A little over 48 hours ago, I delivered our little girl by a scheduled c-section. While I’m certainly not going to relate the gory details, I did figure I’d jot down some random thoughts and observations.
I was terrified going to the hospital that morning. As I’ve said ad nauseum, I detest doctors, so going to a hospital is like willingly walking into a lion’s den. As miserable as it was, it was probably a good thing that I was forced to fast after midnight (which is a hell of a thing when you’re 39 weeks pregnant…no water either), as it was more than a little distraction for me. Once in the door, however, there was no distraction.
I had my first mini-meltdown while checking in, which is absolutely stupid. All I had to do was verify some info, sign some papers, and get my first of ultimately 3 hospital bracelets. The next 2 hours was a big blur of one difficult (for me) procedure after another- the IV, the hospital gown, the waiting, the questions, and ultimately that walk down the hall to the OR where I submitted to more protocols which felt absolutely surreal and unnatural. It is tough to walk willingly somewhere when you know that rather indelicate and traumatic things will occur to your body – even when logically you know the outcome will be happy.
The epidural was just f*$)ing weird. There’s really no other way to describe it. While it was occurring (or the numbness was kicking in, anyway), I was even thinking about what words I could use to tell others about it, and I couldn’t come up with a single one. The process itself feels absolutely odd/awful. It’s not so much painful (thanks to the somewhat painful numbing shot), but it is a sensation that defies description. Again, it feels completely wrong exposing your spine to a stranger (your spine and its contents being a rather important bit of oneself) and allowing him to stick something into it. It feels wrong. And just when you think you cannot possibly endure sitting there and allowing it to continue for one more second, the effects kick in, preceded by this warm tingling in your legs. Within a minute, you can no longer move your lower limbs.
As the surgery prep continued, I felt almost dissociated. I knew that things were being done that were disagreeable (from what was being told to me and what I could see reflected in the surgical light over my head), but there’s nothing you can do. It was also not very comfortable being flat on my back. Our baby had been so high up in my lungs that breathing had been difficult sitting up.
When the main prep was over, they finally brought Will in to sit by my head. It’s completely bizarre that my abdomen had been cut without my knowledge (the smell of the cauterization being my first and only sensory clue). They reached my uterus rather quickly (as I sat trying not to look into that damn reflection from the light fixture), and I did have my goofy Braveheart moment while the doctors had to fight a bit to get the little girl out; she was so high up in my body that, from what Will tells me, some sort of odd surgical crowbar was necessary to pry her out. Then I heard that suctioning you hear on TV followed by that newborn screaming sound, and I got my first glimpse of our baby.
The rest of the surgery was a complete blur. I really didn’t care much about what was happening. I just wanted to watch what was happening to the little girl. Will was with her, occasionally relaying info to me – APGAR and such. I just wanted to be able to really, really look at her, but I was otherwise occupied. I was given some morphine in my drip, which may or may not have added to my strange mental state. I felt very far away and pretty woozy. I could not believe it when they actually let me hold her. I desperately wanted to do so, but almost didn’t trust myself.
The hospital was great to Will, myself, and Stella (what we ultimately named our little girl). They were more than thorough and kind. Still, a hospital is a hospital, and you can’t sleep in those places. I had always heard that, but never really experienced it first hand until this. Our first night was particularly rotten, as due to the constant testing and such, Stella could not sleep or eat, and proceeded to spend the bulk of that first day screaming. None of us slept and I think it’s safe to say we all felt awful. The second night, we got in a groove (thanks to some supplemental formula I started giving her – despite my feelings of guilt – via this interesting tube system which you tape to your own body in order to reduce any possible nipple confusion), and it’s been smoother sailing since. As a matter of fact, we were discharged a mere 48 hours after arrival since we were all doing well.
So now we’re home with our girl. Even more than trying to describe an epidural, there are no words to describe how that feels (and this time in a most-wonderful way). All of the parents before us were right. It’s life-changing. And while I have no doubt that it’s going to be hard from time to time, and it may be painful at times for all of us, I believe that it will be worth every second of it.