There is always a lot of anxiety leading up to a baby coming. Sure, you are excited, but at the same time, are you ready for how this baby is going to change your world as you know it?!
My unborn baby had a severe heart condition. I couldn’t be done being pregnant soon enough! At the same time, I knew the baby was safe inside me. There was so much unknown, and we all live in a society where we do not deal with the unknown well. Being the planner I am, this was hard, but I just had to trust God!
I had talked with Jeremy prior to having the baby’s due date and told him I wanted to have a nice relaxing evening before the baby came. We were going to be delivering baby 1 ½ hours away, so I wanted to head that way the night before. I booked a hotel, and we made plans the night before to go out to eat with my aunt and uncle, who lived nearby the town we were delivering in. It was a nice, quiet evening!
Then, big surprise, I had trouble sleeping all night. Any pregnant woman will tell you how uncomfortable it is to be pregnant, especially in the last month of it. Then, all I could think about was in less than 24 hours we were going to have a baby here. A baby with a severe heart defect. What was going to happen? What did our future hold? Question and emotions kept coming over me:
Praying for a miracle.
I was finally able to fall asleep and get some sleep.
The next morning, we had to be to the hospital by 7 AM with hopes to have a baby around 9 AM. I was the only person scheduled for a baby that day, so I didn’t have to be at the hospital too early. We went to the hospital, got checked in, and the nurses walked us to the surgery prep room. I got dressed in one of those beautiful hospital gowns and we started the process. Holly cow, we were going to have a baby here in a few hours! I had to fill out paperwork, answer a ton of questions, and have a ton of monitors on me.
An important question remained unknown for us, though, what was going to be the baby’s name? Jeremy and I have NEVER agreed on a boy’s name, so if it came out a boy, we were going to be screwed(learned from previous pregnancy). And we hadn’t even started to discuss possible girl’s names.
Since we had spent so much of the pregnancy unsure of what was going to happen, we had never really picked out names. It was as if we avoided giving the baby a name; there we wouldn’t be as much attached. So, when it came to the nurses asking that predictable question, “What will the babies name be?!”, we would just look at each other with uncertainty and say, “We don’t know yet.”
Finally, Jeremy got his fancy, disposable scrubs on and supported me through my anxiety. The anesthesiologist came in to start my IV so we could get things rolling. Ugh, this was really happening! I was so nervous I was going pee every fifteen minutes. I didn’t even know I had that much water to get rid of!
It was time to be rolled into the operating room. I am always so nervous about this part. See, when my mom had her c-sections, she could feel EVERYTHING. Ugh, could you imagine having to lay on that table and feel everything?! I am always scared that the spinal block won’t work!
They had me sit up on the table, turn, and have my legs dangle off the edge. One of the nurses sat there and told me to grab onto her hands and squeeze as hard as I could. Crazy, but a smart woman. I was clenching onto her hands as I felt the needle go into my spine…OUCH!!! What comes next is one of the weirdest feelings ever. As they finished up the block, I felt a tingle slowly move up my legs and then they went numb. The medicine was working…I think. After they were done and the numbness continued, they laid me back on the table to further prepare me.
Next, they put up a curtain and put my arms into position. The anesthesiologist proceeded to start checking me to see if I was getting numb. He took an ice-cold gauze and asked me if I could feel the cold on my arm (which wasn’t numbed), and I could-it was cold! He then put the cold gauze on an area that had been numbed and asked if I could feel it.
Well, of course, I could feel it! That gauze is freezing cold!
He decided to give me a few more minutes while we waited for the medicine to do its magic. Again, he tried and this time when he tested, I could feel him, but not the cold. I still told him I could feel it, I wanted to be damn sure I wouldn’t feel anything.
He, again, waited a few more minutes. It was time to test again, could I feel the cold? By this time he was catching onto my “feeling” answers. When he asked if I could feel him, I said I guess I couldn’t. He repeated back to me, “You guess you can’t? Does it feel like this?” He proceeded to put the cold gauze back on my arm. “No, it doesn’t feel like that(cold).”
Fine, you win, here we go.
I was sure to tell him how I normally get nauseous. He got the meds ready for the nauseousness because we didn’t need any of that! He told me he was ready, and he let the doctors know we were ready to start. During this time, they brought Jeremy back into the operating room. He held my hand and they started.
The c-section itself is pretty much a hurry up and wait game. Anyone who has had a c-section knows this. They started to cut, pull, and move things; it feels SO weird! Anyone who has been through this knows exactly what I am talking about! It is an odd tugging sensation as they move this and that…and weird is an understatement. While they were “digging” around, Jeremy and I were making conversation with the anesthesiologist. He was always good about checking on potential pain or if I was becoming nauseous.
PS- I had been nauseous several times already!
The doctors finally announced, it was time to take out the baby. Jeremy and I clenched hands tightly and waited for a few moments, you could hear pins drop. They pulled the baby out, and then you could hear some crying. They let us know so far the baby was looking good. After some work on their end of the curtain, they lifted it a little for us to see whether it was a boy or girl. It took me a moment to register all this as I wasn’t expecting it, but I loved it! When we looked, we had a chunky little GIRL!! Better luck next time, dad.
