*Disclaimer: this is EXTREMELY long. I wrote this story mostly for myself, and I wanted to remember every detail that I could, so I wrote it ALL down. So, I don’t want to hear any complaining about how long it is, because well, I warned you. ;o)
I went in for a routine weekly Dr.’s appointment on Tuesday, February 16th, 2010. At this point in time, my OB was out of town, so I was seeing the Nurse-Midwife in the practice, Mary-Beth. Mary-Beth was doing a work study with another Nurse-Midwife who was new to the practice though, and wasn’t in the office that week, so I saw the other Nurse-Midwife, Tanya. She checked my cervix to see if any progress had been made from the prior week. Turns out I hadn’t. I was still about 3 ½ centimeters dilated and 70% effaced. I had just turned 41 weeks that day, so she did a small membrane sweep to see if we could get labor going. I hadn’t had any real contractions by this point, just a lot of Braxton Hicks (or “practice”) contractions.
After she did the sweep, she hooked me up to the Non Stress Test machine, to monitor baby, and see how he was doing, and to see if I was having any contractions. They monitored him for a little while and he was sleeping, so they gave me a juice box to try to wake him up. A little while goes by and he’s still not moving around a whole lot, so they give me another juice box. This gets a kick or two out of him, and a couple of heart excels and decels. Tanya comes in to check on him, and she wants to see more activity out of him, so I get yet another juice box. He finally wakes up, but I guess he still wasn’t moving as much as they wanted. Tanya came back in and said that she was going to call Mary-Beth, who was covering at the Women’s Center in the hospital that week, and just kind of give her an update on me, and how the baby was doing. She came back in a couple minutes later, and said that Mary-Beth wanted me to come to the hospital for a little while to be put on the monitors there.
So I left the Dr.’s office, and went home for a little while, so I could eat lunch right quick. On the way home, I called Mike, and let him know what was going on, and said I would call him again if I ended up needing to stay at the hospital. Then I called my mom, and let her know what was going on as well. I then called my doula, Angela Davis, and let her know that I was going to the hospital to be monitored. She decided that she would go ahead and stop by the hospital after I got there, to see how things were going. I went home and cooked some eggs, with cheese on top, because I wanted protein in me, in case I ended up having to stay at the hospital, since they don’t let you eat once you’ve gone into labor. I also decided to take my 41 week belly picture before I went, just in case I didn’t get another opportunity to do so.
I finally headed to the hospital (Tanya had let Mary-Beth know that I wouldn’t be there for about 45 minutes to an hour) and checked in at the Emergency Room and got all admitted and everything. I headed upstairs to the Women’s Center, and they got me a room. I changed into a gown, and waited for my nurse to come in. She came in a few minutes later, and got the monitors all strapped to me, and took my information to finish putting me in the computer system. After a little while Angela showed up and sat with me. It was nice not to have to sit in there by myself. Mary-Beth showed up a little while later, and checked the strip from the monitors, to see what the baby was doing. Sure enough, in the time that I had went home and ate, he had woken up, and was now performing beautifully on the monitor. I was also having a couple of contractions here and there, but nothing painful, and nothing regular. Mary-Beth was concerned about the fact that I was heading into my 42nd week, and really wanted to try to get labor going for me. She went ahead and checked me again, and said that I was about 3 ½ centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. She also did a more vigorous sweeping of my membranes, which hurt really bad. Angela was there to hold my hand though, which was nice.
Mary-Beth then started to talk to me about some options for getting labor going, as she really didn’t want me waiting much longer. She suggested that we insert a prostaglandin tablet up by my cervix, which she was pretty sure would be just enough to get labor going for me. I was reluctant to “induce” labor, but knew that this was the least invasive way to do so, and I trusted Mary-Beth’s opinion that we should get things moving. So I agreed to the prostaglandin tablet. I asked her if I could go home first and finish packing my hospital bag, and wait for Mike to get off work, since he was having a pretty chaotic day. She said that was fine, and suggested that I come and check back in at 6:30. After she left the room, it suddenly all hit me that it was actually time to have our baby. I got really nervous, and overwhelmed with the thought of it all, and nearly started crying. I asked Angela if she thought it was a good choice, and she agreed that it was. The nurse came in and had me sign a paper that basically said I was allowed to leave the hospital for a little while and then come back, without having to completely check out, and then go through the checking in process again when I came back.
