This week my son, Declan turned 2 MONTHS OLD! It seems like it was yesterday when I went into the hospital to meet this cutie. The experience was beautiful and traumatic all at the same time.
**WARNING: Don’t read if you have lots of anxiety and/or about to have a baby. My experience may terrify you a bit.**
I woke up Friday, June 7, 2019 ready to meet my little guy. I had severe anxiety looming over me because I was delivering him by c-section. Yes, doctors perform c-sections all of the time, but complications are always possible. I sobbed while I hugged my daughter (thinking this could be the last time I could see her). Again, my anxiety was pretty bad. At this point I assumed the worst could happen. I remember Aurora looking up at me saying, “Mommy, don’t cry. It’s going to be okay. Grownups come back.” This made me cry even more but I had to hide it. I gave her one last hug, got in the van with my mom and Steven and rode to the hospital.
When I arrived at the hospital they took several hours to get me ready for my c-section. All the while, I was fighting back tears and anxiety. I still remember the nurse telling me they would insert the spinal block and get me ready before Steven could come back to be with me. I was so scared to do it alone. I remember walking to the OR with shaky legs. As they opened the OR doors, I saw nurses placing surgical tools on a nearby tray. The nurse directed me to the edge of the table where I waited for the anesthesiologist. I continued to cry and watch nurses prep the room for my doctor. I was so scared. All I wanted to do was run away but I knew there was no other way to have my little man. He was the only reason I pushed through the anxiety and pain.
It was about 10 minutes later when the anesthesiologist showed up to insert my spinal block. The spinal block hurt SO bad. I remember when I got an epidural with Aurora, I had already been laboring for 6 straight hours. Compared to labor pains the stick in the back was nothing. But this time — it was extremely painful. Thankfully, my OBGYN happen to be in the room when I began to get my spinal block. She held me as I curled up as tight as I could. Again, sobbing in her arms wishing this would go quickly.
After what felt like forever of gritting my teeth and clenching my body — the procedure was over. As I laid down on the table I could feel the spinal block numbing my body. Steven walked into the room as the nurses finished dropping me for the c-section. Steven was dressed from head-to toe in scrubs. I could still see his big smile through his face mask. I couldn’t wait to squeeze his hand. At this point I was still fighting back tears and anxiety. I didn’t know how this surgery was going to go, but all I wanted to do was meet my baby. As they continued to prepare my belly, my doctor did a pinch test. (It’s where they pinch you on your stomach to see if you are numb enough. If you’re not they wait a little longer. Sometimes they may even put you to sleep if your body does numb like it needs to). I couldn’t feel the pain from the pinch but I could feel her pinching me. This is where I made a mistake. I thought I was numb enough to go on with the surgery. I was wrong.
I felt everything she did. From the cutting to the stretching. My anxiety was already sky high and this made it worse. I began to tell the anesthesiologist that I was in pain. When they finally got ready to pull Declan out — I was told there will be a lot of pushing and pulling. I may not be able to breathe well for a few seconds. I was told to breathe out of my mouth. Well it was about 45 seconds of that. One nurse was jabbing her elbow into my ribs and pushing down to get him to come out. It was hell trying to stay calm and breathe. By the time they got Declan out I was in so much pain. I could feel burning in my incision area. I even had to decline holding my son because I was so distraught.
Finally, after a few minutes of me complaining of pain — the anesthesiologist gave me medication that basically made me pass out. (As you can see in the RIGHT picture above). He told me I may not remember what happened here but at this point I didn’t care. Within seconds I was out. The remainder of the procedure I was in and out. I could still feel what they were doing but I was too tired to care. I remember squeezing Steven’s hand so tight. I could hear Steven talking to me as he held our baby boy. The funniest part — was finding out after surgery that I was squeezing my OBGYN’s butt with my other hand for about 20 minutes. I guess both of my hands thought they were squeezing Steven’s hand. Thankfully, my female OBGYN had a great sense of humor about it.
Thinking back on that day, I can barely remember them wheeling me back to the recovery area and handing me Declan. I was still fighting consciousness while trying to breastfeed him. I had a lot of help from the lactation nurse and Steven. It took me a good hour or so to wake up enough to function.
After all of that was over — I finally got to enjoy my beautiful son while still dealing with the anxiety of my c-section. The next day when my doctor came by I told her that I felt everything during the surgery. She apologized profusely — agreeing that was a traumatic experience. Again, I only blame myself because I was the one who told her I was numb enough.
The crazy thing is — I thought my unplanned c-section with Aurora was worse until I had Declan. I’m so thankful that day people were praying for me. My experience makes me think of those moms who have been through worse c-sections than me. Despite being able to feel everything — my surgery went well. I had minimum blood loss and little scaring from my last c-section. My doctor even told me I could have a third child if I wanted to. (I’m still debating that one considering how bad this c-section was).
I’m thankful that I recovered a lot faster even though the procedure was pretty rough on me. I was so thankful that Declan was born healthy. He did have to get his blood sugar checked every hour the first night of his life because he was so big. (He weighed 9lbs 8ouces).
Sadly, my anxiety didn’t go away when I went home. It only got worse. I’ll be writing about my postpartum anxiety in another post soon.
Did you go through a traumatic c-section? What were ways you were able to get over it? Did you have other c-sections afterwards?