***Warning: Graphic c-section pictures to follow!***
The day before Lincoln's birthday, I feel I was still very much in denial about what was about to take place. To wit, I did laundry, nested a little, grabbed lunch from Subway, etc. In other words, I acted like it was No Big Deal. I was so wrong! By 10 p.m. that night the panic set in! We were about to have a baby! To distract myself I straightened my hair at 11 p.m., thinking I wanted to look presentable for pictures the next day. Ha! Vanity thy name is woman! My surgery had already been pushed back another hour so in my mind I didn't really think we would kick off on time.
As we drove to the hospital, the only word to describe my feelings is "surreal." I was going through the motions, but still very much in denial. I don't know who I was fooling! I think Rob must've been more nervous than he let on because despite numerous visits to the hospital prior, he made a wrong turn on our short route! We casually chit-chatted and continued pretending it was business as usual.
When we checked in my husband was a total gentleman and left the room all twenty times they asked for my weight. To my surprise, there were very few forms to fill out. How that is possible, I'll never know, but I had been hoping for a longer distraction! The Nurse Anesthetist came in and further frightened me on the epidural procedures. Now, let me just say, I like to be informed when making medical decisions but when there are no other options, less can be more. For my next baby, I will kindly ask them to tell me the bare minimum required by law so I don't have to marinate on paralysis, etc. I had talked with him on the phone the night before and he'd had me crying in fear in the Walmart parking lot as he explained that they do a "double numbing." I had what I believe was a spinal block and an epidural. I might be writing that out wrong but in any case, they numbed me two ways via the spine, whereas I suppose the more routine procedure is to numb one way. To the delight of the hospital staff, I came prepared with my own Power of Attorney, Living Wills, etc. Rob kept telling me it was morbid to bring all that stuff but coming from my prior career, I wanted to be in charge of my own health decisions even if I was incapacitated. Several nurses commented that they'd never seen someone as young as myself with all their "affairs in order." I took this as a massive compliment, naturally.
This might seem odd but I was never scared of the surgery itself. What frightened me most was the idea of the catheter. I insisted they not do it till the last possible moment and they obliged. Thank GOD! Here is Rob and I before I walked into the operating room:
When we got into the operating room I suddenly felt very emotional. I suspect I was having a mild panic attack of sorts. The hospital I delivered at encourages your spouse to be there for literally every step, so while many hospitals prohibit people from being present for anesthesia, prep, etc., that was not the case now.
The first thing I noticed was how tiny the room was. It struck me as odd but with no prior experience maybe they're all small? I was also expecting it to be very cold but it wasn't. I had literally walked from my pre-op room into the o.r. and the o.r. had lots of windows for any random person to take a gander as they walked to their recovery room. Recovery was built off of the o.r. so to get to the o.r. you had to pass through it, and I was surprised when I saw a woman in there. No such thing as privacy, I guess. The hospital might seem janky the way I'm poorly describing it but in actuality it is a top hospital and it is brand new. It is the nicest hospital I have ever been to. (Side note: the cafeteria makes amazing food and lots of random people go there for lunch, as I may have mentioned. Several of our friends all asked if they could visit during dinner hours, LOL!)
So, anyway, here I am in the o.r. and things start moving quickly. They swapped Rob out for another support person during my epidural. I was miffed because the nurse was texting while offering her "support." I guess in the end we got the job done but I was displeased with the distraction!
Getting the epidural was stressful. There was a placement problem due to some mild scoliosis so it was always too far to the right. The clicking feeling was extremely unnerving. While I wouldn't say it "hurt" I would definitely say it was an entirely uncomfortable sensation. It definitely increased my anxiety that the Nurse Anesthetist couldn't place it. Meanwhile, an actual Anesthesiologist was sitting directly next to me fussing with his Blackberry. He finally stepped in and had it placed in seconds. This annoyed me greatly as I now sit in anticipation from separate bills from them, LOL.
Whatever drugs they gave me were good. I definitely turned into a chatterbox, after telling my doctor, 'This sucks, I feel like garbage.' They quickly remedied the "garbage" feeling with some anti-nausea drugs. Next I said, "Am I being cauterized? I smell me burning!' My doctor thought I said "meat burning" not "me burning" and she was quick to tell me, "Don't worry, we're getting to the baby part soon, nobody is eating you!"
Now, normally video cameras and such are not allowed in the o.r. for liability reasons but the Nurse Anesthetist offered to take some photos for us. This was a very relaxed surgery, let me tell you. Throughout the entire procedure the two surgeons and other staff all discussed who got drunk at who's wedding. Ha! As an aside, the lady took some very graphic photos. I have my placenta shot from multiple angles, if that tells you anything. (After my surgery someone put my placenta, in a bucket, on my bed, then promptly forgot about it. Someone came looking for it later in recovery. Whoops!)
Here is the first shot she offered to take, as Lincoln's head is pulled from my abdomen (I just now noticed the doctor's finger in his mouth):
Annnnd he's OUT:
I absolutely HATE when newborns are held in this position but it is par for the course:
Now, I had no real concept of time during the surgery but it seemed to me to be over quite quickly. Like, shockingly quick! Here we are in our first photo as a family:
And of course, my gorgeous cherub:
Many women have told me that with their c-sections they did not get access to their baby right away. My hospital is adamant that mothers get their babies right away and I was only apart for him long enough for him to be cleaned off. Mere minutes. Immediately after leaving the delivery room he was placed on my breast. His temperature was poor so shortly after Rob left with him to the nursery to give him some supplemental formula. This had me in tears, immediately, of course. I was left alone in the recovery room so of course I called my mom to cry that they took him and he was eating from something other than me. Thankfully he came back quickly.
We were moved to a massive post-partum room thanks to my girlfriend who works at the hospital. My parents showed up and everyone remarked on how well I was doing post-op. I was chatting, texting and emailing, etc. I felt no pain, but I was sure tired! I didn't want to be rude and ask anyone to leave so I just toughed it out.
Many people told me to stand as soon as I could and at first I was resistant to them leaving the sedation in till the next day, but the staff promised me it would not be detrimental to my recovery. I was dying to get that catheter out so I requested they pull the meds first thing the next morning. I stood up within twenty minutes of it wearing off.
I really only had one bad time when Nurse Ratchet forced me to walk when I was under-medicated. At our hospital all patients are assigned a nurse and all babies are assigned a nurse. There is a constant parade of people, as I expected there would be. Lincoln had one miserable nurse who man-handled him and I so I immediately requested she be removed from caring for him. I guess word spread quickly that I had "fired" her, despite my best efforts to be professional. Oh well. Later, Rob was walking down the hall and since she didn't know he was my husband, she had no problem openly complaining about me in front of him! Ha ha!
Everyone told me I would get over my fears and modesty issues after giving birth. They were right. I will nurse in front of everyone except my male family members, and I even allowed a sweet woman from Trinidad named Corinne to give me a shower. Hey, no pride here! I was dying to bathe!
The pain has been totally fine. I quit the pain meds cold turkey the day I left the hospital and I don't regret it. Two things have happened post-surgery that are worth mentioning. 1. I ripped my incision open over this past weekend. My incision was fine and pain-free until I did this, and now it is sore. My doctor did an excellent job with my incision and it is very, very tiny. Hardly noticeable! 2. Sorry to be graphic, but my bowels are on strike. I am hoping they return to normalcy in the near future. In the meantime, I am choking down SunSweets like it's my job. Gah!
I was second-guessing my decisions to have a c-section right until I walked into the o.r. but I am thrilled I had it. The recovery was extremely easy and I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I would do it over the same way time and again.