So Angela and I left the hospital and went back to my house. I called Mike and my mom to let them know that it was baby time. Mike didn’t quite understand that we were going to have a baby one way or another in the next day or so. He thought that if the prostaglandin tablet didn’t work, that they would just send me home. I kept having to explain to him that if the first dose didn’t work, they would try a second dose, and if that didn’t work, they would move onto other things.
When we got back to my house, we just puttered around for a little while. We went upstairs and I finished packing all of my stuff that I needed for the hospital. Then we just came back downstairs and chatted on the couch, and I did some things online while we waited for Mike to come home. Somewhere in there, my Braxton Hicks contractions started turning into real, slightly painful contractions. Angela downloaded an app for her iPhone that would allow her to time the contractions. They were sporadic for most of the afternoon. By the time Mike got home, around 5:30, they were starting to get a little more intense, but still not too bad. I got up off the couch, and swayed my hips through them, which felt a lot better than just sitting. I heated up some leftovers for Mike, and I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner. 6:20 finally rolled around, and Mike finished a couple last minute things around the house, while I went upstairs and brushed my teeth. We loaded the car up with my small suitcase, and several pillows and we all headed back off to the hospital. As I was getting in the car it hit me that when I came home, I’d be coming home with a baby. It was a very surreal moment for me. We got in the car, and I looked at Mike and said, “Are you ready?” he jokingly said “no”. I think he was pretty nervous about the whole thing, but so was I. We were having a baby. No turning back now.
We got back to the hospital and back into my room around 6:45. I changed into the hospital gown that I had made for the occasion, and got hooked up to the monitors. While we waited for Mary-Beth to come in, we sat and chatted while the baby’s heart was beating away on the monitor in the background. I could tell that my contractions were becoming more regular by this point, and I was starting to have to stop talking and focus through them. Mary-Beth came in around 7:15 and checked the strip to see how baby was doing, and noticed that my contractions were coming about 3 minutes apart. She asked me how they were feeling, and if I was able to talk through them or not. I told her that I wasn’t able to. She was excited by the fact that I was contracting on my own, and said that we wouldn’t need to do the prostaglandin tablet. I was so excited about this! It made me so happy that I was able to go into labor on my own without the help of anything synthetic. She mentioned being hooked up to an IV, and I told her that I really wanted to try to avoid an IV, as I could see it really irritating me during contractions, and she agreed that I didn’t need one, which I was also super happy about, as this was something I had thought about a lot during my pregnancy as something I wanted to avoid. She said she would check on me again later, and that I could be unhooked from the monitors shortly, and left the room. A little while later, my nurse, Gail, came in and unhooked me from the monitors and said I could start walking the halls if I wanted to. I called my mom right quick to let her know that I was contracting on my own, and that we didn’t need the prostaglandin tablet. She was in town with Lucas at the time, and decided to go home for a few hours so she could eat something, and lay down for a little while, and that she would come back into town when Lucas went to go do his paper route at 12:30, but said to call her if I started progressing further.
Mike, Angela and I then walked a couple of laps around the halls. I would stop and hang onto the rails on the walls and sway my hips during contractions. I was really surprised that they weren’t all that painful at this point, just kind of intense (I finally understood what people meant when they said that. I never could until I was experiencing it myself). After a couple of laps, my hips were starting to get pretty sore, so I said I wanted to go back to the room. On our way back, Angela stopped at the nurses station and asked Gail if she could bring a birthing ball to our room. She brought it in, and I sat on that, which felt so good because it relieved the pressure off of my hips. They raised the bed up a bit so I could lean my arms against it, and I did that and rocked back and forth during the contractions.
