The Husband and I entered into the first week of June not knowing exactly what was going to happen. We had entered into speedy preparations at home and work just in case. Sadly, the lawn eluded us — it rained every day and the grass just got taller. Come to think of it, I don’t think it’s rained since then, but I digress.
On Tuesday the first I had a doctor’s appointment mid-morning. I was still hurting, but still was not in labor. On Wednesday I would be 37 weeks along and be considered full-term. My doctor and I talked about the pros and cons of inducing now versus waiting a week or two, how bad I was hurting, et cetera, and the decision was made to induce me the next day, June 2nd. It was the most set piece of information we’d had all week. Arrangements were made for The Girlie and we settled in to wait one more night.
The next morning started off very much like Lydia’s arrival. We had to be at the hospital at the butt-crack of dawn, where we’re shown to our room, I shimmy into a butt-showing hospital gown (green this time that better flattered my hair) and get hooked up to all the fun machines.
Then . . . the nurses came in to give me my IV.
Now, only once before in my entire life has someone not been able get a needle in my vein on the first try. It was such a shock to me at the time that I wrote about it. I became wary when the first nurse used a numbing agent before trying the IV, as if she doubted her abilities in the first place. Her first two attempts were unsuccessful. The other nurse took a try or two . . . or three, I kinda lost track. They finally got one in my right arm but didn’t get a good blood sample out of me. Now I was starting to doubt the awesomeness of my veins — maybe it’s cause I’m dehydrated?
They decided to send the sample to the lab anyway and see if it’s enough. Meanwhile, it’s not even 8:00 yet and my arms are covered in Band-Aids (or, as Lydia would say, SpongeBobs!). I’m thankful for my pain tolerance and open-mindedness of needles.
Soon after, my doctor comes in to break my water. Woo, I forgot how icky that was. The pitocin starts and I lean back to play Uno on my iPod until I need my epidural, which I think I asked for around 10:00. When the anesthesiologist found out what I did for a living, I ended up talking to him about drainage problems while he put the epidural in my back.
My doctor came to check on me again at lunch. By then I had progressed to a point that took me until about 5:00 p.m. to get to with Lydia. That got our spirits up and my doctor was thinking this one would be an afternoon baby. More Uno was played while The Husband read his book. I napped in and out, remembering the strength I will need soon.
Around 1:00 p.m. the nurse had me lay on my side for a bit, then on my other side for a little bit. Apparently Sam was starting to not be amused by the contractions. A bit later on, she gave me oxygen as well. None of this phased me; Lydia did the same and the oxygen had pleased her.
Sam didn’t seem to care about the oxygen. His heartrate slowed down after each contraction. They next tried an amniofusion, which is basically adding fluid back around the baby. He didn’t care for that either. At one point I had nine different cords coming off my body; I felt very tethered. The one good piece of news was I was still progressing.
Sometime around 4:30ish, my doctor comes back to check on me, though she had been getting updates from my nurse. I could tell in her eyes she didn’t like what was going on with Sam. I remember looking at The Husband and whispering, “I don’t want a c-section,” and he said something back to the effect of, “I know but we might have to.”
My doctor quickly scanned over all the charts and notes, checked me out, and paused a moment before she went to wash her hands. That’s when I knew — it would be a c-section. Time’s up.
My doctor explained if this had been my first baby she probably would have pulled the c-section trigger sooner but she wanted to give me as much time as she could since we know my body has completed a vaginal birth before. If it looked like the birth was about 30 minutes away they’d attempt it but I had probably another two hours and Sam was showing too much signs of stress for that far out. To see exactly what was going on (they suspected he either had the cord in his hands or it was around his neck) they pulled in an ultrasound machine and sure enough, the cord was around his neck.
She told me things were going to happen really fast but everything would be okay. True to her word, things happened VERY FAST. Many people were suddenly in the room like a swarm of buzzing bees. Anesthesiologists adding drugs to my epidural, nurses changing out tubes and cords, one nurse literally buzzing as she came at me with a razor. One nurse was directing The Husband into some scrubs, another was half-assedly sticking my hair into a scrub hat. I began shaking — I was freaked.
Whoosh — off to the OR room. I see the ceiling, I see the double-doors warning people to keep out and in we go. The first thing I notice are the large round lights — big OR lights just like in the movies and such. When we first get in the room I can still wiggle my toes but that seems to fade away by the time they lift me onto the table. I’m shaking like I never have before. I see them rub iodine across my stomach before they put a blue curtain up between my top half and bottom half.
There are tons of people in this room as well. I can’t see them all but I hear and feel their presence as they buzz around me. One of the anesthesiologists is apparently assigned to my head — his name is Jim. They grab my arms and hold them down to these miniature gurneys splayed out for arms but they didn’t strap me to them, thank God. Nerve Drug Jim holds down my right hand and The Husband reappears, holding my left hand. I think he asked why I’m shaking and Nerve Drug Jim told him it was the medicine.
Nerve Drug Jim keeps talking, he’s constantly asking me questions, I suppose to make sure the epidural doesn’t go funny on me. He’s explaining to me what they’re doing (I’d answer, “Right.” “Yes.” “Right.”) and constantly reminding me that I’m going to be okay, you know you’re going to be okay, right? “Right.” Shaking, always shaking.
He asked me about Sam, what’s his name, do you have any other kids, how old are they, what’s their name? But the thought of Lydia made me weep even more — I just wanted to me on the couch with her in my lap, away from the bees. I had been able to answer Nerve Drug Jim’s questions with one-word answers, but when he asked me how I decorated Sam’s room I couldn’t even begin to answer him, even with The Husband’s prodding. I didn’t have enough words.
As for what was going on on the other side of the curtain, my lower half felt like it was a million miles away from me. I felt the pressure of the knife as my doctor made her incision but no pain, then there was cutting, and tugging, which all seemed very rough. Someone warned me that they would push hard on my stomach in a minute and, oh boy, did they! There were two extremely hard pushes up near my ribcage and the sound of a lot of sucking.
Then Nerve Drug Jim starts saying, “Listen, listen!” and very faintly I could hear a little baby cry, though it was hard with all the buzzing in the room. Someone said, “Cord around his neck twice,” then they lowered the blue screen just low enough for The Husband and I to see Samuel James for the first time.
Me, in my panic attack state, thought, “Oh, so this is the part where they show you the baby,” then they took him back to get him cleaned up — The Husband followed — and I was left with Nerve Drug Jim. I started to calm down just enough to ask questions like how much he weighed but no one near my head knew. The Husband came back with the stats: 5 pounds 10 ounces and 19.5 inches long.
Then off went Samuel and The Husband to the transition area — he was breathing fast — and I was getting put back together. I might have heard someone remark I had a beautiful uterus but I could be pulling wacko thoughts out of my head. My panic attack came back when I got some mucus in the back of my throat and I realized I couldn’t swallow.
Like Humpty Dumpty, they put me back together again and rolled me back to my room for recovery. I had to look at my newly-attached hospital bracelet to see what time Sam was born: 4:53 p.m. The Husband came back in — Sam was still in the transition area — and told me about Sam’s long feet, long toes, and long fingers. As soon as the nurses felt comfortable with how I was doing, they rolled me in to where Sam was.
Once I saw him and held him skin to skin, my beautiful baby boy, I melted into tears again. I was so mentally worn out by the unexpected events of the day I just wanted to curl into a ball and hold him. So small and soft. Worth all that anguish and more I had been through that day.