Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Baby Removal Surgery - Part II

Warning: This is a tad long, but I'm hoping you'll indulge me since it's my birth story. Also, flagrant use of cuss words.  Cuz... you know... it's my futhermucking birthstory, and sometimes it's not pretty.

*****************

Just hours after writing my last post, lying in bed, I felt something… um…. Down there… and thought to myself: Damnit.  I just got my period, how annoy…  No you nitwit, you’re pregnant!  No period.  Your water just broke!  This is it!
“Um… Colin.. Wake up.  My water just broke.” 
Colin darted out of bed and we were in frantic motion.  We stupidly packed a suitcase as if we were going on a 3 day holiday, woke up our very tolerant roommate so she could watch Caleb in the morning, called the hospital, and soon we were speeding off in the eerily empty Nairobi roads.  Including a brief stop to vomit along the road, a trip that takes 2 hours in rush hour took us 15 minutes at 2:30 AM.  So, point one for middle of the night labor.
Entering the hospital, I clutched my belly hoping to cut an empathetic figure, but the nurse on staff looked understandably unimpressed and even half-way annoyed to see us (take away that point for middle of the night labor), and pointed us to an open labor room. 
And we were there.  2 weeks before our carefully planned out C-section, feeling a mix of panic and excitement. 
Colin and I kept looking at each other in disbelief repeating as if in a trance, “We’re going to meet our baby soon. We’re going to meet our baby soon.” 
As we waited, we were treated to heavily religious gospel music interspersed with bible stories narrated by someone with an uncanny likeness to James Earl Jones.  I suppose if you’re religious (and Christian) this could give you a bit of comfort in such a momentous time.  For the Jewish Bahai couple, it was perplexing, bordering on funny.
After some routine confirmation that I was in fact in labor, our doctor was called and the C-section was scheduled for 6 AM. 
******************
Now, here is where you need a little background.
I’m not exactly the bravest of patients.  Scratch that. I’m positively squeamish nearing phobic of all things medical.  I cover my eyes when getting blood drawn.  Even when it’s not my own.  Even in the movies.  I sit in the theater saying “tell me when it’s over Colin!”  The very idea of being poked and prodded gives me a panic attack.  I’m a total wimp.  Or, if you prefer, a “delicate flower.”
If I’m being totally honest with myself, that was part of the reason we tried to use midwives with the first baby, and I remember being disappointed that they all wore lab coats and their office was so “medical” since I was foolishly expecting the more comforting ambiance of Tibetan wall hangings, the aroma of chamomile tea and lots of cranial-sacral massage.   
And yes, I’d been through a C-section before.  But, let’s just say I was eased into it after 30 hours of labor during which the poking and prodding was slowly introduced.  First an IV, then a heart monitor, eventually an epidural, after a while that dreaded fucking catheter…. 
When they finally broke the news that I had no choice but to have a C-section, Colin scrubbed in and he and my angel of a midwife sat with me and held my hand through the weird but painless tugging and pulling in the operating theater, and I was fully awake when I heard Caleb’s first screams and saw his perfect little neotenous face.   
***************
OK.  Flash forward to Feb. 21, 2012. 
Only 20 minutes before the C-section was scheduled, I sat in the waiting room with nothing but a hospital gown.  We were then informed that Colin would not be allowed into the operating theater.  For that perculiar request we would needed special dispensation from the hospital director.  
Before I knew what was happening, I was placed on a meat tray of a gurney and very quickly whisked down the halls, barely stopping to wave what I’m sure was a very pathetic goodbye to Colin.  The train had left the station.
I was then wheeled into a scarily large operating theater filled with intimidating medical equipment and that centerpiece operating table lit by blinding industrial bulbs, as if set for a macbre alien abduction probing scene. 
Men started swirling around me busily.  There were no women – not even the nurses –  and even though they were exceedingly nurturing it somehow made me feel even more alone to be the only woman in the room. 
Then, everything started happening to me with a quick efficiency that I’m sure is standard protocol, but only had me panic screaming in my head “Wait Wait STOP! I’m not ready. I don’t know if I can do this.”
Not hearing my brain screams they continued on at a brisk clip.  First with the epidural, inserted as I sat hunched over on the gurney a ball of obvious and quivering tension, trying some yoga breaths to calm myself.  When you know what’s coming next, “you’ll just feel a little prick” can be some the most frightening of phrases. 
After the spine probe, then the vein probe (IV), then those pulse monitoring pads slapped all over my chest, then that fucking catheter again, then a mask placed over my nose and mouth.  Did no one hear that I wasn’t ready for all of this???
My mouth immediately became unbearably almost painfully dry and I kept pulling the mask off my face to futily ask for water.  My internal narrative had on a loop “I don’t think I can hold it together.  I don’t think I can hold it together.” and the panic manifested physically as a pain winding its way up my body until I started twisting my head side to side and repeatedly pulling off my oxygen mask.
So people, clearly, I panicked. 
Not my proudest moment.
They later told me that they had to sedate me, so I have no clear memories of Emmet’s first cries and I have a fuzzy dreamlike image of a very whitish baby being shoved in my face for my sedated inspection. 
But soon enough it was over.  I was back with Colin terrorizing him with my impressions of the experience.  We were through.  But something was missing…
The baby!
Where was the fucking baby?
After an hour we started asking the nurses.  “He’s coming soon. Don’t worry.”  Then another hour.  “They’re just bathing him he’ll be right here.”  Then ANOTHER hour.  And my doctor came to see me.
“Yes yes doc.  Everything is fine.  We just want to see that baby. It’s been 3 hours. What are they doing with the baby??”
“Oh, don’t worry.  They are not doing anything.”
WHAT?  I suppose that was meant to be comforting.  But NO!!  If they are “not doing anything,” bring the little guy to his mother godfuckingdamnit!! 
Hour 4.  Still no baby.
We were making nuisance of ourselves and every nurse on call had already heard the message that the crazed wazungu couple in room 4 “wants to see their baby.” 
Colin started pacing so fiercely he nearly wore a groove in the floor.  Feeling totally helpless, I asked him to “pace harder.  It think it’s working!”
Finally after 4.5 hours, we got to see the baby. 
Emmet was absolutely perfect.  Full sweet face with kissable lips and angelic little eyes, blissfully unaware of everything it took to get him here.  Completely worth all the trials and then some to get him into my arms. 