Mary-Beth came in again at 8:00, asking how I was doing, and checking to see how things were going. She did an internal exam to check my progress and I was pleasantly surprised and excited when she said, “Oh wow, you’re about at a five!” Angela and I both let out a little cheer. I couldn’t believe I was already half way there, and things really weren’t so bad yet! Mary-Beth said she needed to leave the hospital for just a little while to go right down the road for a volley ball game that she was playing in, but that she wouldn’t be gone long. I told her to have fun, and that we would see her when she got back. After she left, I called my mom and let her know that I had progressed to a 5. We talked about whether or not she should come in early or not. At this point I still didn’t think things were going to move very fast. I told her that if it would make her feel better, that her and Lucas could go ahead and come into town, and they could go to our house, where she could lay down for a while. That way, they would only be about two minutes away from the hospital instead of about twenty. She said she would talk to Lucas and see if that was ok with him. After I got off the phone with her, I got back on the birthing ball, because it was the most comfortable position for me to labor in. This time I decided I wanted my laptop out, so we got that out of my suitcase, and got it all set up on the bed, and I got on Facebook, and updated everyone there. I also posted my 41 week belly picture on my blog, and wrote and said that I was in the hospital in labor. Obviously labor still wasn’t going too bad at this point. Mike and Angela were talking about web sites or something that was too technical for me to follow, so I just paid attention to what was going on in the Facebook world, and when a contraction would come, I would just close my eyes and kind of drift away to my own place while I focused on my breathing. If I did happen to be talking when a contraction hit, I would just kind of trail off, and stop talking for a minute and close my eyes. When it was over, I would open my eyes and say, “Okay” and continue where I left off. It was so weird to me that I just literally could not talk through the contractions. But once they were over I was just fine again. Everyone who came in the room to check the baby’s heart rate and everything couldn’t believe that I was still joking around in between contractions, and that I still seemed to be relatively comfortable. It was encouraging to know that I was handling things so well.
Mary-Beth came back to my room around 9:00. She saw that I was on Facebook, and said I was having too much fun. The whole atmosphere was just really light, and everyone was in such good spirits. I could feel the excitement in the air, although I was still a little apprehensive. She checked me again and said that I was now 6 centimeters dilated. While she was checking me, she went ahead and broke my water, which was one of the weirdest feelings I have ever experienced. I knew that the water was supposed to be coming out, but I remember wanting to make it stop, because it just felt so unnatural. Mary-Beth again noticed my laptop, and noticed the picture I had on my Facebook profile, which was a picture from our wedding. She was telling me how beautiful it was, and I was trying to thank her, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to focus, because the contractions were now coming a lot closer together, and the intensity of them was about double what it had been. She told me she would be back later to check on me, and that she wanted me to walk the halls again to keep things moving. I didn’t really want to walk the halls again, but I knew that she was right, and that I needed to keep active or I could run the chance of my labor stalling out or slowing down. So I got out of bed, and grabbed my phone, so I could call my mom again. I let her know that I was still progressing well, and that Mary-Beth had broken my water. It was hard for me to talk in full sentences, and she asked me if I was ok. I said, “Yeah, I’m alright, the contractions are just a lot closer together now, so it’s hard for me to talk.” She said that they were headed into town, and that she would just go ahead and have Lucas bring her to the hospital, instead of going to my house. I told her that sounded good, and that I would see her when she got there. After I hung up with her, we went out into the hallway to walk. I had to stop a lot more, since the contractions were so much closer together. Mike would hold my hand as I held onto the railing on the wall with the other. I would press the top of my head against the wall and roll my hips. We walked about three laps around the Women’s Center, and I decided I needed to go back to the room to sit down on the birthing ball again because my hips were getting too sore.
