It all started as planned, with Donnie and I arriving at the hospital around 8pm for our scheduled induction. I was TERRIFIED and EXCITED and about to pee all over myself before we even got to the Labor and Delivery Room. We got settled into the LDR and the nurse came in to give me a cervical softening tablet. I have NO idea what it is called? I kept calling it Zicam, which is totally an allergy medicine and belongs NO WHERE NEAR a girl’s cervix!
The first dose of Not-Zicam set me having contractions within about an hour. Donnie got settled into his “bed” and fell asleep while I stayed up for a few hours amazed by the actions my body was taking. The contractions were simply uncomfortable, but I was fascinated by them none the less. They were so consistent at 4 minutes apart, and then they eventually creeped to one minute apart, but they were not any more painful. At 1am it was time for my second dose of Not-Zicam and THAT dose? Made my contractions get tougher. I still didn’t need to wake up Donnie, I was doing my breathing fine on my own, but I was considering waking him up several times. I asked the nurse for a sleeping pill to help me get rested before my Pitocin Drip at 6am. The sleeping pill did NOTHING for me. I slept ZERO.
At 6am, Donnie was up and ready to go when Dr. D in to start my Pit-Drip. Once they got it started, my contractions immediately got harder. I was still only dilated 1cm, so 8 hours of contractions had done NOTHING to my cervix. As the Pit-Drip made my contractions worse (read: HORRIBLY PAINFUL), they were also getting closer together, if that was at all possible. Donnie was a great labor coach and he helped me through all of our breathing exercises. Several times I was doing more crying and screaming than breathing, but for the most part I used my breathing techniques like I was supposed to.
After about an hour or so, the nurse was noticing something was odd with Nikki’s heartbeat in relation to my contractions. They had me lay on one side to encourage better behavior. When that didn’t work, I switched to the other side. I just want to say that changing positions when you are having SEVERE contractions less than ONE MINUTE apart? NOT FUN. Meanwhile, my contractions were getting impossible to handle or cope with and I was already discussing needing an epidural. My only hope was that I was dilated so much I would not need to deal with the pain for much longer.
The nurse started thinking maybe Nikki was stressed because I was laboring so quickly. She checked to see if I had dilated much. I was praying that it was, like 7 cm. She said the dreadful words “You are close to 2cm dilated.” Close to TWO? As in, just BARELY over ONE? This, of course, meant that a fast labor would not explain Nikki’s erratic heartbeat. The nurse got Dr. D to come up and check on me. They decided to place a monitor internally to see what Nikki was doing during the contraction. They couldn’t get it in accurately since I wasn’t dilated much. The attempted insertion was probably one of the worse things I went through because they just KEPT TRYING! Damn determined nurses.
Dr. D finally said to me, “We’re watching her heartbeat, and based on WHEN it’s dropping with each contraction, we think she has her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. I think we need to do a c-section, now.” I said, “Um…okay…” And that is when all hell broke loose.
The nurses started giving us hair net scrub things to put on our heads…they told Donnie they would get him real scrubs on the way to the OR. Everything started happening very quickly and I realized how serious everything must be. As we’re going down the hall to the OR (the same OR I had my D&C in 2 years ago) the nurse realized I still had all my jewelery on, including my bajillion earrings. She told me I needed to get them off before we got to the OR. I was struggling to get them off while being pushed down the hall having contractions. It was a bit tough, to say the least. I remember being VERY worried that I would lose the diamonds Donnie had given me as a wedding gift that I hadn’t taken off for anything BUT surgery since the day we got married.
It was at that moment that my fear started taking over and I started getting REALLY upset. The anesthesiologist was introducing himself to me and he yelled at Dr. D (we were STILL making our way to the OR) “Do we have time to do a spinal or are we going to put her to sleep?”
That was ANOTHER thing that clued me into how serious this was. They were considering putting me to SLEEP. Luckily, Dr. D reassured him that there was time to do a spinal. Keep in mind, I was STILL having those DREADFUL Pitocin induced contractions. They got me into the OR and made Donnie stay outside the room while they prepped me. There were about 20 people moving VERY quickly in the OR. One doctor grabbed my knees and pulled me over to my side (mid-contraction) and he held my knees up to my belly while another doctor pushed my head down towards my knees. Keep in mind that position? NOT a good position to have a contraction in. And I had SEVERAL in that position while they worked on my spinal. It is a very weird sensation being FORCED into the fetal position when you are 40 weeks pregnant. I kept thinking, “I don’t think this is good for the baby…” but I figured the doctors knew what they were doing.
After my spinal, I felt much better. I also noticed a student nurse back in the corner of the OR. She had introduced herself to us that morning and had been trying to take care of use while we were still in the LDR. Donnie told me later he heard another nurse talking to her and I was her first c-section patient. She looked almost as scared as I felt. I started crying sometime around then and one of the doctors I didn’t said, “What’s wrong?”
What’s Wrong? What’s WRONG? Did this dumbass just ask me WHAT’S WRONG? I broke a nail! That’s what’s wrong…what did you think?
He was actually very nice and was trying several things to console me while I cried hysterically. I think I may have mentioned REALLY wanting my husband to be with me. I’m not sure. I was listening to Dr. D organize everyone in the room. Hearing his voice made me feel much better. He’s always brought me some security with his presence. He did a check where he shouted to the room, “This is Dr. D and we are here to do a c-section on patient Zoot. Everyone in the right place?” and I felt much better.
But I was still crying hysterically.
