My first post in a new series, “Adding a Second.” (I have a lot I want to talk about!)
So, as you all know, I debated for months and months over whether to have a repeat c-section or try for a VBAC. And after considering my doctor’s advice, my own personality, and what I believed to be best, my doctor and I scheduled a c-section.
To be honest, I was terrified to go into the hospital. I buried myself in my statistics homework the night before the Big Day so I wouldn’t have to think about the fact that the next morning, I’d be having major abdominal surgery. When I had my son, the circumstances surrounding his birth were chaotic, scary, and in the middle of the night. I don’t even remember much of the surgery, or the recovery in the hospital. What I do remember was crying out in pain even after I got home because I couldn’t sit up on my own, hobbling around my house, and being so frustrated that even two weeks later, I had to spend the majority of my days in bed. I was afraid of the recovery. Of the surgery. Of the whole process.
I have some great friends and family who have had planned c-sections with their second (go amazing support systems!), and they kept reassuring me how AWESOME it was. My doctor kept reassuring me as well. And although I was skeptical, I held onto that promise all the way to the hospital.
And when we got there, the nurses were sweet and excited and super enthusiastic, and once we walked in the door, I felt a little better. We had about an hour to wait.
Which turned into another hour.
And then another hour.
And then a change of doctors. (To one who I adore as well, so I was still happy.)
Turns out, there were many births and emergency c-sections that morning, and because we were planned, we were getting pushed back. No problem. More time to do statistics homework. (Seriously.)
Finally, after five hours, the OR nurses came to hang out with us and chat, and the anesthesiologist talked to me about spinal anesthesia. There was excitement, there was happiness, there was almost giddiness in the air, and that was all before I got to the OR! I started to get excited.
My husband stayed behind to put on his costume, and I got wheeled into the OR, which instantly surprised me. There were a bunch of people running around getting things ready, and everyone introduced themselves to me. A nurse came to hold my hand as they put the spinal in (which, surprisingly, barely hurt!) and then, all of a sudden, a warmth rushed through my legs, and they were super tingly. After laying down on the table, I saw my husband walk through the door, and as he sat down to hold my hand, in walked my surgeon. Everyone clapped as she walked in, greeting her with warm conversation. I could feel this sweet, beautiful, light energy in the air. I was happy. I was relaxed and so excited to meet my little girl.
Before they began, they did a roll call, and everyone said their names and their purpose. After making sure I was numb (which I totally was!), my doctor started the surgery. Everyone was just chatting away, talking about movies they’d seen and then…all of a sudden…
“Get ready to meet your baby!”
And then…”Wow, she doesn’t want to come out! She’s really high in there; she never would’ve come down on her own!”
I remember thinking, at that moment, that I’d made the right decision in scheduling this c-section. Absolutely.
My husband looked up over the curtain, and then, I heard that beautiful, high-pitched, comforting cry. The baby was whisked to the scale, where the pediatrician weighed her and did all their little newborn magic. I could see her the whole time. Freaking awesome.
It only got better from there. They handed our daughter to my husband, who snuggled with her as they finished my surgery. I could touch her and talk to her, and those last fifteen minutes (which seemed like forever with my son, because I couldn’t see him or touch him) went by so fast.
In the last few minutes of the surgery, my doctor talked to me about how well it had gone, and then asked me if I wanted to hold my baby on my chest, “skin to skin,” as they wheeled me into recovery. Seriously?? This was an option?? Yes! Yes!
In recovery, I needed about ten minutes to fight off a bit of dizziness from the anesthesia, but I was able to nurse her as soon as I felt well enough to sit up straight.
It was, literally, an amazing experience. I know that many women who have c-sections often feel that they’re not part of the process, that they’re just laying on a table while their baby is taken from them, and sometimes, that’s where the pressure of needing to experience a VBAC can get overwhelming. And even though I didn’t experience going into labor this time around, I also didn’t have to experience that terrifying feeling of being wheeled into major surgery without much preparation, and then experiencing a surgery that was more extensive because of the circumstances surrounding it. I was respected throughout my daughter’s entire birth day, and felt as though I was a huge part of the process. I was given the opportunity to bond with my baby instantly, which comforted both her and me.
It was good.
And now, I have two beautiful children. My heart is so full. I feel so blessed. I wrote about being nervous to add to my family because of how it would affect my son. Although that’s a totally different post (and one that’s coming soon, because it hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies!), I don’t know why I was so worried. It’s true what they say: your love just multiplies.
And as I’ve said before, it doesn’t matter how our children get to us (vaginal, c-section, adoption, etc.); it matters what we do with them once they arrive.
You can read Part 2 of Sarahlynne’s series on Adding a Second here: “The First Two Weeks with Two“