We arrived at the hospital in time for our 7am check-in. We were first on the surgical list that day, scheduled at 8.30am, and I was glad. I was feeling nervous enough without having to wait for an uncertain length of time for the surgery. The nurses called my husband to put his blue scrubs on. Things were starting to get real.
Now it was my turn. I had to put on two hospital gowns, as you can imagine both were hideous looking, one doing up and the front the other at the back. I was asked a number of questions by the nurses and the anaesthetists – what did we want to do with the placenta? did we want baby to have a vitamin K injection? was I allergic to any drugs? was I unwell?
Finally I was walked into another room and lifted onto a hospital bed. There I was greeted by an anaesthetist with a Star Wars headscarf. Time for the spinal tap. I was anxious as I bent over a couple of pillows. Three doses of local anaesthetic followed into my lower back. The pain was sharp. And then the spinal.
I was wheeled into theatre and at that moment my emotions overtook me. I broke down. I was overwhelmed, worried, and finally having to face up to the occasion that I felt I had denied for so long. It was confronting. I wanted a hug from my husband as the theatre staff fussed around me. All I could do was look at him from a distance and try to regain my composure. After a while a senior nurse gently told me I needed to pull myself together otherwise they would have to consider me as distressed. I gathered that meant that the surgery couldn’t happen until I was calm. I got there eventually.
I was lying on my back, the green curtain between me and my soon to be sliced open tummy sat in front of me. My arms were outstretched, a drip in one hand, monitors on the other hand. The anaesthetist stood by my head and my husband sat behind me.
I didn’t react well at all to the initial dose of anaesthetic. My chest felt like it was being crushed, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” I said to the anaesthetist. Thankfully, a friend of mine had the same experience and I knew, or at least thought, that it was due to slightly too much anaesthetic too quickly. The feeling wore off fairly fast.
The next period was probably the worst. I suddenly felt extremely unwell and as though I was going to faint, even though I was already lying down. Everything was spinning, I felt nauseous, there were black spots darting around in my vision. I was sweating and shaking. I overhead the anaesthetists talking about my blood pressure. My husband was asking questions. The anaesthetist was telling me, “you’re fine, you’re OK.” Well I wasn’t. It was awful.
Thankfully, they managed to fix the issue. I had reacted badly to the drug that stabilises blood pressure. They had to quickly find an alternative drug and swap the IV over. My husband said that my vitals dropped really low – my heart rate and my blood pressure, and that the anaesthetists were visibly stressed. I’m glad I didn’t see that. It must have been hard for my husband to watch.
Then began the surgery. I could feel pressure on my abdomen, so I knew it was happening, but felt no pain. After a while, I felt the senior nurse putting a lot of pressure on my chest and ribcage – it made sense, I could feel the baby had squished itself right in there. Two more attempts at squishing her out and then it happened. That first cry. She was here. I bawled tears of relief and happiness.
She went off to get weighed and have her vitals checked. 4.19kgs, yikes. I had some relief that I had the c-section. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the surgeon had to cut through my placenta and I was losing a lot of blood. 1.5 litres it turned out. It would make for a difficult post-birth recovery.
But from that moment on, I went from being in denial to being completely in love with our new girl, and so happy. I looked in my husband’s red eyes as happy tears welled up. It was if the pain of the past three or so years was washed away instantly. We had finally done it.