My C-section…While I Still Remember

April 1, 2011 at 1:46 PM | Posted in Baby Romaezi | 3 Comments
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I documented Kamran’s birthday in a rather quick manner and want to share the details of my c-section before I forget all of the minute details.  Now, if you are an expecting mother or have an incredibly weak stomach you might want to skip this post.  I was the pregnant chick who wanted to know the step by step of the real c-section.  I didn’t want to hear “It’s not that bad” unless it really wasn’t that bad.  I can see myself saying that a year from now once the memory has faded.  Before I get to that point I share with you.

March the 15th was quite a hectic morning I woke up just before 6 a.m. to a bleed that appeared to have been happening all night as I slept.  It wasn’t a little blood in my amniotic fluid as I experienced several times before, it was just blood.  Nothing else.  I was scheduled to be induced on 3/21/11 so when I woke up crampy and bleeding I knew doctors were going to change the plan.  It was only 5 days earlier than planned and I was exactly 35 weeks pregnant.  The fact that my water was ruptured for so long was indeed amazing to not only me but everyone else I met.  Doctors, nurses and fellow patients.  I still thought I might be induced until one of the fellows shattered that for me and told me Dr. B. was going to do my c-section.  WHAT?!  As he walked out of the room.  I’ve been very level headed with every episode that happened during my pregnancy.  Not once did I panic.  I knew it was all out of my hands but with NO information from this man as he walked out of my hospital room seeming to have made a decision for me I almost became a crazy person.  Thank goodness Dr. A walked in very shortly after to discuss options with my husband and me.  Yes, I could still be induced but she wanted me to understand how risky it was with only 4 cubic centimeters of amniotic fluid as measured the day before.  They were concerned the baby would go into fetal distress and I would end up with a c-section.  My new complication that arose made things even more risky.  I was bleeding again and this time they were pretty certain based on the previous day’s ultrasound that I had a partial placental abruption.  With two risk factors against us my husband and I decided that the c-section was the safest option.  We didn’t want fast, we didn’t want easy.  We NEEDED safe.

I was poked and prodded with IVs and in pre-op by 8 with questions questions questions.  Talked to the anesthesiologist about what to expect, and asked to talk to a national cord blood registry representative since we wanted to donate and we hadn’t worked that out yet. I had to use the restroom and was allowed to WALK down the hall and around the corner.  The furthest I had been allowed to walk in nearly 3 months.  It felt really strange walking past all of my doctors, like I was going to be yelled at to get back in bed.  For some reason they were all watching me.  Maybe they wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to fall since my muscles had atrophied so bad?

I wanted a picture of Kayvan in his  sterile suit thingy but as I reached for his phone which we were using as a camera I was whisked into a wheelchair, his phone in my hand and we were separated.  I asked the nurse to give his phone back to him for me, which she did.  Next thing I know, I’m sitting on the operating table waiting for my spinal.

THE SPINAL:

Ohhh the spinal.  Here is where I had to get out of my own head.  I wasn’t afraid of the needle but this is where it really hit me that this was really going to happen TODAY.  I’m having a baby TODAY.  I’m having a c-section TODAY.  Okay….”I feel like I’m lopsided.”  I told the anesthesiologist.  He thought I was nuts but after analyzing the table he verified that it was not sitting straight.  In comes Boris, the surgical assistant who showed me a photo on his phone and told me that his daughter just had his first grandson that morning.  I asked why on earth he was at work today and he remarked “because you have to have your baby now.”  Boris showed me how to round my shoulders and helped me breathe in an effort to relax my incredibly tight back.  I felt the brown stuff (iodine?) as it was a bit chilly and painted on my back.  Then the numbing needle which in all honesty was not bad.  This is a breeze.  Then I felt a needle to the left of my spine as I’m reminded to relax.  I found myself pulling away in pain, apologizing, knowing I shouldn’t pull away like that and asking if I should feel the needle to the left of my spine.  The anesthesiologist said no and told me that I should let him know if I feel any sharp pain, or anything off center.  I asked “what about dull and off center?” as the needle went into my back a second time.  He carefully removed the needle and tried for a third time as I said “same thing” and started to get really tense.  We all took a break.  Boris pulled my shoulders in, told me to shove my back out and relax and breathe.  This is where I reminded them that I have been on bed rest for almost 3 months and my back muscles are not going to relax much more unless someone can get me a massage.  Another failed attempt which I told them about and finally after the 5th poke I felt the warm tingly sensation overcome my body from abdomen down.  The spinal was HORRIBLE.  It took forever and I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

