The day has come and gone and I am still here on this earth, living and breathing and enjoying my newborn baby girl, despite my number of fears. Going back to the day though, feels no less scary as it did in that moment.
The night before, I was wide awake, midnight came and went, 1am, 2 am, 3 am, still awake. Finding things to busy myself, whipping out the sewing machine and sewing a pillow cover I had sold that week. Cleaning the master bedroom, and packing all the stuff for the hospital. I finally decided I should get some shred of sleep for the big day and I laid down and fell asleep. Only to wake a few hours later to get ready and leave.
We pulled up to the hospital, me only thinking the worst, fears in high alert now. Fighting back tears telling my husband my wishes for certain things, like not to bury me with my wedding ring, to keep it for the kids. I could barely speak at this point, tears welling in my eyes like water balloons ready to explode. My husband asked me if I wanted him to drop me off at the door, and I told him I wanted to walk, so we parked and walked inside. I felt like dead man walking, quiet as a mouse, just thinking and being totally up in my head. A moment of complete excitement and all I could do was be afraid.
We went up the elevator and checked in at the desk, a moment later a nurse came and got me and we walked the loooonnnnnggggg corridor to the triage area for surgery prep. My surgery was scheduled for 10:15am. We got there at 8:15 am just like they asked. Immediately the nurse began asking a bunch of questions to find out medical history and started an IV. IV’s suck for me because my veins are horrible to find, but she found it right away without having to poke me twice. Thank God. So we sat there, me on this very hard, very uncomfortable exam bed, in a gown, IV attached and ready to go. And with the two hour prep window before surgery, I laid there all up in my head. My phone there to distract me, battery slowly dying as the minutes tick on. And we come up to my surgery time, when they inform me an emergency took precedence and my time slot was bumped back a bit. No time estimate was given and I am just laying there, scared to death, anxious beyond belief that now I am prolonging the inevitable. When I met the anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist I told them how I get really sick with the spinal and I would like to not be puking through the whole thing. I told them that my last c-section went really well because I told them my issues and they gave me something to combat it. They told me they could see what they could do, but with my high blood pressure it would have to be a wait and see kind of thing. When my doctor came in, I cheered, literally raising my arms in touchdown fashion, and audibly blurting out ‘You’re here!!!!!!!!!!’. She and the nurses were talking about how it was pushed back and she chuckled and said, ‘this is probably the worst person that could’ve happened to’ (talking about me and all my fears) and the nurse said ‘yeah, she’s been getting pretty worked up, but she’s okay now’. Because I had been crying off and on the entire time, thinking about what could go wrong. The nurse was talking at one point about the interns that were going to be watching and she said she’s had to talk them out of starting in Labor/Delivery, because it’s not always roses and sunshine, they can see a lot of bad things happen and it’s not a good place to want to start after medical school. While that may be true, it did nothing to ease any of my million-and-one fears.
So, it was time, they had me drink this sour substance that I’m no stranger to now, and as I was drinking it, something happened I can only explain as a reflex, because a bunch of it got spit out in an over-the-top comedic type of way. Then I walked into the operating room, a different one than I had been in previously. It was cold, sterile, smelled crisp like oxygen. They had me sit on the edge of the table and I held my doctors hand and rested my head on her shoulder, scared of the spinal. I squeezed her tight as they just went for it. Of course, they did the rundown of my stats, who I am, why I’m there, and any issues they may come across. They did their medical check that seems like a distant memory to me now, and when I was holding my doctor, she began asking me things to get my mind on other things, a tricky little deception whenever they are about to inflict pain. I felt this sheet of sticky material placed on my lower back and I felt fingers poking around, he told me he was just feeling to see where things were, and I thought there was more time before the poke, but there wasn’t. That’s when he just went for it. I felt a few pokes and a ‘filling’ sensation into my body, then a wave of strange came over me and they had me lay down. I felt like a mountain crumbling onto this tiny little table. Immediately I felt strange, I felt my legs sort of going numb, but I asked how they know I’m completely numb. They told me they will pinch me and they don’t tell me when they do it, and he told me if I don’t say anything, they proceed, they also asked me if I felt anything, after they did it and I said I didn’t think so, and he said, oh, you would know with how hard they pinch. And with that, the feeling in my lower body was gone.
Might I add that two weeks prior, I had a cold that left me with a lingering cough, that sucked to say the least. I was coughing the entire time, which was mildly annoying. At this point they brought my husband in to sit beside me. As I was laying there, I told the NA that was wasn’t feeling good, that I felt like I was going to throw up and there was nothing he could do at that point except get me a container to throw up in. Anyone who has thrown up during a cesarian knows how terrible it is. You have no feeling beyond your breasts and heaving into something with your arms strapped to a table, while being on your back, half able bodied and attached to a million monitors, is about the least fun experience ever. Basically vomit just pours out of your mouth into this container he holds up, sliding down your cheek in utter embarrassment. And it just keeps coming, over and over. While it did make me feel better to throw up, it just sucked. At one point I looked over and saw my stats on the monitor, and I saw my blood pressure dropped to 60/40, and that is why I was sick. Which is also why they couldn’t give me anything until they knew what my blood pressure was going to do. Every time it dipped and I got sick, they gave me something to help it go back up so I would feel better.
At this point I am feeling a lot of tugging, a lot of pressure. I am smelling the cauterized flesh that is my own, and I am trying to remain calm. I’m still alive up to this point, which I find reassuring. I ask a lot of questions through the sheet hanging directly in my face. Any time they said anything I didn’t know what it was, I asked what it meant, which wasn’t that much, but it kept my mind on simple things. I kept looking at my husband, and he kept looking in the reflection of this glass cabinet in the OR to catch a glimpse of something. It was a swift point of a lot of pressure, pressure that takes your breath away, and the NA asked my husband if he wanted to see his daughter being born, and he told him to stand up, and he did. At that exact moment of immense pressure there was a peaceful release, and then I heard the cries of my daughter. They brought her over to show me what she looked like and she was covered in the slick white stuff. They took her to clean her off and my husband went over to look at her and take pictures. I told the hospital staff I wanted to do skin-to-skin immediately and they brought her to me and placed her on my breasts. Because I only had one available arm/hand since the other arm was strapped down, the nurse holds baby to secure her while I can semi-hold her, but she is on me. It was magical. All I could do was cry. She was here, in my arms. I looked at her in awe and knew everything was worth it. They sewed me up, and it took a great amount of time, they tell me because of all the scar tissue. But having her on my chest helped pass the time. When it was ready to go to recovery, they all moved me over to the gurney. Nothing makes a girl feel fatter than having 7 (not actually sure how many people there were, but there were more than 3) people struggle to move your fat ass from one bed to another. And as they wheeled me to recovery I thanked my doctor and exclaimed ‘I’m alive still!’ to which she told the nurses of my fears of death.
The sensation of telling your toes to move and not being able to move them is a very weird one. But as the spinal wore off, I kept trying to move my toes, it wasn’t until we got to our room, my toes began to feel normal.
Going into it, I had a gut feeling I wanted her name to be Savannah Grace, but I didn’t want to make any decisions until I laid my eyes on her. Well, the minute they put her on my chest, I knew. That was her name. My sweet Savannah. When we got to the recovery area they immediately put her on me again to try to establish a latch and it really didn’t work, but she laid there, happy in my arms, happy on my skin, happy hearing my heartbeat. And we laid like that, the entire time. I couldn’t be happier.
Born: 12:37 pm, June 11, 2018