35 comments:

  1. Congratulations! Emmet is gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

    Sorry about your experience -it does not sound ideal. Thank goodness you're all well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Alison. It wasn't ideal, but the recovery went much better - the nurses were wonderful and so quickly it's all a distant memory as I enjoy my little bundle. :)

      Delete
  2. There is so much I loved about this post, I can't get my comment-typing thoughts organized. Thanks for linking up with yeah write after lurking for what seems like weeks. Your birth story is hilarious and Emmet is one of our family names, so I love it.

    Mother of that white kid we see around town has to be the most honorable name in Jewish Bahai history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Erica. THis is a fabulous community and I'm meeting so many bloggers whose writing I utterly enjoy!

      Delete
  3. Wow. Thanks for sharing Kim. Wish I were there to give you a big, fat hug. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Emily! I'll take the virtual hug. : )

      Delete
  4. Good grief! I can't imagine NOT GETTING THE BABY! "Course in the States, one can always make noise about "getting my attorney involved here" which always seems to open the gates, but in another country with another culture holding sway - well, I am amazed you look so serene in the photos I've seen. You are an amazing and strong woman ("delicate flower" notwithstanding - poke/giggle). This will be a GREAT story to tell Emmet on each birthday when he's older! much love from Oregon XOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Heidi. We actually already felt self conscious about being that demanding foreign couple because everyone around us seem so nonplussed about waiting to see the baby. Turns out he was just sleeping off the birth in the nursery hopefully oblivious to all else. Anyway, he's certainly bonded to me now. He smells me and wakes up as soon as I enter the room.

