Beth has been pondering whether or not to have a VBAC or a scheduled C-section here and here, and I have been reading her posts and every single comment with the hope of finding an answer to my own questions on the topic (not that I need to worry about now, or in the foreseeable future, but maybe… some day… I hope).
People are telling their birth stories, and it occurred to me that perhaps I should write Angel Face’s birth story down so that someday she can know what it was like the day she was born. Angel Face was a Frank breech baby, which we found out at 35 weeks (December 7, 2005, Pearl Harbor Day!). The doctor said Frank breech babies can rarely, if ever, be turned.
I didn’t realize until that moment how much I was looking forward to vaginal delivery, but also dreading it. While I felt some relief when I was told that “natural birth” would not be possible, it was overwhelmed by an intense disappointment and a feeling like I was a fake woman. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. I still feel like that sometimes, even though I’m still a mother and it doesn’t matter how it happened she was healthy and blah blah blah get-over-it.
We scheduled the C-section for 11 a.m. on December 28, exactly 38 weeks (tax exemption yea! Close to Christmas boo!). We were instructed to be at the hospital at 9 a.m. That morning we got up and I showered and blew dry my hair and expertly applied more makeup than I do for work (I didn’t want to look pale and disgusting in those recovery room pictures!). I put on my favorite blue turtleneck and khaki maternity pants (so you could see my big fat belly even under the huge tent-like top – it was cute, I don’t care!). I only remember what I was wearing because we have video of it.
Hubby watched a Grateful Dead concert dvd while I got ready. We snuggled the dogs and apologized for what was about to happen to them. Then, we were off, bag in hand. It was all very calm, with none of the OMG, contraction! OMG water breaking! Excitement that I had always pictured on the drive to the hospital. So I spiced the 15 minute drive up with some Def Leppard.
We got there, checked in and I signed some papers that said I understand this is major surgery and I could die, please don’t sue us thanks a bunch. Then they took us to a little room, hooked me up to some monitors and discovered (SURPRISE) I was in labor anyway. My contractions were regular and about seven minutes apart. The doctor who was monitoring apparently the whole labor and delivery floor said he wished his pitocin patients were contracting as nicely. I felt proud – and sad, because I totally could handle this labor thing. But I don’t get to. Wahhh.
Hubby and I waited in that room for a long time – 30 minutes past the scheduled delivery because of an emergency C-section that was taking up the operating room. I had to go to the bathroom, half-naked and across the floor, approximately 27 jillion times, and they always had to clear the area of men before I went. It sucked.
Finally, I was brought (alone) to the OR. It was cold and sterile and my nurse’s name was Joyce. She was hesitant about letting me hold her hand while they gave me my spinal, but I must have been convincing because she finally let me. And I rewarded her by not squeezing too hard because it didn’t really hurt that much. I laid back down on the super cold table and they strapped my arms out, Jesus style. I started talking to the anesthesiologist and she seemed nice enough but I didn’t know at the time that she was not an APPROVED anesthesiologist and we would be in a three-way battle with the insurance company for months to come over her fees.
Finally, when I was all situated (and by situated, I mean stark naked and spread-eagled on a metal table in front of three people I’ve never met before), they let Hubby back in the room. He sat by my head and looked really nervous. They started to cut at 11:44 a.m. and by 11:48 a.m., we were parents. Hubby said she was all slimy and screaming when she came out. I remember I didn’t see her and it took forever for them to clean her up, do the APGAR tests, clean me up, sew me up and get me to a gurney. When they finally brought her to me, it was weird. I didn’t feel that instant connection. I felt like somebody just handed me a baby. She was cute and all. I blame a combination of the drugs and the relative ease of that birth for the lack of emotion.
Eventually, in the recovery room, I began to breast feed her. That helped create the bond that steadily grew over the next few months. Now, she is my world, and I really don’t worry about the fact that it took a little while for us to get used to each other. Both our lives changed dramatically at that point. Her life was certainly shorter, but you cold argue that the change for her was significantly more dramatic.
I felt so guilty for so long about not feeling the instant bond that you read about or hear about all the time. But now, I know that everybody is different. And there’s nothing wrong with me. And, after all, I am still her mommy.