This was me on the morning of March 8th with you very much still inside me Aurora May. When your father took this photo of me very pregnant and in my hospital gown it was Thursday March 8th, at 10:20 am at Clinica San Rafael in Liberia, Costa Rica and I'd had no sleep due to having contractions all night. I spent the whole night pacing and dancing around the room and watching "House" on my laptop, while Adam tried to get some nap time on the blow up single mattress he'd gotten at Walmart. It had been 24 hours since I'd voluntarily checked us into the hospital the day after my official due date, with the intention of inducing and having a glorious natural birth with Aurora shortly thereafter. Obviously that's not how things went. My reasons for inducing were a little selfish, and that's totally okay. I knew I wouldn't have much control over your birth process once you decided it was time to begin, and I had a little fear around being so far from the hospital, as I didn't want to be out with the dogs or out somewhere without Adam when labor started and have to endure the 1.15 hours in the car to the hospital. No thanks, induce me please. Plus your aunt Katherine was only in town a few more days, and I was admittedly a little attached to the idea of her meeting you before she headed home to Utah. The first few days of my sister being in Costa Rica were perfect. She got to attend a yoga class at Bahia del Sol, she came to a yoga class at Heart & Flow that I assisted, she got to meet many of our friends, and she got to meet the land that will begin hosting our new home in the next few months. But as my due date came and went, waiting for you to come on your own was less fun and I knew it was time to get the ball rolling. Your official due date was Tuesday March 6th, so that night Adam and I spent alone together, honoring our last night as just two at a little hotel in Liberia close to the hospital. We wanted to have a relaxing morning and not have to leave so early from Potrero in order to arrive to the hospital by 7am. Once we checked in and settled into our cozy private hospital room, I laid out our Aurora altar on the side table, complete with meaningful jewelry you'll someday wear, all my favorite crystals and my aromatherapy diffuser with Doterra's "Peace" blend drifting out. I was surprised to see my doctor so early, as usually our appointments are in the afternoon, but today was different. It was induction day. The idea was for me to spend 24 hours with Prostoglandina inside me, which produced hellishly big contractions all night but zero dilation of my cervix. So at 7am on Thursday, we moved onto induction method #2, which was an Oxytocin drip for 6-8 hours. And yes that got something in me moving because the contractions grew more painful and closer together, to the point where I'd scream in pain and tears would run down my cheeks. But alas, they'd pass, give me a short break, and then be back again. The midwife & doc would check on me often and though my cervix was softening, it was still closed. Aurora, you were apparently super comfy in there. The doctor had casually mentioned at our appointment the week before that a C-section would be a great decision if the first 2 attempts at induction didn't work. So after so much time in contractions with no movement, we decided that a C-Section was the best option in order to not stress your tiny heart. But at the time we discussed it, I was so sure you'd make your way out on your own that I kinda dismissed his comment with a "yeah yeah, we're going natural". Around 2:30pm Thursday I realized I hadn't gotten my 12pm lunch yet, so I was tired, grumpy from the pain that wasn't taking me anywhere, hangry and a little confused on what was happening. I half jokingly told Adam that if this process was going to be more painful than what had gone on already, I was more open than ever to a C-section. Maybe I said it loud, because Dr. Vladimir appeared with a smile at the door and checked me again, as we were several hours deep in method 2, and with no opening in my cervix, so he said it was time to shift our birth plan. I mentioned how painful the experience had been thus far, and he laughed and told me that my labor hadn't even begun yet, so I had yet to really feel the childbirth pain, and that's when I felt my body submit to the C-section without him even saying anything yet. "I'd like to start your surgery in 30 minutes" he said, and I looked up at him, nodded yes and got up faster than I'd moved in the last 24 hours and made my way to the bathroom to take 1 last shower with my very pregnant belly because I wanted to feel fresh for this experience I was about to have. This was it; it was time to meet you. After my shower I changed into a fresh hospital gown and a nurse and midwife took me by wheelchair up 1 floor to the surgical area. There we met a new team who were already waiting for us with welcoming smiles. The handsome anesthesiologist talked me through what to expect after he injected me in my spine, and said it would be very cold in the surgical room, but he reassured me that I'd be kept warm with blankets. We wheeled into the surgery room and it was indeed freezing, but as soon as my body came in contact with the surgical table, the team began putting warming blankets on me and I could feel my temperature balancing out again. The anesthesiologist sat me up for the injection in my back and I looked at Adam across the room who was already crying little tears of excitement, and then he came over to be by my head at my request. And just as the doctor said would happen, my legs began to feel warm and tingly, and then it felt like they disappeared completely from my body, and I laid back down and looked up at Adam, who was holding my head. Everything happened so fast after that. I could feel pressure on my stomach but no pain, and I could tell by the sounds of the equipment that they'd already cut me open and they were making their way down into my stomach to find you. Then after 1 final big pressure against my stomach, I felt you emerge and I'm not sure who I heard first, Adam or you, but I heard them both crying, and then I felt a small warm body across my face and I kissed you again and again. It was 4:04pm and Aurora May Lanka, you had entered the world, all 8lbs and almost 21 inches of you.
I closed my eyes and breathed you in, and when I opened them again, the doctor lifted you off my face and gave you to Adam and they all went into the other room for some check-ups while I finished getting sewn up. Once the surgery was complete they wheeled my table into the room with you & your father, and the midwife placed you on my chest and directed your lips toward my right breast. It was the moment of truth; would my breasts work? I had no idea but I'd said lots of prayers for them, and I watched in amazement as you knew exactly where to go for nourishment. I cringed a little as your tiny strong mouth latched, but the relief felt surreal. I both laughed and cried when I realized something WAS coming out from my breast and was feeding you. I'd been given the gift to feed our child. I felt blessed. Our new little family hung out together in that room for almost an hour before heading back downstairs into our room, and as we navigated the hospital halls and elevator, I just watched you breathe in and out as you rested on my chest. I felt overjoyed and overwhelmed, so I couldn't imagine how you felt. Everything was new to us both. As my hospital room door opened I saw my sister get up and walk toward us and her eyes filled with tears. I handed you to her and got to watch you get cuddled by your aunt. I was so happy that Katherine could share the journey with us and help usher her first niece into the world. And from there Aurora, your dad and I were launched into a whole new world and have been figuring out how to be your parents, and learning from every moment we have together. Thank you for being who you are, and we're excited to learn with you. Welcome to our world and we love you. Much love, Your mom & dad.