On the way to the hospital, my husband and I chatted excitedly about our newest little one. He insisted, again, that this one was a boy. I’d heard it all before– most people told me that. It had to do with how I carried, what I craved, and how closely my belly growth/shape mimicked that of my first pregnancy. As always, I smiled softly and murmured, “I still say it’s a girl.”
From the beginning of that pregnancy, I’d thought this baby would likely be a girl. I have no real explanation for that except for the fact that both my husband and I come for “2 girl/1 boy” families and so, somehow, it just made sense to me. My own mom had a full-term boy, then a preemie girl, then, 3 1/2 years later, me. So… I just figured that this baby would be a girl.
We arrived at the hospital, checked in, and they started getting me prepped. Now, ideally, this should be a super uneventful part of the story. Unfortunately, it kind of wasn’t. I mean, nothing horrible happened, but, first of all, they told me they were running behind. How in the world are you running behind at 5 am??? Well, they didn’t have enough nurses to do a surgery, apparently, so they were awaiting reinforcements. Okie dokey. But they decided to go ahead and set my IV and get me all ready…
I have lousy veins. You should know this about me. Teeny, tiny, child-size veins that collapse when presented with “grown-up” size needles. I’m not afraid of needles. Not at all. Shots? Don’t even faze me. But blood draws? Or IV’s? Leave me shaking in my slippers. It almost always becomes a big ordeal. That early June morning was no exception.
The nurse who was attempting to place the IV sort of brushed me off when I warned her about my rotten veins. I don’t really blame her. I imagine they get sick of people “telling them how to do their jobs” just like any other job that has to deal with the public. Alas, she probably should have heeded my warning. While my husband has witnessed all manner of vein-debacles at my side, this one took the cake. I’m not exactly sure WHAT she did, but I can tell you that so much blood poured out of my arm onto the floor that she had to call out for someone to bring her a towel. It was not pretty.
Finally, that was in place and she just had to tape it down. She told me they needed to tape over my wedding rings. Fine. She wrapped my fingers and then used small scissors to snip the tape so I’d have some movement between them. I cringed. She rolled her eyes and snipped again. I bit my lip. She snapped at me, “What? I told you I had to wrap your rings!” ”I know,” I said, “but it just… it felt like you cut the skin between my fingers.” She looked down. Blood seeped out from the tape. ”Oh. I did. Sorry.”
It was not going well.
Eventually, she was done with her part and I was to be turned over to the surgical nursing team. To be honest? I was glad. I have so much admiration and respect for nurses. I truly, truly believe that my preemie daughter wouldn’t be here if it were not for the amazing nurses charged with her care in the early days. But this particular woman? Was not my favorite.
They put a net on my hair and off I went. Hubby, of course, couldn’t go with me, yet. They had to get me set with anesthesia and all that jazz first.
I got my spinal. And that went fine. Everything seemed to be moving along just as it should. In addition to warning people about my lousy veins, I also always have to warn them that I’m incredibly sensitive to anesthesia. (I’m a fun patient, eh??) No problem, the anesthesiologist assured me, lots of people are. We can manage that.
Awesome. I was settled in and ready for the show to begin. And I started to vomit.
This happened with my first c-section, too, so it wasn’t totally unexpected. In that case, however, the anesthesiologist had quickly suctioned and cleaned me and gave me something to make it stop. While not exactly pleasant, it also wasn’t the end of the world.
This time, the anesthesiologist gave my cheek a cursory swipe with my gown (ick) and injected something into my IV. Almost instantly, it felt like someone had placed a pile of bricks on my chest. I couldn’t draw a good breath. I started panicking. My eyes flew around the room seeking help. A nurse caught my gaze and asked if I was okay. I told her I couldn’t really breathe. She informed the anesthesiologist.
He looked down at me and said, “Relax. Of course you’re breathing.”
Now. I know I was breathing. I knew it then, too. But I couldn’t draw a decent breath and the little shallow gasps were freaking me out. Finally, whether because he determined I needed it or because he wanted to shut me up, he put an oxygen mask on my face and I was able to relax a little bit.
Until I vomited again.
More medicine went into my IV and I realized they had started the surgery.
I got dizzy. And I vomited… AGAIN. This time, the anesthesiologist was visibly annoyed with me. He shoved a plastic basin under my jawbone as I wretched and threw my limp arm up beside it to “hold it” in place. Of course, I had absolutely no control of my arm. I’d had a spinal block. And it fell off the table, leaving me with nothing to catch the sickness.
“… never seen anyone like this,” he muttered, injecting yet another different medicine into me.
At this point, I started blacking in and out. I was so incredibly out of it. While I clearly remember every moment of my very traumatic and dramatic c-section with C., I was only partially conscious for G’s birth…
I heard them say, “It’s a girl!” and they let Daddy hold her for a moment. They didn’t let me hold her. I was so out of it and maybe that was part of it. I don’t know. But I didn’t get to hold her in my arms or to my breast or even touch her.
They took her away.