At some point soon thereafter, Donnie was allowed in with me. That made me cry even harder. The weird doctor gave Donnie some gauze to wipe my eyes with. Dr. D was telling me that he was drawing a line for my incision. The weird doctor tried to joke and say “He’ll initial it too!” but Dr. D immediately said, “No, I Won’t.” Evidently Dr. D is of the opinion that during an emergency surgery, joking is NOT the best way to console the patient. And in reality? I agreed.
Gotta love that man.
I could feel all of the pressure associated with the surgery. I could feel them cut me open and I could feel their hands inside of me. It was VERY weird. It didn’t take long for Nikki to be rescued from my uterus and Dr. D said, she did have her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. The doctors told Donnie to go with the baby and I watched him with her by the warmer and I cried and cried. I heard one of the nurse’s ask Donnie if he had a camera, and he said, “We didn’t have time.” They brought her to me to kiss and I cried the hardest of all. It was all very overwhelming. She and Donnie left me and I sat there for a bit longer feeling them inside of my abdomen.
It was some point around then, while they were wrapping up the surgery, the discussion of my innards started. Evidently? I had the biggest uterus anyone in the room had every seen. Seriousy. We would hear about my giant uterus from SEVERAL nurses and doctors over the next little while. I am very proud of my obsenely large uterus. Dr. D also found endometriosis on my ovary and fibroids in my uterus. Fun times and show even MORE of the challenges Nikki had to overcome to make it into the world.
My incision was stapled and it is about 10-12 inches long. I found out later that c-section patients don’t bleed as much after birth as vaginal deliveries do. When I asked why, they told me because the doctor sponges out the uterus before he leaves. I thought that was nice, for Dr. D to leave the place cleaner than he found it. Those are always the best houseguests.
After they patched me up, they sent me to recovery for an hour where they attached to me the beloved morphine drip.
After an hour of recovery, during which I heard Dr. D call Donnie to tell him I was fine and to let him know about the wonders they found inside me and my giant uterus. They wheeled me up to my room. All of Donnies’s family was there, as well as my BFF who was SUPPOSED to film the birth but the emergency c-section kinda squashed that plan.. They had all shown up to visit us in LDR when they were told I was having an emergency c-section. It was very surreal for them.
The rest of that day is VERY blurry. Part of it is because I had been over 24 hours without sleep. The other part? Was because of my morphine drip. Which, according to the nurses, I didn’t use as much as most women, but I did use it quite a bit. That with the exhaustion made me a VERY fun person to chat with. I fell asleep halfway through sentences as well as answering questions halfway before I forgot what I was saying. It was like I was drunk enough to pass out ALL DAY LONG. I’ve had to have other people fill in for me, and most of it consisted of “Well, you fell asleep several times…”
I finally got to see Nikki several hours after my surgery. They brought her to me and I could do nothing but cry. We even have video footage of it, I was just staring at her, wiping the tears that were pouring non-stop down my face. Even in my drunken morphine stupor I was aware of the miracle in my arms. Somehow, through all the chaos, I had ended up with a perfectly healthy little girl who I would fall in love with over and over again for the rest of my life.
I also nursed Nikki then for the first time. It went really well and she latched just fine. I was happy because I was so worried about it taking so long to feed her. She was a champion nurser from the beginning and she’s been that way ever since that day.
That night, I had some catheter issues and we had to take it out early and I spent the whole night paging nurses to help me to the bathroom so I could pee. BUT I NEVER PEED. I keep apologizing, “I’m sorry…it feels like I have to pee…but I can’t seem to do it.” As if I hadn’t lost ENOUGH of my dignity throughout the day, I was having to tell the women helping me to the bathroom that I had forgotten how to PEE.
It was a VERY long night that kept me from catching up with on my sleep as much as I needed. But, by lunch the next day, I was walking to the bathroom by myself and peeing with only MINOR amounts of effort. It turns out peeing is like riding a bike, you never really forget how to do it.
After four days of the hospital, we were very ready to get home and start our new life with our new family. When we left on Saturday I was very overwhelmed with the sensation that I had just been through a very tough several days but had someone survived it all and on the other side was Nikki. She was beautiful and perfect and she was ours. It is amazing to look at a child and know that she is a combination of you and the one person in the world you want to spend eternity with. She is the corporeal manifestation of the love Donnie and I have for each other and I think of that every time I see her. It is an amazing thing and she is loved like all children deserve to be loved.
She has a father who has already proven he is not a sideline Dad. He has jumped in the game changing diapers and giving baths like there was nothing better he could be doing in this world. He sees nothing but perfection in her and loves her more than he realized he was capable of loving someone. He was born to be a Dad.
She has a brother who has been anticipating her arrival for years. He wants to hold her every chance he gets. He can’t wait for her to see him play soccer. He’s making signs for her room, he’s showing pictures of her to his class. He is more proud of her than I have ever seen him of anything. He loves her like only a big brother can love a little sister.
And she has a mother. A mother who is so overwhelmed with her love for her new daughter that she just cries for no reason. A mother who feared it would be impossible to love another child as much as she loved her first, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it is very easy to love your children equally, with as much love as a heart can stand. I look at her and I see a child who is nothing short of a miracle. A child I have been wanting for so long, that now that she’s here? The relief is overwhelming. I want nothing more than to hold her and protect her forever.
I am now a mother of two. TWO children to worry about. To protect. To love. To cherish. To teach and to learn from. To spoil and to discipline. I have been given two miracles in my life and I consider myself the luckiest woman in the world. That is not just a phrase, it is the truth. I have been blessed a million times over and I promise my daughter, my son, and my husband to always cherish them and love them like they deserve to be loved. I will never forget to be appreciative for the miracles in my life. Especially for NikkiZ, the baby who survived several challenges to bless her family with her presence, and we will be forever grateful.