Mother of two
On November 26th, at 9:35 in the morning, my doctor cut me open and took out my second daughter. I hate to describe it that way, but it was awfully clinical. After having a vaginal delivery, it was a bit of a shock to my system. Not that I can complain. My baby was breech and my options were limited. I am lucky to have a great doctor who I trust did what was best for me and Savannah. Last time he told me there was a 98% chance that I would push out my baby, this time the odds were reversed. That’s life for you.
I don’t know what I was expecting. I talked to friends who had had c sections. I even have a good friend who had two of them with my same doctor. I researched it online, so I thought I knew what to expect. Still, I was overwhelmed by the whole experience.
We got to the hospital at the same time as last time. We went to the labor and delivery section same as before. We even had the same wonderful nurse as before: Kathy. She started as an RN in Athens in 86. Dr. Goggin started in 87. They go way back. Everything seemed pretty normal. They went through all the routine questions and explained what was going to happen for the umpteenth time. Then they told me we would walk to the C section room. I thought: “Wow that seems easy.”
The moment you walk into the room it feels like you have left the warm and cozy labor and delivery section miles behind. It is freezing cold, very bright, and there are like 12 people in there. They are all very relaxed and are trying to make you feel comfortable. You know, so you forget you are going under the knife. They proceed to do the spinal block. Now I had an epidural last time so I knew what was coming. Except last time we did this in our cozy room with Michael holding me. The nurse who held me, Keeta, was very nice but she was no Michael. The process of having someone stick you with needles in your spine is always scary, more so when you are surrounded by strangers and the room is freezing cold. The block starts working immediately. And that’s when everything starts to happen in a fast forward sort of way.
You lose feeling in your legs, then your midsection, up to your breasts. They lay you down on your back. There you are: on a table with bright lights above you, flood lights, if you will. There are maybe six people surrounding you. Two are tying down your legs to the table. Two are disinfecting your belly, another two are poking you with something, or rubbing you with cold stuff, to make sure you have indeed lost feeling. These two are constantly asking you: “Cold?”, “Colder?”, “Not cold?” as they test the cotton balls and prickly things at different points in your body. The nurses at your feet are explaining the reason they tie you down is because when you lose feeling in your legs they might move off the table without you realizing it, so it is for your safety. All this is happening in a time frame of 2-3 minutes, so you are overwhelmed, sprawled on a table, your arms are spread to your sides as if you are about to be crucified. You are flat on your back. A position you have not been able to hold for over 5 months due to pregnancy. The room is cold, the lights are bright, and you are pretty much naked.
At this point, because I am who I am, I say to the room: “Am I the only one who is reminded of the X files right now?” I get a big laugh. At least I have not lost my humorous touch. The anesthesiologist points out that they are about to pull a living being out of my stomach, which is pretty SciFi. I respond with: “I’m just saying this is what an alien abduction must be like.”
My doctor walks in and joins the party. He laughs along with us, comes over to reassure me everything is going to be OK. I ask him when is Michael coming in. He tells me saw Michael leaving for the Waffle House, so he is not sure. Everybody is a comedian. I tell the nurse who leaves to get Michael to please remind him to bring the camera. When Michael comes in the first thing he says is “I did not need reminding you know.” Then he starts asking if he looks like Dr. House in his scrubs. He is trying to be very cool about everything, but I can only imagine what must have crossed his mind when he walked in. I mean, I was well informed about everything and I was still overwhelmed by it. He has no clue and so I am now worried about him instead of me or the baby. The anesthesiologist and Michael are talking about where he can stand or sit, when he can take photos, everyone is sort of cool, except for me. I am a nervous wreck.
They tell me they are there. At this point Michael should get ready to take pictures and I need to brace myself for the pressure I will feel as the nurse will push the baby down and the doctor will pull her out. “Pressure” they said. I felt a lot more than pressure and my body was pretty numb. I hate to think what that might feel like without the spinal, like Lori in “The Walking Dead”. Perhaps it was because of the baby’s position. After all, they were pushing on her head. Michael took pictures of the whole process. She came out butt first and he said it looked like getting her arms out was the difficult part. I’d share the pics but they are too gruesome.
