We went to the OR and I got my third epidural. Well, sort of. The first two failed but I didn’t have to get it placed again for a third time, thankfully. Any time they take it out, it feels like a bandaid covering half of your back is being ripped off. For the third try, they jiggled the catheter around and pulled it out a little to see if repositioning it would make the distribution more even and then hooked me up to a much stronger drug. Trying to get things working after two failed attempts was terrifying. I kept imagining them cutting and me feeling it all. I expressed my concerns to the anesthesiologists (there were two by that point for some reason) and they did multiple tests to show me just how little I could feel and assure me that everything would be ok.
At about 2am Monday morning, they started my surgery. The baby’s head was still stuck in the birth canal so that made the normally one-hour procedure take longer. They also had to make the incision longer and lower than they normally would. One doctor reached into the birth canal and pushed the baby’s head up while another doctor pulled the baby out through my uterus. Shortly before they pulled the baby out, my third epidural started failing and I was regaining feeling. They were unable to give me any other drugs until the cord was cut. I could feel them pushing and pulling the baby out and then moving and checking my organs – not the pushing, pulling, and pressure they told me I would feel. I felt a full range of sensations and pain. As soon as the cord was cut, I was given fentanyl and morphine but before they kicked in, I could feel every stitch as they started sewing me up.
By the time the baby was out and crying, I was shaking uncontrollably from the anesthesia and feeling disoriented from the drugs. The Daddy and I had originally agreed that if we had to do a c-section that he would go with the baby to the nursery and do skin-to-skin as they finished the surgery. I needed him to be there for me though, so he stayed behind and the baby was taken away. I still feel guilty about the time the baby was away from both of her parents so early in her life. I do, however, feel very fortunate that he was able to carry the baby over to me first, while I was still being operated on. While not the moment I had anticipated, we did have our first moment as a family. The Daddy told me all about her as I looked at her. He brought my attention to her full head of hair and to her big, alert blue eyes darting around the room. I’m glad that he did, as I was too disoriented to focus on any of those things myself. Without him there talking to me and taking me through the experience so patiently, I would have completely missed seeing my newborn baby in front of me.
Our daughter was born at 2:28am on July 2nd. After all of the worry she caused during labor, she came out looking like nothing had ever happened. The doctors don’t know why she was having so much distress. They suspect it might have been a cord issue – she had some red marks that made it look like she’d been wrapped in her cord kind of like a seat belt. The doctor thinks her cord may have been pulling back on her and tightening on every push. Since my water broke, there was no cushioning and she may have pressed on it when I changed positions.
Now that I know her inside and outside of the womb, I think it’s simply a matter of her being a sensitive little person. She got hiccups when I drank cold water. She never cared for ultrasounds or dopplers and would spend the duration of exams squirming away, making it difficult to get her heart rate or get pictures needed for screening. She squirmed and kicked at loud noises. Now that she’s out, she always wants to be held and cuddled and is constantly alert to light and noise. She has busy little eyes and busy little hands, exploring the world around her. She’s my sensitive little girl, inside and out, and that made labor and delivery difficult for her. Ultimately the physical part of birth was about her, not me, and she taught me that in a very dramatic way.
Long story short: I had a baby, she is great, and now we’re home. Now on to the recovery.