For your reading pleasure, here's a medly of posts about what I was doing one year ago today.
Last Tuesday started out like any other Tuesday—me bitching that I had too much to do for the state I was in and how Marc was never around when I needed him to be. I got through the morning dishes and lunch with no problems other than being so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. That afternoon I had my final monitoring with the nurse/midwife and another birth class, which I’d honestly planned on skipping. As I was up for a cesarean I felt more inclined to come home and nap rather than sit around learning how to push. Naps are good things—pushing was not even up for consideration for the good things list.
Talking to the midwife, I explained the latest of my strange pains—the occasional “hot needle” through the scar from the first c-section, fully expecting her to tell me again how normal I am and not to worry. How many times have I had screwed up expectations? Instead of her normal reassuring, “you’re not so strange after all” look, what I got was a regard of deep concern, and a bunch of questions.
What I figured was just a bit of scar tissue getting pulled on turns out to be one of the first signs of a huge, potentially fatal problem—a uterine rupture. Really not cool. So, after a call to OB-GYN Kenobi, who only confirmed what the midwife suspected, off I went home to pick up the suitcase, pillows, and ever-so-slightly overworked husband whose initial reaction was, “Quit joking. I don’t have time for this”. (No, really, it was just a fleeting thought of his—in reality he turned into Superman—well, slightly haggard Superman with a bad hangover from catching super villains and stuff all night with no sleep.)
Muffin was napping peacefully chez Mémé, since that’s where he goes when I go off for my visits. When the car was packed and ready, I went and woke him and had my “I’m gunna miss you soooooooooo much” cry. He, having heard his father in the hallway, began chanting, “Papa, Papa”. Yep, feelin the love…
I drove us to the hospital so Marc would be able to use the phone and try to keep his head above water as far as the farm thing goes. This was probably my one stroke of genius all day as he was on the phone for almost the entire trip. Once we got to the hospital, time seemed to stop. It was only 30 minutes before they had me hooked up to a machine, but it felt more like hours. Marc was getting anxious as we still had no idea if the cesarean was going to happen that night or the next morning or even if it was gunna happen at all and dammit, he needed to get organized.
Two hours later I was in my room, given food and told the exorcism was scheduled for 1 in the afternoon the following day. Marc was glad to have his morning free, as there was a truck coming to get grain in the morning. He promised to be back the next day at noon and we said goodnight. I settled in for my last night of peace, sorta.
[The next morning] Marc was, of course, late. I was honestly so Zen that I didn’t care. Besides, it’s not like he’d missed anything at that point. He ended up showing up at the same time as the doctor, who was kind enough to let him in to the delivery ward since everyone else seemed not to hear him ringing the bell—even I didn’t hear the bell, and I was listening for it.
When Muffinhead was born, or exorcised if you prefer, Marc showed up in a sweater, to which the nursing staff added one of those super sexy hospital gown things in heavy cotton, a hat, and shoe cover things. Then, before the baby comes, they heat the place up to like 85° or some other ungodly hot temperature. When they handed him his son, Marc almost went to the floor. He insists it was because of the heat. I have a different opinion, but we’ll play along and say it was because of the heat. This time, Marc practically stripped before getting all donned up in garb. He was still hot, and uncomfortably so, but at least he could breathe.
The doctor came in, told me she needed to eat before we got started, but not to worry, things would be underway soon. I so love the fact that this woman can eat literally minutes before chopping me in half. There’s just something about her character that I adore. Of course, the rest of the OR staff had other ideas, as they are OR staff and not usually on the OB block. They’d all gone out for lunch in the caf and finally showed up about 45 minutes later than expected. They did this for Muppet, too. They finally all got there, with the traditional (maybe obligatory is a better word) morbid OR sense of humor which I so love. I, for my part, got switched from one bed to another to be moved ten feet and be switched to yet another bed.
Then time suddenly sped up. I got drugged—a spinal block, prepped, catheterized, covered, uncovered, draped with 10000 sheets so I couldn’t see anything and then sliced and diced. I honestly don’t remember too much of this part as it was such a flurry of activity and I was dealing with the drop in blood pressure that goes along with the spinal. I do remember them calling out the time of the first incision (13h54) and OB-GYN Kenobi saying, “My God, she’s heavy!” and then hearing two very sharp, very pissed off cries. Someone was here. Finally. It was two minutes after two.
I didn’t cry for Muppet. I had a tear or two but that was all. For this new one, though I was all tears for about three minutes. They presented me this purply-grey thing, who took one look at me and started crying again. I was a mom, to the second power.
