It seemed as if we had been in a holding pattern for the past few hours . . . waiting to dilate, waiting to labor down, waiting for Little Man to stop being stubborn and come on down the birth canal. Waiting, waiting, waiting.
Once we made the decision to move forward with the c-section, things happened fast. M went to tell his family that we were going to do the surgery and to prepare them that I was a bit upset about it. He was gone less than five minutes and by the time he came back, our room was filled with a lot of medical professionals. The anesthesiologist had come in to introduce himself and told me that he was "sorry" that it had come to this. That made me feel bad again and I almost asked to try pushing for a bit more, but it seemed futile and I was really tired. He explained that he would be using the same epidural, just adding more medication, so it would be really easy for me to be prepped for surgery once we got to the OR.
A nurse handed me a small cup of the nastiest stuff in the world to reduce stomach acid in case you should vomit from the anesthesia. She told me to take it in one gulp, and I did. It tasted like a raunchy Sweet.Tart. Not pleasant. Then, they put a surgical cap on my head and slid the side bars up for my transfer. I had to sign a few waivers and the OB explained the procedure and risks to us. That's always fun, signing those papers, feeling as if you are signing your life away with the stroke of a pen. With the paperwork out of the way, it was time to go.
With M and three nurses by my side, I was wheeled down the hallway. The hardest part was probably being wheeled past all of M's family on the way. His grandmother, mother, sister, and three cousins were all standing there. I felt like such a failure just lying there having failed to push Little Man out on my own. I started to cry again as we passed them, and they all patted my arm and wished us luck. Before I knew it I was in the OR and getting prepped for the c-section.
I was transferred onto the operating table - it took three people, talk about feeling that Baby Weight! The big blue "curtain" went up and my arms were strapped down. I had the "baby shakes" again, this time so badly that they were unable to get a read on my blood pressure and heartrate without someone holding pressure over the cuffs. They kept bringing warm blankets to drape across my chest and arms, but they did not seem to help whatsoever.
The anesthesiologist gave me something through the IV that was supposed to reduce the shaking, and it seemed to a bit, but not for long. He also gave me more medication through the epidural port to numb me. About this time, I started to feel nauseous. I asked for a pan and just barely got one in time. It was really disgusting, throwing up that bitter stuff that I had taken just a few minutes before. I thought that they would make me drink it again, but then the doctor gave me something for the nausea and I felt better. He even apologized for not giving it to me sooner. I felt badly because he had to hold the pan for me while I threw up, but he was really nice about it.
Things then got a bit crazy after that because the epidural didn't take on the right side of my stomach. I could easily still feel the pin prick as pain and also the alcohol wipes as cold. So we had to do a spinal block. And I could still feel the pin prick! The anesthesiologist was starting to talk about putting me under a general, which I did not want, but then the OB grabbed and pinched my abdomen where she would be cutting and I couldn't feel a thing. So, she made the first incision.
As a result of the problems with getting me numb as well as my nausea, they didn't even bring M in until after they had started. Suddenly, he was by my head, wearing his oh-so-sexy surgical garb. I don't know what came over me, but I leaned into him and whispered, "I want to go home." And I really did. All of a sudden, I was so tired, so scared, so done, that even the excitement of meeting Little Man couldn't overcome it all. M was very good, he didn't even laugh or smile, just patted my forehead and said, "I know you do, but just remember, we're going to meet the baby soon."
Later, he said it was really tough not to laugh at my remark, because they had already cut me wide open and there was really no going back now. But he said that I sounded and looked so pitiful that he didn't dare crack a smile. What a guy, I laugh just thinking about it now.
The c-section itself was not at all painful. I did feel some tugging and a bit of pressure, and then all of a sudden, the anesthesiologist said to M, "Got your camera ready?" M barely had time to pull it from his pocket when the doctor said, "Stand up, Dad, get a picture of your baby!"
And Little Man was born.
His cry filled the air and I heard the doctor say, "He's coming out peeing!" He peed all the way to the incubator, where they cleaned him up. His Apgar scores were 8 and 9 and although I kept asking if he was okay, he was crying loudly as if to reassure me that he was just fine. Before he was born, I had told M to go immediately to the baby and he did. I watched from my pinned down position as M stood in awe and took pictures of our son. He won't admit it now, but his mask was stained with a few tears of joy. They asked if he wanted to cut the cord and I smiled at his enthusiastic, "I would love to."
A few seconds later, M came with Will all bundled up. I touched his tiny cheek and said, "There you are." But I was still very shaky and didn't trust myself to try and hold him. I was worried that I was going to bash him with my unsteady hands.
M said that his life was changed in the moment that he first held our little boy. I know that I saw the change instantly. M likes babies but had never really held one for long, changed a poopy diaper, swaddled a baby, or comforted one when it cried. All of a sudden, he was holding Will, making soothing noises, and completely engrossed in our precious child. If there is one blessing from having had a c-section, I truly believe that M got into the parenting game a lot sooner than he would have otherwise. He got to hold Will first, got to calm him first with a clicking noise that still works to soothe him, changed quite a few diapers before I could even get out of bed. And he truly became a Daddy so much faster than either of us had anticipated. I do believe that he would have done this either way, as he is such a natural, but I think I would have rushed in to do everything and not given him the space to learn.
One weird thing about a c-section is that most of it is done after the baby is born. So, there you are, lying there with your baby crying, and all you can do is just listen to the OB and her assistant talk about their weekend plans. They are pretty nonchalant about the fact that they are pawing through your reproductive organs, but then again, they do this every day. The OB did tell me that she did a little "extra" liposuction for me and also complimented me on how I was "all baby" and "so tiny." I am not sure if she was kidding or not, but my belly did seem to shrink pretty quickly and I have already lost all 30 pounds that I gained during the pregnancy - though I still have a lot of work left to do to get back to pre-infertility weight and shape! But post-partum recovery is a whole other blog entry of its own!