I had read nothing about C-sections since I was smitten with natural birth, so I when I had mine, I was completely unprepared for its aftermath.
I couldn’t sleep the night before the C-section since I was on the labor and delivery floor hooked up to monitors and being awakened by the nursing staff in the room every 30 minutes or so. 6:30 a.m. finally came and the nursing staff started getting my husband and I prepped for the delivery. I was trying to keep it together but when they finally said it was time to go at about 7 a.m., and I had to say goodbye to my husband and walk with the nurse to the operating room, I lost it! I was scared out of my mind, knowing that I was going to have major abdominal surgery and be WIDE AWAKE for it—I just couldn’t wrap my mind around that.
The nurse and I walked into the tiny room—I swear it was 15X15—and it was freezing cold. I guess I thought all the tools would be covered up, but nope—they were all there for me to see as I walked around the tiny operating table to get in position for the spinal. I remember shaking, crying, worring about making the wrong move while they put the spinal in, and just hated not knowing what was going to happen next.
I was introduced to the anesthesiologists, and then they proceeded with the spinal block, starting with a shot to numb me. (By the way, this isn’t bad. And I hate shots.) Then they gave me the block itself. It felt warm, and similar to yolk—or, as I now know, spit up—running down my back. Then I was numb. Beyond numb—I couldn’t have moved the lower half of my body if my life depended on it. I was told that the second I felt any nausea I had to tell him so he could give me something to stop it. That’s when the shakes came in. Ugh. Some people experience shaking from the spinal block, and I was one of the lucky ones. I was shuddering violently, and felt extremely cold. In the meantime, they had laid me down and were prepping for the incision.
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My wonderful doctor kept me informed of everything that was going on, so I knew when the surgery started. Nausea came immediately, and I was given drugs through my IV to help.
At about that time, my husband was brought back to the room. He was alternating between trying to calm me down—the shaking was really upsetting me—and watching what was happening. I started feeling a lot of pressure—no pain—and lots of pushing and pulling, and the intensity of it made me sick. The anesthesiologist tilted the operating table. Then, suddenly at 8:01am we hear the doctor say Happy Birthday, and then a piercing wail. I immediately teared up, knowing that our little miracle Bellamy was here, and I was listening to the world’s most beautiful cry. My husband was told to go with the nurse to the corner of the room (just to my left, so I could see everything) where they cleaned Bellamy and swaddled her.
In the meantime, I was feeling very faint, and very sick. It took less time for them to get Bellamy out then it did to put me back together. I could feel every tug and shove as—I can only assume—my insides were rearranged, and I was eventually stapled together. In the midst of this, my husband brought Bellamy to me. It was a strange moment. I think it must be true that the act of labor helps you bond with your child, because when he brought her to me, I was able to wish her a happy birthday and give her a kiss.
Finally they finished with me and wheeled me (on the bed, I don’t remember how I got there) back to my room. My dad and mom (who had caught an early flight home from a business meeting) were in there, and got to see Bellamy via the nursery. I still hadn’t held her, due to the shaking, and was eager to breastfeed her, so I was the first to hold her. She was given a quick sponge bath, and shots, and then given to me to feed. That was when the bond formed for me. (If you don’t bond immediately with your baby, don’t panic, don’t feel guilty, just give it a little time. You will be more bonded, connected, and in love with your baby than you could ever have imagined.) She latched quickly and wonderfully, and then fell asleep in my arms.
She was beautiful, perfect, and ours.
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!