We woke up around 3:30 with our bags packed and ready to go… not that either of us really slept much. We headed out the door in the Pacifica and made our way down 84 until we met our destination and parked on Level B. We entered in and found the green elevators and up to the floor where they placed us in our prep room. Surgery was supposed to be at 7:00 but my thick skin and two nurses fought with the IV’s multiple times. The pain of being stuck copious amounts of times was not pleasant. My arms were left with large bruises up and down from the fishing expeditions. Finally a new nurse came in and was able to place a 20 in one wrist and an 18 in my other hand. It took what felt like forever and we were behind schedule.

I sighed a sigh of relief when my doctor walked in and again when the anesthesiologist walked me through everything. They took me to the OR and I knew it was time for the spinal. The pressure wasn’t as bad as the IV insertion from earlier but it wasn’t pleasant either. My legs soon began to feel heavy and I wiggled my toes until I couldn’t feel them anymore… And then I knew it was go-time. Several times I felt like I couldn’t breathe and it made me incredibly nauseous. My blood pressure dropped multiple times and they kept countering it. Every time I felt intense anxiety that took my breath away. Again, they countered it and I was calm again. I could smell the burning flesh… they gave me an alcohol swab so it wasn’t as intense. There is something so eerie about that smell, and to know that it is your own flesh doesn’t make it more comforting.

The nurse asked if I wanted to watch and I shook my head yes. I waited impatiently. The clear curtain was dangling but I couldn’t see anything. Just doctors and nurses huddled around. Soon I saw a hair covered head. They wiggled and pulled and finally my little guy emerged at 8:17 on my watch but 8:18 on the doctors. He was here. I heard him cry. Such a beautiful sound when you are waiting. The blood and seeing my body in a surgical state didn’t phase me. A few minutes later he was laying on my chest. We were soon wheeled off to recovery and then our new room. This is my favorite birthday…EVER.

This time already felt different. I don’t know if it was knowing of the finality that this is our last, or my age, or just the experience of it all. It just felt so different than the other times. Soon my toes could wiggle again and then my legs. My body felt raw and sore. It was worth it.

The couple of days we spent in the hospital were rough. Pain management was a struggle. Still had some issues with my blood pressure dropping and sleep was difficult to come by. When my catheter was removed they had more issues removing it. It left my thigh pretty bruised. I took a photo a few days later just to see the progress. Just like any surgery it was painful to move. This time it felt more intense. Getting out of bed was torture and walking even small amounts felt horrible. And yet every moment still felt precious and magical and meaningful. He IS perfect.

Naming him was quite a task. We went over so many names… over and over and over again. We would look at him and say a name and most of them just were not him. We stayed up most of the night snuggling him and getting to know him on the outside. He already had a different demeanor than the other 3 kids… he was definitely his own person. We weighed his name against so many others. Nothing seemed right. But we didn’t like just calling him baby the whole time so we continued to look at different names. We toiled around the clock. At around 10AM on Nov 24th we finally had found a fit: Ezra Judah.

When the 24th rolled around and I was released I was hoping I would get more sleep at home and that would speed up the recovery process. But the pain was worse. I had to call the doctor because the pain was so bad. On top of that baby Ezra was losing weight. We ended up seeing the doctor every single day. Alarms were set so we would wake up every hour to feed him. A few days later we were able to move it to every 2-3 hours. I would nurse him, pump, and then bottle feed him on top of it. Sleep deprivation was real. It is real. But now he’s begun gaining weight and I can breathe a little easier.

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