SURGICAL PREP:

Since I couldn’t do it myself, the team laid me down and covered me with blankets straight out of the warmer.  I wasn’t cold but assumed they knew better than I.  They started draping the “magic curtain” making the rest of my body invisible to me.  Kayvan came in and sat above my head opposite the anesthesiologist and told me just how long it felt like we were separated thanks to my spinal.  I have no clue what they were doing to me beyond the magical curtain.  I knew they were touching my belly and getting my body adjusted as they needed it but I really couldn’t feel it.  The best way I can describe it is in TV terms…the laws of completion.  Just because a hand is off screen doesn’t mean it isn’t there, your brain knows it is.  I could see my doctors shoulders moving and my brain knew they were connected to her body and touching me.  Not strange really.  I told Kayvan to talk to me and keep my mind off of what was happening and he did.  The anesthesiologist told me to let him know if I felt nauseous, and loaded my iv with all sorts of goodies…morphine I’m guessing?

SURGERY:

“Is NICU here?!”  After a quick confirmation, “Okay, we’re starting!”  My little OB (and maternal fetal medicine specialist) exclaimed to me across the curtain.  “I feel nauseous” I told the anesthesiologist for the first time of many.  He inserted another magic drug into my IV and I instantly felt better.  “I can’t breathe, the oxygen tube is choking me.”  He adjusted it and it felt a little better but I still felt like I couldn’t breathe.  Anxiety maybe?  I felt nothing below the curtain.  The surgical team worked for some time, 10 to 15 minutes maybe.  During this time I smelled something as Kayvan asked “Do you smell that?”  My response.  “Ya, everything bagels”  Kayvan said he smelled burning flesh.  Okay, fine.  Many other times I felt nauseous and magic drug was put into my IV.  First time I was ever thankful for my IV.  I also got a HORRIBLE taste in my mouth about the time or shortly after I smelled everything bagels.  It was BAD and my mouth was really really dry.  It was because my body was cut wide open.  I wanted it to go away but there was no magic drug for this and it lasted until they gave me ice chips in post op.  A few times I reminded Kayvan that he had to talk to me about stuff.  He would put his head on the table next to mine and just talk to me.  I have no idea what we talked about.  I think I may have even said “I can go home after this!” at one point.

Eventually Kayvan and I heard a very angry baby scream as my doctor held a very purple but screaming baby up over the curtain, smiled at me and said “Here is your baby!”  She then announced time of birth as 10:05 a.m.  Kamran was whisked over to the baby table after that and I had to remind Kayvan to go watch…and take pictures!  I could see the table Kamran was on and Kayvan stood right in my line of sight.  So I made him move and was thankful to have something else to concentrate on as I was sewn up….or I thought I was being sewn up.

After a bit my doctor peeked over the curtain and said that she could see the spot on the placenta and held her hand up for measure.  I was just glad she didn’t hold my placenta up.  I thought that now was as good a time as any to request a good scar since baby was out and we knew that he was OK.  My doctor confirmed that she would take care of this for me.  I made Kayvan show me the pictures of the baby since I hadn’t really gotten a good look at him yet…and Kayvan WAS just standing there after all.  After this I felt a bit more work going on (no pain just very slight pressure) and assumed they were sewing me up.  I started feeling a bit like I was going to pass out and could no longer focus on the baby.  Instead I stared at the ceiling tile concentrating on not passing out.  I decided it might be a good idea to tell the anesthesiologist how I felt and he confirmed that it was indeed okay now but my blood pressure dropped pretty bad.  I heard Boris tell Dr. A that he got the bleeder.  Didn’t need to hear THAT but it explained further why I felt the way I did.  It was about at this point that Kamran and Kayvan had to go to the NICU So I told the boys I loved them and got a closer peek of a swaddled Kamran and gave him a kiss on his little forehead.  Kayvan didn’t get the same treatment.  We were both a little overwhelmed.  They left and I felt some shoving in my lungs and again felt like I couldn’t breathe.

