EH's Birth Story - Part 4 - Operating Room

Two nurses wheeled me towards the operating room, and DH followed closely behind, holding all of my belongings.  A moment before we entered the actual room, the nurse remembered that DH wasn't allowed in there yet, and took him away to a "waiting room."  I say "waiting room" with quotation marks because later on DH told it wasn't really a waiting room at all, and was instead a tiny room with a chair facing a clock.  They told him they would be back in 10 minutes to get him once I was administered the spinal.

I should also mention that the only reason that all of this was able to happen so quickly was because I hadn't eaten anything since the night before.  If I had eaten breakfast or anything really before going to the hospital they would have made me wait until everything was out of my system because you're supposed to not eat or drink anything for 12 hours prior to your surgery.  Thank goodness that I don't usually eat breakfast!

Anyway, I was told to sit up on the stretcher I was on and sit Indian style, hugging my stomach.  A nurse took my hand and told me I could squeeze as hard as I wanted, which confused me at first because I didn't understand what was happened.  But then the anesthesiologists started explaining what they were going to do, and I realized that this might hurt.  I was right.

First they felt for my hip bones and spent a lot of time poking around on my spine with their fingers, which didn't hurt per se, but it also wasn't comfortable.  There were 3 anesthesiologists there at various points - the head guy who made all of the decisions, another guy who reported to the head guy, and then someone who was clearly a student or intern of some sort, and of course this was the guy that was going to be sending a needle into my spine.  I think I sort of hate teaching hospitals for this very reason.  I wanted the head guy to be doing the procedure, but no such luck.

Anyway, they swabbed my back with betadine and then the needle goes in.  It instantly hurts and I feel like I'm being stabbed in the spine.  Oh wait, I was being stabbed in the spine.  I immediately clench the nurses hand so hard that I can't believe she didn't yelp and pull away.  My eyes filled with tears, and because I was leaning over, they fell out of my eyes and pool into the lens of my glasses until they were overflowing.  Seriously.  I don't remember a lot of the details about how long it took for them to finally find the right spot in my back where it wasn't causing me tremendous pain, but it felt like forever.  I was crying and nearly hyperventilating and couldn't seem to catch my breath, which I'm sure didn't help them do their job any better, since I wasn't exactly sitting still.

As soon as they were done administering the spinal, they wanted me to quickly lay down.  I was too busy trying to empty and clean the pool that were my glasses and they started panicking because they thought I wouldn't be able to move within seconds.  Once I was laying down, they waiting a minute before the sort-of-senior anesthesiologist guy decided to test whether or not the spinal was working.  He poke my arm with a sharp object of some sort, told me to remember that feeling, and then scratched my stomach and asked if it still felt the same.  I said yes.

That was apparently the wrong answer.

He kept repeating the game for the next 5 minutes or so, and I kept still feeling the scratch on my stomach.  He could not believe it.  Seriously, I think he thought I was lying because he kept telling me that I should be feeling pain and not just pressure. I know the difference between pain and pressure, sir. I still feel pain from that.

They decided to lower my head on the table to try to the medicine to travel up towards my chest.   Then he repeated the poking game.  I could still feel it.  I could also still sort of move my legs, which they were not at all excited about.

The head anesthesiologist came back in and middle guy explained that I still had feeling in my abdomen and suggested to head guy that they do "general," as in "general anesthesia" as in knock me out.  NO!!! I did not want to be knocked out for this!!! But I didn't say anything, because really, would it have done any good?  But in any case, head guy shook his head and said "no, give it time, lower her head more."  So they did.  At some point the tilt was so steep that I started sliding down the table and they had to raise it back up a bit.

We played this game for about another 10 or 15 minutes until finally the medicine had moved up my torso enough that I no longer felt the pain from the scratching on my abdomen.  Because of this whole debacle I still have the scabs from no fewer than a dozen scratches on my stomach (over 2 weeks later!), but at least I was still conscious and finally numb. They strapped down my arms spread out to the sides (so that I don't try to "help" the doctor, they told me) and put an oxygen tube in my nose.

All of this had take so long that they were eager to get things started.  Fortunately at the last minute one of the nurses remembered that DH was still not here, and she ran out to get him.  You might recall that DH had been seated in a small room right in front of a clock with the promise that someone would be back for him in 10 minutes.  He had been staring at this clock for 35 minutes now, and he was pretty sure that something terrible had happened and I had died.

So he climbs over all of the wires and tubes to the tiny little space that they set aside for him.  I think I thought that there would be some place more formal for the father to sit during a c-section, but that is not the case.  Same old operating rooms as they use for everything else, but in this case, they add an extra chair and make an exception to let an outside person be there.  There are still machines and tubes and wires and nurses and doctors everywhere - with one extra person.  It's pretty crazy.

They were finally ready to start.  My doctor steps up and starts cutting and I start breathing like I'm hyperventilating. It wasn't painful, but man, was it weird.

Up next - We have a baby!!!


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Emily Bosak said...

how'd we go from Part 2 to Part 4?

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