They took the baby into the next room and started their assessment. Since our new little girl had a known heart defect, they had to treat the situation differently. During their evaluation, they gave us short updates that she was ok. We could hear her in the next room and eagerly waited for them to finish me up so we could meet her. Since this was my second c-section, there was some scar tissue to clean up, which seemed to take an eternity. They did great a job; I am just impatient!
After they had finished me up, it was time to roll me into the next room to meet our new little girl. They rolled me in, there she was! She had a ton of cords attached to her as well as a C-PAP machine. I held our little girl for the first time, and it was one of the most awkward things ever.
Not only was I trying to enjoy my little girl that had C-PAP and IV’s attached, but there was a room of doctors and nurses watching me. I know this is almost an everyday event for them, so they do not think twice about it and are very respectful. To parents who are already overwhelmed, it is just eerie. You do not get to snuggle your newborn in the same way as a traditional birth. But, at the same time, you are trying to enjoy every moment because you do not know what is going to happen next.
When our time was done(about 20 minutes), our new baby girl got put in a fancy contraption used for transporting babies to the NICU at the other hospital. Yes, at Mayo, the NICU is at a different hospital. I was rolled out of the room and brought to my very nice maternity suite. It is so odd giving birth, holding your baby, and then your baby goes elsewhere.
In the maternity suite, things were as normal, minus a baby being there.
When you have a c-section, the sooner you can get up and walking, the better. In my situation, I knew once I could get up and move around, I would be able to go to the other hospital. Just get me closer to my baby girl!
I am one that will fight off taking medications as long as possible, and this recovery wasn’t any different. I ALWAYS get nauseous after my c-sections…if I eat anything, it isn’t staying there. So, I always start with the natural options offered for trying to kick the nauseous feeling.
IT NEVER WORKS…NEVER.
Well, this time was no different. I told them to bring on all the natural stuff. Every time I stood up to take a few steps, I almost throw up right there. I would shimmy back to the bed and remove some of my stomach contents. By this time, it was probably 5 pm. I wasn’t showing any signs of being able to walk far and I wasn’t peeing enough. These things both needed to be completed before going to the other hospital. There was a possibility of that happening yet, but things needed to get rolling here soon. After several attempts to walk, I asked the nurse to bring me some medicine for the nauseous feeling. I had to kick that feeling before I was going to be able to drink enough fluids to pee.
After the medicine started to kick in, I pounded the water. I had to hurry if I wanted to go anywhere! The nurse suggested we get a dinner plate because she wasn’t sure if we would be able to eat after we got moved. So, it was just going to be another thing to slow us down, but you have got to eat! So, eat we did.
Now, it was almost 7 pm, it was starting to get late. The nurse checked everything out and said she would go talk to the doctor to see if I could get the green light to move over to the other hospital. After a lot of discussions, the doctor decided that we had to wait one more hour to see if I would pee more. I just wasn’t getting enough out! UGH!!!
Another hour passed. I was able to take steps with no problems. Around this time, the nurse mentioned how we were able to watch our baby girl on the television screen, but she would have to find someone to get it set up. After about an hour, with no baby on the tv yet, the nurse came back in to check my urine progress. It was terrible. I had hardly had any output, which made no sense to me! I had already had so many fluids! She told me when she talked to the doctor, she would see what she could do. Needless to say, the doctor was not impressed with the output, or lack thereof. No-go tonight, I would have to stay the night. Major letdown.
The whole kicker was that about a half-hour after the discussion, I was making AMAZING urine. Go figure…
That night we watched our little nameless girl up on the tv. She didn’t do much, but we just watched her in the way that new parents watch their newest member. In awh – how did we do that?!
This time around I decided I was going to exclusively pump. They always say, the breast is best. I thought I would give it a shot to potentially save some money. I fed formula to our last one, so this was going to be a different adventure. The nurse would come in and remind me to pump every so many hours…it was tons of fun…. No judgement here.
I remember one of the times I was pumping very vividly. I was watching our little girl on the tv, I thought maybe it would help with the pumping. As I was watching, she started to fuss and cry. I started to cry. I was supposed to be there with my baby, but instead, I was here, laying in a bed not helping her.
Instead I was watching a stranger take care of my baby. It was so hard to deal with, it really makes you feel like a failure. You couldn’t grow your baby right, she is damaged, deal with it.
Obviously, I did not truly feel that way. But, when you are feeling so helpless, you can’t help by to let those terrible thoughts sneak in. After I finished my pumping, I gave myself a pep-talk about how I was doing the best I can. Baby girl would be ok until we were able to get there.
How did you feel while in the same type of situation? Please tell me I am not alone in my feelings of helplessness. I have come a long way since these times, but along with all the hormones, it was just a lot to take in. If you are a mom or mom-to-be in the same situation, you are not alone!