Time slowed back down again, and the Exorcist started explaining to me that my uterus was in fact, very solid—no signs of any rupture, or anything out of the ordinary, except for the fact that I don’t bleed. She says I’m good to go for another “six or seven cesareans, one right after the other” , but I assured her only one more will suffice. She then proceeded to tell me how she was opening my cervix with her finger, going into graphic detail…
A little background. When Muppet was born, I didn’t have any of the bleeding afterwards, you know that nine year long period that goes along with childbirth. I had none of that. Even while still at the hospital, I was unable to stain a pad. We had to do an ultrasound to make sure my uterus was draining like it should be, which it was, but we still have no idea where to. Until, that is, two weeks after the birth, when I was at the grocery store, and all of that stuff that should have been evacuating from my body decided to migrate south, all at once. I was soaked to my knees in a matter of seconds. Fortunately I was only in the parking lot, so I was able to make it back to the car without too much embarrassment—cuz trust me, this seemed so much worse than any “I got my period in gym class” story. I ended up soaking through the diapers I’d lined the seat with before I got home and then, after an hour, everything dried up again. I’m strange like that.
So this time, in an attempt to make sure this didn’t happen again, Dr. Kenobi decided to put her arm in my incision and stick it out through my cervix. Aren’t you glad for this visual? I know I certainly was. Thanks, Doc!
The only other thing of note was M. Gourmet, a cute but odd fellow who had the fun job of catheterizing me and running suction and other miscellaneous duties. He was particularly fun. When I asked about his name to make sure I was reading it correctly—one never can tell with the drugs I was on at that moment—he told me it was indeed Gourmet, because, as he put it in flaming drag queen voice, “I’m so delicious”. (Does that make up for the visual?)
After being stitched up and dragged (literally as the legs were just dead weight at that point) from one bed to another I was finally reunited with the husband (ever so proud and happy that man was, trust me) and a clear plastic box containing the very-much-less-purple-and-gray baby form we now call Christine.
I found it a bit strange that it took three different beds to get Christine into the world, but once here, they were able to take me directly off the hack-n-slash table and put me directly into the bed from my room. We got wheeled into the recovery area (same as the preparation area, actually), where Marc and the plastic box and I were all reunited. After incubating for an hour and a half, Christine was deemed “done” and finally dressed. What happened to her during that hour and a half to finish her off that she was unable to do in thirty-nine weeks and three days in the womb is beyond me, but apparently it was very important. Once she was dressed we got down to the serious business of breast feeding. (Suffice it to say, that’s something we’re all still working on.)
Finally Marc decided it was time to leave, as it was beginning to get late and he still had almost an hour’s drive home. I was eventually detached from the catheter (ahhhh) and allowed to stand and walk. This is apparently allowed in recovery, but not allowed once I was back on the floor. There’s apparently a whole list of things I’m allowed to do in recovery (walk, drink, cough) that I am supposed to forget how to do or suddenly be unable to do once on the floor. And thus the war between the American patient and the Stupid French Midwife began (actually this was the second time around with that bitch—we’d already had one row when Muppet was born).
For some reason the anesthetist I was unfortunate enough to have that day seems to think that cesareans are highly traumatic events. The last time ‘round there was this woman who had a c-section just before me and then laid in bed for FOUR DAYS before moving. Apparently this is the French way of delivering surgically. Sadly though, I am not like this, so the orders this asshole left, that I shouldn’t be allowed any solid food for 24 hours after the cesarean, were completely just horrifying to me. 24 hours after plus the 18 hours before hand that I hadn’t had anything to eat were really enough to just set me over the edge. I like food, I need food. Expecting me to recover from an operation, develop milk, raise a baby and not plunge head first into the dark depths of post-partum depression without giving me something to put into my stomach is like expecting to win the lottery without buying a ticket—ain’t happening babe.
BTW, bouillon isn’t something to EAT, it’s more like something to DRINK. How can anyone consider that food?
Anyway, I shan’t bitch about that part any longer. I have so many other things to bitch about!
Three IV lines in ten hours can be deemed excessive, especially when I’ve explained how the veins in my arms have a tendency to not hold up well, so can you please start with the veins in my hand. Ending up with a line practically in my elbow isn’t very comfortable and the reduced mobility is really a pain when trying to take care of a new born. Also, please someone, teach that stagiaire how to correctly remove an IV catheter. No one should actually have meat hanging off the catheter because it was ripped out of one’s arm.
Doctor, the world has moved on since the 80s. It’s recommended that women be up and about ASAP after a c-section now, not coddled and treated like delicate flowers. If I feel the need to get up and pee, don’t try to talk me into calling for a bed pan. If you have any doubts, check with my real doctor, maybe read the orders she left for me instead of trying to fit me into your outdated mold—and maybe try reading a medical revue or two to see how things are done now. Or better yet, RETIRE you old fat bastard!
Don’t send for the shrink because I pointed out that my child’s ears don’t match. One look is enough to tell you that one ear is clearly different from the other. Stating the obvious does not mean I am rejecting my child. I find her odd-ball ears charming. And honestly, if I needed a reason to reject my baby, it would probably be more like something to do with the fact that she sleeps all morning (while the medical staff keep me up) and not a wink at night (when the medical staff are busy sleeping and replenishing their energy to bother me all morning) turning me into a zombie with a bad attitude. And as even that hasn’t made me not like her in the tiniest bit, you can really just keep your psychologist crap, OK?