Monday, November 12, 2007

The birth story

In brief: I had a C-section and got a healthy baby as a result. Such good fortune is hard to grasp in an instant.

The long, long version (written mainly for myself to support my memory):

On the eve of Linnea's birth, I wrote a post describing how I felt about being on the brink of parenthood. Afterwards, my husband and I spent a fairly relaxed evening together. I munched away on all kinds of food until the strike of twelve, after that I was not supposed to eat or drink anything because I would turn into an evil Gremlin needed to have an empty stomach for the surgery.
Knowing the C-section was scheduled in the afternoon and that I would be ravenously hungry by 6 in the morning, I prepared some home-made chocolate milk and decided I could drink that if I woke in the night. Mmmm! (Of course I woke!)

Come next morning we got ourselves ready at a leisurely pace and drove to the hospital. After checking in we went up to the maternity ward, where the midwives were expecting us. Because the ward was more or less full, we were ushered into a delivery room for the final preparations. These involved a hospital gown, an IV-drip, a razor blade, a lavage and one husband shuffling uneasily in his seat as he witnessed the application of all of the above. It crossed my mind to send him outside in an attempt to maintain some sense of dignity, but I reckoned this was only the beginning and I preferred having some company.

Then we were left to ourselves to wait. I brought along some books for just such an eventuality and I thoroughly enjoyed 'Babywatching' by Desmond Morris (an animal behaviorist's view on babies and parents, down to earth and enlightening).

Suddenly, it was time to roll - quite literally for me - as I was wheeled to the surgery wing bed and all. My husband wasn't allowed to follow me in right away, a pity because I could have used his support while they stuck in the epidural. I should say, stuck, stuck, stuck in the epidural because it took 3 tries. The first two times the anaesthesiologist hit the bone, not painful but it makes a creepy scraping sound. That didn't help my anxiety level any, and by the third try I was starting to feel panic rise. The nurse let me squeeze her hand while the anaesthesiologist explained that all was normal, my padding just made it harder to feel where exactly to stick the needle. Not his fault, nor mine, he added. Well, at least that comment distracted me.

After that episode, I was wheeled into the recovery room for observation while I waited for the surgery. My blood pressure took a dive, which is rather common with epidurals, leaving me feeling rather groggy and anxious. The nurses were kind, administering drugs and reassurance.

I don't know how much time passed, but before long I was wheeled to an OR and moved to the operating table. I remember lying there, splayed on the table with my arms strapped down (did they think I was going to try and intervene?), feeling pretty helpless. Things didn't improve when the hospital gown was drawn up over a rod to form a curtain, shielding the actual surgery from my field of vision (except for the reflection of it in the lamp above of course). That left me feeling very exposed to the doctor, assistant, anaestesiologist, nurses, and of course my husband in the room. I'm sure I was covered in sterile drapes for the most part. Thing is, I couldn't feel that anymore.

Ob/gyn: "Can you feel that?"
Me: "No"
Ob/gyn: "Excellent! I was just giving you some nasty pinches. Now we can proceed."

The first few minutes, nothing seemed to happen. Then the pulling sensation started. Knowing you're being cut open, while feeling no pain but sensing some of the motions is bizarre. Luckily, I was forewarned through reading personal accounts of it on the net. I don't remember the book on C-sections I read mentioning it.
At first, the pulling was rather gentle, but as the great moment drew nearer, it got rather more intense. This coincided with the ob/gyn exclaiming "the baby has turned it's head sideways!". I gather Linnea wasn't keen on coming out so soon.
At some point the assistant leaned heavily on my abdomen - after fair warning - to persuade her to come out.

Then, rather suddenly, something blue-greyish, covered in a white creamy substance and with a mop of bloody hair on top was held over the curtain. What a shock!

Ob/gyn: "Congratulations! You have a daughter."

With those words the little being was whisked away to an area in the room out of my view, with my husband following in tow. This left me with a feeling I can only describe as unreal. Did anything life-altering just happen here? I don't feel any different, I can't see anything different. Then Linnea gave a little wail, causing my ears to perk (I can actually perk them), but without reality sinking in much deeper.

As far as I can remember, they showed me the baby once again, swaddled in a blanket, and then left with her to the maternity ward, closely guarded by my husband.

Sowing me back up took about 40 minutes, though it didn't feel that long to me. Afterwards, I was moved back to the recovery ward for a while. The nurses asked how it had gone, boy or girl, and congratulated me, but none of this made it feel any more real. What did feel real was my grumbling stomach. Of course they don't hand out snacks in recovery.

After what seemed ages, I was finally moved up to the maternity ward, back to the delivery room where my husband was enjoying his first cuddle with our little girl. He promptly handed her over to me. As I held Linnea for the first time, reality finally started to sink in. And a sense of contentment came over me that wouldn't leave for the next three days. Maybe it was the anaesthetic, but I doubt it.

Labels: ,


At 12 November, 2007 22:58, Blogger Beagle said...


At 13 November, 2007 00:01, Blogger ak1908 said...


At 13 November, 2007 00:23, Blogger namaste said...

It sounds like such a peaceful way for her to enter the world. Thank you for sharing the story. And what a beautiful name you've graced her with. Hopefully you'll keep blogging...


At 13 November, 2007 03:16, Blogger The Dunn Family said...

Aw, brings back such memories! It's so wonderful that you recorded it! Although it's been over 7 months for me, and I can recall it like it was yesterday. But I'm guessing in say, 10 years, maybe that won't be the case. Congrats on your beautiful daughter. And I also love her name!

At 13 November, 2007 03:24, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful story, it brings a smile to my face.

At 13 November, 2007 06:53, Blogger Bumble said...

Thanks for sharing it Lut!! Sounds like it all went well with a spectacular prize at the end! I think it'll take a few weeks to sink in with me too. Unreal but so awesome!

At 13 November, 2007 12:08, Blogger Bea said...

It does sound surreal, and tense at the time I'm sure, but it also sounds as if it went well, which is the main thing. Thanks for the story.


At 14 November, 2007 00:20, Anonymous Jys said...

Lut, how incredibly beautiful... Days of birth are surreal and a miracle. Its like the day in your life when a piece of heaven smiled down upon you. How many such days do we get in our lives? Even the most procreative of when get how many of them, like 10? Out of an entire lifetime.
A HUGE congratulations to you again - and yes, preserve EVERY memory you can. Once its gone its gone. Whether an account of events, a chance to take a photo, an opportunity to preserve anything from that day, etc.
WElcome Linea into the world!!!!

Also, I think you write so beautifully - your whole blog is like artwork. Your way of phrasing things makes me want to laugh and cry and is just amazing. This blog IS an incredible memory lane for you right there - and thank you so much for sharing with the rest of us.

At 14 November, 2007 21:11, Blogger Summer said...

That was a beautiful post. Congratulations on your baby girl!

At 15 November, 2007 19:35, Blogger Angie said...

Thank you for posting your story.

At 22 November, 2007 02:03, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May your contentment continue!


At 26 November, 2007 22:27, Blogger katty said...

Congratulations again, Lut.


<< Home