After our trial run on Friday, we sorta knew mostly what to expect as far as the hospital preparations for the actual birth went. I was having a much harder time getting excited this time. I was nervous that I’d have my hopes dashed again and so I didn’t get too excited about the prospect of holding my daughter in my arms. Once again, we dropped M off at my parents and picked up my Mom. A, my Mom and I headed to the hospital. Once again we walked ourselves up to Labor and Delivery. Once again we were taken to room 8. A good sign? A bad sign? I tried not to read too much into it. I was once again hooked up to monitors, given an IV, asked to drink that horrific “shot” of anti-nausea medicine, and asked only a fraction of the questions I was asked on Friday (thankfully they held onto everything!). The nurse assured us today would be the day and I think everyone in the room gave a sigh of relief.
Eventually, the anesthesiologist came in. This time I was able to listen to him and comprehend what he was saying – which was good. Friday I was so excited and ready to rock and roll I didn’t really pay attention. This time I was more relaxed and willing to listen to the potential side effects he was listing. He let me know that the “epidural” would be a little different than it had been with M. He’d use the same needle as used for an epidural, but before threading the thin epidural tube into it, he’d give a second shot through the tube – a spinal block – that would be my anesthesia for the actual surgery. The epidural would then be completed and left in as a back up plan, and also to help with pain relief for a few days after the surgery. He explained that the spinal may make me feel itchy, or like my chest was heavy, or nauseous, and that if I felt any or all of these things, I should let him know. He then said goodbye, letting me know he’d see me in the operating room – that he’d administer everything just before the actual procedure.
Around 12:15 the nurse, my Mom and I convinced A to run down to the cafeteria and get himself some lunch. There wasn’t anything exciting going on, and we knew it would be awhile before he’d want to leave again to get food. He left, and my Mom and I sat waiting. Around 12:30 we were told they were going to try and take me in early – which was awesome, except that now A was gone. Thankfully, he made it back in time, and I was only taken a few minutes early. The nurse held my IV bag and I walked into the OR. A was sent down the hall to wait until I had my epidural, and was opened up.
Walking into the OR was completely surreal. With M, there was no time to pay attention to the room, I never took notice of how skinny the bed I would be on was. Probably the most discomforting thing I saw all day met my eyes as I walked into the OR. One of the nurses was sitting with all the instruments laid out on a table and was wearing essentially a welding mask. It was rather unsettling – seeing as how in that room, there was really only one thing she would be protecting her face from… my blood.
I sat myself on the table and the anesthesiologist started his work. This was so much different than getting my epi with M. With M, I had my contractions to focus on, this time it was just me and the doctor. I don’t know if he was having trouble finding the right spot, or what was going on, but eventually my OB pushed the nurse out of the way and put me into a different position. I couldn’t have been more pleased. It was so much more comforting to be bear hugging my doctor, my head essentially nestled in her chest. The nurse was nice enough, but I was pretty much just sitting on the edge of the table holding her hands when she was in charge. Once my OB had taken over, the needle was in within seconds. Right away I felt my feet start tingling. They got hot too. This wasn’t one of the side effects they had warned me about and so it made me instantly nervous, but both my OB and the anesthesiologist assured me that was not only normal – that they’d be worried if I didn’t feel that.
Shortly after my feet got hot I was taped up, and laid back on the table. I tried to stay calm, with M I had a panic attack, was given anti-anxiety meds, and don’t remember a good part of his birth. I didn’t want that to happen again so I started looking around the ceiling to find a focal point. People bustled around me, and my stomach started itching – I reached up to scratch and put my hand down again right away – as I put my hand back down on the table, the anesthesiologist realized what I was doing and told me go ahead and itch, but that I couldn’t do it again after that – once my stomach was cleaned, I shouldn’t touch my stomach again. At this point, he asked if I was feeling any of the symptoms we had talked about. I let him know I didn’t quite feel like I was going to throw up – but I could taste the anti-nausea medicine again… almost like it was rising in my throat waiting for something to push me over the edge and I’d totally lose it. He went about his business, as did the doctors and nurses, and after a few seconds the curtains went up. It was at this point that I stopped breathing. Except I didn’t stop breathing. I just stopped feeling my lungs. I let them know. They told me it was totally normal, and would I like some oxygen to ease my mind. I declined, found my focal point again and took three deep breaths. I knew I was breathing. I was focusing on it and could hear myself. I was talking – which I wouldn’t be able to do if I had stopped breathing and was slowly suffocating. But I couldn’t feel my lungs. It was scary. So I changed my mind, and asked if I could get that oxygen after all. They strapped it on and told me to breath in through my nose, out through my mouth. After another 3 breaths I felt great… probably high off of pure oxygen.
Before I knew it, they asked me to let them know if I could feel anything. I have no idea what they were testing with, but it was obvious they were testing… and I felt NOTHING. This was it – they were going to get started. I found my focal point again and focused on my breathing, and before I knew it I heard the words “OK, go get her husband.” Seconds later A was there, and we carried on conversation for what felt like forever. He kept saying I looked funny, like I was super alert – my eyes were wider than they normally are. I told him it’s probably because of the oxygen and we kept chatting. While I listened to my husband with one ear, my other ear was listening to the doctors. 3 or 4 times I warned A to get his camera ready. I was sure they’d be pulling her out any second. Eventually, the doctor asked if the camera was ready. A grabbed the camera and started snapping pictures. The next thing I heard was a sneeze, the doctor announced “first act of life” and a nurse shouted out the time: 1:25. A started tearing up and I new it was her. TNB was out. She was born.
A was pretty much tortured for another 5 minutes. They told him to stay with me while they did all the newborn checks. We listened to her cry (finally!) and boy did she cry. It was so loud. I started obsessively asking about her APGARs. Another thing I missed with M. I have no idea what his scores were, and probably never will. The doctors and nurses kept assuring me that I’d be told what they were – but that I needed to wait until the 5 minute mark for them to even make the call. It felt like time slowed down to a crawl. A was peering around the curtain, eyes teary and I knew he could see what was going on. We could both hear TNB screaming, and we could both tell that she was a very healthy little girl. What felt like ages later they announced her APGARs, 8 and 9. Eventually they came to get A so he could take pictures and watch what they were doing to TNB close up. He left, as I had told him to do. But him leaving, left me alone again. I laid there and cried happy tears, focused on breathing, and tried to overhear what the nurses were saying about TNB.
Eventually one of the nurses brought her within my sight to weigh her. 7lbs, 6oz. The nurse brought her over to me and let me kiss her… and since my arms weren’t tied down I was able to reach up and touch her tiny little face, and let her tiny little fingers grasp one of mine. TNB was only with me for a few seconds, but it was enough to get me through the rest of the surgery focused on her. I can’t say having them sew me back up was painless. I wasn’t in any kind of unbearable pain, but I could feel pressure and tugging and stuff like that. Sewing me up seemed to go much faster this time than it did with M. A got the chance to bring M over to my head and sit with me – whereas with TNB he only got to hold her for a few seconds before I was being moved back onto my bed, and into recovery.
Speaking of recovery – so far it’s going well. The last of the narcotics went away with my epidural, and I’ve been on just motrin since then. At 9 days post partum, I am only taking a pill at night – nights are the worst, when I’m up and moving and being busy I feel fine, but when I lay down every single move or shift or roll over hurts if I haven’t taken a motrin. As for the family, well we are all doing well. Obviously it’s a big adjustment, but we are figuring things out and are all happy and healthy. TNB will be staying “TNB” on here… yes, she has a name… but it’s another A name, and I figured having two “A’s” (hubs and TNB) would be rather confusing… so TNB she stays!!