Thursday, May 5th, 2011.
After a restless night, I awoke a little before the alarm was set to go off at 5 and slipped into the shower. I'm a girl who takes long showers, and I like to sit down for part of the time. Sitting in the shower is where I did my daily weeping over the past years, sobbing out the despair brought on by every anxiety-provoking treatment and negative test and bleedy uterus. And every morning of my pregnancy I sat there sending good thoughts to my fetus, loving my growing belly. I found myself sobbing on this occasion, too. The idea of cutting her out of there just seemed so cruel. I imagine this could offend some of you who have had C-sections, whether by necessity or preference, and I assure you I'm not making any general statement about the procedure. And I imagine some of you who endured difficult labors or are still waiting for your shot at motherhood are also rolling your eyes--I don't know how lucky I am. But, for me personally, this surgery has always been a source of sadness and guilt, and never more so than on that morning. And it's funny--even looking at Bun Bun lying next to me and seeing that she's perfectly okay and could give a shit about the mode of her birth doesn't take that grief away.
The drive to the hospital and the walk to Labor and Delivery were bizarre. We've done that drive and walked through those corridors so many times. And it was incredibly strange to take a left turn at the door leading both to the IF clinic and my OB's office and get on an elevator going to...Parenthood. I was installed in a recovery room. I lay there in my snazzy gown listening to her heart over the fetal monitor and feeling her little movements and trying to keep my shit together. Soon I was wheeled across the hall to the OR for a spinal/ epidural combo. It's a strange procedure--I was very aware that someone was fucking with my spine (my SPINE, y'all), but it wasn't particularly uncomfortable. A sort of weird pressure, then an electric spark, then the sensation of having pissed myself. But, I hasten to add, just the sensation. I lay down and the foley catheter was inserted, noteworthy mainly for the fact that I got to spread my legs for a room full of strangers. And then I was draped and Mr. Bunny came in. He looked very handsome in his scrubs and surgical cap and mask. You look like a doctor, I said. I am a doctor, he replied. Now just lie back and I'll get started... My OB informed me that she was ready to make the incision. There followed a period where it felt like a whole lot of people were rummaging in my insides as though I were a suitcase. My OB was talking her Fellow through the procedure, but I didn't want to focus too much on their conversation. I squeezed Mr. Bunny's hand and he stroked my forehead. There was the occasional smell of cauterizing flesh. NOM. We're opening the uterus now, said my OB. A surprisingly long time passed before I heard that first thin little wail and I felt the presence of another person in the room. It's a girl, various people cried out, sounding genuinely joyful. (Apparently they don't get as many opportunities to break the news as they'd like.) A girl! Mr Bunny and I echoed, tearfully, sobbingly. They held her above the drape and I saw a blue, smashed, vernix-covered face and was like, What the fuck! What is THAT and where's my child? A less-than-romantic reaction, I know, but I strive for truth. She was whisked to the other side of the room for warming and checking, and Mr. Bunny went with her. She was a bit chilly, like her mama, so it was some time before he was able to hold her, and all the time I could hear her lusty cry. At last Mr. Bunny brought her to me. He held her up to me and I could touch her cheek and kiss her. Her tiny perfect face, her wee hands, her massive quantities of hair the color of my husband's, her great pools of eyes... I had worried that the moment of transition from fetus to child, from n people in the room to n + 1, from parent-to-be to parent would be dampened, perhaps into nothingness, by the nature of the procedure. But it turns out that it's bigger than that. Way, way bigger.
Meanwhile, something extremely painful was going on below the drape. My chest was on fire and it seemed like they were stuffing a pygmy hippo inside me, and it fucking hurt. I told myself not to be a baby--that women endured hours of contractions and I could take this, but I was a bit psychologically unprepared for pain. The nice anesthesiologist gave me "something". I came back to the present and was able to focus on my sweet girl. They finished stitching me up, lifted me onto a gurney, and wheeled me back to my recovery room, Mr. Bunny following with Bun Bun in a bassinet. After endless checking of this and that by nurses and doctors, they brought her to me. I unsnapped my gown and they placed her on my chest. She snuggled in, seeming instantly comforted. I was overawed.
Next time: The recovery of the Bunny.
(P.S. I swear I left you all really great insightful, supportive comments, but I chose to catch up right before the great Blogger fail. OH WELL. Just imagine what you really needed to hear and pretend I wrote it.)