We got back to the room and I got back on the birthing ball. The relief to my hips was immediate, and it felt so much better, although it didn’t help with the intensity of the contractions. I hadn’t been back in the room very long when Mom and Lucas showed up. Mom came in first, and Lucas had to wait a minute because the nurse was in, and had my gown lifted up, so she could monitor the baby’s heart rate through a couple of contractions. After she was done Lucas came in and sat down with Mike. Mom started rubbing my shoulders through the contractions, which felt good. Angela was also by my side the whole time, and it was somewhere around here that she asked if I wanted to try to get in the shower to help with the pain. For some reason the thought of being in the shower was completely unappealing, and I told her that I didn’t feel like being wet. A few seconds later, Mary-Beth came in and asked if I wanted to get ready to move to the tub room, so that I could labor in the tub. I was having a contraction at that moment, so Angela told her that I didn’t feel like being wet. So, Mary-Beth asked if we could at least start filling it up so it would be ready when I did want it. I said that was fine. For some reason, the tub suddenly sounded good. I’m not sure why I didn’t want to be wet in the shower, but didn’t mind the thought of being wet in the tub, but it’s what I wanted in that moment, so there you have it.
A few minutes later, Mary-Beth was back, and was saying it was time to switch rooms. After a contraction passed, we began to make our way to the tub room. I had to stop once or twice along the way, because I just couldn’t walk through the contractions. We finally got there, and after another contraction or two I was able to get into the tub. I could not believe the amount of relief the water gave me! It felt so good to get in that warm water, it was simply amazing. The middle of the tub dipped down a little lower than the rest, so you could sit on your knees and be lower down in the water, so I did that. The contractions hurt way to much when I was in a sitting position leaning back in the tub. Mike stood on the outside of the tub, in front of me and held my hands. I had a wonderful support team around me, between Angela, my mom, and Mike. It was wonderful. They were all so helpful, and I was impressed with the way Mike stepped up to be a comfort to me. I couldn’t have gotten through the next parts of this experience without him. During the contractions, while Mike held my hands, my mom was next to him and would rub my hair, and Angela was behind me with a shower head that was attached to the tub, and would spray hot water on my back. This was so soothing, and really helped with the pain management. In between contractions it really started to hit me that I was actually in labor! (you would think that it would have hit me long before this point!) I remember thinking to myself, “wow, I’m in labor. This is so crazy.” And I got this goofy grin on my face, and I looked up at my husband and smiled at him. He said, “What are you doing?” I just kind of laughed and said, “I’m in labor!” I felt like I was high. Or crazy. Or both. Because it was almost like I was enjoying this! I think I actually enjoyed being in labor, which sounds so incredibly odd to be saying. Being in pain is not something normal people enjoy. But hey, who’s to say I’ve ever been normal?
A little while goes by, and Mary-Beth comes in to see how I’m doing. She was amazed that I was still smiling in between contractions, and was saying how good I was doing. She said that she wanted me to eat a Popsicle, because she wanted to get my energy levels up for when it was time to push. She asked me if there was any specific flavor I liked or didn’t like. I was trying to focus through a contraction at that point, and couldn’t for the life of me concentrate on Popsicle flavors. I remember “grape”, “orange”, and “not cherry” going through my mind, but I just said to Mary-Beth “I don’t care. Anything is fine.” Sure enough she brought me cherry. I remember grinning when she handed it to me, because it was the one flavor I didn’t want, and it was just kind of ironic, but I really didn’t care. And it ended up being the cherry flavor that wasn’t so bad, and not the one that tastes like cough syrup, so it wasn’t that bad anyways. And I only ended up eating about two bites of it. I started to take the first bite, and a contraction hit, so I handed it to Mike, while I focused through it. He handed it back to me afterwards, and I took another bite, then noticed that my mom was over sitting in the chair and she was taking a picture, so I posed for her with my Popsicle. I remember Mary-Beth making a comment about my good spirits, when another contraction hit. I could tell this one was different, and I handed the Popsicle back to Mike. That was the end of all joking around and smiling between contractions. They were more than serious now, and coming one right on top of the other. They checked the baby’s heart rate again, and he was still doing fine.
