It’s different walking in for a scheduled c-section.
It’s different walking down the hall in two paper thin hospital-issue robes and light blue non-slip thick socks rather than being rushed down a hallway, strapped to a hospital bed next to nurses holding IV poles while nervously clutching your husbands hand.
It’s different walking into the operating room yourself, seeing the various surgical implements, knowing that some of these are about to be used on you, but not knowing exactly which ones rather than being wheeled in, already slightly drugged after 14 hours of labor, not really seeing anything.
It’s different being prepped on the OR table joking around with the anesthesiologist about how his choice of music (Boyz 2 Men ‘I’ll make Love to You’. No joke.) is pretty much the reason we are all there in the first place rather than being prepped on the OR table asking the nurses and doctors repeatedly, ‘You’re not going to forget my husband, right? You’re going to go get my husband from outside, right?’
It’s different the second time around.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.
Since a scheduled c-section requires 8 hours of food-and-drink fasting beforehand, and since my surgery was scheduled for 11:30 am, we decided to have a Last Supper the night before, my choice. I chose Cracker Barrel and I went.to.town. Ordered one of the largest breakfast meals they had, two additional side choices and a hot chocolate. If I’m not going to eat for 8 hours, I’m going to do it up right, dammit!
Next morning, we woke up leisurely (translation: when the toddler woke us up at 7ish), showered, grabbed our stuff and were on the way to the hospital by 8 am, on schedule.
We were ushered into a pre-op room, where I was required to shower and change into the standard backless gown. There is nothing like a backless hospital gown to make a humongous pregnant woman feel beautiful. When I become president, I am requiring all hospitals to provide robes (backless if they have to be, whatever) comparable to luxury hotel robes. I mean, I think my final bill submitted to insurance was around $35000 for four days. what’s another $500 for a robe to make you feel pretty?
I’m just sayin’.
This is the point in the story when it becomes a whole lot of hurry up and wait. We had to be at the hospital at 9:30 for a scheduled 11:30 surgery. Then, some emergency situations came up in postpartum and the one OR was in use for a while and we kept getting pushed further and further back. Whatever. We were anxious to see our Peanut, but I was not anxious at all to go through surgery. I was scared.
Because lets be honest, no one wants to go through surgery. I talk sometimes about someday getting a “mommy makeover” - tummy tuck and boob job. But I really don’t think I will. I can’t imagine putting myself through that much pain just to look a little better. It’s just not worth it.
But I digress.
They finally call us to the OR and I do take that long walk down the hall in my backless gown and non-slip socks. And the hardest part? I had to walk through those doors, watch them close behind me, and leave my husband on the other side. Nothing has ever been harder than to let those doors close between us.
I’ll spare you all the minor details, but let’s just say that I had a very friendly and competent nursing and anesthetic crew who, while prepping and dressing me, made me feel as comfortable as one can when one’s who-haa is hanging out. I’ll also say that nothing can beat a supportive and loving husband. Because without him in there, I was over-thinking, hyper-ventilating and threw up twice. (Which apparently is pretty hard to do, considering I was numb from the chest down and had no way of forcing it up. But somehow I did!) Thank God for supportive husbands who hold their wives hands even when their designer hospital gowns smell like vomit.
When The Hubs came in, he grabbed my hand, leaned over and whispered “Wanna hear a funny story?’
Sure, I thought, I’ve got nothing else going on!
“I took a picture in the hallway while waiting for you. And. . . . . My camera said “Card Full.”
“Don’t worry. I just started erasing everything on there! So we’re good now!”
I had the nursing staff move the overhead light (they wouldn’t let me have a mirror) so I could see at least a little bit of the gory stuff - mostly just a lot of blue (gowns) and reds (I’ll let you guess what that was).
Then came the actual c-section, which started with the standard ‘You might feel a little pressure and a bit of tugging.’ and ended with ‘Wow. This baby will not let go! I can’t get it out! What is he wrapped around or holding onto?’ as they tugged and pulled and put all their muscle into getting Peanut out. Apparently, even though I was having steady contractions about 7 minutes apart all morning, this baby still hadn’t completely decided to come out. Until Doc came to wrench her from her warm, happy little home. Both her and I were pretty bruised up from the fight - mine are still all over my tummy but her cheek bruise has since faded.
We still didn’t know at this point if Peanut was a boy or a girl and when they held her up, they told The Hubs “You call it!” to which he poignantly said “Uhh. . . . Ummm. . it’s a . . . .ummm. . . “ because when everything is swollen and there is blood everywhere and an umbilical cord hanging in the way, it can be hard to figure out just what IT is. So Doc finally told me Peanut was a girl.
And I was shocked. Crying shocked. Didn’t believe him shocked. (Like he would make something up like that?!) But, me? With a girl? I didn’t think it was possible.
All this time I had thought that I wanted a boy. Another boy to be rambunctious and silly and wild. Another boy so close in age to Bjorn, to play with and fight with and learn to hunt and fish and drive together. But when I heard Peanut was a girl, I knew right away that that was perfect. That a girl was exactly what I had wanted the whole time - and didn’t even know.
The Hubs left with Peanut to get her weight (7 lbs 5 oz) and height (19inches), leaving me to cry and be excited while Doc finished his work on me - which included a complimentary mini tummy tuck. Woo hoo!!
My little Peanut was crying across the room and then heard one of the nurses say ‘I’ve never seen a 10 before!’ I already knew my girl was a perfect 10, but how did this nurse know? Because her APGAR scores were a 9 and then a 10. Perfect 10.
And Bjorn was a 9 and 9 (I think). Which means we are going to liquidate their college funds for an Hawaiian vacation because both my kids are getting scholarships to Harvard!!!
Since we named her Madalan Marie, we nicknamed her our little Peanut M&M. I smell a certain Halloween costume that would be perfect for her. . . .
The recovery has been much easier this time around. Sure, it has been no picnic in the park. And I’ve decided that even though Doc has cleared me to drive once I can stomp, (which I can do now - we “march” Bjorn to bed most nights), I’m going to take it easy and put it off as long as possible. I’ve got some precious cargo in the car and I don’t want to chance it. Besides, it’s not very often that I can give The Hubs a list and the coupons and send him off to the grocery store. Or Walgreens. Or to do the laundry. I’m going to milk this recovery for all it’s worth.
All in all, the repeat c-section was not a horrible thing. Of course, I would have liked to have had a VBAC, but I also would have liked to have a designer robe instead of a hospital gown, pizza right away instead of Jell-O 8 hours later when I finally could fart (which is the requirement after a c-section before you can eat ANYTHING. Total torture!) and a baby that consistently sleeps through the night. So we don’t always get everything we want, but what we get can sometimes be what we need.
And I got my little Peanut. So I’m happy.