N2: A Birth Story

Twas the night before delivery, and all through the house, not a creature was sleeping, especially not me. No, seriously, I was awake awake awake on Wednesday night, thinking about the IV and the catheter and the spinal and the cutting. Finally, around one thirty in the morning, worn out by anxiety, I dropped into a cat nap, only to be awaken at two in the morning by N screaming in pain. I rushed over to him after P did not wake (that man can sleep). N said to me miserably, "My ear hurts, Mommy!" I just sighed into my hands and said, "Ear infection." After a quick cuddle, he asked to go to my room with me, which I accommodated. Frankly, I slept better with him in my arms than not. His warmth lulled me to sleep again.

At five in the morning, the alarm rang out, and I woke up tense and anxious. After getting ready (while in pain from late pregnancy), we got into the car. I told my husband, "My lips and mouth are dry. I'm thirsty." But nothing for me to drink or eat until after the operation.

We got to the hospital around six, and started the checking in process. I'm sure I looked lovely as I sat there exhausted and trying not to cry. They asked me a series of questions I've forgotten and led me back to the triage. There, they started the process of prepping me. They monitored my baby (turns out I was having small contractions that I couldn't feel) and me and started prepping me for the IV.

At this point, I started to panic. I asked them multiple questions including whether I could get the catheter after the spinal. Yes, they assured me. And they kept trying to keep me calm as I had started to shake violently. The nurse who was giving me the IV looked at me and said, "You're shaking like a poodle." And it was true. I couldn't stop shivering. My body felt like it was trying to shake apart. She assured me it would go fast and it wouldn't hurt that much and everything would be fine. She got the IV in me and I tried not to cry when she blew a vein. (This wrist would end up bruising and hurting severely for the rest of the day. I still have a vague bruise from it, which is better than the all over bruising that circled my wrist like a bracelet.) So, we moved wrists to my left wrist. This time we got it in no problem, but it did hurt for a bit. However, having gotten one of my major fears over, I calmed for a short time.

Then, they asked me what I wanted to listen to during surgery. We picked the Postal Service station of Pandora. At eight, I was taken back to surgery. Here, I lost my shit. P was outside and I was alone with the joking anesthesiologist and the kind nurse. I started to cry. They asked me to sit on the table and I just stared at them in horror. After a few minutes, I got up and they began to prep me for the spinal. I asked them question after question. The anesthesiologist started to get a little annoyed. I can tell. I was now full on weeping and the guy was assuring me that nothing would be too bad. I peppered them with question after question when they told me I would feel them touching, but there would be no pain. I assured them I had felt nothing last time and they questioned this.

Finally, time for the spinal. They gave me something to numb the area first and that stung (enough to make me say much like N, "Ouchie!") and cry more. Then, the spinal, and that took effect and they laid me back. P was led in, but I kept questioning and questioning them. "Will I feel them cut me open? Will it hurt? Will it be okay?"

At this point, Dr. Todd, the anesthesiologist assured me that I would be getting a sedative as soon as little N2 was removed from my womb. I begged for it. They laid me back and I remember telling them I was going to be sick. "I'm nauseous. I'm nauseous!" They pushed my mouth to the side and gave me more drugs to counteract the drop in blood pressure. Then, "My shoulders hurt! Why do my shoulders hurt? Oh, God! Did they start cutting?!"

Poor Dr. Todd. He looked over me and said, "I'm giving you a pain med for the shoulders, but if you don't calm down, we're going to have to knock you out completely. How did you do this last time?" I told him I felt a lot calmer last time and didn't feel anything. He asked me if I had gotten oxygen after the cutting, and I told him they had given me oxygen when I started to panic in prep the last time. He nodded and told me that I had been drugged pre-surgery last time. Then, they asked if I had felt that and I told them I could feel them touching me. Dr. Todd told me they had test cut me and if I really felt anything, I would have been screaming in pain and agony. So, they started.

I felt the same pressure pushing I did with N, and I kept asking, "Why isn't she crying?" P and the doctors and nurses told me she was not out yet. A few minutes later, a weak cry came and they told P to rush over for pictures. Pictures were taken and they started to put me back together like I was Humpty Dumpty. P came back with N2 and I stared at her and they gave me some sedatives. I went from 100% anxiety to about 20% anxiety in minutes. I was able to start chatting more casually as I stared at my daughter in awe.

The next few hours were a giant blur. I had to ask P just now, "Did they bring me N2 in the recovery?" He assured me they did and I tried to breastfeed, but I don't really remember anything besides seeing her in surgery and then being taken to the room where I'd spend the next several days. I do remember thinking that she was a cutie pie that looked almost exactly like her brother.

More about my trials with breastfeeding and how I feel now (roughly a week later) in my next few posts.

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