I started to break down during the contractions. It was becoming increasingly difficult to relax during them, and to breathe correctly. I started to cry a little during them, and was having to groan through them now. I knew that the fun and games were over and we were getting down to business. They kept asking me if I wanted a cold rag for my forehead, and for some reason I kept saying no. I’m not really sure why. Mary-Beth kept asking me if I felt the urge to push, and if I was feeling any pressure. I kept telling her no. I wasn’t feeling any of that yet. She was listening to the way I was groaning through the contractions, and I kept hearing her say how it sounded like I was getting close to being ready to push. She told me that if it helped to ease the pain of the contractions, that I could try bearing down through them, so even though I didn’t feel the need to push, I did anyways, because I had to do something to help the pain. And surprisingly, pushing did help. When she noticed that she said, “Yeah. I think you’re pretty close, we better check you.” So she did an internal while I was still in the tub and announced to the room that I was fully dilated. I couldn’t believe the time was here to actually get the baby out. It had gone by so fast.
They started to drain the tub, and I continued to push through the contractions, which were continuing to be one right on top of the other. In between contractions, they helped me get out of the tub, into some dry clothes, and back into my gown. They helped me get up on the bed, where we started the serious pushing. I remember saying that someone needed to be getting pictures. My mom asked what kind of pictures I wanted, and I told her I didn’t care. To take whatever she wanted and I would delete what I didn’t want later. Pushing was the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done. Mary-Beth had me doing four pushes per contraction, 10 seconds each push. I never knew something could be so exhausting. The pain from the contractions was mounting with each one that rolled over me, and I was starting to lose it. I kept saying, “I can’t do this!” Mike was holding my left hand and stroking my hair, Angela was holding my right hand, and my mom was also close by. Every time I said I couldn’t do it, they just kept telling me that I could. I didn’t want to though. The pain was becoming too much, and everything in me wanted it to be over. Looking back, I think I was actually transitioning at this point. I think I started pushing just a little bit too early, as I was displaying all of the emotional sign-posts of transition during this time.
It was at this point that things started to get a little bit crazy. I have a hard time remembering exactly what happened in the next moments. They were carefully monitoring the baby’s heart rate while I was pushing, and at some point it began to drop, although I was initially unaware. Mary-Beth had me move into a different position to push in, I think it was on my side. We tried this for a little while, and I don’t think it was getting us anywhere, so she had me get off the bed and squat on the floor. Angela squatted behind me and supported me while I pushed. I remember knowing that I got a couple of really good pushes in while I was in that position. Before I squatted, they had inserted an internal monitor and attached it to Logan’s head, so they could more closely monitor his heart rate. I remember feeling it, and being upset that it was in his head, but not saying anything. They got me back up on the bed, and had me pushing more. I think it was at this point that they gave me the oxygen mask, to get more oxygen to the baby. I was becoming delirious, and in between contractions I just kept saying, “So tired. So much pain. So much pain.” I didn’t want to push anymore, and when a contraction would come, I would say “No” and shake my head. I remember with one contraction I tried to hide the fact that it was hitting again because I didn’t want to push anymore. Obviously they could see my face wrinkle up in pain, and knew that I was having another one. Angela was still by my side and kept saying, “come on, we’re not going to waste this, you can do it.”
I think that Mary-Beth was thinking that the amount of pain I was in and the way I was handling it was what was affecting the baby’s heart rate, so she said that she wanted to do a pelvic block, where they inject Lidocaine into the pelvis to take the edge off of the contractions. I said, “ok”. The baby’s heart rate was continuing to drop, so they had me get into a different position, and a minute later she said, “Kassandra, we’re going to put an IV in, and give you Stadol for the pain.” Again, I said “ok”. I knew that the pain meds had to do with the baby’s heart rate dropping, so even though I was trying to go for a med-free birth, I knew this was probably the best choice. She went to check the position of the baby’s head again and said, “Oh, there’s still a little lip of cervix there, I need you to stop pushing!” I was more than happy to do so, it was exhausting. Then they had me get on my hands and knees, and a nurse was trying to get an IV in my right hand. Everything was moving so fast. Mary-Beth kept checking the baby and his heart rate was still very low, so she wanted me to move again. The vein that the nurse was trying to get the IV in blew out. I switched positions. His heart rate would come up for just a second, and I could feel the tension in the room break, but then it would drop back down again, and everyone would start scrambling again. Mary-Beth then told me that she was going to have the OB come in and get his opinion, and that they were going to have the Anesthesiologist come in and do an epidural. Again I said, “ok”. What else could I say?
