We arrived at the hospital on 6/8 at 8am for my 10am planned c-section at 39 weeks for macrosomia (big baby). All we had to do was give my name to the desk, didn’t even have time for more than a couple of final “pregnancy” pictures, and they called us back.
I was given a gown, allowed to go to the restroom one last time, and the nurse put in the IV. The anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist both came to see me a few times to discuss the spinal block and give me meds for heartburn. Then the obstetrician came. Background: I go to a group practice of 5 OBs and one midwife. Two weeks before, I saw my original OBGYN who is now in that practice, and she planned the c-section. We even ran into Dr. Boone there at the planning desk and he agreed with her assessment and said he’d be happy to be the one to deliver my baby. The following week, yet another of the OBs in the group reviewed my file and concurred. I don’t know if Dr. Boone forgot me and that discussion or just didn’t want to do another c-section that morning, but when he came in …20 minutes before I’m set to go back for the spinal and the Event…he tried to talk me into an induction instead. He even implied that since he doesn’t “think the baby is more than 7.5lbs” I must be one of those moms who wants a c-section because I’m too afraid to push. My husband almost came unglued! We had decided a course of action based on the recommendation of the OBGYN I’ve had for 6 years who knows my medical history and my anatomy; a recommendation that two other OBs and the midwife agreed with. Now he wants to change plans?? He probably wasn’t happy with us, but we headed off for the OR.
My husband was sent elsewhere to gown up. My parents were brought to the OR waiting room that actually has a window into the OR. I was wheeled in and my teeth immediately started to chatter uncontrollably. That’s kinda my “thing” when I’m nervous. They told me to sit on the side of the bed and hug a nurse and pillow to round out my back. The spinal block was much easier than I feared. When I said, “my legs feel warm!” they had me lie down and let the prep begin. They gently chastised me because I kept reaching down to touch my belly, or shuffling my feet around until I couldn’t mentally command them anymore. When the OB came in, it was GO time, and suddenly my husband masked face loomed near my face. He talked to me the whole time to distract me. At the point the OB used the electrocautery tool to open my belly, I could smell my own burning flesh. I’m sure it was mental, but I started vomiting. While my husband held up an emesis basin the anesthesiologist put some meds in my IV.
Just when it became “too much”, the pulling and wrenching feeling of open-belly surgery…I heard him. They hadn’t gotten him out yet, just his head, but they suctioned him and he cried. That sound was glorious and I knew that everything would be ok. The nurses had to push hard on my belly and they got him out, whisked him over to the table. The nurse anesthetist moved a mirror over me and angled it exactly so I could see him. He was big and beautiful! I could not take my eyes off of him – like there was no one else in the room. The medical team working on him announced “9 lbs 5 oz, 21 inches long, head circumference 14.5! Apgars 9 and 9. “ The OB admitted he was wrong and nurses said my pelvis wouldn’t have been able to get him out safely. I heard the OB say “did you see the size of that placenta?!” and one nurse say “have you ever seen so much umbilical jelly?” My husband was allowed to go get him and bring him to me for a few minutes before having to go to the nursery. I talked to him and kissed him and it was the best moment of my life. I was closed up and taken to the recovery room. I told my husband to not leave his side until he was in my arms.
My parents were brought to the recovery room, as was my best friend Susie. Mom and dad told me that they could see the whole surgery and it was brutal looking. My son was so big and they had to do some extra maneuvering. The hour seemed to drag by and then…they brought in my husband and son. I didn’t care who was in the room, I stripped down for some skin-to-skin nursing and bonding time. To be honest, the hours and events after that are a total blur. I know my parents went with us to our room but I don’t remember getting there. I know there was a lot of happy tears, picture-taking, talking about the surgery, oohing and ahhing over my big boy, and nursing done that afternoon.
Since then we’ve spent our days on a kind of honeymoon. My husband is phenomenal; I couldn’t ask for a more attentive mate and daddy. I am fortunate that I picked up breastfeeding easily. My adorable son turns into an “angry little red man” when he roots around my chest in the middle of the night. I love the sight of him nursing, and I usually strip him down to his diaper so I can rub his skin while we do that. He knows my smell and voice by now and I soothe him faster than anything else which is so gratifying as a momma.
There have been problems here and there. Post-op pain has been an issue. In the 4 days at the hospital, one nurse would bring the meds as scheduled to manage pain, but the next shift nurse’s philosophy was to only bring it if I requested it. Well, the only thing I could to keep track of was nursing events (time becomes meaningless to a new mom), so I spent 2 days “chasing the pain”. There was one snarky lactation consultant who chastised me for every little detail in spite of me telling her and the nurses confirming that my latch was good and my son was getting successful feeds. I dreaded her visits. On day three, one nurse upon hearing I hadn’t had a bowel movement gave me a suppository. It was successful (thank god!) but afterward I was humiliated and utterly shocked that I suddenly had hemorrhoids. I was too embarrassed to tell my husband so I stumbled out to the nurse’s station in sobbing tears and no way to explain. I received a few topical meds and the problem is happily resolved. During the colostrum days, my son would nurse for an average of 50 minutes at a time every 3 hours which has caused serious nipple soreness. The word “sore” is actually inadequate to the actual problem, but now that my milk came in 4 days after, his feeds are about 20 minutes every 2 hours. Better.
I am tired. I hurt. I look awful. I have the post-c-section curse of bizarre full-body edema. But every tiny precious moment I have with my son is overwhelmingly, thrillingly, the best part of my life so far.