Baby #3, aka the Dunk, was born by C-section a week after his due date. His birthday is considered to be lucky (1.11.11) by the Chinese nurse at our clinic. She can’t explain why.
Poor Dunk, third baby born in 4 years, second C-section, destined to be overshadowed by Mr. Sensitive and Little Miss Adorable. That’s why it’s taken me 7 months to write out the story of his birth.
I was desperately trying to avoid another C-section. My C-section with Little Miss Adorable involved me vomiting for 14 hours straight and then in physiotherapy for 9 months afterward trying to close a gap in my abdominal wall. I really wonder who those people are that choose a C-section – really, if you’re too posh to push, how about puking for 14 hours? How posh are you then?
But, I digress.
I have to say – I hated the entire surgery. Both times. Each time I tried not to launch into a full blown panic attack and/or vomit everywhere. I tried not to think of my body being cut open (and tried to ignore the tugging and pushing). As a science person with a vivid imagination this was nearly impossible. (Note: I once worked at a vet clinic and been witness to countess ovariohysterectomies or ‘spays’ in dogs and cats. I had no problem assisting in those surgeries. Now, just the thought of it makes me ill.)
I hated being in the operating room as the nurses prepared me – wiped down my back, helped me onto the operating table. I hated listening to them count the sponges and clamps aloud. I knew why they were counting – so they could see if they forgot one inside me. All I could do was shiver in the cold and pretend not to hear them counting. I was alone with my rising panic. Don’t freak out, don’t freak out, don’t freak out!
Hubby would not arrive in the operating room until the epidural was in.
I told the anesthesiologist about the 14-hours of continuous vomiting after the last C-section. He kindly adjusted the medication, and assured me it shouldn’t happen again. Oh, and clawing my skin off? That probably won’t happen again, it’s usually a first-time reaction to morphine.
I remember the nurse who held me as the epidural needle was inserted between the vertebrae of my spine. I was terrified of a slip and having a serious injury or paralysis. I looked into that nurse’s eyes as she kept talking to keep me calm, and was amazed at her strength in supporting my 200 pound frame. The world needs more nurses like that – calm, quiet, firm. Caring.
Once the needle was in, the nurse strapped my legs to the operating table and blocked my view with a sheet. Hubby arrived wearing a surgical mask and gown. I was trying so hard not to panic – I stared at him, and tried not to watch the clock on the wall.
The obstetrician arrived chatting to everyone.
Surgery is surreal – here I am strapped to a table, complaining about feeling pulling and pushing. I know I am cut open and someone’s hands are inside me. I was coughing as my diaphragm was pressed. A nursing student observed from the side. The anesthesiologist told me, “It is what it is.” I think that was the best advice I could get at the time.
With a Cesarean section it’s hard to say a baby is born – they are delivered. Removed from my body, delivered to my side.
The moment my son was placed at my side was pure magic. His fuzzy head was near my shoulder, and I managed to reach across my body to stroke his head. I marveled at his velvety skin. He was sucking his fingers loudly.
I stroked his head and cried tears of joy.
The surgeon closed my body up and I cried. My baby was a boy. Dark haired, olive skinned, genetic history completely unknown. We had declined all offers of prenatal testing during the pregnancy – both his brother and sister have genetic problems. That did not stop us in taking another leap into the unknown.
My baby has arrived.