Next thing I know, the OB (Dr. Wells) is rushing in, along with a ton of nurses. Everything is a blur at this point. I’m in so much pain I can hardly see what’s going on around me, much less focus on it. I hear Mary-Beth say, “Kassandra, we have to get him out NOW!” I hear and see them all rush in, and I hear “C-Section” flying out of someone’s mouth. I’m not sure who said it. I think it was Dr. Wells. In the back of my mind, I knew it was coming but I still thought, “Oh no, I can’t believe this is happening.” Next, a nurse is at my side with a clipboard saying, “Kassandra, this is the consent form for the C-Section. I need you to sign it.” I grabbed the pen and thought, “Are you serious?!? How on earth am I supposed to sign this thing right now? I’m in so much pain I can barely even see the line that I’m supposed to sign on!” Everything in me was fighting against the idea of the c-section. This was the one thing I wanted to avoid above all else. It just isn’t how babies are supposed to be born! I knew that my baby’s life was hanging in the balance though, and I knew that it wasn’t an option. We had to get him out, or he was going to die before he even had the chance to live. So I tried to focus so I could sign the paper. I hear Mary-Beth tell her, “We don’t have time for that, we have verbal consent, let’s go!”
All of the sudden the bed starts rolling as I hand the pen back to the nurse, and I am being wheeled out of the room. It’s at this point that I become hysterical. I start sobbing uncontrollably, although my body is too stressed to allow actual tears to flow. As they were wheeling me across the hall to the OR, I just kept saying, “Dear Lord, please help me!” I was so scared. The people wheeling my bed must have thought I was insane, and that I was being way more dramatic than necessary. I remember thinking that at the time, too. But I didn’t care. I remember seeing them open the door to the OR, and just still not believing that this was actually happening.
They wheeled me into the OR, and as the rolled me over to the operating table, I said to Mary-Beth, “Just put me out if you have to.” And she said, “We may just have to do that.” I replied, “That’s fine. Do what you have to do.” I just wanted the pain to go away. I knew it no longer had a purpose and I couldn’t tolerate it anymore. They told me to scoot over onto the operating table, which was extremely hard to do, as my contractions were still coming one on top of the other. They had given me turbutaline in my IV (which I have absolutely no recollection of being placed. Apparently my nurse, Gail had successfully placed an IV in my left hand some time after the right one blew, but I have no idea when this happened) to slow the contractions down, but it wasn’t working. They were still coming fast and furious. As I moved over to the operating table, I asked through my sobs where my husband was. I so desperately needed him. I knew that in some cases with emergency c-sections, the fathers often aren’t let into the OR, and I was terrified that I was going to have to do this alone. They told me that he was suiting up and he would be in soon. Knowing that he would be with me soon helped quite a bit.
I remember hearing Dr. Wells and Mary-Beth trying to figure out which kind of anesthesia was going to be best for me. Mary-Beth wanted to put me out because she thought it would be faster, because the baby’s heart rate was still low (by the time we got into the OR, it had stabilized at around 117, which is still low, but much better than it had been), but Dr. Wells wanted to do a spinal, because he thought it would be safer. During their conversation I just kept thinking, “Put me OUT and get it over with!” but as soon as Dr. Wells said “safer” I thought, “Oh no, what if I don’t wake up?” So then I was scared to be put out. Finally Dr. Wells said, “I think I can get a spinal in as fast as we could get her put out” and Mary-Beth agreed to do the spinal.
