Sorry this is a little rough. Things have been hectic around here, to say the least.
On Friday, February 29, at a routine checkup, the doctor noted that I was slightly more than 2cm dilated and 80% effaced. Exciting news, but with both babies breech, he advised against trying active labor due to the risk of cord prolapse. He asked to see me again Monday at noon, and said he thought it was likely that we would be having babies on Monday or Tuesday (though he later confessed he had fully expected me to go into labor over the weekend). When I came in Monday, I had dilated past 3cm, so he sent me upstairs to Labor & Delivery for monitoring. That was where they discovered that I was having regular contractions at four minute intervals. I had known I was contracting, and that it was a bit stronger than anything I had felt previously, but I have a high tolerance for pain/discomfort, and these contractions just didn’t seem that bad to me. Whoops!
The c-section was immediately scheduled for that afternoon. The suddenness with which this was all happening caught me off guard, and I had a difficult time not panicking. Fortunately, we had come to the appointment with our bags packed and in the car already, which helped me feel a little less unprepared. Diane, my midwife/doula/superhero, was able to come over quickly, and she was a huge comfort as I nervously cracked bad jokes and waited. I made sure it was written down in at least sixteen places that I was very allergic to codeine and prone to sudden drops in blood pressure.
I was put in a wheelchair at about 2:30pm, and had one tearful moment when Diane and Husband were sent to the waiting room while I was shuttled down the hallway and into the freezing cold OR. Once I got in there, the anesthesiologist was very sensitive and kept me chatting, maintaining a surreal atmosphere of normality while he injected my spine with the numbing medication. I lay down and stared at the tall blue drape while wiggling my toes furiously until I couldn’t do it anymore, just to let everyone know that hey, I was still here, and if I could wiggle my toes I bet I could feel a big scalpel too, so please, oh god, don’t cut me yet.
Husband and Diane were brought in, and sat down near my head. Husband held my hand and I kept my eyes on his darling, worried face while Diane explained what was going on and found the best angles for photos. I found it strange that during all of this, I could still feel people touching me, and I could feel the babies wiggling inside. Then my doctor announced that he had just pinched me very hard. I didn’t believe him, but he insisted it was true. And then he began.
I didn’t feel any pain at all, but the tugging and pushing sensations were quite noticeable and totally bizarre. Something in the medication cocktail made me a little floaty, but it wasn’t distressing and didn’t prevent me from paying close attention to everything that was going on. I waited for nausea to sweep over me, and was surprised and pleased to find it conspicuously absent.
Much sooner than I expected, I heard squalling, and looked over my right shoulder to see someone holding up Little Boy, who was very slimy and clearly unhappy to be yanked from his cozy spot in my pelvis. I started to cry as I looked at him. I was both amazed and somewhat disbelieving that this child could possibly belong to me. They took him out of my field of vision, presumably for suctioning and apgar scoring, though truth be told, they could have been selling him to Martians for all I would have known about it. A few seconds later, more squalling, and a blood-covered Little Girl was presented for my approval.
This is where it starts to get fuzzy. My blood pressure began to drop, and the floaty medication made me floatier. I remember having Little Boy placed on me for some snuggling and kissing, and I remember Little Girl being held for quick kisses just before they whisked her off to the NICU. She was having some breathing trouble, they said, but I wasn’t worried – partly because I had just heard her yelling, and partly because I was becoming a little detached from reality. My eyes weren’t focusing quite right, and I knew I was on the verge of passing out, but I was absolutely determined not to miss anything and so I held onto consciousness through sheer pigheadedness. Little Boy was placed back on me for the ride to Recovery, and I talked to him the whole way there about how glad I was to see him and how much we loved him and how wonderful his life was going to be. Poor kid, having his first interaction with Mama when she was high as a kite. I probably traumatized him.
In Recovery, they decided that he wasn’t breathing as well as they would like, and so he followed his sister off to the NICU. The rest of the day is basically a blur to me. I know I made some phone calls, probably sent some e-mails, so if you got an incoherent communiqué from me at some point, I apologize. Later that night we went up to see the babies, and I was relieved to find my feeling of unreality being replaced with one of fierce love and protectiveness.
. . . more later.