I gave it a few minutes figuring that whatever was going on was necessary and would all go away in a minute.  Rather than tell the anesthesiologist what I felt I just asked “What WAS that?!”  He said very matter-of-factly, “Oh, they actually just put your uterus back in.”  To which I replied, “Glad to have it back.  Do they normally take the uterus out for c-sections?!…And did they put it in my LUNGS?”  Everyone in the room found that sequence pretty funny and laughed before the anesthesiologist responded that yes, some doctors do take the uterus out for c-sections and ignored the lung comment.  I’m going to have to ask about that at my 6 week postpartum exam. My doctor was amazing and kept talking to me over the curtain.  She told me just how very lucky we were to have made it this far and that I should be very proud of myself.  She added in that this was the best possible outcome we could have gotten.  She wasn’t done until she said, “I didn’t want to tell this back in December but  I thought for sure you were having this baby within 72 hours.”  I told her that she may not have said it but that I knew what she was thinking.  Kind of strange talking to a person while their hands are performing surgery on you I guess but I didn’t feel a THING and forgot that she was multitasking.  Before long the anesthesiologist peeked beyond the curtain and told me that I’m getting an extra special plastic surgery like scar and will be done very soon.  Before I knew it I was in post op.

POST OP AND RECOVERY:

Post op was BOOOORIIING.  I suppose for your average delivery you have a new baby in with you and you and your husband can sit in awe of this very fact.  I was by myself with no cell phone and my husband and brand new baby were in the NICU.  It’s what I know and I was too drugged up to think about how it should be.  Kayvan came up shortly after I was in post op and started asking who to text.  I DON’T KNOWWWW!  The nurse came in and I had to BEG (and wait) for ice chips because I still had a horrible taste in my mouth and it was very dry.  She told me I could have ice chips and asked if I could move my toes.  Just thinking about that hurt.  For some reason I thought about wiggling my toes and thought that in order to actually accomplish this that I had to flex my abdominal muscles.   None of this worked and all I could do is laugh and realize just how very strange it was not to be able to wiggle my toes.  As the morphine wore off I got a severe case of the itchy nose and eyes.  I felt like a drug addict with a tick of sorts and it lasted for a while.  I have no idea how long I was in post op but the second I could wiggle my toes I was taken back to my room on high risk perinatal.  I was so thankful to be able to go back to MY room, my home, and not to have to go to the postpartum wing with no baby and new nurses.  I just rested for a while and my nurse came in and told me that as soon as I can I should lift my legs and pull my heels to my butt.  Once I could do both of these things I would be allowed to walk to the restroom.  I was quite excited when I could actually do this a few hours later.  When the nurse was convinced I wouldn’t stand up and fall down she showed me how I should sit up and made me sit on the edge of the bed and dangle my feet for a while.  OUUUUCH!  My meds were starting to wear off for sure.  I had been given percocet and then a shot in the arm to help with nausea.  Holy cow was I nauseous too.  When I was able to go from sitting to standing the catheter came out and I was allowed to walk to the bathroom but no walking without anyone in the room.  Kayvan and the nurse got me in a wheelchair and then called the NICU only to learn that it was 6:30 and they were just beginning shift change.   No one is allowed in the NICU during shift change since confidential information is discussed.  We had to wait until 7:30.

