I was amazed at how much we got done and were able to cross off our 'to do list'. Although I pushed to get most tasks accomplished on Friday and Saturday, so that we could enjoy a leisurely Sunday and last day baby free, it didn't exactly happen as we were still working right up until we went to bed, which was probably a good thing. My case ended up getting moved to 9:30, which was also to our benefit as someone correctly predicted, we didn't get much sleep. Tyler stayed by my side for the entire night. It was so hard to believe this day had finally arrived. My transfer was just before Halloween and I delivered after the 4th of July. I was pregnant through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter, and Memorial Day. My pregnancy extended through the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the Women's World Cup. That's a long duration.
I had come to terms mentally with a C/section, but it's not really possible to prepare physically, even when you know what to expect. The anesthetist was awesome and she got my spinal in on the first try. The warm and heavy sensation in my legs was weird, but not unpleasant. For some reason, when she placed the wedge under my right shoulder, a sense of panic took hold. I'm not sure if claustrophobia is the correct term, but it reminded me of the anxiety during my MRI. I was very aware that I couldn't move and people would be doing things to me. I wanted to bail. I changed my mind, I would rather take my chance with an induction and potential blood bath of a delivery, just so I could have some control. Yet, I knew I would end up back in this OR, only it would be an emergency case and instead of everyone enjoying pleasant banter as they prepped me, there would be a frantic sense of urgency. I thought about asking for some Ati.van, but realised it's probably not recommended as some would go to the baby. I was considering going under general, but then Husband was brought into the room and he sat beside me. I wanted to remain awake so I could share this experience with him.
The occlusion drape was stretched very high. "It's like you're playing tents as a kid..." the anesthesiologist joked. I couldn't see anything that was going on. I held Husband's hand and closed my eyes as I went through the procedure in my mind as soon as I heard my OB announce to the anesthesiologist that she was making her incision. Skin incision done. Knife back to the OR tech, Bovie to slice through the subcutaneous layer. Stop to cauterise any bleeding vessels... Identify and open the fascia. Place the retractors to protect the bladder. Knife for the uterine incision, work through the lower segment. Bandage scissors to extend the uterine incision. Break the amniotic sac...
Then I sensed the pressure on my abdomen as they worked to delivery my baby. I was in a state of sensory deprivation except for my hearing. I heard a crying sound. It was a loud penetrating wail. A sound that I'll never forget. "That's our baby!" I said to Husband, "That's our baby crying!" My own eyes were weepy. As his hand was still in mine, I felt all the stress and tension that he had been carrying for nine months leave his body. The empty shampoo bottle that he refused to throw away because he used the last amount on the day of our beta test. The pregnancy related webpages on his phone that he refused to delete as he didn't want to tempt fate. It all went away. I know it would only be a matter of time before he would find new sources of stress, but for that moment; it was gone.
First Family Photo
They invited him to look at the baby to announce the gender. Although it was concealed by his mask, I could tell he had a big smile on his face. "Kate is here." He informed me. Wait... "Does that mean what I think it does?" I asked. "Yes, Jane. A girl." (I would later learn that he also double checked with the pediatrician before he was sure she was a girl) Truth be told, I may have had a heads up. I didn't share this with anyone, but at my very last scan, the tech may have slipped. As I was sharing how baby had been flipping in and out of the transverse position, the tech noted, "Well, hopefully she or he!" she quickly added "will stay head down...." The look on her face was more telling than her words. Yet, I still wasn't completely convinced, so it truly was a surprise.
Yes, It's a Girl!
Husband accompanied Kate to the nursery and I closed my eyes until the surgery was complete. My OB described that the placenta was very low and the only way I could have had a vaginal delivery would have been if her head were fully engaged and would have applied pressure to tamponade the placenta. She was relieved that the blood loss was much less than expected, but commented that my placenta was very "sticky". So perhaps even without the marginal previa, I could have ended up in the OR needing a D+C and transfusion after the delivery. I'm so glad not to have that drama, as I was able to meet Kate in the recovery room right away. The nurse placed her on me and she lifted her head as if to look around before latching on straight away. The nurse was quite impressed. I felt rather proud. That's our girl.
I knew that I loved her from that first moment, but it would take some time before I appreciated just what that love felt like. She was still a stranger. I couldn't believe that she was mine. Each day the bond grows stronger, but what really makes my heart melt is seeing how much Husband loves her. Fatherhood suits him perfectly.
The recovery from the C/section was much easier than I anticipated. I was able to just use Motrin for pain relief and I no longer needed any meds by post-op day #4. Getting in and out of the hospital bed was tough, but not nearly as excruciating as getting in and out of the car. Upon bringing her home, I let out the first string of expletives in front of my daughter.
Here's my 'I've experienced this once, so now I'm an expert' words of advice for anyone with an upcoming delivery: do not accept any visitors in the hospital. Some people actually wanted to come to visit on the day of my surgery. It was easy to say "No" as I was groggy and puking every 20 minutes. However the next day, once I had my IV removed and could tolerate PO liquids and foods, I felt back to my old self and I expected to act that way. I almost didn't feel that I should be in a hospital. My parents arrived around 2 in the afternoon, and after they each had a chance to hold her, I continued her feeding schedule under a modesty cover. Since Kate latched so effectively, I didn't pay as much attention to her latch, and I wasn't hand expressing some colostrum to encourage her, as the nurses had suggested. As a result, I had a baby who spent the day exerting much effort, only to get very little colostrum in return, which made for a very fussy baby and a baby who lost 9% of her weight and we needed to start formula with a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS). I hadn't pushed fluids as aggressively as I should have been. I felt guilty, so the next day, I was determined not to let anything affect the baby's feeding efforts. However, I thought I saw a window of opportunity to feed her before my parents arrived in the afternoon, so I decided to wake her to feed. Huge mistake. She was so pissed off that she didn't want anything to do with feeding and refused to latch. We were regressing. Now I had a baby who was on the bubble of losing too much weight, who wouldn't feed and I realised that she hadn't had a wet diaper since the night shift. Meanwhile, my mother was trying to talk to me about her friend's son's drug problem. The nurses had suggested that I try to pump some colostrum for the SNS. One of husband's (male) hockey friends was going to try to stop by that day. It was time to put up the Do Not Disturb sign. I told Husband to cancel any visitors and he came up with a clever rouse to take my parents on a walk to Starbucks, so I could have the room to myself to pump. I know everyone will be anxious to see the baby, but your recovery time needs to be for you and your baby. Entertaining my parents was distracting my focus from Kate and taking care of myself. As there isn't an established routine, it's hard to anticipate when would be a good time for visitors and since modesty and privacy are important to me, I didn't want any guests walking in while I was nursing or pumping.
I can't say enough about how amazing the postpartum nurses were. Our LA friends, who delivered via Caesarean a few months ago, encouraged us to take advantage of the extended hospital stay by asking lots of questions. The nurses shared many tricks and tips, and tried to install confidence that we would manage as we embarked upon this adventure called parenting.
Home. We are going...