C-Section Party Time, Hey Hey.
There’s another kid in my house now, and he’s two weeks old as of this afternoon. But how did he escape, you ask? Sunroof exit! Here is some of the how and why my son came a bit earlier than expected.
That Tuesday morning two weeks ago came with the promise of another long drive to Beth Israel hospital in Boston, where another blood pressure/blood sugar/ultrasound examination extravaganza was scheduled to take place. At 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant, my medical team was keeping a close eye on things but not with a sense of panic, as the baby was full term and my health was good.
But that morning, I had some contractions. And definitive signs of labor (hello, mucus plug, which is a curious thing that you can go ahead and Google – I will not be adding that to my search return history). When I left the house to make the drive to Boston, I told Chris to expect a call, because I was pretty sure the baby was coming today.
“Really?!” he asked, placing Birdy’s breakfast on the table (for her to ignore for 40 minutes because she is six years old and food has become The Incredibly Long, Drawn-Out Journey).
“Yeah?” I replied, trying to be all blasé about it but the prospect of major surgery and then – AHHHHHH – a baby! arriving in the next few hours made my head swirl so much that I had to default to a mellow shrug in efforts to keep myself from going off the rails.
At the OB/Gyn in Boston, my labor signs were confirmed, as was a higher-than-normal blood pressure reading.
“Your blood pressure is elevated. And you’re at 38 weeks, so there’s no reason to delay your c-section when a delay might not be the safest option. You’re going to have this baby today,” said the nurse.
“Cool, okay so I’ll drive over to Beth Israel and check into labor and delivery?”
“Yes, that’s the plan. We don’t have you on the books for today, and we need to wait at least six hours before we can perform the surgery, so you’re looking at a 3.30 pm delivery time. Call your husband. It’s time!”
“Awesome, okay.” And, all super chill, I walked out to the waiting room and made my postpartum follow up appointments. And then walked out to my car in the parking garage. And dialed Chris.
“The baby is coming today.”
“Yes. I’m aiming for a surgery time of about 3.30 pm. Can you get up here by then?”
WHY THE HELL AM I BEING SO CALM? I AM TERRIFIED OF SURGERY AND HATED MY PREVIOUS C-SECTION EXPERIENCE AND OMG THERE IS A BABY COMING!!!!!!!
“I’m leaving right now. I’ll be there in time.”
A whirlwind of activity followed, and I remained unusually calm. Brought my car to the long term garage. Wheeled (waddled?) myself and my suitcase up to the 10th floor. Checked into Labor and Delivery at Beth Israel hospital. Ended up whisked into a room where I was asked to remove my jewelry and clothes, eventually asked to remove my insulin pump (so that I could be hooked up to the IV insulin drip and the dextrose drip) and CGM sensor (because the sensor contains metal, which doesn’t work out well in a surgery situation), with my blood pressure and blood sugar monitored constantly in preparation for surgery.
Despite a last minute call and a long commute, Chris made it to the hospital about twenty minutes before we were schedule to go into surgery, and that’s when I became nervous. This was really happening. In less than an hour, this medical team (of course not the team I’ve been seeing throughout the course of my pregnancy, because they were not on that day, so I had a whole new team of people I’d not yet met) would be performing major surgery on me and delivering my son into the world.
Holy shit. I wanted to throw up. I didn’t Google anything about the specifics of a c-section before having my daughter, but after she was born, I had convinced myself I was a “one and done” sort of mom. So I researched c-sections, and confirmed they are not the most lovely videos to watch. But HA HA I wasn’t ever going to do it again, right?
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Little did I know how hard I’d work to have another baby. And upon being wheeled into the operating room, I remembered every finite detail of the c-section videos I’d watched years earlier. My panic was real.
My first c-section was strange in that I felt the pressure of Birdy’s escape and my recovery was uncomfortable (and long), but the surgery itself was uneventful.
