On May 7, ten days after my due date, we had to report to the hospital at 4 am. We got up early and snapped a few photos. It was an exciting morning, especially for me – anyone who has gone past term on a pregnancy can attest that those extra days feel like weeks.
We had full expectations that this delivery would be a repeat of the last one. Having Kendra was easy, actually an enjoyable experience. The only difference this time was that we were doing it without medical insurance, but we had already prepaid for everything, so we felt good about that, too.
Contractions on Pitocin are intense. I went several hours before asking for an epidural. I can remember the pain being so extreme that I literally fell asleep between contractions, only to be awoken by the next one. Ronnie sat by my bedside, his expression revealing how much he wished he could make me stop hurting.
After the better part of the day had passed, I knew very suddenly that something was wrong. I could feel myself bleeding, which shouldn’t have been possible for me to feel with the epidural. Ronnie called the doctor and I told her. She tried to brush off my worries, but checked to humor me. She went from nonchalant to intense in a matter of seconds.
The next few minutes were a complete blur.
I remember bits and pieces – secure an O.R., an elevator ride, more bleeding, no one talking to me, the confusion on Ronnie’s face, contractions.
In contrast, the first moments in the operating room are vivid in my memory.
They wouldn’t let Ronnie come in while they prepped me for surgery, and I’ve never felt so alone in my life. I was scared and confused. I was on a table in the middle of a stark white room with my arms outstretched and strapped down. It was a bustle of people intent on the task at hand – and none of their jobs was to comfort me or explain anything to me. I was vulnerable and terrified. All I could do was repeat over and over and over in a trembling voice “I want my husband, I need my husband, please, my husband.” I strained to make eye contact with anyone who passed by. Those were eternal minutes.
When they finally let Ronnie back in to stand by my side, I calmed down. I told my doctor I could feel my contractions, so I got another epidural while we waited for the head doctor of the practice to come assist in surgery. They had also paged a pediatrician to be on hand.
The actual Cesarean was fast. Ronnie maintained eye contact with me through the whole thing.
And then came that magic moment, the moment I had longed to hear since that first doctor had told me I never would – the moment my son cried. All of the anxiety of the entire pregnancy and the intensity and confusion of the last hour melted away instantaneously when I heard that beautiful cry. What relief!
I watched in terror as my doctor handed my son to the pediatrician. After that first cry, he abruptly stopped. He was purple. I laid on that table and considered the biggest decision of my life – did I want to hold him if he was dead?
I started hyperventilating. This is where everything becomes a blur again in my mind. I was heaving. My doctor was yelling, “I can’t operate – calm her down!!” Ronnie was trying to calm me. I was straining to see my son. Was he alive? Still hyperventilating. My doctor ordering someone to calm me down. I begged not to be knocked out. ”I promise I’ll calm down! Please don’t knock me out!”
And that’s the last thing I remember because they sedated me.