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Luke Robert was born at 8:15am on October 25th, 2007. He was 9 pounds and 3 ounces, 21 and a half inches long, with a head circumference of 15 inches. His APGAR scores were 9/9. He has a VERY full head of hair.
Tuesday, October 23, was my 40 week OB appointment and I was 2 days overdue. I was having an ultrasound to determine the baby’s measurements and fluid levels. The ultrasound determined him to be 9 lbs. and 14 oz. My doctor was not in the office, she was at the hospital delivering someone’s baby. My nurse practitioner told me she would continually call her at the hospital until she reached her and then call me when she did, and it would be no later than 5 o’clock.
4 o’clock finally came and a few minutes later I received a call from my doctor. She explained to me that the baby’s measurements were very large and she recommended a cesarean section. She said that if I really wanted to that she could induce me but she really, truly felt that it would result in a cesarean section anyway. It was so much information for me that I asked if I could think about it and talk to my family about it and call her back, which is what happened. I felt like I was going to be robbed of all my preparations for a vaginal birth and that I may not be earning my baby by not going through it. In the end, I decided a cesarean would be best. It was scheduled for Thursday, October 25th at 7:30am.
I had set our alarm for 4am because we had to be at the hospital no later than 5am for prepping. Thursday morning I received a call from my best friend Lindsey wishing me luck and telling me she’d come to visit after she got out of classes. My alarm hadn’t even gone off yet so I thought it was like 3:30am or something, so I was a little cranky with her, until I looked at my watch and saw the actual time: 4:15am. Oops. I told her I needed to run and tore around the house doing last minute packing of pillows, games, phone chargers, etc. Bryan packed a last minute hospital bag for himself because he forgot the night before and then decided to shave, which made us a tad late.
My mom drove us to the hospital and we approached the doors, only to find ourselves locked out. I picked up the telephone next to the doors and told the operator that I needed to get in because of my cesarean! They sent security, who took her sweet time getting there, and finally I was waddling my way to the Birthplace. Everything was all ready for me and a nurse, Betsy, was waiting just for me to arrive. She whisked us down to my very nice LDR suite and prepped me for surgery.
I got to change into Rockville-General’s Secret johnnie and hop into bed, where she drew blood, assembled the fetal and contraction monitors, and administered an IV of fluids into the back of my right hand. It was a little jarring but after a while I got used to it.
Betsy, my nurse, asked me if I was feeling contractions as she was looking at the monitors, and I told her that I had been since the car ride over, but they weren’t painful or anything. She laughed a little bit and then told me that the contractions I was having were actually pretty steady and close together. She then told me that it’s a miracle I was scheduled for surgery that morning because I was actually in labor as I lay on the hospital bed. She told me that if I had decided to come in because of the contractions, they would have kept me until I gave birth. October 25th was going to be Luke’s birthday no matter what. How’s that for coincidence?
For a little surprise, Bryan’s mom showed up with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend. It was great, I needed all the loving support I could get. They took some pictures of me in my hospital get-up and gave me all the support I needed. We waited a little while for my anesthesiologist to come in and explain how surgery was gonna go to me. He was a very nice man and I wish I could remember his name. He explained the spinal epidural and that things were going to move very quickly in the O.R. and not to let that scare me. Finally, it was time to leave.
Bryan followed my bed as the nurses wheeled me to the O.R., and our family went to wait in the Family Waiting Lobby. I began to start shaking as they brought me closer to the O.R., I was getting scared and nervous. I couldn’t help wonder if I was doing the right thing, if Luke was ready, if I was ready, if it was going to hurt, if I was going to throw up, if I was leaning over right for the spinal shot, many things. They made Bryan wait at a desk outside the operating room while they injected me with the spinal and laid me down on the operating table.