      Delete
  5. Holy cow! First, that would be so hard to not have your husband in the operating room with you. I've had 4 c-sections, so I would've gone crazy if my husband wasn't with me.
    And, what the heck were they doing for 4.5 hours with your baby?!!
    He looks perfect :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I definitely wouldn't have totally fallen apart if Colin was in the room with me. Partly our fault for not investigating if it was OK for the dad to be in the room. And I still am not totally sure what they were doing with the baby, but I suspect he was just sleeping off the whole birth experience in the company of several dozen other babies. That's about all I'm allowing myself to think. ; )

      Delete
  6. You are one brave woman! I, too, would've freaked if I was without husband or any females during my c-sections. So happy that your gorgeous Emmet is well. That must've been the longest 4.5 hours of your life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jennifer! It certainly was some of the longest 4.5 hours of my life. I'm almost glad I was still feeling the effects of my sedation since it mellowed me out a bit.

      Delete
  7. Congrats! C-sections can be scary business even when they are planned!

    ReplyDelete
  8. 4.5 hours!! That's insane. I must admit I'm terrified of having a baby because of the doctor/medical part of it all. I sometimes think that's why I talk myself out of children.

    You're incredibly brave and told an awesome story here! He's beautiful. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally. If I hadn't always wanted children the gore of childbirth might have scared me away from the whole endeavor too. But it passes quickly and, as they say, nature helps you forget the pain.

      Delete
  9. I felt the panic rising when you were waiting for your baby. Ahhh! Congratulations and hope you are healing well. Ellen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THanks Ellen! We're healing well - much faster than the first time around...

      Delete
  10. The thing that sucks about a C-section is that it makes the activity of laughing - hurt. So cruel! CONGRATS on your little one! Makes it ALL TOTALLY worth it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh totally! And sneezing and coughing are no picnic either. But yes! Totally worth it.

      Delete
  11. Welcome to the world, Emmet!! What a story!! :) So glad you're all ok and the baby arrived safely!

    Jen :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Kim...I really like your honesty in your writing...so deep..

    Janet.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Holy fucking terror storm. (I had to swear in solidarity.) I would have gone totally apeshit and needed sedation, too. LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're hilarious! I know some people would have been pissed to have been sedated and missed out on the moment of birth, but I was actually thankful for it. Love you tons too and can't wait for Emmet to meet you all in a few short months! xoxox

      Delete
  14. Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful boy! I've had 3 baby removal surgeries myself (love that medical term!), and the scariest by far for me was #3, where I had to WALK into operating room and climb up on the table myself. There's something to be said for the element of surprise when it comes to this type of surgery! Enjoy your little one!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'd have to be out cold if I were to have a 'baby removal surgery'...but even scarier to me is the thought of not seeing my baby after FOUR FUCKING HOURS of delivering him!!!! WTH?! I'd have lost my mind. I'm glad all was well though. What a relief.

    ReplyDelete
  16. At least you got the epidural before the catheter.

    And at least there was absolutely NO change of swapping the baby for someone else's. :-)

    Sorry - my sick humor. So happy it's all behind you now and you just have your joy in your arms.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Squeaky wheel gets to see the baby! I still can't talk about my first birth experience without shuddering. Congrats on sharing so soon and so well!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi there Kim!
    I just discovered your blog and enjoyed reading some of your entries, but specially I loved this one.
    It must be scary when you don't get to see your baby for so many hours... I would get really nervous too.
    I really love your name here in Kenya, I think it's so cute that women are called by their first born name. And I do think yours is definitely adorable!

    Regards from Barcelona.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh and Emmet is adorable!!! What a beautiful baby!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Well holy fuck! What a story. Great blog. Congratulations on your little bundle. Emmet is gorgeous. But what an experience. You remind me of myself - I am the same when it comes to hospitals or injections etc so I'm not sure what decision I will take when my time comes whether to stay in Kenya or go home.
    Congrats to you both! <3

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow!!! Kim!! That sure must have been a crazy 4.5 hours. I cant imagine it. I am glad all is well now though. Thanks for sharing this with World Moms Blog.

    ReplyDelete
  22. OMG what an ordeal! Oh don't you just love those little prick and the catheter! I couldn't decide which one is worst the epidural needle or the catheter they were both topping my 'curse so hard inside my head' list hahaha. He's beautiful and I love your humor in this post although that must be so scary.

    ReplyDelete

There was an error in this gadget