Note: This post is long. Like 1721 words long to be exact. If you make it all the way to the end, you rock. You can come cuddle Lincoln sometime and have a cup of coffee with me. If you don’t read the whole thing, no hard feelings. You can come back and read a shorter, maybe more exciting post some other time!

As I sit here writing this post, our little guy is sleeping on my chest and I’m flabbergasted that he will be a month old tomorrow. My, oh, my has the time flown by. It’s hard to remember what life was like before Lincoln arrived. At the same time, it feels like he just entered this world last week. (Although with a newborn controlling our sleep schedule, sometimes a week seems to be one long, continuous day so maybe it really has only been a week ;))

Our big baby wanted his head close to his mommy’s heart and hung out in a breech position for the second half of my pregnancy. Lincoln was born via a planned C-section on February 2nd. The days leading up to February 2nd were very surreal for Ryan and I. We knew that in just a few days our lives would change forever, and we both wanted to soak up the last few days of just the two of us. Carrying what turned out to be a nearly ten-pound baby takes a big toll on a mama-to-be, and I felt a bit guilty that last week for not wanting to do anything but sit on the couch. I thought we could be doing something better like going out on a date or leaving the house without having to pack up a baby and a diaper bag and change a diaper and countless other baby tasks. (Leaving the house with Lincoln takes a bit of time, but it’s really not that difficult.) We spent a lot of time that last week watching our favorite shows, eating ice cream and talking, sipping coffee and doing devotions, and playing this silly little Solitaire game on the iPad together. Now that Lincoln’s here we’ve had very little time to do any of these activities, so looking back I think we spent those last few days pre-parenthood in just the right way!

Around 11 pm on February 1st after watching Finding Dory and eating a bunch of ice cream, we packed up our hospital bag. Talk about procrastinating! The thought of having a major operation, staying at the hospital for the first time in my life (oh, and coming home with a child) kind of freaked me out, so I told Ryan that I was packing for the spa. I threw my comfiest slippers, bathrobe, and a few essential oils into the bag for good measure. While this started out as a little thought to ease my nerves, it turned into our joke the next day in pre-op as we tried to relate every procedure to what its equivalent was at the spa. This kept our attitudes positive and our wait filled with laughter.

The next morning was the big day and we both woke up long before we needed to arrive at the hospital. We had a peaceful few hours at home. Ryan sipped coffee, and I, being cut off from all food and drink at midnight, looked on with jealousy. We both did devotions, spent some time in prayer, and then watched the groundhog ceremony on the Today Show. I had never actually seen the groundhog ceremony before, so it was fitting that we watched this the morning of our little groundhog baby’s arrival.

In case you’re wondering, the groundhog did see his shadow.
We arrived at the hospital that day around 9 am to begin pre-operation protocol. Neither of us was very nervous; honestly, with the long wait alone in a room together it felt like just about every other trip to the doctor we’d had while I was pregnant. Over three hours we met the entire operation team and anxiously waited until the room was ready for Lincoln’s birth. I drank numerous quart-size water bottles a day throughout my entire pregnancy and I recall being soooo thirsty while waiting until it was our turn. I was ready to get in and out of surgery so I could have something to drink (and meet our son obviously). Shortly before entering surgery I was given a little antacid drink. Our nurse described it as a tasting like a Sweet Tart shot, without the sweet. She was spot on on the taste, but after not drinking anything for over twelve hours, I actually thought it tasted pretty good.

The only time I grew nervous that day was leaving Ryan in triage and walking myself and my IV into the operation room. I have no idea what I thought the room would look like, but it was just like the operating rooms in TV shows: skinny table down the middle, big bright lights, everything white. I can’t describe the feeling I had entering the room knowing that in just a few minutes we would be meeting our son!

Soon after surgery began, Ryan was able to join me in the operation room. He looked nervous too, and I attempted to make a joke about being at the spa again, but the words couldn’t come. This was the part of our “spa experience” where our son would be born. Every part of Lincoln’s birth went smoothly and within about fifteen minutes (at 12:26 pm to be precise) Ryan and I got to see our (big) little sweetie. Lincoln looked HUGE when they pulled him out. Huge, screaming, and purple. I cried. Ryan joined him over by the nurses as he was measured and swaddled up. Within a few minutes, we were snuggling our son!

The rest of the surgery went by very quickly (it actually took nearly an hour, but it flew by for us!) Around 3 pm we were cleared to travel as a family up to our room for the next few days. Baby Bolte still did not have a name at that point, but my first priority was to order some lunch. I had heard that after an abdominal surgery that I would most likely be on a clear diet for a day or two. Ecstatic does not begin to describe my emotions when I learned that I could order anything I wanted for lunch. I had myself a big old deli turkey sandwich and enjoyed every bite. I ordered this sandwich at least once a day in the four days that we were there. Clearly, I had missed my deli sandwiches while pregnant!

While waiting for our late lunch to arrive, Ryan and I discussed names. Throughout my pregnancy, we had kept an Excel document of our favorite names, their popularity and meaning, potential middle names to go with it, and nicknames associated with them. Ryan had been excited to pick a name for our baby around the six-month mark, but I was convinced we had to see our son before we could name him. Just the day before Lincoln was born we narrowed our list down from about twenty names to six names. We had four names we really liked and we each picked a “wild card” name. Ryan was so excited about having a wild card option that he went out and picked a new name that was not on our already extensive list. Anyways, I tell you all this because we were in the operating room still with Lincoln, we both thought “You look like *insert Ryan’s wild card name*. So that’s what we named him, for about five minutes. Then I got a bit frantic thinking we hadn’t thought through everything behind this name (what if there was a weird nickname associated with it or a crazy killer with the same name or…). It was at that time we gravitated back towards Lincoln, a name that was Ryan’s top pick since December and I loved too. We gave him the middle name Paul, my dad’s middle name. As soon as that was Lincoln’s name, that was it – he was Lincoln Paul Bolte.

Lincoln snuggled with his mom and dad a lot on his birthday. He got to meet both sets of his grandparents that night. His mom was bedridden and didn’t mind laying in bed and cuddling him. His dad was a rock star dad and changed his first diaper (and almost every other diaper in the hospital) and learned how to swaddle with just a few tries (to this day, Ryan’s still the best swaddler in this house). To say it was a good day is an understatement.

Other memories from the days surrounding Lincoln’s birth were:

  • The meal service. Seriously the bomb. Sometimes I look back fondly at our time at the hospital when I had breakfast, lunch and dinner served to me a half an hour after placing a call on the phone. And those turkey sandwiches… yum.
  • Our nurses were the best. One, in particular, stole me peppermint tea from the staff lounge after discovering it was out from the patient lounge the second night we were there. Each night thereafter she brought me a hot cup while I nursed Lincoln at three am. She was just the sweetest!
  • I had such a silly sleep schedule in the hospital, but with all the excitement of having Lincoln finally with us I didn’t even notice. Multiple times I dozed off for fifteen minutes and woke up convinced I had been out for three hours.
  • Speaking of sleep, the reclining hospital beds post C-section are the best. I wanted to smuggle mine home with me.
  • Going home. Leaving the hospital to bring Lincoln home was such an exciting experience! We had thought that I would maybe be wheeled out in a wheelchair or that someone would come down to check out Lincoln’s car seat, but nope! We just had to sign a paper, and out the doors we went as a family of three. I don’t mind that there wasn’t a big deal made out of our exit, but both Ryan and I were thinking, “Really? This is it? You’re just going to let us walk out the door with him?”

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