I’m not really in the mood to write at all right now. I’m tired, headachy and my boobs are killing me despite having been drained by the milk obsessed baby (I’m totally glad he wants to eat so much though, since his weight loss during our hospital stay created a bit of a hoopla and made me hate hospitals even more than ever). However, I have a minute to myself which is rare these days, so I’ll try to write about it, as uninspired as I am. I’m working on a more thorough version, but I don’t want to publish that. It’s more just for me, or us as a family really.
Deciding to do the c-section was very hard for me. I happen to believe that birth is a natural thing, not a medical procedure. Sure, sometimes instances occur where medical intervention is needed. After all, there is a reason that both mother and infant mortality rates have decreased with medical advances, but for the most part intervention is unnecessary and is just used to speed up the process.
Image courtesy of uvahealth.com
The hospital where Baby H was born is understaffed and there are no longer enough birthing rooms to support the growing population of the city so they have to keep people moving through. Why let a woman labour for 24 hours when you can get her out of there within 24 hours? But I digress… I chose the c-section because when presented with all the best available information on my pregnancy and the health of my little (big) fetus, it seemed the best decision. I don’t even want to think about what may have happened back in the day when sections weren’t an option.
On Tuesday Oct 30th I arrived at my doctor’s appointment thinking that he’d tell me I was on a wait list because they couldn’t get me a date, as his secretary had informed me the previous week. Nope. He whipped out his phone and said “How about tomorrow afternoon?” Uhhhh…
Image courtesy of inquisitr.com
I needed more time! So he found me a spot the following morning, Nov 1st, All Saints Day. I’m not religious but I figured it couldn’t hurt to be born on a holy day. It felt better than being born on Halloween anyway!
Needless to say I didn’t sleep for the next 2 nights, which made getting up at 4am on the morning of the 1st very easy. I was nervous all the way to the hospital and though I’m loathe to admit it, even had a little tiff with J about smoking. We recovered from that quickly though and he was amazing support for me from that moment through to the second we heard that first baby wail.
I have never had any kind of surgery other than having my wisdom teeth removed and back then I was so high on nitrous by the time they inserted the IV that I didn’t even notice. This time was noticeable! After taking several vials of blood quite easily the nurse found it very difficult to find a vein that would comply with the IV and I felt like a pin cushion by the time we made the walk down the hall to the OR. Here they separated J and I because I had to be given the spinal before the surgery. I can only imagine how antsy he felt in the waiting room by himself.
At least if he was panicking he had this disguise to hide behind
I felt totally out of it. The OR was full of nurses (I think there were three at the time, but it felt like there were people everywhere!) prepping the instruments and one to support me during the insertion of the spinal. I also remember being worried and then slightly pissed that my midwife hadn’t yet arrived since she’d said she’d be there during the spinal as well. When thinking about childbirth I’d always been more afraid of epidurals than the process of birth itself (epidurals are similar to a spinal, and more common for vaginal deliveries. Spinals are faster acting as the drug is injected directly into the spinal fluid and are more common for c-sections)!
Image courtesy of theadequatemother.wordpress.com
Anyway, the anesthesiologist applied the local freezing, but then we had to wait for my doctor to arrive before inserting the spinal. He walked in 5 minutes later so they had me sit up again to prepare. The next thing I knew three people were yelling at me to lie back down. I hadn’t even felt a damn thing! They were concerned that I wasn’t lying down because the spinal takes affect very quickly and I could have fallen off the table.
I lay there staring at the ceiling as the numbness started to creep up my legs. The first thing to go was my feet. My brain kept sending out commands like, “Wiggle your left pinkie toe” or “Flex your butt cheeks.” It’s the weirdest feeling to have your brain insisting on things that your body can’t fulfil.
Before I knew it the curtain that blocks the patient’s view of the procedure was up and J was seated by my head. At first I didn’t even realize the surgery had started. The doctors and nurses were nonchalantly chatting about plans for the weekend as they passed sterile tools back and forth over my belly. Then J began saying reassuring things to me so I figured my guts were probably splayed out on the table by then and I couldn’t feel a thing. SURREAL. I don’t know how else to explain it. But J was talking to me about our future, how great our life was going to be together, how much we’d love our kid, so I just let myself get lost in that, which was probably a good thing because at first I didn’t notice that the doctor had stopped the inane chatter about his recreational time. Apparently he’d tried to get my little Baby H out with his hands, but to no avail. The kid’s noggin was just too big. He attempted a vacuum extraction but it popped off three times. Then came the forceps and finally out came the baby at 7:19am EST. He wailed right away. The doctor held him up for me to see, and I just remember feeling so strange. There was my child, the little boy that had been a part of me for 9 whole months, out in the open air of the OR… but I hadn’t brought him there. A man had cut me open and extracted him from my womb and although I was so thankful that the baby had good colour and was crying I couldn’t help but feel a bit empty. I cried from joy and grief in tandem. And then they placed him cheek to cheek with me as I lay there getting stitched up and the grief mattered less and less with each passing minute. It’s cliché to write it, but truly in those first moments I knew that I’d never loved anything so much. It was obvious to me that daddy felt the same. How do I know? He cried even more than I did… but don’t tell him I told you.
Cheek to cheek in the first few minutes of Baby H’s life… poor bruised baby :( Those forceps did the job, but they left their mark.
More on the hospital stay later.