Thursday nightWe had dinner at my sister's Thursday night; it was nice to get a good home-cooked meal that we didn't have to cook. :-) Came home early, and I fell asleep by 10, only to wake up at 2. Just too excited to sleep, I think; I'm often like that before a big event. Kevin didn't get much sleep either, so we went into Friday a bit out-of-it already...
Friday morning: pre-C-sectionWe were scheduled to start at 7 a.m. Kevin actually dropped me off, and then went home again to pick up Ellie and take her to a kennel (which didn't open until 7:30). I headed over to OB Triage, where they checked me in, drew my blood, asked a variety of questions, had me change into a hospital gown, and put in an IV, starting me on fluids. They had some trouble drawing blood from me; I have a tendency to faint, and I did start getting dizzy with the blood draw, which worried the nurses. And then, later, when they tried to draw blood as part of the cord blood donation process, the vein collapsed, and they ended up deciding that it was just too hard getting blood out of me, which is too bad, since it would have been nice to donate that cord blood. Ah well; we tried. I do recommend that other pregnant folk donate, if they can; banking the cord blood for yourself is hugely expensive and almost certainly unnecessary, unless you have a specific case where you know you're likely to need it. But donating it can help save lives. This has been your PSA for today.
The whole start-up process took, oh, an hour or so, by which point Kev was back. Then they took us up to the actual operating room -- or not quite. They took us into a room across the hall, and left us there for a bit, me in a wheelchair and Kevin standing beside me. They gave Kevin paper blue scrubs, and I wish I had a photo of him in them, because he looked pretty cute and doctor-ish, like J.D. on Scrubs. :-) They also gave us pale blue hairnets, so we looked a little like lunchroom attendants.
At this point, I suddenly got really anxious about the surgery (after being calm so far that morning), and even a bit weepy, which of course meant that it was at that moment that my doctor walked in. Sigh. But she was great; actually dropped down on her heels next to the chair and put her hands on my legs, which was oddly soothing, and made sure I was okay. Which I was -- as she put it, I was just momentarily spooked. She got me some tissues and I was fine a few minutes later. She said that we should be getting started soon, and headed out.
We waited a bit more, and then someone came in and told us that an emergency c-section had come in, so that we were going to have to wait for an hour or two, and we should go ahead and get more comfortable. Ah well. I climbed up onto the bed in the room and lay down. Kevin managed to curl up behind me for a little while, but it really was too narrow to do much of that. Eventually he went to sit in the chair across the room, and I actually fell asleep for half an hour or so, which was good. Should've slept longer, I think.
My mom and sister arrived at that point; they'd originally planned to arrive right after the surgery, but with the new schedule, they'd gotten there a bit before. They brough in a beautiful bunch of pink and purple tulips. :-) My mother loaned me her St. Christopher medal for luck, but the nurse said I wasn't allowed to wear any jewelry, so I gave it back. We chatted briefly, but then a nurse came in and said that I needed to go -- they'd finished one emergency, but it looked like there might be another soon, so they wanted to get me in fast. So she took me across the hall, telling Kevin he had to stay behind for the moment.
Friday morning: AnesthesiaBy this point, it was 10-ish. They took me into a very scary room, full of medical equipment everywhere you turned, and helped me get up on the operating table, sitting sideways, with my feet dangling off the side. The anesthesiologist came and explained everything that he was about to do, which was mostly good -- I think I overall prefer knowing exactly what's going to happen, even if it does mean I get to fret about new and exciting risks that I hadn't been aware of. He did assure me that they weren't expecting any complications. Interestingly, none of my doctors ever used the phrase 'routine', even though I'm pretty sure the whole thing mostly was. Maybe they're trained not to use that word to a patient? I can think of a couple of reasons why you might not want to.
Then came the procedure itself. They wet my back (probably with alcohol) and then had me lean forward, slumping my shoulders. They kept saying, 'try to slouch more' and 'her back is really straight'. (I kept thinking that my mother would be pleased, considering how often she told me to stop slouching growing up, but it was inconvenient now.) Eventually, I guess I slouched enough to make them happy, because they stopped tapping my back with their fingers, and actually stuck a small needle in there. In some ways, this was the scariest bit, since I was expecting it to hurt, which it did. But not much. Somehow, I thought sticking a needle into your spine would hurt more that a normal blood draw, but it doesn't really. After the little needle numbed the area with something local, they apparently stuck in the big needle for the serious spinal anesthetic. I didn't feel that go in at all.
They had me lie down quickly then, flat on my back, and then they started doing all kinds of things -- strapping my arms down flat (in a t-position, like on a cross), putting up a big blue sheet of paper right at my neck, so I couldn't see anything, and lots of other stuff I couldn't see. I think it was somewhere around here that they put in the urinary catheter. Meanwhile, my legs got really tingly/prickly and warm, a feeling that slowly moved up my body. Eventually, someone came and lightly poked my shoulder with a dull needle -- or at least, that's what it felt like. She told me to tell her when I felt that same sensation again. And then she started down by my feet and worked her way up -- I could feel the pressure each time she poked, but no sharpness, until she reached right under my breasts. I said, 'there,' she said 'perfect'.
They let Kevin back in then, and he came around to sit by my head, holding my strapped-down hand. And then we were ready to go.
They've just brought in my breakfast, and I am starving. So, to be continued...