Our Genevieve's birthday came about quite unexpectedly. She was supposed to be due on January 17th, but due to placenta previa, a condition we were aware of since last August, would be delivered via cesarean a week early on January 10th. When Hannah went in for her weekly prenatal checkup on January 3rd, she had no idea that in 24 hours our life would change forever.
The appointment was at 11:00 AM, and was with a different doctor, as our doctor was unavailable that day. During the routine exam, Hannah explained that she had been experiencing unexplained itching all over her body, but especially on the soles of her feet and her palms. Dr. Coronado looked intrigued and asked that she go immediately to the lab for some blood work. Her results were pushed through and processed while Hannah waited, and 4 hours later, she was diagnosed with cholestasis of pregnancy. This is a condition where the mother's gall bladder stops processing the bile produced by her liver. The material ends up in the bloodstream and can be extremely toxic to the baby. We were informed that there is a high corollary between this condition and stillbirth. Needless to say, it was very scary.
Because of the toxic environment in utero, the doctors wanted to deliver the baby as soon as possible. They ordered an additional internal ultrasound to determine if the previa had corrected itself. If it had, they would induce the birth that evening. If it had not, then we would proceed with a scheduled cesarean the following morning. I received a call at my office at 3:00 PM from Hannah asking me if I was ready to be a father within the next 24 hours. I said yes, gathered my things, said goodbye to my workmates, and left for the hospital.
The ultrasound proved that the previa had not corrected itself enough for a safe natural delivery. We were scheduled for the first cesarean the following morning and left the hospital at 6:00 PM to prepare. We went to, of all places, The Spaghetti Factory for dinner. It seemed an odd choice for our last dinner as non-parents, but it was close to the hospital, and had no wait. In the end, I'm really not sure why we chose that particular restaurant, I'm positive we weren't thinking clearly.
We then went home to get the house in order for it would 4 days until we would return. We cleaned as best we could: I set the cats up for a long-term absence, Hannah finished packing our bags, and I charged the electronic devices. Then, at 12:30 AM, we tried to sleep. Perhaps it was training for the sleepless nights that would soon follow, perhaps it was simply nerves, but neither one of us slept a wink. I lay awake thinking of the immense responsibility of parenting, wondering if I would be a good father. I am confident that I will not have the answer to that question for a long time. At any rate, after a sleepless night, we got up and got ready. Before we left the house, we took one last photo, and were off!
We arrived at the hospital to check in at 6:00 AM. The Labor & Delivery Staff were absolutely fabulous, and after a very long preparation, our beautiful little Genevieve was born very healthy at 10:48 AM on January 4th, 2012. She weighed 8 pounds, 13 ounces, and was 22 inches long. Immediately following her delivery, she was swaddled and handed to me. It was love at first sight! I brought her over to Hannah who was still on the operating table. Her face in this moment says it all.
And can you blame her? I mean, just look at this perfect little baby! I don't know what I did to deserve it, but she is the most perfect baby that has ever been born!