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This is a long story. I wanted to post alot of details because I didn't have too much info going in about what a c-section would be like. I hope sharing so much helps give someone else some positive info!
Please feel free to skim to more cute pics below!
Ava and I were released Saturday morning, one day early for good behavior! I'll post our story in the birth stories section soon!
The evening of Wednesday, December 26th we knew we had a c-section scheduled the next day, so there were no big surprises such as water breaking to harold the big event. Still, I was so keyed up with nervous anticipation I barely slept at all that night! My parents arrived in town late Wednesday night with plans to stay the weekend with us. We're a close family.
I wasn't suppose to eat or drink anything after midnight on Wednesday. I ate dinner at 7pm that night and then tried not to eat after that so I could be in bed by 9pm. I also hadn't finished packing my hospital bag so I finally got that pulled together. I think I still spent alot of the night worrying about what I had forgotten to do before going to the hospital.
Thursday morning we were suppose to arrive at the hospital at 5:30 am. I was the first scheduled section of the day. None of us were happy with getting up that early but we made it there with plenty of time to spare. I was admitted first to the Surgical Preparation & Recovery Room while they asked my DH and parents to wait in the waiting room.
I had already visited P&R before. This was where I had my version the week before. So the room was familiar at least. I was asked a bunch of questions even though I had already pre-registered with the hospital AND supposedly answered all the admittance questions last week before my version. I expected to receive an u/s right away to check Ava's position for breech, but the nurses proceeded to prepare me for surgery. I brought it up and was told they would have to do all this anyway before the u/s. Um, why? I've got a nurse trying unsuccessfully to insert an IV in my left wrist. Since when does an u/s require an IV beforehand? I pointed out that I would be released if Ava had flipped, but they brushed me off and I decided to let it go. It took three different sticks before the nurse got the IV in. Altogether though, that was perhaps the most painful part of the whole experience so I count myself lucky. Blood was drawn. Baby h/b and contraction belts were wrapped around me. I was apparently having contractions but never felt them (they were still erratic anyway).
I was asked if I would prefer to have the catheter inserted now, or after I recevied the spinal (um, hmmm, after the spinal, please?!?!?). The anesthesiologists were very thorough. First I saw a doctor who would not be present at my section, but wanted to go ahead and talk to me about all the details and have me sign forms. Then I met the doctor and his student assistant who would be performing the spinal, who felt it necessary to rehash everything again. Then came the supervising anesthesiologist who would be performing the final spinal tap. He just wanted to meet me.
The nurse then approached me with a dry razor and no shaving cream and said it was time to shave me. I was prepared for this! I had been warned beforehand that I would be shaved and they would probably not be kind about it, so DH had shaved me the night before. The nurse was satisfied with his work and didn’t try to brutalize me with the dry razor!
DH and my parents were finally allowed to come back to be with me and I could tell immediately that DH was very nervous. He started asking the nurses a ton of questions about things we had already talked about in our childbirth classes. And he asked the same questions over and over again. He probably asked the same nurse 6 times if he should bring the Baby Book with him into the surgery to get Ava’s footprints and she told him repeatedly that yes, the footprints would be done immediately after she was born and he should bring the book with him. When DH was distracted talking to my parents the nurse asked me very quietly if I thought DH would make it through without fainting! The u/s was finally brought in at this point and it was confirmed that Ava was still breech.
I was REALLY nervous about the whole experience and DH’s chattering wasn’t helping my nerves any. Then DH launched into a lecture about all the things that can go wrong during surgery and started talking about Discovery Channel shows he had seen about people being put under anesthesia that completely paralyzed them and made them unable to communicate but still left them conscious of what was going on and able to feel pain. He also mentioned a program about medical tools being left in surgical patients and causing horrible pain, infections, and worse. I’m really glad now he never watched any of the Baby Story shows with me. HAH! I reminded DH that we had gone through childbirth classes to learn relaxation techniques and it would be really cool if he would stop talking about surgical horror stories and start helping me use the relaxation techniques. DH shrugged it off saying something like “how are labor relaxation techniques going to help you get through surgery?” I think at this point the nurses took pity on me because they said it was time for my parents to return to the waiting room and they asked DH to go into a “special Dad room” to wait to be called into surgery.
I wasn’t getting any calmer without DH and my parents, but I wasn’t getting any more panicked either. I was given a horribly nasty liquid to drink that was suppose to help with nausea during the procedure. And then they wheeled me into surgery. Once there I was asked to sit on the edge of the bed with me feet on a stool. A nurse stood in front of me helping me hold my shoulders forward and talking to me softly and encouragingly. I arched my back and the team of anesthesiologists started working on trying to get my spinal in. I still ended up with 4 in surgery, another guy dropped by after his morning surgery was cancelled to assist. The main anesthesiologist gave me the numbing medium pretty deep, but it wasn’t very painful at all. It took him several tries to finally find my spinal column, but all I felt was pressure. The supervising anesthesiologist then arrived and did the actual extraction of fluid and then injection of medication.
