Sunday, October 4, 2009

Surgery Anxiety



I got up for the third time during the night to go tinkle at 5:30. For some reason as I was trying to hoist myself back up after my "business", I was overcome with an intense and creepy feeling of dejavu. It dawned on me that in just a few days I will be having major surgery- again. Getting up and down from the toilet is always so hard for the first few days. So it hit me this morning as I tried to do so in my prenatal and ginormous condition.

I laid in bed for the next three hours and was filled with anxiety. I've had many people say to me "Oh you are a pro at having babies now so you're probably not scared ta all." HA HA HA!! That couldn't be more un-true. I think the more times you undergo something traumatic, the more aware you become of what could and does go wrong. I am so fully aware this time of exactly what happens before, during, and after the procedure. And the more I think about it, the more panicky I get at the thought of all of it!

I imagine what it will be like that morning when I get into my gown and get prepped for surgery. They will likely stick me over and over again as they try to find a good vein. Then a genius (me) will finally speak up and say "You have to stick it in my arm, right below my elbow. The back of my hand DOES NOT WORK!!" Then they will get it right. Maybe this time without the bribe of $20 for getting it on the first try.

Then I'll be hooked up and monitored for a while to see how the baby is doing as we wait for the doctor to arrive. The stress of it all will likely bring on contractions, like always. After an hour or so and bantering back and forth with the nurses, it'll be time to get wheeled into the OR. When Hailey was born I made the mistake of walking myself into the OR. I was feeling good and wanted one last walk down the hall before I'd be confined to a bed for hours on end. There is reason why they suggest you get wheeled in, rather than walk in. It's best if you are lying down and can't see what the OR has to offer. There is something disgustingly erie about seeing those sharp metal instruments all neatly laid out on the table. The instruments that will slice and dice and leave you in agony. When I walked in an saw all that I about hit the ground. A nurse had to catch me.

After I get wheeled into the OR, they will have me sit up on the table and at that point I will begin to shake uncontrollably. I will likely throw up too. It's amazing what a straight shot of adrenaline can do to a person. They'll have me take several deep breaths and then the anesthesiologists will come in and get me ready for the spinal. Oh gosh, I think this is the worst part of all. I HATE getting the spinal. I don't know how I manage to stay still through it all. I feel like I'm about to pass out! A very cold and burning sensation runs through my back and then through my whole body. They quickly lie me down and then start the test pokes. "Can you feel this? Can you feel this? What about here? How tender is this spot?"

Once the spinal fully takes over I think I can't breathe. I know I'm breathing okay, but since I lose control of all feeling from my chest down my mind plays tricks on me. Then the sheet goes up, I get tethered to the crucifix, that special tube goes into my nose, and I can hear lots and lots of voices talking all around me. I never know exactly how many people are in the room, but I know it's a lot. Oh I forgot one very important thing. Somewhere between the initial numbness of the spinal and the beginning cut, I get catheterized and shaved. Oh the joys of being a mom.

The cutting starts. Things get pretty quiet. The anesthesiologist talks to me trying to monitor my coherence. I wish to God I could just pass out. The claustrophobia is almost more than I can handle. They tug, they pull, and at one point I think they have ripped my chest apart because of the intense pressure. I can't feel my lower half, but I feel LOTS and LOTS of pressure. They get close to my bladder and have to cut adhesions away and the room gets deadly quiet. This is possibly the scariest part of the surgery.

The anesthesiologist continues to talk to me and he says "Get ready to meet your baby!" There is a huge amount of pressure and just when I think my diaphragm is being sat upon by a nurser, they pull the baby out and I can breathe again. My heart is racing and my mind is racing as I patiently wait to hear that first cry. I know it's only a matter of seconds, but to me it's hours before I hear that nasally screech. Oh, music to my ears!!

By this point I'm dreadfully cold. I don't know if it's the loss of blood, but I think I'm about to die of hypothermia. They get the baby washed off and fully suctioned, wrapped up, and he gets brought over to me. But I'm tethered to the table and I can barely turn my head to see him. Cody is holding him and he takes him down toward my hand so I can at least stroke his little head. Then he comes closer to my face and we are cheek to cheek. I always start crying because of the unfairness that I can't have him on my chest. I'm always so envious of people who get to have normal births, mainly for that reason.

We have our tiny moment, and then he's taken away to the nursery to get assessed. Cody will go with him at that point and suddenly I'm all alone. I lay there shaking and crying as they stitch me up. It seems that it takes hours, but in reality it's usually about thirty minutes. Finally the time comes when they hoist me from the operating table to the bed that I will reside in for the next four days. I always think the sheet is going to rip in two as they lift me up with it. But it never does.

I'm wheeled into recover and I am shaking even MORE than before. If all goes as it should, my sweet baby should be waiting for me when I get into the recovery room. With Hailey it took hours before they remembered that I wanted to see her. Oh man, don't get me started on that bitter tangent.

Idiots.

With Lauren I had her the second I was in recovery and she didn't leave my side for the next four days. I pray to God that it happens like that again. My awesome doctor has said that he will personally walk down to the nursery and get the baby himself if I don't have him as soon as I should. Good doctor.

I will hold him for the first time and I will be in love. By this time the shaking should start to wear off because I'll probably be under the heated blanket and I'll have the circulation leg cuffs on and my body temp will come back up. Ahhh, blessed relief. He and I will have our first nursing session and I'll be so happy. I am thinking positively that it will go smoothly like it always has.

And then in a short while, all hell will set in as the spinal wears off and the pitocin drips kicks in. I will be hurting like nothing else! And that's when the fun begins. It'll be a terrible twenty four hours. I just have to remind myself that it's very worth it because I'll have my sweet little boy. I'll look back at the last nine months and know that I would do it all again in a heart beat.

Okay, I can do this. I can do this! Only one more week to dwell on it.


4 comments:

Julie said...

Omg, I never realised how much a c/s was. I knew it must be painful and scary but all those details. They stick a tub in your nose? Getting restrained. Not being able to hold your baby right away. Pitocin after the birth? That is cruel.

You are very brave and couragous. I know I would not go for a second c/s. So, for you to go for a fourth, amazing. I wish all will go well next week and you get to hold your precious new son asap.

Julie

Audrey said...

Things are going to be okay, and it'll all be worth it when you get to hold your sweet, new baby.

Good luck!

Sarah Stiles said...

Sounds pretty gnarly, but did I ever tell you about Cameron's birth? Yeah, sometimes that route isn't so great, either. The ONLY good thing that came of that ENTIRE experience is having him placed on my chest right after he was born. The moment was all too brief, however, because I was dying on that stupid bed and they were trying to save me. And then I spent DAYS and DAYS in the hospital trying to recover enough to go home. I still had to have a catheter for a full week, and I had several weeks of physical therapy 1)so that I could regain control of my bladder, and 2) so that I could learn to walk again after Cameron lovingly shattered my tailbone as he made his entrance into the world. It was 6 weeks before I was feeling anywhere near close to my normal self. So, if I am ever blessed enough to be pregnant again, we will most likely opt for a c-sec. Seems so much safer!

Ev said...

I can honestly say I don't envy you. I prefer doing it the normal way and feeling like I just got off a hourse I'd been on for the better part of a year. But I'm still wicked excited for Monday!! WOO HOO!!!!

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