Receiving the spinal was difficult, to me at least. I was bending over as far as I could, shaking like a leaf the whole time and grasping onto my support nurse like she was my mom. She reassured me and comforted me as much as she could. I kept asking if I was leaning alright. Finally I felt a small pinch and asked with relief in my voice, “Is it over?!” The anesthesiologist sort of laughed a little bit with surprise and told me that that was just the Sharpie pen dotting where he would put the needle. Oh, my God, if that little pinch was just a pen poking me in the back, what would the novocaine needle feel like, let alone the actual spinal block!? Well, I was about to find out. It felt painful. He inserted the needle and I felt a strange wriggling sensation in my spine that kind-of hurt. I told my nurse and she said it loud enough for my anesthesiologist to hear, who then moved it to the other side of my spine. I endured about 5 minutes of this until finally my legs began to feel weak.
The anesthesiologist was right: things happened very quickly. Many nurses came to my sides and laid me down on my back on the table. I couldn’t move my legs anymore but I still felt sensations and touching. I think my right leg was straight but my left leg was kind-of bent at the knee so my foot was on its side facing my right leg. My anesthesiologist was placing my arms on the side tables but then he turned to me and said, “I’ll make you a deal: I won’t strap your arms down if you don’t try to assist with the surgery.” I laughed and told him “Deal,” and he put my blood pressure cuff on. The cuff wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I thought it would be constantly contracting but instead it was more like every minute or five minutes (I don’t remember) it would contract.
As soon as the big, blue curtain was hung, Bryan was at my side. He held my hand and I, still shaking, couldn’t take my eyes off him and telling him I love him. I honestly don’t remember anything else we talked about while the surgery was happening except that we loved each other. Also I kept telling him how weird it all felt. And it did! I could only feel tugging, pulling, some popping, but mostly pulling. Like, pull some part of your body hard and tug it around like a dog with a toy and that’s how my insides felt. My anesthesiologist would update me about how things were going every so often. He then told me the head was out, and that I was about to feel like an elephant was sitting on my chest. He wasn’t lying, within a few seconds I felt like a car had just come slamming down onto my chest. I gasped for air and winced in pain from the intense pressure. Suddenly I heard a muffled squeal from what must have been my baby. I immediately gasped for air again and started crying. I couldn’t believe it; my baby was entering the world! Bryan got up and immediately went to look, and told me he was beautiful. I kept hearing the nurses and doctor’s comment on how much hair he had and how big he was. They eventually brought him over after his APGAR tests were done, which resulted in 9/9, and took a couple pictures of Bryan holding Luke where I could see him, our first family portrait. I cried and cried from happiness until the nurses took him to the nursery for his checkup. I told Bryan to follow that baby. I didn’t want him to be apart from both his parents, and since I couldn’t follow him because my abdomen was hanging open I decided it was best that Bryan go.
I lay on the operating table for what seemed like eternity, but my anesthesiologist made it go by a little faster by chatting with me about school and trivial things like that. I kept asking how much more time was left until I would be finished. He must’ve been a little tired of it but he never showed it. Finally they were done stitching me up and I was still helplessly numb from the chest down. My water had broken and spilled all over the table and me so the nurses needed to change my bedding. They rolled me over to do this and I tell you, I felt so helpless. My legs were completely numb and I just know I was naked, baring all to these nurses. They also changed my johnnie while they were at it. Soon they slid me onto my bed and wheeled me back to my room. Bryan met up with me there, and told me that Luke was doing awesome: He didn’t cry for his Vitamin K shot and only looked slightly uncomfortable for his other shots. The heel stick, however, he cried for, poor baby. He told me his head circumference was 15 inches, and that all the nurses said I made the right choice by going straight for the cesarean because I would’ve never been able to pop that baby out my vagina.
After another eternity (about 45 minutes) I finally got to hold my baby for the first time. It was amazing, a squirming little ball of cute and love laying my novice arms. I can’t describe in words what it felt like. I held him as long as I could, and took my johnnie down so I could cuddle him with skin-to-skin contact. It was amazing. The nurses came to take him away for more tests and I reluctantly let him go. At the same time, they began doing checks for my numbness and found that my right side had received more spinal block than my left and so it was going to take it more time to de-numb.
The rest of the day was a blur of infant tests, numbness checks, small snacks, tons of visitors, and my beautiful boy Luke.