Thursday, September 29, 2011
Ins and Outs of a C-Section
I have had five c-sections now and have had varying experiences with each and I always like to look back and remember. This one may be quite long so hang in there (if you are interested that is).
I was up early Monday the 29th of August. I figured it would be difficult to wake but being big and heavy I had been having a hard time sleeping and woke up around 4 a.m. so got up and started getting ready. I figured John would have to wake me but thankfully I was ready to go. The children had slept at my parents house so it was just the two of us. We left home and drove into town watching the gorgeous sunrise as we headed east. A beautiful day it was to be and I was going to be stuck in the hospital. Granted for a good reason but…
My c-section was scheduled for 7:30 a.m. so I needed to be there by 5:45 a.m. After checking in and getting to my room I was talkative, maybe nervously so, although I felt fine as John sat quietly listening.The nurses started coming in and monitoring fetal movements, taking blood and tried to get an IV going. I dread that part as my veins are so small that unless I drink a lot, which I couldn’t do, it is hard to find one. This time however, they wrapped my arms in warm blankets which did the trick and made my veins easier to find and thankfully I didn’t need to be poked quite as often. I still cannot handle watching as it makes me feel faint. This time I had one in each arm which is the case with multiple c-sections with the possibility I would need blood at the same time they are giving me whatever else.
Okay, all set to go. I watched the morning news as I waited and watched the clock too seeing it inch ever closer to 7:30 a.m. I figured something was wrong being that I am always wheeled into surgery and they are usually cutting me open right on the dot. Sure enough, in comes the anesthiesiologist who told me that my Doctor had an emergency that morning and she was finishing that up. I found that interesting as my Dad had reminded me a few days earlier about when I had the twins and needed an emergency c-section that I “bumped” another lady, who my Dad had met later on. He had wondered if someone would ever “bump” me. I guess so! The only problem with that is I was ready to go and waiting longer got my mind to wandering and remembering just what was going to happen and I started to think to myself “There must be another way to get this baby out. I really don’t want to have surgery!” Thankfully my Mom brought the older boys up and they helped to distract me.
I don’t remember the exact time I was wheeled into surgery but it was sometime after 8 a.m. The ride was kind of entertaining as the nurses forgot to raise my bed and so they were all crouching low to pull/push my bed through the hallways. As I entered the “surgical suite” memories came back and it is SO cold in there. I find some things amusing about the whole process and one of them is trying to maneuver on my back, big belly and all, from my bed over to this narrow operating table. Doctor Smith was there and was welcoming. I was very touched as when I was having my spinal and sat on the edge of the table she stood in front of me so I could lean into her as I clutched my pillow.
I remembered another time when I was having a spinal while laying on my side and the nurse saw John looking in the window watching a long needle go into my back and he did not look so good. I imagine not. I always say I think it might be easier for me to go through all of this than for John to be on the sidelines watching me go through it. Well, he doesn’t actually watch anything but he hears it and knows what is going on.
The numbness sets in almost instantly making moving really strange. The nurses tell me they are putting in a catheter or moving my leg or washing the area with that orange stuff (can’t remember the name) “okay”. I have a curtain almost right up to my face and my arms attached to boards on each side and have oxygen too. The anesthesiologist assitant is at my head and I learned his name is Noah. I appreciate having him there as he was so personable and easy to talk with (as are all of the anesthesiologists I have met). I always like to have a play-by-play and by the end of the surgery I have learned quite a bit about him. John is now at my side and they have me feel a sharp stick and then touch it to other parts of my body to make sure I am numb and so begins the first cut.
I had made a mixed CD of some of my favorite songs and they have that playing in the background for me which is always so calming. It takes about 10 minutes until baby is ready to be delivered. I was told that I would feel heavy pressure as if someone is sitting on my chest and then baby would come out. I felt that and then I heard them saying, "Baby is swimming out!" (John reminded me that typically they reach in and pull baby out which is something I can feel). He must have really wanted out of there! Of course I am thrilled to hear baby cry and as I heard the words "boy" I begin to cry tears of joy. Yes, I would have loved a little girl to be a sister to Missy but life is a miracle and I am just so thankful that God chose to bless us again. How can I be anything but overjoyed! As he was born the song Glorious Day (the old hymn One Day) by Casting Crowns was playing. I love to have associations like that with music.
John was now able to take baby and go back to the nursery to have him cleaned up and weighed. While I would love to be able to hold my baby I am happy that Daddy gets to have time just the two of them for awhile too. He brought baby out to introduce the children to their new brother and all were excited from what I was told.
I was in surgery for at least another hour or more. There are four layers they cut through and my scar tissue is hard to work with so it takes longer to sew it up each time. I also found out later that they do examine the female organs, which I find fascinating. They couldn't get mine out due to the scar tissue but apparently everything looked good as they moved things aside. I also was told that they had a harder time pulling my muscles back into place. But it all went well.
People often tell me how lucky I am to have a c-section but the only benefits I find are it is relatively quick (rather than laboring) and I know the date in advance for planning but that is about all. I would love to be able to labor and deliver a baby naturally! (I have done it twice). The hard part for me is recovery. I find the day of surgery is my best being that I still have the spinal and morphine in my system I can't feel pain. I have energy and excitement of having a new baby and all is well until the next day when it hits. I do find it difficult to take pain meds as they make me feel so loopy as if I am having an out-of-body kind of feeling and I can't stand that. The nurses get you up and moving relatively quickly. I found this time that having a belly band wrapped around made it easier to move as it supported me more so that the strain wasn't as painful. All in all I suppose it was one of my better c-sections and I was moving around faster but it took at least three weeks until I was moving around as normal, able to turn over in bed, climb stairs, etc. without pain.
All is going well now. I ended up with a yeast infection on my incision from the excess skin hanging over it but otherwise I am feeling closer to my "normal" self. If you hung around this long now you know the ins and outs of having a c-section.