In most of the birth stories I’ve read, the writer simply ends with “and then I had a c-section, the end” and we’re all supposed to know what exactly that means, or else stay pleasantly in the dark. Or maybe there are millions of detailed, graphic c-section posts out there, and I just managed to avoid running across them in my birth story readings. Or maybe I just subconsciously ignored them, since there was no way THAT was going to happen to ME, see last post for more explanation on why I thought I was that sort of special.
In any case, when I told the OB that “fine, I’ll have your damn c-section, can we hurry the fuck up about it, because this whole hospital thing is seriously getting on my nerves, and for the love of all things holy, make that nurse unplug that pitocin drip” I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I mean, sure, I’ve watched A Baby Story, I know the general idea, but I didn’t have a clue what EXACTLY was going to happen. If you’ve read more than, say, one entry of mine, you know I am a control freak of the first order, so NOT KNOWING things isn’t my strong suit, whether it be c-sections or the price of broccoli at the farmer’s market.
So they wheeled me into an OR, that looked reassuringly like the ones on TV, all brightly lit and with those giant saucer-like lights on the ceiling. These are somewhat reflective, so I admit I tried to watch my own surgery via the reflection in these lights, but the angle was off, so I ended up staring at my own face for most of it. Then the anesthesiologist pumped straight morphine into my epidural port, and the bottom half of my body mostly disappeared- not that I didn’t think I had a lower half, but it just faded from my brain (trust, it comes back soon enough). Off-hand, he mentions I might feel nauseous as the medicine makes my blood pressure drop.
Motherfucker WAS NOT KIDDING. I tell the entire OR I’m going to be sick, and they scramble to find me a bowl to vomit copious amounts of bile into. After the fifth heave, the doctor finally pushes in a syringe full of Zofran, which is the epidural of nausea medications. What I want to know is why that syringe wasn’t half-way into the port the moment the morphine hit my system, because they KNEW I was going to start puking, and JESUS, PEOPLE, you’re about to cut me open, could you spare me the vomiting? I would also like to take a moment and thank the nurse who was holding the bowl for me, because I was also clutching her shoulder in a death grip, and well. I bet they don’t tell you about THAT SHIT in nursing school either (that patients will clutch you, not that you’ll have to hold a bowl for a vomiting pregnant lady. I bet they take PLEASURE in telling you that in nursing school).
Once I’m good and feeling-less, the surgeons go to it. Now look, I like, as I mentioned above, to know what’s happening. Since at this point I am completely lucid, I ask the OB to tell me what he’s doing. I mean, it’s my body he’s cutting open with a laser (I don’t know how else to describe this sensation, but even if you’ve never been cut open with a laser, being cut open with a laser feels EXACTLY the way you might imagine being cut open with a laser would feel). The OB and his assistant simply start talking about their favorite Mexican joint in louder voices, which, what the HELL? On the one hand, it’s reassuring that this is so routine to them it’s like gossiping at the water cooler, but JESUS GAY, PEOPLE, THOSE ARE MY INSIDES YOU’RE MESSING WITH. Anyways- the anesthesiologist, located somewhere in the vicinity of my left ear, narrates the entire surgery to me- now they’re cutting through fascia, and then the uterus, and so on- all the way through to “they’re stapling you back together,” and BLESS YOU, anesthesiologist with Dumbo ears, you made it all more bearable.
The last thing the OB will tell you is that you’ll feel a lot of “pressure,” which is a nasty euphemism for “me handling your insides.” No, really. I was not quite expecting how much of the rooting around in my guts I was actually going to feel, or be aware of, or whatever. I’m actually fairly happy I never got around to taking an Anatomy & Physiology class, because then I might have actually known which specific part of me they were tugging on, and that might have sent me right over the edge. Even I think there are some cases where ignorance is bliss.
Once all the pushing and shoving of innards is done, you don’t feel the stitching or stapling, which is probably a good thing. Olivia wasn’t even out of the OR before they had me all put back together, and while she headed to the nursery with J, I was shifted onto another bed and wheeled into recovery, for the longest 45 minutes of my life. I just lay there, waiting and staring at the clock conveniently located directly across from me, waiting for Nurse Betty (I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING YOU ONE BIT) to release me to my room, because DAMMIT, my DAUGHTER was there, and I wanted to meet her.
Olivia was born on a Wednesday, and J and I slept in annoying hospital beds and ate crappy hospital food and suffered through the broken air conditioning situation (95 degrees outside and a hospital with broken air conditioning? MY IDEA OF HELL), until Friday, when we busted out of there against the doctor’s wishes. I’ve never been more glad to leave a place in my entire life, until, of course, I got home with a three day old newborn I had no idea what to do with.