I suppose in a way scheduled C-sections make for unexciting birth stories, but Baby Trilobite deserves his story anyway. I don't think I ever wrote about it, but I was hoping for a VBAC. Nico's C-section birth was a surprisingly positive experience, but I was worried about the recovery and how I'd be able to handle a new baby and a large, active toddler during six weeks of weight restrictions. My OB was on board, though she cautioned me from the beginning that there were no guarantees and she never seemed too convinced of the chances that it would actually happen. When I first discussed it with her, I asked her what my odds were of success at my due date and if I went past due, and she said she wasn't sure of percentages for either, but that the odds of success definitely would decrease with an overdue baby. I went ahead and scheduled a repeat C-section for the morning of my due date and decided not to fret over it too much. I suppose a tiny part of me will always wonder if I would have gone into labor eventually and been able to deliver, but it's a pretty miniscule part. All I know is there was no action at all by my 39 week appointment and no changes during the following week. It seems I'm really good at growing babies but not so good at having them on my own.
Since we'd booked so far ahead, we were able to get the early appointment and had to show up at the hospital at 5:30 AM to check in and begin prep. We dropped Nico and Indy off at my parents' house on Sunday evening. Nico was SO excited...I'd told him at bedtime on Saturday that he got to spend the night at Grandma's the following night, and he started asking to go to Grandma's house literally the moment he woke up Sunday. I figured he wouldn't miss us too much. After we dropped them off, MB took me out for a nice grownup dinner. My plan was to come home and go to bed early, but I was full of nervous energy and ended up staying up late cleaning up the house. Once I finally did go to bed, I couldn't sleep. I think I might've slept for an hour at most. I had expected to get nervous the next morning, but I really didn't. We went to the hospital and I was kind of surprised how quickly everything moved. They took us right to our room and had me get into the gown and put on the monitors. True to his wriggly ways, Baby kept squirming out of the reach of the monitor and it took several adjustments before they were able to finally get a 15 minute strip of heart readings. I didn't hear (and no one mentioned) his previous heart arrhythmia, which had seemed absent at his 38-week and 39-week OB checkups as well. Even though the nurse admitted I have "great veins," for some reason the first two IVs she tried to start failed. Those hurt worse than I remember from last time. The second time she blew my vein and blood started to make a big bubble under the skin on the back of my hand. I didn't see it because I was smart enough to keep my eyes firmly averted, but MB saw it happen and had to go sit down. Poor dude. She turned the task over to one of the other nurses who was able to start one in my other hand, luckily on the first try. I had to sign and initial a bunch of papers. I kept expecting the anesthesiologist to come in and talk to me since that was requested in our birth plan, but no one ever did. I didn't really care much since I remembered the procedure from last time. (Later I realized that we totally forgot to turn in our birth plan at all, so it's a good thing we didn't want anything fancy.) There did seem to be rather a lot of waiting toward the end, but I had a book to read and I never got jittery. Finally it was time for one last bathroom break, the horrible sour-lemon anti-nausea medicine, and the short trip to the OR.
The lonely stool where MB sat last time to wait while I was prepped had been replaced by a rocking chair and a big poster above it on the wall that said "Waiting on a miracle!" Cheesy, yes, but I thought it was sweet. Once again I had to walk into the OR from my rolling bed, which I still think is funny. This time I was much more aware of the OR...it really does look just like a set on TV with all the lights and the machines and cabinets full of stuff. I remember warily eyeing the table with all the creepy surgical clamps and such. While we were waiting on the anesthesiologist and doctors, I sat on the edge of the operating table hugging the pillow my nurse had given me. "All the Single Ladies" came on the radio and the nurses joked about having a flash mob. I said if only my baby was a girl, it could've been his signature song. (I suppose if he later has an affinity for Beyonce, we'll know why.) It seemed like all the nurses had a nurse-in-training along for the day, but I didn't mind. After just a bit the anesthesiologist came in and I liked him a lot. He was kind of a dad-feeling guy, warm and friendly. I was surprisingly not nervous for the spinal either, and that was done in no time. They asked beforehand if I'd want a warm blanket and I said I did, remembering how cold and shivery I'd been during Nico's delivery. Once they got the spinal in they got the warm blanket and the anesthesiologist asked me "How much does your husband want to see?" I said "As little as possible!" (Last time I asked MB after the fact if he'd watched Nico being born. He said no, but that he'd accidentally caught a glimpse over the drape when he first came in. "It was...not good," was his grim report.) I told them I'd like to see the baby once he was out, but not anything else. It seemed like they put the drape up extra high, presumably for MB's protection.
MB came in and sat down. I started to feel kind of gross right away, which didn't happen last time. I guess my head was slightly lower than the rest of me or something, because I immediately started to get that blood rushing to the head feeling and my sinuses became totally blocked within a few minutes. I couldn't breathe at all through my nose, so I was trying to take even deep breaths in and out through my mouth. Other than that the surgery itself was fine. When the doctor saw the baby she exclaimed that he had lots of hair and I called out "What color is it?" They told me it was dark, he started to cry (I was grateful that he didn't make me wait), and a few moments later one of the nurses brought the baby over near my head so I could peek past the drape and see him just for a few seconds. I saw dark hair and chubby cheeks and fat little thighs and then they whisked him off to finish cleaning him up. I could hear everyone chatting about him as they worked. Apparently he was wiggling and kicking like crazy because the nurse trying to cut his cord called out to me "He must've been really active...we're trying to cut his cord and he won't stop kicking us!" My OB told the assisting doctor about his Doppler-dodging antics at his checkups. There was a general noise of impressed-ness when they put him on the scale. Someone said, "Big baby!" and told us he weighed 9 lbs 7.3 ounces (the newborn nursery later weighed him at 9 lbs 1 oz, and his lactation nurse suspects that was more accurate). Before too long MB got to hold him skin-to-skin. By then I was feeling really nauseated and twisting my head back to look at them only made it worse. I suppose its kind of awful to say, but at that point I was focused more on not vomiting than I was at trying to look at the baby. The anesthesiologist was really good with asking frequently how I was doing so I told him I was feeling sick. He told me my blood pressure had dropped and that might be the cause, and that he'd add something to my meds to help counteract that. It did help after a few minutes, but I spent a touch-and-go bit of time with one of those tiny pink kidney-shaped bowls on my chest and got dangerously close to barfing. Luckily I felt better by the time they'd finished up and I was able to hold the baby on my chest for the ride back to recovery. I had another terrible bout of nausea there but they were able to give me something in my IV to knock it back again. Thank goodness because i really, really did not want to throw up.
With Nico my nurse told me to get him on the breast right away, but this time no one said anything. I asked if I could just nurse him whenever and they told me I could try to nurse as soon as I felt ready. I had joked before having him that I wouldn't remember how to nurse, but it went just fine. He latched right on and nursed for almost an hour. I wouldn't say I immediately fell head over heels for him. I think he felt like a tiny stranger at first. Just like with Nico, it kind of crept up on me gradually as the hectic pace of the morning faded and the baby slept the day sweetly away, carrying me gently into a new life as the mother of two beautiful boys.