Rudy's Birth Story (From My Point of View and Corey's)

First Family Selfie

My Story

I still don't know if I'm quite ready to write all about my pregnancy.  It wasn't an easy time for me and I'm trying to give myself enough distance from it so that I can write about it without sounding whiny or worse, insensitive to my readers who would gladly take a difficult pregnancy if it meant getting a baby at the end of the journey.

My decision to have a c-section was an easy one in the end.  Sure, I started my pregnancy journey thinking I'd deliver the "normal" way.  I even thought that I'd try to get as far as I could without taking an epidural.  In hindsight, this was partially because I was afraid of being immobilized while trying to push on my back, but it was also because I'm competitive and have a high pain threshold and I was pretty sure I could make it most of the way without pain meds.

Enter the pregnancy from hell.  I must have been in my seventh month before it even dawned on me that the giant Bruiser inside me would actually have to come out somehow.  By that point, I felt far to wimpy to even think about the actual birth process.  When my OB mentioned induction, I could have vomit-cried right there in his office.  Not only did I have no intention of squeezing a baby out of my vagina, but the mere thought of the interventions that would make induction possible made me want to pass out.  You want to stick WHAT in my WHERE???  That's when I scheduled my c-section.

With our home in a state of chaos and the nursery just barely finished, I was in total denial about the baby coming.  In fact, for weeks, each time Corey would mention packing my hospital bag I would change the subject.  We packed the night before and I think we both stayed up most of the night doing last minute prep for Rudy.  We knew it was foolish but we figured we'd just sleep in the hospital... which is pretty much exactly what happened.

We were up at 6 am on the morning of my c-section.  There was so much to do that it still hadn't really sunk in that I would meet my daughter that day.  After staying up all night, I was fasting and couldn't have coffee but I felt pretty wired.

I waddled into triage on the maternity ward and one of the nurses made a comment about it looking like twins.  I was too preoccupied to glare at her.  We were quickly admitted to the pre-op/post-op room, where I met one of the surgeons, the anaesthesiologist and a couple of nurses who would be assisting.  They inserted my IV and explained some of the weird things I could expect from the surgery (Like the fact that you're basically laying there totally naked the whole time... wtf?) and Corey and my mom waited with me.  At that point, I wasn't nervous at all and I was even responding to work emails.

Then they wheeled in another mom from surgery.  She had her baby with her and, when I heard that new baby cry, I started tearing up.  I think that was the moment when the magnitude of what was happening hit me.  That was going to be me in an hour or so and the cry would be from my own baby!

Soon, my midwife arrived.  Although my care was transferred to an OB, my midwife was still going to assist with my surgery.  She knew I was concerned that Rudy should stay with me as much as possible (unless there were a good reason otherwise) and she assured me that as long as Rudy came out crying, she would make sure I got her immediately.  I felt lucky to have this option since most c-section moms have to wait a couple of minutes to get their babies.

As they wheeled me in to surgery, I was glad my mom was there to wait with Corey.  He looked so nervous and I hoped there would be no complications and that he could join me in the operating room soon.  I knew he wouldn't get to join me until after the first incision was made and if there were any complications, they likely wouldn't let him in.  I was honestly more worried that he would be worried than I was concerned about myself and Rudy.  I assumed we'd be fine.  We're tough girls.

I felt like a wimp when they inserted the spinal block.  It was an awful sensation to have a needle poking around so close to my spine and the anaesthesiologist told me that it was important that I tell her every sensation I was experiencing.  I had to keep telling her it hurt and I was pretty relieved when it was over.

I had been sitting forward and they lowered me onto my back immediately.  I realized why when my legs began feeling heavy and numb almost instantly.  It was the strangest feeling and I kept feeling as though I was going to roll right off the table.  I checked and double-checked that they had secured me properly.  From then on, it was weird because I could see people working on me and hear them talking about it (I heard them chatting about inserting a catheter) but I couldn't feel much and my surroundings started to feel fuzzy.  I mentioned that my ears were ringing and everyone started scrambling.  I heard something about my blood pressure dropping and everyone kept telling me to stop moving my arms but everything was sort of foggy and I couldn't help moving my arms.  For a minute, I thought they were going to need to put me under general anaesthetic and I worried about Corey.  He'd be freaking out if he wasn't allowed in.  I took several slow, deep breaths and eventually the ringing stopped and I felt myself becoming more coherent.  I stopped mumbling nonsense and was able to say "I'm okay."  I had stabilized.

The anaesthesiologists were pleased.  They were the ones communicating with me the most because it was important for them to know if the spinal block was working.  At that point, they did a few tests that involved pinching me, rubbing liquid on me and asking whether it was hot or cold and the final test, which was the actual incision.  I didn't feel any of it, so my midwife went to get Corey.

