*Note: There are a few fairly graphic pictures of the c-section at the middle of this post. Just letting you know….
Time goes by so fast, and it’s already been almost three weeks since Anna Elise joined our family. I’ve been thinking that I need to sit down and write about her arrival before the memory fades! So here it goes… wonder how far I’ll get before I’m interrupted!
I had asked about something I’d read online called a “natural” c-section or “family-centered” c-section and found out to my surprise that the hospital had just approved a policy for what they called Family Centered C-Section. At my pre-op visit the afternoon before, the intake nurse (who was absolutely amazing, by the way, answering ALL of our questions and acting as though she really did have all the time in the world to spend with us) explained exactly what that meant, and what it did NOT mean.
It did NOT mean that I could have the whole family there. I tried to think back afterward, and I believe that there were something like 12 people in the room. As with my other c-sections, Carter was the only one allowed to be there. I asked about delayed cord clamping (this just means that instead of clamping and cutting the cord right away, they wait until the cords stops pulsating, giving the baby both room oxygen as well as continued oxygen and nutrients from mom during the transition to the outside world). She explained that because the operating room was kept so cold, the benefits of delayed clamping would be countered by the risks of the baby getting cold during those few extra minutes. That made sense to me!
What it DID mean was that instead of whisking baby out as fast as possible, whisking her over to be assessed and then whisking her off to the newborn nursery, while I laid there wishing I could see her and hold her, they would slow everything down a bit. So, this is how it went for Anna and me…..
5:00am – We arrived at the hospital, checked in to my room. We met the nurse; she started my IV, put me on the baby monitor, and answered any questions we had. Things went quickly for about 45 minutes, then it was just waiting until 7am when the c-section was scheduled. Carter had brought along his MP3 player and I dozed off listening to Andrew Peterson and Amy Grant. After a while I noticed that I was feeling fairly regular contractions, although they were very mild. I started watching the monitor and sure enough, they were showing up. I asked the nurse about it and she said, yes, it looked like I was in early labor. That was an encouragement to me that Baby Anna was ready to be born, at least within a day or so of when she’d have come on her own.
6:30am – The new shift of nurses came on and we were blessed with yet another sweet nurse. She was the one who would be with me through the surgery. They told me that all was on schedule and that the doctor was on his way and on time. The 20-something CRNA came by to tell me about my spinal and what to expect. She really didn’t look old enough to be doing that!
Just before 7am – I walked to the “Caesarean Birth Room”, met everyone, as if we were at a party. Everyone was excited, as if this wasn’t something they did every day. I, on the other hand, couldn’t believe it was finally happening and everything felt very unreal. I was very relaxed and not worried about anything (except that they didn’t do the surgery without having Carter come in – he had to wait until I was all ready to go, in case there was a problem with the anesthesia or anything). The anesthetist was quite chatty and I could tell she was excited about this relatively new “Family-Centered” thing. She told me everything that was happening. I got my spinal, which I discovered was MUCH less uncomfortable than the epidural anesthesia I’d had with the other three. They quickly laid me down on the table because it takes effect so fast, I’d have fallen off the table on my own! They did the last minute preparations and then the doctor and the midwife (to assist him) was there. I asked several times if Carter was there, and they promised me they wouldn’t forget to have him come in. 🙂 Then he was there and I could relax. The doctor started almost exactly at 7:00.
The doctor had told me that the 4th c-section often is the one that causes complications because of excessive scarring and that nicking surrounding organs or excessive bleeding were risks. However, he let me know right away when he started that there really wasn’t a lot of scarring and that everything was very “normal”.
We still didn’t know if Anna was breech or not, and if she had been breech, some of the things I was hoping for wouldn’t have happened, because they’d be struggling to get her safely out. However, she wasn’t breech, but was pretty high up yet, and the midwife had to push down on my upper tummy with all of her weight (think a S-L-O-W chest compression…. I FELT THAT!), so he could get ahold of her. Once her head was out, they suctioned her and then dropped the drape and lifted my head up (I was almost sitting!), so I could see everything. Then he just kind of gently “rocked” her out, and there she was! My beautiful little girl! He sat her almost on my chest to clamp and cut the cord and I could see her so well. She cried just a bit… just enough to reassure me. She was fairly dusky, but otherwise she looked great. I never did hear with her Apgar scores were, but she was fine.
NOW it felt real! What an amazing feeling, seeing her for the first time. It’s hard for me to remember the order things happened next. I think they quickly took her to the warmer and the NICU nurse and Respiratory Therapist checked her over very quickly (she was there for 5 min at the most), suctioned her and then wrapped her up and she was all mine.
I couldn’t get over her little fingers. Carter just melted when he saw her. I couldn’t believe how taken he was with her. 🙂
After a little while of just looking at her and holding her, I got light-headed and nauseated and my blood pressure dropped. So they gave Anna to Carter and gave me some fluids and medicine. Ss soon as I felt better, they gave her right back to me. I loved having this time to be with her, and was so happy with how everyone made sure I had every moment with her that I could.
I just love the above picture. After I was all put back together, I was taken to recovery and had a chance to nurse Anna. She seemed to know exactly what to do. I think I was in recovery for about a half hour then was taken to my postpartum room while Carter and Anna went to the nursery for Anna to be fully assessed and to get her Vitamin K shot and medicine in her eyes. It felt like forever until they came back. Once they were back, I called my mom to let her know how things went. She and Dad were watching the older children and waiting for a call saying to come on up and
They came up to see us later that morning, and everyone was glad to see me and to meet Baby Anna.
Cassandra was a bit nervous holding her and she was a little upset seeing me hooked up to so many tubes and monitors. I tried to reassure her, but she was tearful and anxious that first time visiting. She felt better the next day when I was up and had my IV out and monitors off.
Garrett thought she was pretty cute, but he was more interested in his Grandpa than his sister. Not a huge surprise. 😉
Emma was the most excited to meet her sister. She’d been talking to her and kissing my tummy for months and couldn’t wait to finally see her and hold her.
Grandma and Grandpa were glad to meet her too.
What an amazing day. I’m so thankful for a safe delivery and for the effort that the hospital staff put forth to give us a special experience and to give Anna as gentle and natural a start as possible. I wish I could go back and personally thank each one who was there and took the time to treat us so well. I’m so thankful for my FOUR beautiful, healthy children. God is so good!