After he was done, all needles were withdrawn and the room exploded into activity. My nurse told me to quickly swing my feet up on the table as the spinal would begin taking immediate effect. My legs did become very hot and heavy immediately. My OB, who I had not yet seen, came in with another assisting nurse and they put up the curtain so I couldn’t see anything past my boobs. They started prepping me. The anesthesiologist and his student assistant settled into chairs at my head to “hang out” with me during the procedure. He started asking me about my nausea levels and almost immediately I felt a panic attack coming on and I felt the need rising in my belly to throw up (the two feelings seemed unconnected as I didn’t feel like I was panicking because I might throw up, only panicking because I was feeling all kinds of weird things at once). I mentioned the nausea and the anesthesiologist said he could give me something for it. Within just a few seconds the panic and the nausea began to quickly subside. At that point DH came in and sat by my head where I could see him. He took my hand and was quiet and reassuring. Someone must have spoken to him. *chuckle*
The visiting anesthesiologist was the only other person I could see. He kept scratching me at various points around my body with what looked like the end of an open paper clip and asking me if I could feel it. At first I could feel the scratching everywhere. Then I could feel the pressure of the poking, but no scratching or sensation other than pressure. And then I couldn’t tell if he was poking me anywhere or not. The anestheologist then asked me if I could feel him pinching me. I said no and he said “Great, cuz they are really pinching the heck out of you right now. So they are going to begin.”
From that point on all I felt was pressure as if someone was massaging my belly back and forth. It wasn’t even uncomfortable. I joked with DH I should come in for more belly massages in the future. Very quickly we heard my OB say “It’s a girl!”. But no cries…
And then one rather indignant “WAH!” And then a few angry and but not hysterical cries. She was obviously mad but couldn’t be bothered to get really upset over what was happening. My OB immediately brought her over to show me and then whisked her away to check on her. I got just a glimpse and that without my glasses on. DH looked at me and I told him to hurry up and go to her and take lots of pictures. I was fine and told him not to worry about me. He did get a lot of pictures, even a pic of them pulling her from my belly.
While they were cleaning her up and checking her out, my OB put me back together. Within about 10 minutes the nurse brought Ava back to me swaddled in blanket. The anesthesiologist held her in front of my face so we could see and talk to each other and he released both of my hands so I could touch her (my hands were strapped down as normal procedure in case I panicked and tried to grab anything). We were quickly done and DH carried Ava and followed me as I was wheeled back to the P&R room. The whole surgery took 45 minutes. There was absolutely no pain.
In recovery the nurses repeatedly asked me how much I could move my legs. Within an hour I had gone from completely numb and unable to move to slightly tingly (not even as bad as when your leg falls asleep) and able to shake them. Ava was with us the entire time. They had a warmer crib beside my bed which they put her into several times to maintain her temperature. At first my arms felt kinda rubbery and I couldn’t hold her for too long without feeling like she weighed a ton of bricks, but that feeling wore off quickly. When I felt comfortable holding her I was encouraged to try breastfeeding. We couldn’t figure it out so a lactation consultant was immediately called in. She showed me how to use a nipple shield and got Ava to try nursing. That took awhile, and I finally told the nurses my parents could come in after we accomplished that. After a short grandparents’ meeting, we were heading through the ward to my private room.
I was very scared of what experiencing a c-section would be like. Fortunately I can report that it was a very positive and pain free experience. The recovery has been more difficult than my birth experience last year. There’s definitely a lot more post-procedure pain but also a lot more pain medication post-procedure that seems to be taking care of most of it. I mainly just feel stiff and it is still difficult to use my stomach muscles. Ava does not seem affected by the pain meds. She is a quiet, contemplative little girl and is constantly looking around at the world. When she is angry her cries are very determined, and to the point. She doesn’t get hysterical, but she can get very loud and demanding. She and I both struggled with breastfeeding. When she feels unsuccessful she gets really mad and cries and gets too upset to keep trying. I’ve had to learn how to avoid her frustration so we can both learn how to work together. She seems to really be catching on now though. We are still using the nipple shield.
In our room just a few hours after the c-section...
DH gave me a Mommy ring! It's blue topaz which is one of the secondary gem options for the December birthstone!! The color matches her eyes!! I hope to pass the ring on to her one day. Hopefully it will remind her of her Mommy too, as we share the same birthstone!
When we came home yesterday, we set up a Baby Central at the Lazy Boy in the living room.. My Lab immediately took up guard duty!
I passed out for my first nap at home, accompanied by 3 out of 4 of my fur babies! As you can see, we've had no time to decorate or paint our own bedroom. At least the nursery looks great!
Ava going home- looks like she is pondering something devious! Perhaps a diaper present?