She was very purple, and she did not cry right away. I could not see a thing because I was sprawled on the table with my gut open and curtain separated me from the action. Michael was taking pictures and giving me the play by play. He said “She’s out. Honey, you did it - again.” After a brief pause she started crying. At that point I let out my breath and I started crying. Sobbing, actually. Maybe it was relief of all the stress built up over the last few weeks. Maybe it was how overwhelmed I was with the whole process. Maybe I was just sad with the realization that this would be the last time I did this, and here I am not able to hold her or see her. Then Dr. Goggin held her up like she was Simba in The Lion King so I can finally see her face. I kept crying, but I was laughing too.
It was maybe an hour later in recovery that I was able to hold and nurse her. She took to it right away, much faster than her sister had. It was at that point that I started feeling like things were going to be OK, though I was already missing Sofia. They brought me Sofia that afternoon so I could see her and introduce her to her little sister.
I managed to talk my doctor into letting me go home after 3 nights. I seemed to be healing well, and the baby was fine so why not. The benefits of having the same doctor who knows you and how you will take care of yourself. Having a C section is no joke though. When they took my bandage off and I was able to see the staples digging into the skin of my lower abdomen… wow! I do not know what I was expecting, but it certainly was not that. Every other part of me seemed fine so I kept forgetting about the incision. They took the staples out and it is healing well, but it is all very odd to me. I honestly do not know how women go through this more than once. Michael and I had already decided on stopping at two, which is just as well because this pregnancy, this delivery, this recovery has been all around harder.
One always wonders how one can possibly love another like the first. Everything with Savannah has been so different than with Sofia. I suspect if we had ten kids each one would be different. I am really glad we decided to have another one though. It is heart warming to watch Sofia learning what a sibling is. I can already see how we all will have different relationships with each other in our little family. It’s going to be good, this new addition. Sofia is crazy about “baby” and wants to pet and hold her. It has been hard for me not being able to pick her up and sit her on my lap because she weighs so much, my big girl. Lucky for all of us she has her daddy, one granddaddy, and two grand mothers to show her that love.
We have been very cautious with her because she is only 21 months and does not understand this baby is not like her baby doll who has been abused severely and still looks the same. Also, we came home three days after Savannah was born to find Sofia with a fever. And so the two kid drama began! Michael was under the weather all week, Sofia has had a cold, my mom caught it, now my mother in law (who was caring for Sofia while we were in the hospital) has it too. And so, as it was to be expected, Savannah has it too.
Sunday night she had a stuffy nose. We were scheduled for the pediatrician’s office for Monday morning because it was her one week check up. Once there we were told that it was either an innocent cold or a serious virus and that we should send a swab to the lab to make sure. What if it is this virus? Well if the test is positive we will need to see her back right away, we may need to keep her in the hospital for observation for a day because she is so new. In a one week old baby this sort of thing can cause apnea and is very dangerous. Gulp. Michael and I did our best not to freak out. Fortunately, they were just being overly cautious and it is in fact just a cold. However, last night was rough on poor little Savannah. She coughed and sneezed, her running nose was keeping her awake and of course me too. At a rational level I know she will be fine, but when your baby is one week old and sick…it’s hard on mama. It is an understatement, but I cannot put into words how it feels to hold a newborn coughing in your arms at 4 am while you can hear your 21 month old coughing in her room. All while your abdomen is healing from being cut open one week before.
I don’t mean to complain, I don’t. I have many friends with children that have had it so much worse than I. My heart goes out to them. I cannot fathom the horror of what some of them have been through. They know who they are, and I will respect their privacy. I am grateful that my girls and healthy and well. One week from now they will be better and we will carry on and that is what matters. I am blessed to have so much. I am truly blessed to have my mother here to help round the clock, and to have Michael’s mother next door always there willing to take Sofia so that the work load for us will lessen. Most of all I am blessed to have a partner like Michael, who is such a source of love and support, and such a good husband and father I could cry just typing this. Part of this is the hormones, and Michael will surely make me regret writing this soon.
Anyway, there is my update. Sorry the blog was so long but this has been a fun filled 8 days. I promise next time to blog about something like the fiscal cliff, or the Mayan end of days…