It’s times like these that I am glad I kept my mouth shut. A few weeks ago when Pickle asked me the highly loaded question about how her baby brother would exit my body, thankfully I let the answer linger within her own imagination. It’s a good thing since what I would have explained to her was not how he entered this world at all.
For 35 weeks of my pregnancy, I assumed I would deliver the Prince in the same way I delivered Pickle. Despite the fact that for several weeks I could feel a hard, round body part under my right lung, I still assumed nothing out of the ordinary. Who ever thinks their baby is breech? Only about 3% of all babies are born breech so the thought of that never entered my mind. It wasn’t until a 36 week ultra sound where the technician casually asked me, “Has he been breech long?” Has he been what?? I suddenly realized that small orange-shaped body part was my baby’s head! Despite feeling a bit stupid, (how could I not realize that was his head??) I also began to feel a bit worried. What in the world will this mean? Simple. If he stays head up and butt down, it means a C-Section.
Suddenly, the excitement of the Prince’s arrival is clouded by worry and anxiety. Surgery. Recovery. Drugs. And what I would find out later….granny panties. Of course there was no question that we would do whatever it took to get the Prince out in one healthy piece so we officially scheduled the section. My wonderful doctor reminded me of the albeit slight possibility that he could in fact move into a head-down position. I confided in her that his head, now that I knew that was his head, had been under my ribs for at least six weeks. She smiled as if to say, “He seems very comfortable.” I had made peace with the almost certain fact that I would be delivering this baby in an operating room and not a delivery room.
I contacted every friend I knew who had sections. How do I prepare? What do I need to know about? Tell me things that doctors and nurses won’t tell me. It was from this information that I knew to purchase my first few pairs of high-waisted briefs, found out that I could possibly leave the hospital after two nights, and that after surgery I should get up and walk as soon as possible (This would be for recovering from the surgery and for the painful gas pains I will experience. After all, my abdomen will be pried open trapping air, ergo painful gas pains.) As if the briefs weren’t painful enough.
The last few days before the big day went by extraordinarily slow. It was as though time stood still. Somehow, though Tuesday morning managed to arrive with a few unusual symptoms. The pains I had been having for a few weeks prior were happening again except this time they didn’t subside. Even when I moved in the bed they didn’t stop. Also, the Prince was very quiet. After 39 weeks I knew his patterns and by six am he was up and beginning to start his day. Not this morning. I turned from one side to the other and nothing. Pains not going away, baby not moving, Am I in labor? No way. Not on the day of my scheduled C-Section! By eight am I was having contractions about ten minutes apart. Forty-five minutes later they were four minutes apart. By ten that morning we were prepping for the OR and contractions were now about one minute apart. So much for not going through labor!
After I, literally, praised the work of the anesthesiologist (called him the rock star of hospitals) I was ready for the birth of our son. Not only could I not move my legs, I couldn’t even tell that I actually had legs. I felt nothing from the chest down. That level of physical unconsciousness comforted me in light of what was about to happen to my body.
During one of my last visits, my doctor gave me an overview of what I should expect during the procedure. She informed me that it would take her about twenty minutes to get the baby out. So it should not have been a surprise when in what felt like seconds, she updated me that she was almost there, about to reach the baby. Really? It seems like you just came in and said hello. The next minute I hear one of the doctors say, “Here are the feet!” and then, and then, and then. There he was…I heard the scream that brought me to absolute tears. It was like time had stopped and in that moment Brian and I had a son. We had children. We had kids.
In a flash he was whisked by me and he looked just perfect. He also looked huge! It was as though he never stopped crying! I laughed and cried with each scream. Brian stayed with him while my body was put back together. I couldn’t believe it when they announced his weight – eight pounds! Exactly what my doctor had predicted. I held him for the first time and was simply overwhelmed. What an absolute miracle. Each tiny finger was in the right place, a perfect little nose, toes just like his daddy…there is no real explanation for how everything ends up in the right place except that it is truly the miracle of life.
It was also a miracle that I made it though the unwanted injection of dilaudid. I had asked for no narcotics, but apparently not everyone got the memo. To make matters worse, I was given the dose for a 155 pound woman. In all fairness, that is what I weighed when I entered the OR, but I was really the nervous system of a 118 pound woman trapped in the body of a 155 pound pregnant woman. The result? I tried to talk with my family although I saw several of the same person. I just spoke to the one in the middle. Several bouts of vomit. Unecessary repetitions of the same story over and over to the same person. Complete disregard for modesty.
Thankfully drugs do wear off.
Our brains and memories are small miracles, too. It has been four weeks and already the pains of recovery, the drug-induced sickness, the labor pains are all a distant memory. I see now why everyone says the recovery of a C-section “isn’t that bad.” It’s simply because they don’t remember! I guess it makes sense because I don’t want my memory bank clouded with those memories anyway. Instead I want to hold on to the memory of a first cry, first glimpse, first yawn.
Each day I cherish every snuggle, each yawn and stretch. I delight in each bath and indulge in long naps and sleeping late in the morning. I know how fast the time goes, I know how quickly they grow. I know that I can’t stay home with him forever. I know that these moments are fleeting. I try, despite how crazy daily life can become, to cherish each moment because in the blink of an eye…