A C-Section 10 Days Early
When I was fourteen years old and a freshmen in highschool, I was walking down the hill in front of my school on a day after we’d gotten quite a bit of rain. I stepped into a soft, slick patch of mud and my foot started to fly out from under me. I’ve always been great at catching myself and not falling, so I did just that. Unfortunately, I jerked my leg back at exactly the right angle to break my pelvic bone pretty badly. I remember getting to the bottom of the hill a second later, feeling the searing pain, and thinking, “Oh God, I can’t walk. I broke something.” I was right. My orthopedic Dr. told me as soon as he looked at my x-ray that I would need to remember two things: 1-the way the bone would heal would end up leaving a lot of excess calcium around my pelvis, which could later be mistaken for bone cancer. So, if I was ever getting another x-ray of the area to be sure and let whoever was doing it know I’d had a previous fracture there. 2-If I ever had kids, I’d most likely need to have a c-section, because my pelvis was no longer stable enough to accommodate giving birth.
Most women would have been severely disappointed knowing that vaginal birth was off the table for them, but I never really was. I knew that a c-section was the safest route for both myself and my baby, so when my OB had told me that my orthopedic Dr. had been right-I definitely would need a c-section to avoid the risk of Aaron getting stuck in the birth canal or my pelvis cracking during labor, I was okay with it and signed the consent form without hassle. My OB wanted to avoid the risk of my going into labor, so he scheduled my c-section for June 14th, at exactly 39 weeks.
Of course, babies run on their own schedule, and my strong-willed little boy was nearly 8lbs, head down, and already dropped as I went into my 37th week of pregnancy. So, it wasn’t really a surprise when I woke up to the slow trickle of my water breaking at 37 weeks and 5 days. Ever since I’d found out I’d definitely be having a c-section and when it was scheduled for, I’d been doing research and preparing. I read articles on the procedure itself; what to expect, other women’s advice on handling it, and what was going to happen to me and my body medically. I’d also done a lot of research on preparing for a c-section and how it differed from preparing for a vaginal birth; what should I take in my hospital bag? What did I need to accommodate the longer hospital stay for my baby and I? So, even though I ended up heading to the hospital 11 days earlier than expected, I felt like I was pretty prepared.
I hadn’t quite finished doing laundry for mine and Aaron’s bag on the day my water broke, so Matt and I spent a few hours getting that done before we headed in. I knew I had a while before actual labor would begin, so I sat on our couch on top of a towel with my undies stuffed with panti-liners and told him what needed washed, what bags to prepare, and what to bring to me to fold and pack. We worked together to get everything washed and neatly packed into three bags before we headed a few miles away to the hospital I’d been pre-registered at. I'll be putting up a separate blog post detailing everything we packed in our bags and what bags I used to take everything with me to the hospital.
The Procedure and Meeting my Baby
We arrived at the hospital around 6pm and went in through Emergency. A nurse from Labor and Delivery came down and took me up to the L&D floor in a wheelchair, where I filled out a form and verified my pre-registration information. I was put in a nice, big L&D room to wait until they figured out exactly what to do with me. First, a nurse examined me and verified that my water had, in fact, broken earlier that day. I was 3 cm dilated at the time and had just eaten a few hours before, so my Dr. scheduled the c-section for 5am the next morning. We called all of our family, and I got settled in with baby monitors strapped to my belly and an IV in my left wrist. We finally laid down to try and sleep at around 12:30. I was propped up in my hospital bed, and Matt was stretched out on a green reclining hospital chair next to me.
By 2am I started to have contractions, and at first I could just wait them out and go back to semi-sleep. But, around 3:30 am they became pretty serious and painful. The nurse examined me and found I was nearly 6 cm dilated. They decided to call my Dr. to see what he wanted to do, and ten minutes later they returned to tell me he was on his way to the hospital to perform the c-section. I was too far along in labor and he didn’t want to risk my having to end up attempting to push the baby out. Prepping for the surgery was a whirlwind. First I had to shuffle down a hallway with a ton of monitors and chords hooked to me, with a blanket around my back so my bare ass wouldn’t hang out. Then, I was taken into a cold room and set up on a cold, thin metal table where the anesthesiologist gave me a spinal block. The spinal resulted in my body from the lower chest down being numb and tingly. It was the weirdest sensation I’ve ever experienced. After my body was numb, they put in a catheter. I was really thankful my body was already numb and I didn’t have to feel that part.
The c-section itself wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I’d never had any major surgery before, so I was pretty freaked out. I was lucky to have a fantastic Dr. who had me open and Aaron out of me in under five minutes, as well as a great hospital staff that walked me through everything and kept me calm as the procedure moved along. It’s true what everyone says, you do feel pressure as they cut you open and remove the baby from your uterus. It wasn’t terrible or really very unpleasant for me, though. It felt like someone was lightly pushing on my abdomen for about a minute, then he was out.
He was definitely ready to come out, and he was screaming before they’d even had the chance to suction all the fluid from his mouth and nose. Hearing him and seeing him for the first time was worth all of the fear, pain, and weirdness that came along with the procedure. Once he was cleaned, weighed, and measured they brought him over to see me. He recognized me right away, and then proceeded to take my glasses off my face and hold them in his tiny clenched fist. The anesthesiologist nurse ended up having to pry them out of his hands. My awesome, quick, precise Dr. had me stitched up and ready to go twenty minutes after he removed Aaron from me.
After the procedure was finished, I was transferred to a hospital bed, dressed in a new gown, wrapped in a belly binder, covered with heated blankets, and taken to the Recovery room. I spent two hours in recovery feeding and holding Aaron with Matt by my side helping me with him. I still couldn’t feel the lower half of my body, which was good considering I’d just been cut open.
Check back later this week for part 2 of this post to hear about my four day stay in the hospital, recovering from my c-section, and coming home with my baby.