BSparl's Birthday: Part One.
(I've tried to write her birth story with more precision, but I'm a bit of a rambler, so this is a two part post. Had to be. I couldn't edit myself down enough.)
The evening before my c-section, I was a complete wreck. I'd never had any kind of surgery before (except when I was four years old - I had accidentally stepped on a sewing needle and half of it broke off in my heel, so I was put under to have it removed. Ew.). I'd never even had an I.V. You'd think that, after living with type 1 diabetes for over 23 years, that I'd have had my share of hospitalizations and needly bits, but I was relatively green when it came to anything other than insulin and pump sites.
So I was freaking about the surgery. In addition to feeling really nervous about becoming a mom.
But technical stuff first: Thanks to a wicked allergic reaction that I had to the heparin injections (oh itchy rash that cropped up everywhere that I had injected the heparin - scratchy town!), I was taken off the blood thinner the Monday before surgery. As a result, I was safely able to plan on the spinal block only, instead of being put under fully. I was hooked up to an I.V. line for fluids at about 10 pm on Wednesday evening, which also served as an emergency glucose drip if I happened to go low overnight. (Likely risk, since I was unable to eat or drink anything after midnight. I was in Gremlin mode.)
I went to bed on Wednesday night connected to the I.V. pole, with a blood sugar of 109 mg/dl and my baby kicking away inside of me.
And at 5:30 am on Thursday morning, I woke up to take my last shower as a mom-to-be. The surgical team at Beth Israel requested that I shower using a special antiseptic soap to prepare my skin for the procedure, and after my shower, the nurses came in to connect the insulin drip and disconnect my insulin pump and Dexcom sensor. (The Dexcom was on my right thigh, and since everything from the breastbone down was part of my "sterile surgical environment," I was asked to remove the 15 day old sensor in efforts to keep things pristine.)
At about 6:30 am, Chris and I went up to the labor and delivery floor of BIDMC. I was told to dress in the stylish hospital gowns and lose all of my undergarments (though I petitioned for - and won rights to wear - my socks, damnit). The nurses wheeled me into the triage room, where Chris and I waited for my OB/GYN. While we waited, the nurses carefully monitored my blood sugars with my personal meter, and I watched as my nerves caused the numbers to rise. Actually, my climbing blood sugars delayed the surgery a little bit, because my medical team wanted me between 80 - 110 mg/dl for the surgery, and I was cresting up towards 160 mg/dl. But once I was holding steady, my OB (Dr. A) came in and said we were ready to administer the spinal block.
I went into the operating room alone, because Chris wasn't allowed to be present for the epidural (in efforts to keep the environment sterile. Not that he's dirty or anything, but still …). The epidural was one of the things I was most nervous about. A needle going into my spine that would cause me to lose all feeling below the waist? The thought made my stomach lurch.
My wonderful OB knew I was bordering on a panic attack. She stood in front of me and held my shoulders steady as the anesthesiologist prepared my back for the spinal block.
"I'm really nervous," I said. My legs were shaking uncontrollably. There were about 12 people in the room, and I had only met five minutes earlier, and I was feeling exposed, in just about every way. The room was almost completely silent as the medical team prepared to operate. On me.
"Can someone say something? I'm starting to freak the hell out here. How about some jokes?" I couldn't stand the silence. I needed someone to fill the air with nonsense, and I couldn't provide that noise myself.
The doctor leading the surgery piped up in his British accent. "I've got one. What has more spots than a leopard?"
"What?" I wanted to focus on the punchline, not the needle easing into my back. "More spots than a leopard? I don't know … a thirteen year old boy?"
The surgeon laughed. "That's not too bad. But it's not the answer. What has more spots than a leopard?" He paused for dramatic effect. "Two leopards."
The needle went in. I felt the numbing solution spreading through my legs, making them feel warm and slippery and fading.
"That's what you fill this awkward silence with? That's almost horrible," I said through staggered breaths, still completely afraid of the surgery to come. The surgeon laughed at me again. "It's true, though. Two leopards definitely have more spots than the one."
The epidural was starting to take effect, and the team helped me lay on my back and relax my legs. Unfortunately for everyone, the c-section required me to be naked from the sternum down, so basically everyone in the room had a bird's eye view of parts of me I personally hadn't seen in several weeks. A catheter was set up, a drape was established to block my view of my belly and to keep the lower half of my body sterile, and I was ready for surgery. Ready for my baby to arrive.
"Where's Chris? Will he be here soon?"
"He's coming in now. And your daughter will be out in just a few minutes. Are you ready?"
(To be continued in Part Two. :) )