The anesthesiologist came in, and my nurse, Gail helped me sit up on the bed. She was wonderful. She took my arms and wrapped them around herself, and held onto me. The anesthesiologist began prepping my back with the sterilizer, which was so incredibly cold. It sent cold chills radiating throughout my entire body, and he wiped my back down 3 different times with that stuff! It felt like they stored that stuff in the refrigerator, it was so ridiculously cold. He asked me to poke my back out towards him, so he could get the catheter in. I had seen so many baby shows on TV, I knew what to do. It was SO hard though. My belly was so big, it made it really hard to bend over like he needed me to, and right at that moment, another contraction hit. He said, “Come on, I need you to poke your back out.” He was really nice about it, but at this point I had had enough. It was the only time during my entire labor and delivery that I got a little mean, and I said through gritted teeth, “I AM HAVING A CONTRACTION!” I could literally feel him step away from me, and he just said, “Ok, just let me know when you’re ready.” I had to do the “hee-hee-hoo” breathing through this contraction, and Gail was right there, breathing right along with me. She was so amazing. I don’t know that I could have gotten through those moments without her. When the contraction passed, I said “ok” and he went back to work getting my spinal placed. He poked me once, and then I could feel a lot of pressure in my spine and I could feel the catheter moving down the right side of my spine, and it hurt. I was saying “ow, ow, ow!” And he says, “Oh does that hurt?” I replied, “Yes!” So he pulled it out and started over. Later someone told me that he had to poke me twice, but it felt like he poked me three or four times.
The spinal was finally in place and they helped me lay down on the table again. It started working very quickly and I could feel my feet starting to prickle with numbness almost instantly, and I felt one more contraction before it fully kicked in. They pulled out these little arms on either side of the table for my arms to rest on, in a “t” shape, and as they placed my arms on them, I thought they were going to strap me down, and I just thought, “Oh no, please don’t strap me down!” Luckily, they didn’t. I think I would have lost it again if they had (although I was still crying at this point, just not as hysterical).
No longer being in unnecessary pain really helped me to calm down, and that’s when the real tears began to flow. I looked around and saw Mary-Beth standing to my left, and she locked eyes with me, and said, “Kassandra, you need to take deeper breaths your baby needs oxygen.” (I still had the oxygen mask on) So I said ok, and forced myself to continue to calm down and take deep, long breaths. Again, I asked where my husband was, but this time I had to ask a couple of times, because no one was really paying attention to me. I didn’t care that they weren’t paying attention, I just so badly wanted and needed my husband by my side. They told me he would be in, in just a minute. I look over to my right, in the direction of the door, just watching and waiting for him. He finally came in, and sat down by my head, and rubbed my hair while I cried. I said, “I didn’t want this to happen. I don’t want to do this anymore.” He said, “It’s ok, they’re doing it for you now. It’s going to be ok, babe.” I asked, “Was it because I wasn’t pushing hard enough? It was so hard.” He said, “No babe, it’s not your fault.” And he kissed my head through his surgical mask.
I expected to have a sense of what the Dr’s were doing, but I never felt a single thing. I was numb all the way up to the top of my sternum, and even my arms were a bit tingly, although they never got fully numb. They only thing I could feel was my body being moved from side to side. I didn’t even know that they had already cut me open, when they said, “Alright Dad, you want to stand up and look?” So Mike stood up and looked over the drape that was placed above my shoulders. The first thing he said was, “He’s got a head full of hair!” I was surprised and said, “You can see him?!?” And he replied, “Yeah I can see him! He’s definitely a boy!” and I laughed at him. The whole pregnancy he had been saying that whatever they said the baby’s gender was going to be, it was going to come out the opposite. So I was happy that he could finally see that our boy was indeed a boy. The Dr’s told me that I was going to feel some pressure when they pulled him out, but I never did. I never felt anything. The anesthesiologist was very good at his job. They didn’t show the baby to me right away like I expected them to. They just whisked him right by me, and to the little table, which was in the direction of my left shoulder. I watched them wiping him off, but all I could see were his tiny, adorable hands and feet sticking up in the air. I heard Mike start to say something, and I looked up at him to witness the most beautiful moment of my life, as my husband stood there with tears of joy running down his face, saying, “That’s our baby boy, babe.” And my tears started afresh. Only this time, they weren’t tears of fear or sadness. They were tears of utter joy and happiness. My baby was finally here. I watched as they finally got him to cry, and what a beautiful sound that was to my ears. They moved the blanket so I could see his face, and said, “Hi mom!” and “Mom, look at my long feet!” He did have long feet. The cutest feet I have ever seen. They swaddled him up and he calmed down, and they brought him over to me, and laid him on my chest, and Mike put his hand on him to hold him up there. I couldn’t bend my arms to touch him, but he was close enough to my face that I could kiss him. So I just cried and kissed him as much as I could. He opened one little brown eye and looked at me. It was heaven. I no longer cared how he got out of me, I just cared that he was there, and he was safe and healthy. That’s all that mattered.
