We had my C-section scheduled for July 1, the first day that my doctor would be available to do the surgery, even though I could have gone a few days earlier. I love, love, love my doctor—she delivered Eloise as well and was my doctor with Harper, even though she wasn’t the one to do my C-section that time.
I was extremely nervous for this C-section, being that it was my third one, and I have had some issues with thinning scar tissue in my uterus from my first two. We went into the hospital at 5 a.m., and I was immediately thrown off by having a different type of surgery prep room than I had with my other two girls. For some reason, when we had Eloise, everything felt so familiar that it put me at ease, but this time around I felt like I was doing it for the first time because we had different surroundings.
They started with my IV, and the nurse had all sorts of issues finding a vein—so they ended up putting it in a very awkward spot right where my thumb meets my wrist, making me unable to really move my thumb or bend my wrist. (Not that this matters. It was just annoying, and I don’t recommend ever getting an IV in that spot.)
The nurse came in to give me the sour drink (like a small mouthful) that helps to neutralize stomach acid; I remembered having it with the other girls but for some reason it did not settle well this time. I immediately felt super nauseous—and more nervous. We FaceTimed with Harper and Eloise while they ate breakfast; my parents stayed with them at our house while we were in the hospital. Seeing their faces and excitement definitely helped ease my nerves a bit.
After 30 more minutes of waiting while they gave me two bags of fluids, the anesthesiologist came to place my epidural. He had me lying down for my epidural, which I wasn’t used to. The first two times I was sitting up. I was shaking already from the cold IV bags and my nerves. The epidural was placed and was not really painful, more uncomfortable if anything. I have very low blood pressure, and the epidural tends to cause it to drop even lower, so they had to administer the medicine slowly, switching between the numbing medication and the medication to keep my blood pressure up.
Every time it dropped, I felt more and more nauseous. At this point I was shaking uncontrollably from the medicine, so they had a hard time taking my blood pressure. The numbing wasn’t kicking in as quickly as it should have, so everything was moving at a snail’s pace. After maybe 45 minutes of them poking me to see if I could feel anything sharp, they finally decided that the epidural was working correctly, and it was go-time!
Once we got into the operating room, I felt better. I was so happy to see my doctor’s face and talk to all of the sweet nurses. I was crying (again, out of nerves and excitement) but really felt pretty calm at that point. During surgery, my doctor and anesthesiologist gave me a play-by-play of everything that was happening, and Brandon was by my side the entire time trying to distract himself from what they were saying by talking to me about whether baby Claire would look like Harper or Eloise.
After just a few minutes on the table, at 8:20 a.m., Claire Vivien was born weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces. She had the cord wrapped around her neck and came out fighting to breathe, which caused her to have some broken blood vessels in her face. They whisked her away to the other side of the room and told Brandon he could not come see her yet. I was in tears, wanting to know if she was OK, and finally we heard a loud scream and cry from across the room. Brandon got to go see her. After a few minutes of the nurses checking her out, he brought her over, and I met my baby girl for the first time.
She had a full head of dark hair, a little squished face and looked so much like Harper when she was born. Once we were in the recovery room, Claire got her first bath and had a few tests done. The doctor recommended running some blood tests, as they were a little bit concerned about the blood vessels. Claire’s doctor was worried she may have an infection, so they took her away for what seemed like hours to do blood work and monitor her.
We were wheeled up to our room without our baby girl—it was heartbreaking, and I was desperate to hold her. We worried and prayed. Finally they brought her to us and let us know that the initial results were negative, but they would continue to monitor her blood cultures for an additional 48 hours. We were so happy to have her in our arms.
Later that evening, I got out of bed for the first time and was able to stand up on my own. I remember it being so painful after my C-section with Eloise; I was dreading it, but it ended up not being too bad at all. I felt much better this time, and they took my epidural out first thing the next morning. Then I was able to shower and walk around during the rest of our hospital stay. We stayed in the hospital for three nights, which felt like a luxury vacation to be able to just nap all day with our new baby. By the time we were going home that Saturday, I really felt pretty good!
I was pleasantly surprised with my overall recovery. This has been my easiest yet. I am putting this out there for those of you who are afraid or nervous for your first, second or third C-section. I know that they can all be different, but not all recoveries are like the horror stories out here. I was so thankful to people who gave me reassurance when I was nervous for my first one with Harper. Now that we are two weeks out, I almost feel like my old self again—I am so thankful for that.
We also thank God every day for our third healthy baby girl. Claire Vivien, we love you so much!
Find out more about Jessica’s adventures as a mom of three at littlebabygarvin.blogspot.com.
Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!