After that traumatic experience, …the OB comes back and apologizes to me.
I called my midwife, who brings with her another OB (we’ll call her OB #2). I told them that I was done. Wheel me in for a normal c-section. I’m done. I don’t want to risk that scenario from ever happening again.
She, and OB #2, calmly tell me that they see this sort of thing happen all of the time (WHAT??) and it’s “probably” unlikely to happen again if we should start the pitocin a second time. But ultimately, we should try to avoid a c-section, because a vaginal delivery would be overall safer, less complicated, less healing time, etc.
But… for right now, we’ll just let my body, and the baby, rest.
What in the hell is going on here?
I explained to her that, bottom line, I wanted to try to avoid an emergency c-section situation where I’m put under general anesthesia.
She said to avoid that, I could get an epidural, which would then prevent me from having to get general anesthesia should I, god forbid, need an emergency c-section.
So… there go all of my birth plans, down the drain. I was now getting an epidural.
My anesthesiologist was a saint. He talked to me the entire time he was giving me the epidural, telling me “this will pinch a bit,” “this will sting,” etc, and he joked around with me. Mike got to stay there and hold my hand, and as always, the nurses were awesome.
What does an epidural feel like?
An epidural doesn’t hurt. He numbs the area with a local anesthetic, which feels like a tiny sting, and then the needle used to guide the catheter, has the same feeling as when someone presses on a bruise (you’re mostly numb from the anesthetic, so you don’t feel a sting with that one, but it still had some sensation to me). It took about 20 mins total.
So Mike and I hung out in our room for a couple of hours. During that time, there was a shift change in the staff. Another midwife comes in and tells me that she has discussed what has gone on with the new OB on shift; they have decided that, yes, at this point, a normal, non-emergency c-section would be safer/preferable to letting me continue to labor.
I was sold. Wheel me in!
Having a c-section is bizarre. Everyone was in such a good mood, though, especially for it being 11:00pm. Mike had to stay outside at first, while all of the nurses and doctors went over their equipment, and set up. They didn’t start without him though (which was a fear of mine).
I had my midwife, Mike, and the anesthesiologist all up by my head. The anesthesiologist said it was “our side of the curtain,” and to focus up here with them, and not worry about what’s going on “on the other side.” They were all holding my hands.
I was constantly asking my midwife (who was having a great time watching the surgery) if everything was ok.
If I was ok.
If she was ok.
I just needed a constant stream of reassurance and comfort because at this point, I had been up for 24 hours, and my emotions were completely fried.
I was almost outside of my body. I needed sleep, but I was more terrified than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I had nothing left in my body. Even though I was completely coherent and awake, I felt like I was disconnected due to all of the anxiety.
A common side effect from the medication is getting body shakes. My entire body was involuntarily shaking/shivering. My midwife was telling me to slowly breathe, and focus on my shoulders and trying to keep those as relaxed as possible.
But as soon as Mike sat down next to me and touched my hand, my shaking completely stopped.
It was so strange. For a second I got worried and I asked the anesthesiologist if this was OK. He reassured me that it was fine, and in fact, it was a wonderful thing to happen, showing how powerful a connection between two people can be.
A few minutes later, I hear the OB exclaim, “your ovaries are beeaautiful!”
Wait, you can see those? Oh yeah. That’s right. I’m cut open right now. How could I forget.
After 23 mins, at 11:23pm, I heard him cry.
It‘s a boy!
Mike went over to the warming table to see him, while the midwife stayed by my side and kept holding my hand.
7lbs 15oz! And just over 20″ long!
I was afraid to see my son. I don’t know why… I told my midwife I was afraid to see him. I guess I just felt overwhelmed. My first thought was, “what if he doesn’t like me?”
When Mike came back to me, he was crying.
“He’s perfect,” he said.
I couldn’t see Mike’s mouth (it was covered by the mask they made him wear) but I could see his eyes. His eyes were beaming with pride.
The nurse brought our son over and I started crying.
He really was perfect.
The other 45 mins of the surgery was them putting me back together again. Mike, and our baby, got to stay with me the entire time, never leaving my side.
He was born at 11:23pm, on May 26th. (Which also happened to be Mike’s 33 1/3 birthday.)
I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept in 24 hours, and just had major surgery, and my anxiety was extremely high.
The first thing my midwife wanted me to do was breastfeed.
I couldn’t even see straight anymore. My voice was gone, my throat was dry, my eyes were burning.
I barely had enough energy to call my mom, and my sister.
So no, I don’t want to breastfeed right now. She seemed annoyed with my decision, but since the baby was fast asleep and because she saw how absolutely destroyed from exhaustion I was, she backed down.
Mike stepped in and was a super-dad from that first night. He changed all of the diapers and fed the baby the first night, because I couldn’t get out of bed due to my legs still being numb. To this day, he’s still better at swaddling than I.
For being so tired, I only got about 15-20mins of sleep that first night. I kept waking up in a panic, making sure the baby was breathing. And then when I would finally settle down, a nurse would come in and it would be time to check something/administer something.
When the nurses heard about my lack of sleep, they put a “do not disturb” sign on my door the next night, so I wouldn’t be woken up by them or anyone else. Mike took over the second night too, and that time, I got a solid 6 hours of much needed rest.
(Part 3 coming up soon: The baby is here! The drama is over, right? Nope.)