I was already in the wheelchair and getting there wasn’t easy so I told Kayvan he may as well take me for a ride.  Other than surgery that morning I had been sitting in a room for almost 3 months.  He took me for a spin around the floor but first I needed a barf bucket.  I was SO SO SO nauseous.  I made him take several little breaks so I wouldn’t lose it.  We didn’t go far and I kept all cookies in tact but wanted to get back into my hospital bed SO BAD.  We made it down to the NICU to see Kamran about 9:30 p.m.  Almost 12 hours after he was born.  He was so little.  Seeing him for the first time was amazing.  He had an IV in his poor little head and it broke my heart to see how many times they had to stick him all over his teeny little body before they were able to get the IV in there.  The nurse told me that they were going to have to put an umbilical IV in and I immediately asked to hold him.  I had learned from a bed rest buddy on my floor that once the umbilical IV goes in you cannot hold the baby for 7 days.  So I held my baby.  He cried when they put him in my arms and was easily comforted with a little shooshing.  I gave Kayvan his turn to hold our new baby as well, thought he had gotten to hold him earlier in the day.  Our first few moments as a family were pretty amazing–even if we were in the middle of the NICU with alarms buzzing galore.  I felt pretty terrible but was hell bent on spending some time with our little boy.  Just being with him made my pain fade a bit.  Eventually I started feeling really nauseous again.  Afraid of losing it in the NICU I told Kayvan we had to go back upstairs.  I guess my anti-nausea shot wore off and I REALLY needed another.

Days 2 and 3 of recovery were pretty tough and I was thankful for percocet, ibuprofen and the nurses.  I’m sure Kayvan was too, especially after the first few days home.  The hospital is much better equipped for someone who has just had surgery.  Kayvan wanted me to be able to sleep in our bed once we got home.  I tried but it was not happening.  I couldn’t lie flat.  So off to the recliner in the baby’s room I went.  I was so upset to have left Kamran in the NICU that Kayvan crawled into the recline with me and we both fell asleep.    I’m now more than 2 weeks post-op and am feeling pretty good.  I still ache really bad in the mornings when I get out of bed…but I’ve made it to our bed.  No one ever told me how horribly I would swell after delivery.  I had elephant feet for at least a week and lived in Kayvan’s Brookstone slippers.  I couldn’t even wear my own slippers for crying out loud.  The swelling is long gone and thanks to breast feeding my tummy is working its way back to smaller than pregnancy.  I can tell you that I didn’t expect to GAIN 4 pounds after delivery.  I’m now down about 15 pounds from my last pregnancy weight and am not in a huge rush for the rest to come off.  I figure that will take a few months.  After all, it took 6 months or so to put on.  I hated my scar the first time I saw it but now that I’ve gotten used to it just being there I realize that the burn mark I gave myself this past summer is way worse.  Smaller, but much more noticeable.  For a c-section scar, it is very small.  They used glue and steri strips(which took way more guts than necessary to peel off myself) so I imagine that once it is fully healed it will be pretty close to invisible.  Each day gets better but the recovery has not been easy.  I’m sure that my recovery is taking longer than others since I have been on bed rest for so long.  I’ll get there.  My biggest complaint right now is that there is a pretty bad burning pain an inch or two to the far left of my incision…near my pelvic bone.  I’m off the percocet but I feel it if I miss a dose of my ibuprofen.

All in all, it wasn’t that freaky to be awake for surgery.  There were some weird experiences, it wasn’t what I would call fun but the spinal was the worst part…the surgery really wasn’t that bad.

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3 Comments »

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  1. Wow Jamie. Great retelling. I can’t even tell you how proud I am of you. You pulled through Momma and everything you went through to bring Kamran into this world was a miracle. So thankful for you, Kayvan and Kamran and so happy for you all. All my love and prayers for an ever faster recovery and for Kamran to come home sooner rather than later. Love you!

  2. Exactly what Millie said. Thinking of you guys!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story Jamie. Our c section is 12 days away. I am nervous but I know it is the only way I’m going to meet our baby girl! I attended several c sections in nursing school but quickly realized the OR was not for me! Thanks for reminding me about the burning flesh smell, I almost forgot about that! I’ll be rubbing some scented chapstick under my nose to avoid getting completely sick! Hope Kamran will be home with you shortly!


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