(Content note: my C-section did not go as planned. If you’re about to have one, or if you don’t like reading about scary medical stuff, maybe skip this post. I’ll give you the ending up front: Cayenne is doing great after a very rough start.)
Apparently I am a hot mess, inside and out.
Everything I had read seemed to indicate that C-sections are relatively fast, and that the baby is born quickly, with most of the time in the operating room spent stitching up the mother. The anesthesiologist told me the same thing while we were waiting for the spinal to take effect. He was really very nice, and made a great effort to explain things to me. (“Now you’re going to feel some pressure.” “We just put a Foley catheter in.”) Unfortunately he was wrong.
I couldn’t see what was going on behind the screen, of course, but I could tell from the doctors’ conversation that it was taking longer than usual. They were talking about scarring and adhesions, but they did not seem too concerned.
Then everything changed.
Suddenly they were shouting and swearing, I was being pushed in all directions, and the mood in the room changed utterly from calm to something almost like panic. I didn’t know what was going on, of course, but I was getting good and scared. I heard someone say “Delivered, 8:12 p.m.”
I didn’t hear a cry.
The kindly anesthesiologist peeked over the screen, then jumped up and ran out of the room to where they were taking the baby. It was still very tense behind the screen.
What I didn’t know till later: when my bag of waters was broken, Cayenne moved, making it impossible for them to get at his head through the incision they had made in my uterus. He wasn’t getting any oxygen* and I was losing blood fast, so speed was critical. They had to make an additional, vertical incision in my uterus as well as extend the incision on my skin, and were still not able to get at his head. He ended up being pulled out by his shoulders, which resulted in some serious bruising on his arms and legs.
His first Apgar score was 2. His second score, a few minutes later after he had been given some oxygen, was 7. My husband was called away to hold him for a few minutes before he was taken to the NICU, and they even brought him in so I could see him for a moment.
And still the surgery continued. The doctors were trying to repair some of the adhesions while stitching me up, and it went on so long that my spinal started to wear off. I was worried about Cayenne, worried about how long this was going on, and then all of a sudden I could feel them cutting me. It was Not. OK. I was freaking out, and Kindly Anesthesiologist came to the rescue with some drugs.
I found out later that they gave me Ketamine. At the time I only knew that all of a sudden the ceiling tiles were floating down to me one by one. My husband told me that this was one of the scariest parts for him — he said that all of a sudden he could see the change in my eyes, like I wasn’t there anymore. Kindly Anesthesiologist tried to reassure him by saying “The lights are on but nobody’s home.”
The next non-hallucinatory thing I remember is my husband reading to me in the recovery room as I woke up.
* I’m still not really clear on why this should be. To the best of my understanding, once my uterus was cut, the placenta stopped providing for Cayenne, but I’m not at all sure why this should be.