Hi everyone, and thanks for the good wishes. I was all set to post something last night, but then the baby woke up, and you all know how the rest of *that* story goes!
First off - sympathies to everyone for some of the horrible c-section stories posted recently. I feel awful for all of you. It makes me feel a little bit guilty posting about my experience, because so far it's been overwhelmingly positive.
Of course, there's a big difference between a scheduled CS and an emergency one, and I'm really glad that I had that 2 weeks of knowing it might happen and 1 week of knowing it definitely would happen to work through my own emotional issues. I did a lot of online journaling during that period of time (www.livejournal.com/users/tammylc
) that let me grieve the loss my homebirth and prepare myself for what was going to come.
Because of that process, I woke up on Monday morning feeling nothing except excitement and anticipation about meeting my baby. I talked and joked with the nurses and doctors and techs as I was being prepped for surgery.
I got a little more scared once I was in the OR, of course. It was really, really cold and I got the shakes right away. When they went to put the spinal in, they missed on the first attempt and had to try again. Which sounds like it would be absolutely awful, but was really only a little pain in my right leg, and an extra bruise on my spine. (OTF - my hospital routinely uses a 4-hour block to allow extra time during surgery without having to resort to a general - thought you'd appreciate that bit of info.)
The spinal started to kick in and I was lied down on the operating table. I was shaking really badly - the cold, the drugs, low blood sugar, fear, worry and anticipation. The put a "bear hugger" on me. This was a plastic/paper blanket that stretched out over my arms and chest. It had hot air pumped through it that kept my core temperature up and made me much more comfortable. The disadvantage is that it meant that my arms were pretty much strapped down, so DH couldn't hold my hand and I didn't get a chance to touch the baby until recovery. But for me, I think it was a worthwhile tradeoff - if I'd been fighting to stay warm, I wouldn't have been able to be focused about the birth and the baby. I also used my breathing techniques from childbirth class to try to relax and center, and that was helpful as well.
They brought my husband in immediately after they made the first incision. He'd been getting very stressed waiting in the hallway. It took a little longer than I'd expected for them to get the baby out, but it was still probably only 15 minutes or so.
As the baby was breech, even before he was all the way out, the doctor announced that he could see a scrotum. I was a little surprised, as I had pretty much convinced myself that we were going to have a girl.
Liam gave a big wail as soon as they got him fully out of my uterus. He was typical blue baby when they held him up over the screen for me to see, but by the time they got him to the warmer (just seconds later) he was bright pink, and lustily screaming away. Apgar scores were 9/9. DH went over to the warmer immediately and touched and rubbed Liam's skin while the docs were doing all of their checks.
It took a little longer than I had hoped for him to be brought over to me, and like I said, I couldn't move my arms to touch him, but DH held him right up to my face so I could look at his adorable little face. Things got a little unfocused after that. I tried to really look at and pay attention to the baby, but it was difficult to keep my head turned to the side, and I was zoning out a little bit.
When they were almost done, DH and Liam were taken back to the recovery room. The docs finished sewing me up (double suture inside and staples outside), and then I was transferred back to the stretcher. It was so weird to see my big floppy white legs, but not be able to feel them!
Back in the recovery room, I got to hold my baby for the first time and it was wonderful! You can see the pictures of my blissed out self in the link I sent earlier. We tried to nurse, but had real problems getting latched on. One of my homebirth midwives was in the family waiting room and came down to join us in recovery. Good thing she asked us if we wanted her to take pictures, because that's the last thing DH and I were thinking about, but I'm really glad we've got them. She also tried to get us latched on, but with no luck.
I got Duramorph, which took care of all of my pain for the first day. Had a little bit of nausea in the first couple hours after the surgery and threw up once, after which I was fine on that front. Got up Monday night for a couple of accompanied trips to the bathroom to change pads, but I still had my IV and catheter in. Belly sounds were good, so I got to start drinking water Monday evening. Which was wonderful - I'd been having little daydreams about big glasses of water, and the ice chips just weren't doing the job!
The nurses were impressed with how well I was doing, so they took my cath and IV out before shift change in the morning, and got me on a solid diet startng with breakfast Tuesday. Sometime in the night, they came by and gave me a pack of pills for self administration - tylenol, ibuprofen, stool softeners, gas pills.
I am amazed by how little pain I was and am in. I took Tylenol and Ibuprofen (alternating every two hours). They kept coming by and offering me Percocet, but I just didn't need it. I've continued to be really comfortable - I haven't touched the Vicoden they sent me home with. I've mostly been in bed, hanging with the baby, although I've been getting up and down stairs some.
We hated being in the hospital. Our room in the mother-baby ward was small, and TOO HOT. I spent most of my time mostly naked (good for skin-to-skin contact) because I was so uncomfortable. Good thing I have no shame, as it seemed like every 10 minutes someone else was coming through to take my vitals, or the baby's vitals, or to get our meal order, or to see if I needed pain meds, etc, etc. DH wasn't a huge homebirth supporter before, but after that experience he so totally understands why I wanted to have one, and will be strongly supportive if we end up HBACing sometime in the future.
So we got out as soon as we possibly could. I was doing great - the nurses said that it looked like I was recovering from a vaginal delivery, not a CS - the baby was doing great. The only hitch was that we were having a lot of nursing problems (I'll talk about those in a separate post - this is already too long!). But we decided to go home Wednesday evening anyway, and were happily home by 7 pm.
DH was and still is amazing. We roomed in, and he became an expert diaper changer and baby swaddler while I was still stuck in bed. He remained in good spirits despite being woken up constantly and trying to sleep on that uncomfortable fold down chair. He's absolutely smitten with his little boy and is just an amazing dad.
I remain amazed by how good I feel about the birth, both physically and emotionally. Like I said in the beginning - I'd manage to work out most of my worries and concerns. Never once during the whole experience did I feel sad about the loss of my homebirth. I'd already mourned that loss and moved on to accept and embrace this unexpected path. During the prep and the operation, I was mostly just curious and engaged, as that is my regular modus operandus. After Liam was born it became all about him - meeting him, loving him, learning how to give him what he needs. And transitioning into my new role as a mom, a rite of passage that I'd finally accepted wasn't defined by which hole he came out of.