Once he was holding my hand, I felt more secure but by then the surgery had started and I needed my strength.  I felt a lot of pressure and my body was moving as though I were laying in the back of a truck that was driving down a bumpy road.  A few times, I had to remind myself that I couldn't ask them to stop and that I didn't want to because I was doing all this in order to meet Rudy!

Eventually, the pressure became stronger.  It felt as though someone were standing on my stomach.  I almost wondered if someone were pushing down on one end, so Rudy would shoot out of the incision like you would expect in a cartoon.  Someone called out that we were almost there (I must have been wincing) and I squeezed Corey's hand and whispered "This is it!"

When they pulled her out, I didn't hear a cry right away.  I actually called out "Is she crying??" and the anaesthesiologist told me she was.  It was all such a blur but Corey later told me that my midwife plucked her from the surgeon's hands right away and put her on my chest.  I remember Corey cutting the cord and I remember the relief of finally holding my baby.

Of course she was covered in blood and white goop and she didn't look at all the way I'd imagined her.  Her little face was scrunched and sort of looked like a potato and she had more of a squawk than a cry but she was all mine.

I don't remember anything else about the surgery.  They could have walked an entire class full of med students along with a marching band through that operating room and I wouldn't have noticed.  Because I was finally holding Rudy.  My baby.  And she looked nothing like I had expected and yet that didn't matter at all.

I didn't look at my phone again for more than 24 hours.  Even my closest friends had to text Corey to find out how we were doing.  I was too focused on Rudy to notice.

Corey's Story

When I first found out Taylor was pregnant, I was in shock.  Taylor can attest to this: I was totally silent, apparently I turned dark red and had a vein pop out in my forehead.  “Seriously? That fast? How is this possible?”  This is what ran through my head immediately when I found out.  In hindsight, not the greatest reaction of all time.  However, less than twenty-four hours later I was not only on board, but ready to steer! I was so excited I couldn’t wait the nine months to meet our baby.

Nine months passed in a whirlwind of wedding planning, the wedding itself, the honeymoon, renovations, doctor/midwife appointments and an absolutely horrible pregnancy for Taylor.  Finally the day arrived when Taylor was scheduled to have her c-section.
Admittedly, I was nervous.  I was nervous for Taylor, who was also nervous and anxious about going under the knife, and I was nervous about Rudy.  Was I ready to take care of her? We hadn’t attended a single parenting class, and I had not finished a single parenting book (which is an impressive feat since I only started one.) Nevertheless, we were about to have Rudy, and I’d have to figure it out.  

Taylor and I went in to the hospital the prescribed two hours early so that Taylor could be prepped for surgery.  We were both aware that during the actual administration of the spinal block and preparation of the sterile field in the operating room, I was not allowed in. Partner’s roles in c-sections are to support the woman giving birth, and if something should happen that would force them to put Taylor under, I wouldn’t be allowed in at all.  No problem, it’s only 10-20 minutes I was told (and I had read 20-30 minutes, so I was ready to go.)
I can now say that so far, that was the longest 45 minutes of my life! I was calm and cool for the first 25 minutes, chatting with Taylor’s mom who had come down to see her before she went in and to wait with me during the prep.  At about 28 minutes I became very aware of the clock on my phone, checking it at least twice a minute.  I began pacing the hall, looking at my phone.  At one point Taylor’s mom said “Do you think they forgot about you?” which only made me more anxious.  I decided to message one of my best friends to tell him what was going on, I didn't get to read his response until hours later (naturally, it was reassuring) because they called me in.  I felt a wave of relief.  

When I walked in to the OR they brought me over to a stool set up to Taylor’s right, next to her head.  I immediately took her hand.  We sat there talking (about what, I have no idea at this point) and waiting while staring at each other.  Ten minutes (at most) after I walked in, someone says  “Ok, here she comes” and I held my breath.  

The moment I heard her cry is when I exhaled, everything was okay.  Immediately they brought Rudy around to Taylor, where they cleaned her and examined her, and I cut off the excess from her umbilical cord. During this time we’re pretty sure they were stitching Taylor back up, though admittedly neither of us really paid any attention to anything but Rudy at that point. Finally they were ready for us to move out into the post-op room, and our midwife asked Taylor if she would be okay with me taking Rudy out so that she could be weighed and measured while they took the last couple of minutes to work on Taylor, so that she could hold her again immediately once she was out of the operating room.  

I picked up my baby girl and walked more carefully than I have ever walked out of the operating room.  I held her close, and put her on the warmer to be examined.  She was a healthy 8 pounds and 8 ounces, had a length of 51.5 centimetres and a head circumference of 35.5 centimetres.  She was perfect.

I learned three things that morning:
  1. Time can slow down so much that it almost stops, and yet 400 million thoughts can run through your mind in an instant.            
  2. Babies come out quite purple, and covered in white mucus.
  3. There is nothing in life I have ever experienced like being able to hold my little girl for the first time.

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