Oh, a C-Section? I’ll take it! Most women think this is the “easier” route because you don’t have a push something the size of a bowling ball out your you-know-what, but I’m here to tell you a different story. This post is strictly about my personal experience (but a lot of other moms have agreed with me) and I do not have any medical background to support my claims; I’m just talking to you straight.
So first off, I need to say that I had pre-eclampsia the last few weeks of my pregnancy, so I was dealing with a whole lot of issues that many other pregnant women don’t face; such as, high blood pressure, EXTREME swelling, rapid weight gain, dizziness and just feeling pretty bad. I was in 26 intense hours of Pitocin induced labor prior to my C-section and hooked up to, what seemed like 10,000 cords as they came in to check my blood pressure every 10 minutes, around the clock! When it came time to check to see how much I’d dilated since my last check several hours ago, I was anxious and hopeful that I had made some progress…wrong! 4 centimeters and that’s it! The baby was fine, but I was not so we had to move quickly or I could have had a seizure from my ever-so-high blood pressure.
I was ready to deck someone at this point…I was frustrated, tired and just so ready to meet my little baby boy, but really was quite scared about what would happen next. The doctor told my husband and me that the only way I would get better is if I delivered the baby and that needed to happen via C-section. To be honest, it scared my husband and me to think about baby Mason getting all those drugs and chemicals into his tiny body and we really didn’t want the delivery to happen this way; but we really had no choice. I am definitely a Type-A person, so things going this unplanned almost send me spiraling out of control…this was definitely not in the “birth plan”. So, I agree to the whole thing and immediately a team of about 20 people rushed in to my small delivery room and hooked me up to even more cords, gave me more medicine, provided my husband scrubs to wear so he could come into the room too and then began to push me out the door. Finally, I was going to get all of this over with and meet my sweet baby boy. NOPE! Some other lady had an emergency that was somehow greater than mine, so they wheeled me back into my room and said I’d have to wait an hour…GREAT! So, we waited. And to be completely honest, we were actually quite excited because we love the show “Big Brother” on CBS and it was nearing the end of the season and just about 8:00 pm, so we got to watch the episode while we waited! Anyway, it finally was my turn and they wheeled me into the operating room labeled “C-section Delivery” and it we got to business. Here is a step by step list of what happened next (from what I can remember)…
1) They moved me from my wheeley bed to this very cold, stainless steel table that had a big drape over it. It was cold, but that part was the least of my worries.
2) They injected me with this medication that would make me even more numb (I already had the epidural at this point and was pretty numb anyway) but the medication made me shake like Shakira having a seizure! I mean seriously, I was trembling from head to toe and could not stop it for like life of me! I asked why I was shaking and they said it was completely normal…great.
3) They then sealed up the “curtain” type thing that blocked my view of what was about to happen to me. They tape it to you (I think) and then they tape all around your belly to sanitize and make the area as sterile as possible. This part was fine, but I was still shaking like crazy.
4) They clamp your arms out to the sides of the table, I guess to keep you from moving or trying to move or brace yourself from what’s about to come.
5) Then my husband came in and he had our nice camera we’d just got a few months ago…the nurses told him he should take pictures of the whole thing, so he did (I was a little iffy about this, but who cares what I think).
6) Then, it was the moment of truth, we were about to begin the procedure…the doctor said to me, you shouldn’t feel much, only a little pressure here and there. I said “OK”, but then I yelled out to her, “Please make the incision straight, I can’t stop shaking and don’t want a jagged scar!!” She laughed and proceeded to make the first incision…and I felt it!
7) I screamed out, “Ouch! I felt that!”…it felt like a plastic butter knife was scraping across my lower abdomen. She said “Is it too much to bear Sara? If it is, we will have to give you more medicine and it will take longer.” Boy, did she set me up for that…like I wanted it to take longer at this point…so I said, “No, I guess not…keep going”.
8) With every single pass of the blade it felt it, more and more every time. Not necessarily pain, but definitely uncomfortable. I felt like she was going at it for hours…but I’m sure it was only a matter of minutes. But then she got to the part where it was time to pull Baby Mason out, and by this point he was head down but he’d wedged himself into the left side of my belly and was he quite comfortable there.
9) I felt her shove her hand, then arm(!) into my belly and holy shit, did that hurt! The pressure is indescribable, nothing could explain it…it felt like I was going to burst or something. Then I kind of felt her “digging” around to find a good way to grab him…she was almost up to her elbow inside me and was now using both hands! She finally got a hold of him good enough and pulled that baby right out! He screamed and we all cried but it was incredible…I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it! And the entire time, my husband was watching, talking me through it, holding my hand, but mostly taking pictures of everything (I only posted a few of the least gross ones I had). I’m glad he did end up taking the photos because I look back at them every now and again and still find the whole process amazing, so if you ever have the chance, definitely let/force your husband to take some pics!
10) It was not over though… Mason was taken away to be cleaned up, weighed and measured and my husband left my side to be with the baby (which was fine). But then, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck and suddenly I said to the nurse next to me, “I’m going to vomit! I’m going to be sick!” which I guess is another common side effect of all the medication. So, they put cold, wet washcloths on my head and neck and give me a pan just in case I did throw up, but all I could think about was how much it would hurt to flex all those abdominal muscles they just cut into as I vomited in the OR. Thankfully, whatever they did to help me worked and I didn’t get sick but man, it was bad!
11) My husband brought Mason over me (I’m still shaking and strapped to this cold steel table) and I finally got to meet my baby boy for the first time. He was perfect and had so much color; I was so incredibly happy but also exhausted. They swaddled the baby and put him in a little cart and my husband pushed him out into the hallway and back to our room where my family anxiously waited. I on the other hand, was still on the stupid table getting all cleaned up, delivering my placenta and all that jazz. They finally transferred me back to my wheeley bed and brought me to my little family about 10 minutes later. At this point I was still shaking obnoxiously, but it was starting to slow down a little bit.
12) The last step of this process is to prepare for the hour of bonding you and your baby are supposed to do right after birth. Skin to skin contact with both the mom and the dad is ideal and this is also when you are supposed to breast feed for the first time. Because it’d been such a long journey for me, I kept falling asleep during this magical hour, but Mason was on my chest and everything that I’d just went through was worth it.
So, after telling that story people ask me all the time, if it was that bad, why would you ever do that again? And if you would have asked me 1 week, 1 month even 3 months afterwards, I would have honestly said that I was not sure I wanted to do it again. BUT, motherhood teaches you that it’s not just about you anymore, and if that’s what it takes to deliver another perfect little angel baby, then I will do it. So, yes it was hell, but I wear my six inch, non-jagged, keloid scar on my lower abdomen with pride because it’s a little reminder of how amazing my body is for making it through all that, but more importantly, that my little boy once lived inside me and I created a life; that is what makes me one very happy and proud mama.
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Sara! As I’m reading this post, and the details described within it…I start to tear up too! It is such an amazing feeling the first time you see your child…regardless of your story and how it happened…it’s amazing how all the emotions and little details come flooding back! I loved hearing your story!