*This is another post in an ongoing series. Scroll all the way down or click to part I to get to the beginning.
Throughout the operation there were tears slowly dripping from my eyes and my nose was a leaky faucet. I was aware that my snot had flowed through my mask and even in that moment I was mildly annoyed with the thought of having to ask for another mask. I would ask later, when the time seemed right. Until then, I tried to minimize the flow of tears and snot.
It may sound like my eyes were wandering once my daughter was out of Kate, but they weren’t. I glanced for split seconds here and there, but my eyes were essentially locked on the little human being in front of me. Vented now, the doctors seemed a little more relaxed with her and ready to move. They told me where we were going. It went in one ear and out the other. I would follow them anywhere. They started to roll my daughter a bit, making for the double doors I had come through to enter the OR. They halted for a second, one NP turning to me and asking, “What’s her name?”
I had not yet imagined when I would announce to those present in any room the name of my daughter, but if I had, it would never have crossed my mind that this would be how I would introduce her to the world. “Her name is London,” I announced. It sounded weird giving a name to her at this stage because when your child is born this small and fragile, they almost seem like a science experiment. I had started to become aware of a disturbing, but natural protection mechanism that sets in when you see your preemie like this. I wanted to protect myself from her in a way. I didn’t want to become so attached to her just in case I lost her in the next hour, but giving a name to her instantly made it harder to keep my distance.
London and the team working on her started moving out, rolling right by Kate’s face and slowing down a bit so she might possibly get a glimpse of London’s face. I saw Kate strain her head to try to see her baby before we went through the doors. I stopped and gave Kate a huge kiss, an exchange of tears cheek to cheek, and a word about how London is vented. I also checked that I should keep on walking with London and the team. Kate nodded yes and I was off through the double doors with an “I love you” and one last glance at the amazing team sewing up my wife.