was far WORSE this time. I told my nurse that it made my face itchy last time and she made sure to give me Benadryl ahead of time. It quickly wore off and they gave me another medication that I can’t recall. Even though they kept giving me medicine to counteract the itching, I was literally trying to scratch my face off on day 2. My face was puffy and red from all the scratching. It was absolutely miserable.
The other miserable part this go around was the swelling. I had almost no swelling with this pregnancy until they pumped me full of fluids at the hospital. My face and legs especially were unrecognizable. On the plus side, I did feel like walking much sooner this time and it was helpful to get out of the room.
On Day 3, I started to feel every bit of pain from the surgery. I had to ask my nurse for the strong stuff twice that day. Thankfully, I started feeling better. I had the energy to get dressed, set up Collin’s balloons, and take a few pictures.
There was a noticeable difference in how I felt on the last day before they discharged us from the hospital. I was still swollen, but not in as much pain and not itching anymore. We were so ready to get home and introduce Camryn to her new brother!
Weston and I tried to be very intentional about how we introduced Camryn to Collin. We wanted her to know that she is important to us and that baby brother would not take her place.
When we were almost home, we instructed all three grandparents to take Camryn upstairs. Our plan was to have Collin in a different room so that we could greet Camryn without him. As we drove up, I could see our sweet girl looking out the window for us and I burst into tears. I missed her so much!
As soon as we got Collin situated, Camryn came down the steps and gave both of us the biggest hugs! I thought she would want to talk to us and hug us for a little while. The first thing she said was, “Where’s baby brother?” We immediately brought her to another room so she could safely and comfortably hold Collin. And because that room had the best light at that time and I wanted good pictures of this moment.
Weston brought Collin into the room and Camryn was giddy! She was so excited to meet “baby Collin.”
Camryn did not want to stop holding Collin at all that night. Grandparents were lucky that she let go of him long enough for them to hold Collin for a few minutes!
After Camryn got to meet Collin, we told her that he had a gift for her. She opened the tiny box to find a camera that was just her size! She immediately started taking pictures of Collin and she couldn’t stop smiling.
Then we asked her if she wanted to give Collin the gift she bought him. She had picked out this elephant for him and was thrilled to give it to him! Anytime he cries, she says, “Oh, he needs his elephant!” She proudly lays it next to him and loves on him. I couldn’t have asked for a better first meeting. I’m so thankful that Camryn loves Collin as much as she does!
I hope you enjoyed reading about Collin’s birth story! We are blessed to welcome this sweet baby boy into our lives!