We are the parents of two daughters. Wow. Amazing. I don't think my mind has completely wrapped around the fact that we now have two children rather than one. Two little ones who bear our DNA and will call us Mom and Dad. Whoa.
So, praise God. Kaitlyn Hannah Chang has arrived safe and sound into this world. And I don't know whether it is because my children share their parent's flare for the dramatic, but it seems that both of our children feel the need to enter the world in a very unique and definitive way with enough twists and turns to be their own soap opera or reality TV show.
As I shared in my last post, Linda and I were woken up at 5:00 a.m. to begin the prep process for surgery. About 7:30 a nurse showed up to our room with a wheel chair and helped Linda into it. By 7:45, before I knew what was happening, we were on our way to the delivery room.
I followed behind the wheelchair in an excitement-filled daze, hardly believing we were about to undergo a procedure that would bring our second daughter into the world. We get to the delivery room area, and huge steel doors slide open allowing us into the ward. Next we enter a smaller room and the orderly who was wheeling Linda, pushes her into a special quarantined area for deliveries, and I start to follow only to be told sternly that I couldn't enter yet, and to wait outside while they asked Linda some survey questions and prepped her for surgery.
At that moment another sliding door with a glass window slid shut separating Linda and I. All I could do was stand by helplessly unable to communicate with Linda in any way. A few minutes later, the sliding doors slid open and I was able to shout, "Linda, Jia You!" (which is something we say in Chinese when we want to encourage someone to "Hang in there and press on.") It was then that Linda realized I wasn't with her, and she asked me, "Aren't you coming in?" I told her I couldn't right then, but I would be in as soon as they let me. And then the doors slid closed, once again separating me and my wife.
It was then that I realized that I had been sidelined. It's ironic that I wrote in my previous post about my complete obsolescence in this whole child-birth process. Never was it more evident than in that moment segregated from my wife by a heavy steel door with a window.
Well, I stood outside the door for about 30 minutes while they prepped Linda for surgery. And I was just buzzing with excitement. Our daughter was coming, and I was going to be able to be there to witness her arrival. Could this be happening? Wow.
During the waiting process they brought me some scrubs and a surgery cap to put on, so I would be clean enough for the operating room. After what seemed like forever, the door finally opened and a nurse intern ushered me into the operating room.
There I saw my wife laid out like a science experiment, with green sheets covering her entire body except for a rectangular patch exposing her stomach. I was quickly informed the path of which I was allowed to walk, shown my seat and told that I was not allowed under ANY circumstances to touch anything other than my wife's hand.
Once I sat down, the procedure began. I held onto my cellphone, ready to capture the moment that Kaitlyn's head emerged. From my position, I couldn't see too much, only the doctor and nurses working on Linda. I tried as hard as I could to crane my neck to get a better view inside the abdomen, (I know, weird, but I was really curious) I couldn't see anything.
The procedure started out pretty smooth, but then the next thing I know, the doctor starts slowing down, and I hear her making comments about blood vessels, and a lot of things being stuck together and that this procedure was going to take a bit longer than expected. The doctor would work a bit, and then she'd look, and then I'd see this look of concern followed by a look of determination. It took about 20 minutes for the doctor to finally get down to the uterus in order to get Kaitlyn out. Just as I was wondering how much longer it would take, the activity began to pick up.
Again, I couldn't see anything, so I can only guess that the doctor finally was able to get down into the uterus and it was time for baby to come up. I looked down for a second to get my phone ready, and next thing I know when I look up, I see baby's head. A tug and a pull, then the baby's whole body is out. And then I hear for the first time, the sweet cry of my baby girl.
It's so funny, first thing I check as I did with Alicia as well, was to see if indeed she was a girl, and well, yes. She was. haha...
But man, so much bigger (naturally) than Alicia when she came out. And a good set of lungs. It was amazing to watch Kaitlyn get cleaned up, and see her turn from greyish blue, to pinkish red as she sucked more and more oxygen into her body.
My first instinct as a Dad when I heard her crying was to try to calm her down, but then I remembered that the crying is good, it's her taking her first few gasps of air. So I let her cry, but I started to talking to her, and you know the most amazing thing is that when she heard my voice, she stopped crying and started listening as if, "Hey, I know that voice."
At first, I hadn't noticed that she had stopped crying in response to my voice, only that she had stopped crying. It was only in reflection that I realized, hey, she knows me. Again, amazing.
It was at this point that I realized that I was focusing entirely way too much on Kaitlyn and not on my wife who was still on the operating table. So I turned to walk back over to Linda, at which point I was scolded and told not to approach and to stay where I was. So I froze in my tracks, turned around and went back to Kaitlyn.
Once Kaitlyn was cleaned up a bit, they weighed her. And that's another funny story in an of itself. I was so chocked up on adrenaline that when they weighed her and announced her weight, it completely didn't register what they were saying. I heard the weight, I saw the number, but by the time I got out of the operating room, I completely forgot everything.
Next was another beautiful moment. They took Kaitlyn and carried her over to Linda so mother and daughter could meet for the first time. Kaitlyn by now was crying at the top of her tiny lungs because she was not happy being removed from her comfortable palace. But the moment they brought Kaitlyn close to Linda, and she heard Linda's voice, she completely got soft and calmed down. Her eyes were completely closed, but she found Linda's nose and rested her long slender fingers on it. It was a sweet moment as baby and momma bonded.
Soon, though, it was time for baby to get wrapped up and sent over to the nursery for final check up and a bath. But before we wrapped her up, doctor had me go over wither her all of Kaitlyn's extremities and appendages. Two ears, ten fingers, ten toes, definitely girl, etc... Once we checked that Kaitlyn physically was OK, the doctor wrapped her up, and then miracles of miracles, I got to hold Kaitlyn for the first time and actually carry her out of the delivery room.
With Alicia we had to wait a couple months before we were allowed to hold her and cradle her, but Kaitlyn it was within minutes. Amazing.
God is so good. Baby girl is healthy and alive. There is more to share about our first day post delivery, but this is getting long and it's late. So I will share more later.
But for now, I will just say thank you for all of the love and support that all of you have been sending us from around the world. We really are so grateful that we and our children are so dearly loved.