My second (and last) c-section was not as routine. First of all, the spinal block was an issue and it took several tries to get that lined up correctly. (The bruising on my lower back serves as proof of the five – yes, five – attempts to get that block right. The surgical write-up described this portion of the surgery as “complicated.” I describe it as “what the holy fuck painful.”) Secondly, my son was measuring an estimated 8.5 pounds and 20 inches long, which was significantly bigger than my daughter. And thirdly, I had decided to have a tubal ligation, which added an extra 10 – 15 minutes to the surgery.
Prior to the surgery, my team monitored my blood sugar to ensure that it was running in the 80 – 120 range, which thankfully was not an issue. Diabetes was on its best behavior. Once I was brought into the operating room, I sat on the table and tried to “relax” while they attempted the spinal block. (“Just relax your shoulders and curl around your belly,” they kept saying. After the third attempt to administer the block, I was cursing under my breath with some of the basic swear words. By the fifth time, I’m pretty sure I was making up curse words and may have ended up quoting some ancient incantation. It took half an hour to get the stupid spinal block in place, during which time Chris was down the hall, all suited up in his biohazard space suit, wondering what the hell was taking so long.
But the block finally took. My blood sugars were perfect throughout. My son was delivered after a significant amount of effort (turns out I had cooked up a healthy-sized umbilical cord and placenta, which helped explain why my belly button threatened to pop off in those last few weeks – holy cramped real estate in that womb). I was pretty spaceshot for the majority of the surgery, reacting slightly unfavorably to the anesthesia and pain killers they were piping through my body, and Chris told me I kept asking, “Is he out yet? Is he okay? Am I okay?” on repeat while they worked to get our boy out.
And then I heard him cry. The medical team said, “Oh, he’s here! He’s healthy!” And he was brought over to me, all 8.6 lbs of him, all 20.5 inches of him, all cute and pursed lips and looking so much like his sister but at the same time, entirely like himself.
“I love you so much.” The words spilled out of me, grateful to finally land in the ears of the baby I waited three years to tell.
The tubal ligation was performed (more on that later this week). They sealed up all my business (no staples this time around – they used some kind of “glue”) and called it a day.
And we were all brought back to the recovery room, where I was forced to remain on the insulin drip until I was able to keep food down (which was its own challenge, as the surgery meds and I are not friends, and I made use of the little throw up tray several times). Thanks to a catheter, staying in bed wasn’t a problem, and thanks to what was left of the morphine drip, I was pretty comfortable, pain-wise. It wasn’t until later that evening that the pain began, only it wasn’t as severe as with my first c-section. The gas pain was intense but seemed focused on my abdomen instead of all over my lower body. (I will admit to being a total cry baby every time they came in to press on my abdomen to check on my uterus. Having my stomach touched was insanely painful and despite a pretty high tolerance for pain, I screamed involuntarily when they pressed on my body. It took the four full days of the hospital stay to start feeling remotely okay in the abdominal region. It also didn’t help that I refused the oxycodone because I didn’t like the way it spaced me out after having Birdy, so I was medicating with Tylenol and ibuprofen only, but on that med, I didn’t feel like I could safely hold Birdy, so I didn’t want a repeat performance of that feeling with my son. This is the long way of saying that recovery fucking HURT and I am glad I won’t be doing it again. More on how I reacted once I saw my body in the full length mirror at home later this week, too. Holy bruising.)
By Wednesday morning, around 2 am, I was able to put my t:slim insulin pump back on (with new, postpartum insulin regimen that was about a third of my pre-pregnancy ratios). And by Wednesday morning proper, they removed the catheter. Thursday morning allowed the multiple IV lines to be removed. And by Friday morning, I was able to walk to the bathroom without bleeding through my clothes. (That was a lovely upgrade, albeit a graphic one.) Saturday morning we were released into the wild, with a car that now hosted TWO car seats and TWO children and TWO paranoid/sleepless/euphoric parents.
People talk about falling in love at first sight or upon hearing the baby cry for the first time, but I already had space cleared out in my heart for this little one, even before I saw his face. We were ready for this little guy. His safe arrival was the period at the end of a four word sentence: This is my family.