After a few minutes the nurses said it was time for him to go to the nursery, so his daddy picked him up and held him for the first time, and carried him out. It was a beautiful sight to see. After that I was just deliriously happy. The anesthesiologist was standing on the left side of my head, watching them put me back together. He wasn’t really paying attention to me, but I was so happy, I wanted to talk to someone anyways. I looked up at him and said, “I have a baby!” in this voice that made me sound like I was high or something. He looked down at me like I was crazy for a second and then said, “You sure do! He’s a cutie.” And I replied, “He’s gorgeous.” He said, “You seem to be doing better now.” And I said, “Yeah, sorry.” Then he told me that they were just sewing me up, and I asked how much longer it would be, and he told me it would be about ten minutes. I said, “good” and started to drift off to sleep. I didn’t actually fall asleep though, and I saw Gail walking across the room, saying, “Let’s see if they weighed him yet!” So she picked up the phone and called the nursery. She asked if they had weighed him yet, and then hollered, “Eight pounds, seven ounces!” everyone in the room said something to the effect of, “Big boy!” and then Gail told us that he was twenty-one inches long.
I listened to the doctors as they finished sewing me up, and someone said, “Did we determine the cause for the c-section?” And someone else said, “Well, intolerance of Labor” and I thought, “No, that’s not good enough. Please give me a reason.” Then I think the first person said, “Well, and the cord seemed abnormally short.” There was my reason (Mary-Beth came back to the hospital on Friday and went over everything with me and confirmed this), his cord was just too short to let him descend into the birth canal, causing his heart rate to drop as I pushed him downward, because his cord was being pulled tight. Having a reason, something that no one could have prevented, made it easier to deal with. Having to have a c-section was really hard for me to deal with, emotionally. I had my heart set on a natural birth, and when I had to have the c-section I felt like something was stolen from me, even though I know no one could have prevented it. Giving birth is just such an emotional ordeal, and this just wasn’t the way it was supposed to happen.
The anesthesiologist started taking down the drape, signaling that we were finally almost done. There was a mirror up in the corner of the room, where the wall meets the ceiling, and it was just the weirdest thing, because I could see them wiping blood off of my abdomen and legs, but all I could feel was my body slightly shaking from side to side. At one point they pulled my left leg out, and bent it upward, but it felt like it was still laying flat on the table by my right leg. That was the weirdest thing ever. Then they moved my body back over to the rolling bed, which also felt extremely weird. They rolled me into the recovery room, where my mom came and sat with me for a little while, while Mike called his parents. I kept shivering uncontrollably, and my teeth were chattering like crazy, and everyone kept asking me if I was cold, but I was just shaking from the stress of it all, and I knew that this was common and normal from c-sections. Mike came in and traded places with my mom, and told me all about our little baby. They finally brought him in about 20 minutes later, and I finally got to actually hold my sweet boy. I tried to nurse him, and he latched on immediately. It was wonderful. After I fed him, we got my laptop, and Mom, Lucas, Mike, the baby and I all talked to my dad on Skype, in Iraq. It was great for him to still be able to see his new grandson.
When I could finally (after about an hour and a half) wiggle my toes, they took me to my room that I would stay in the rest of my time there (if you’re keeping track, that’s 5 different rooms I’ve been in now). I cuddled up with my sweet boy, who I was completely in love with, and tried to get some sleep. And well, the rest is history.
Logan James Ryan was born on February 17th, 2010 at 1:13 am, weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces, and 21” long, via Emergency C-Section. It wasn’t the way I planned for him to arrive, but it saved his life, and for that, I am forever thankful. He is the most wonderful blessing from the Lord. Thus begins my journey into Motherhood. What a wonderful thing it is indeed.