The day before the caesarean we dropped our daughter off with her grandparents and went to the pre-op appintment. We decided to stay the night in the city to avoid extra driving, but that meant a total of 5 days away from JJ. Dropping her off wasn’t as emotional as I feared, because I had already cried and processed my feelings ahead of time. TJ and I were both anxious to get the pre-op done, meet with our midwife and then have some time to relax and be together. We planned on having a nice supper and then going to a hotel for night. We ended up getting a fancy (Paris themed LOL) king suite with a large jacuzzi tub – we had the best time. I’m really glad we had that day together, to have fun and just be excited! After our pre-op our midwife had walked us through the caesarean procedure in great detail, so we knew exactly what to expect the next morning. This helped settle my nerves a lot. I managed to get a decent sleep, though I was VERY hungry. Not eating after midnight was not fun! We woke up on the day of the birth around 8am, packed up (TJ ordered room service, the nerve), and headed to the hospital for 930am. The C-section was scheduled for 11:45am. It was a very fun feeling, knowing we were here to have a baby TODAY. I had a lot of joy and peace, and focused on staying present: today was my son’s birthday!
We were shown to our room on the maternity ward and waited for our nurses to arrive. We unpacked our bags, and I put on Netflix to pass the time (the new Diana documentary and just come out!). The nurses came to do a few pre-op things with me and my midwife also popped in to say hello on his way to a quick meeting. A little while later the OB arrived with a large team to do the pre-op ultrasound. Baby was still breech – PHEW! It was only around 10:15 but the OB was ready to do my surgery early, so everyone began rushing around to get us down to the OR. This was exciting! I quickly snapped a few pictures of tyler in his blue scrubs while the nurses hooked up my IV. And then we were out the door! Alfred (my midwife) wasn’t back from his meeting, so I let the nurses know I would NOT be going in to surgery without him.
They wheeled me out the door and TJ kissed me goodbye at the elevator. I didn’t like being separated from him but I knew it was for a short while. I focused on making conversation with the lovely nurses and just being present. The nurses I had were all very positive and kind. We waited outside the OR for awhile while they prepped and I met the anesthiologist. I informed him that I wanted to hold my baby while in the OR and he didn’t seem to like that idea. I had already discussed it with my OB and midwife though, so I knew that they would advocate for me. Alfred finally arrived and I asked him to go check on TJ. The nurses brought me into the OR; I was suprspsed how large – and cold! – the room was. They moved me onto the operating table and began prepping me for the spinal. I stayed calm and focused on my breath and my baby. Everything was happening very quickly. I began to feel nervous when the spinal started, and as the nurse held down my shoulders I said my mantras aloud: “I am an active participant in the birth of my child.” This was an important mantra for me because I didn’t want to feel like a victim, or like the surgery was happening to me – I was participating. The nurse was so kind and encouraged me to do whatever I needed to do: “It’s your birth” she siad. This was so reassuring. The spinal became a little painful so I began doing my “horses’ lips” breathing and this helped me stay relaxed. Then my legs went numb so I had no trouble relaxing after that!
Several staff helped me lay on my back as I wasn’t able to move anymore. I started to feel sick almost immediately after I was put on my back and let the nurses’ know that I felt nauseous and like I was about to black out. They assured me that this was normal and continued to prep me. I felt very panicky at this point as I HATE blacking out – I started to say a bit louder “ I don’t feel good, can you please tilt me? I’m going to black out.” The OB had arrived and he assured me that this would pass, it was simply my blood pressure dropping from the spinal. I was sure I would black out any second so I was mentally preparing myself for that and trying not to panic – I focused on my breath and relaxed as best I could. They tilted me shorty after that and thankfully I felt much better.
The midwife came in then and chatted with me while I was prepped. I asked how TJ was and we talked about the Princess Diana documentary. They brought TJ in shortly after that and I was so relieved to see him that I started to cry. He asked if I was afraid and I said no, but the spinal had been very intense and I was just glad to have him with me. This is the part of my C-section that felt like ‘transition’. Everything was so intense, the nausea, the adrenaline – I was ready to give birth. I was ready to meet my baby.
The surgery began; I felt a lot of pressure and pulling and just talked with my husband as we waited for our son. I could feel my belly ’emptying’ as his body was born, but still felt a lot of pressure on the right upper part of my belly (where his head was located). I could feel that he was partially born and I said to TJ “he’s almost out!”. I felt a large pull and then my belly felt totally empty: “He’s here!” I said. It felt like the room got very quiet then. I was holding my breath, waiting to hear his cry. I wanted so badly for him to have a good cry, and when I finally heard him cry out I started to cry as well. “He’s crying” I said. It was the most beautiful sound. I remember saying, “he has such a good cry!’ I briefly saw him as Alfred and the pediatrician took him to the warming table, rubbed him down and wrapped him up. They placed him in my husband’s arms and we both said “he looks just like JJ!” He was his sisters twin! TJ held him close to me as I cried and looked at our beautiful baby. (I then randomly asked TJ if we were sticking with our original name – “what about Montgomery”, I asked. Thankfully TJ vetoed that!) While they continued to stitch me up, the nurse tried to help TJ hold the baby closer to me. Our faces touched and he opened his eyes, and it was a very special moment. After quite awhile they told me I was nearly done being stitched up so TJ and Alfred took the baby upstairs. I felt sad to see them go, but a lovely nurse talked with me about the baby’s name while I was stitched up. Everyone kept saying “you look so happy” – I felt amaizng. So happy, total bliss. I was brought to recovery and after an hour and a half I finally was able to be moved to maternity. I was wheeled into our room and when I saw TJ holding our son I started to cry again. It took a bit to get me transferred onto the bed but once I was settled I was able to hold SJ and breastfeed him. He latched so well and fed happily for awhile. I was so exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. It was an amazing feeling, to finally hold him.
A few hours later, I said to TJ “I don’t think I could do that again. It was so intense.” Having a C-section was such a good experience for me, but it still was intense and difficult in it’s own way. Having surgery – and having a baby in under 30 minutes – is a lot. Simply said, cesarean birth IS birth. It was beautiful and raw and INTENSE. I’m so grateful for the experience we had, and that I had a voice, I had options, and I felt respected in choosing to have a C-section. I had so much peace and clarity on the day of my son’s birth, and am so grateful for that.
Birth is beautiful.