|Pic taken 13 hours before birth|
Belly pic at 35 weeks! That expression pretty much summarizes how I'm feeling. Glad they're still cooking, but just exasperated at being the chef.
Everything status quo, still pregnant, still could go at any time, blah blah blah.
But that's not the blog post I wrote because that's not the diagnosis I got at that appointment.
We did the NST and I was doing that for more than an hour. Baby A was being especially feisty, I was getting my gut kicked left, right, and sideways. After the NST, we started the ultrasound to get their measurements.
The first measurement was Baby A's head circumference. And I saw that it was measuring 31 weeks, some odd days. Uh oh. That's not much more than it was measuring 2 weeks before, and we were now at 35 weeks. That's a SMALL head! So she's measuring again and I say "I really don't like that measurement. That's way too small and pretty much no growth from last time." She says "Yeah, I was hoping you didn't see that."
After getting the same measurement a second time, she went to fetch Dr. C. We do a few more measurements, check the growth pattern overall, and Baby A has just generally stopped growing. We think she simply had no room to get any bigger and she was showing some signs of distress (remember all that kicking I was talking about?). Dr. C declares "I'm calling it! I guess we know what we're doing today."
I'm crying of course because that's just what I do. I'm scared, both for me because I'm afraid of the being out of touch with part of my body during surgery, and of course for them because while I didn't fully understand what the problem was, I knew we were taking them out early because there was a problem.
It's 11am and they're telling me to head straight down to delivery. No going home to grab my stuff, etc etc, they have surgery scheduled for 12:30pm. I called my parents to tell them that things were happening today and stopped them right quick when she said "Ok, we're on our way." No. Don't be sitting in the waiting room. I don't know what's going to happen, when I'm going to be ready for visitors, if the girls are going to be major distress, just don't add the pressure of me having people waiting for me too. I tell them things are going to be happening around 6pm and they could come then. Yup, I lied. But it kept their butts in their own living room (a whole 5 minutes away from the hospital) so I'm fine with that.
On the less emotional side - getting shaved is really undignified. Seriously. I've been in a lot of undignified positions in the last couple of years, but there's just nowhere to hide from that "I'm naked" feeling when someone else is shaving your nether regions.
Ok, so on to the OR.
The spinal was the worst part of the whole experience. Apparently there's something funky about my back. You know those scoliosis tests they did in the Jr. High locker rooms where you bend over slowly and someone checks the curve of your spine? For some reason, people always looked at me funny after those, and I remember one where my friends said that my back is just totally fucked up and weird, but no one ever told me what they meant by "weird" or just what is different about my spine from everyone elses. It manages to keep my head above my ass so I'm usually pretty satisfied with it. But whatever the issue is appears to have come back to bite me in that same ass while getting the spinal put in. I think it took 3 tries, and I screamed a lot. The needle felt awful, may as well have been stabbed with a sword, but it was the medication kind of seeping in but not really that was the worst. It was like a vice grip on my spine that would somehow spread sideways. And Dr. C had to pull my shoulders down to keep me properly hunched over and my spine properly rounded.
I'm such a wuss. Be glad I never went into labor because holy canola, I have zero tolerance for pain. From the way I was whining and crying, you would have thought I was in the worst stage of labor!
Another side track here - one of the nurses asked if I was G's daughter. Bear in mind, I no longer have the same last name as my mother, and I have no idea how she would recognize me in connection to my mother. Apparently her mother is in chorus with my mother. Any woman over the age of 50 with any musical inclination in this area knows my mother, and by extension, has known me since I was a fetus. But wow, that was just a really odd time and place to have someone ask me about my mother (in a non-medical history way)!
My biggest fear with a c-section was losing the bottom half of my body and going into a complete claustrophobic panic. But that didn't happen. I was scared of course, and my fear became actually feeling something. But I didn't feel a damned thing. Not even sensations of movement or touch or pressure or anything. K and I had agreed beforehand that he would stay with the babies if we were separated. While the doctors started, I told him I might change my mind about that. I was just terrified that I would feel some sort of indication that a baby was removed, but I wouldn't hear a cry and people would start rushing around.
K told me later about this part. His view of the operation was about what you see on MASH, doctors, but not the actual guts they were working on. He saw Dr. C and the assisting doctor countdown from three and then they pulled as if tearing something heavy apart. As if? Why did I use that phrase? They did yank something heavy apart, my torso!
Within minutes, I'm hearing the staccato cry of a baby taking first breaths. They open a flap in the curtain that's near my face and they are holding Baby A for me to see. I wish I had said something more memorable but I think my first thought was "she's purple!" After a moment, K double checked and I told him to go with baby to where they cleaned her on the other side of the room and then came back to me in tears declaring "she's beautiful!" I'm asking him every version of the question "is she ok?" While he convinces me that she's fine, and the doctors are taking out Baby B.
I didn't really know this because I didn't feel the sensation of her being taken out, but there was a pause before Baby B cried. And when she did, she wasn't as forceful about it as Baby A. Again, they raised the flap so I could see her, and then she and K went to the other side of the room for cleaning and Apgar scores. I also remember looking over and seeing one of the babies and thinking she was gray. Don't remember which baby or where in the timeline that happened, but there ya go.
The first moment in which I actually thought they might be ok was when K came over to me holding Baby A. The fact that she was still in the room and that the various medical professionals let K hold her and bring her to me indicated that she wasn't in immediate danger. Moments after he got to me, a nurse brought over Baby B and they kept putting the babies next to my cheek, I guess for some stimulating effect to the babies, but it drove me nuts because I couldn't see them when they were that close to my face. We did all sorts of crying and reassuring each other that yes, they are really here and they are actually ok, and other various blubberings.
The babies were only able to stay by my face for a minute or so and then they and K (after confirming with me that he should go) all headed off to the Nicu while I spent the next 20-30 minutes having my surgery completed.
Baby A - Christina
Birth time: 1:11pm
Length: 17 inches (notations made later say 16.9 inches)
Head circ: 11.5 inches
Apgars: 8 @ 1 minute, 9 @ 5 minutes
Baby B - Charlotte
Birth time: Also 1:11pm
Weight: 4lbs 15oz
Length: unrecorded (notations made later say 16.5 inches)
Head circ: 12 inches
Apgars: 6 @ 1 minute, 8 @ 5 minutes
Special note to Dr. C - Just, thank you. For everything you've done to protect me and my family both medically and mentally over the last 2 years, thank you.