For the record, I don't think that having an epidural or being induced were factors in my giving birth via c-section, but that's how it happened.
After 24 hours, it was determined that the baby was malpositioned and not able to descend, so into the operating room I went. (It's interesting to note that several people have since told me that they thought I'd have a c/s all along. I don't know how I feel about this. Part of me is insulted as though they're saying they thought I couldn't do it, and part of me agrees- that's what I secretly thought as well.)
It felt strange to get prepped for surgery even though I knew it was coming (hell, let's not kid ourselves - I was tired and relieved that it was finally going to happen.) We called our parents who, as you may recall, were all eating Thanksgiving dinners at their homes on either coast, anxiously waiting for updates. P was given scrubs and I was given the blue gauze hat thing that I remember thinking was awful and that it would make me look bad in the pictures (dear lord, if I only knew how bad I already looked!) A nurse reminded P to bring in our baby book if we had one and our camera and I was wheeled off to the OR alone.
I was told that P would be brought in when it was time to begin. My doctor was in the room, making preparations, and a new anesthesiologist was called in because my doctor was pissed that the first guy had been such a jackhole about the epidural.
I'm going to skip ahead a bit and tell you right now that I freaked the fuck out on the table. I did not see that coming at all. I had anticipated the possibility of a c-section months before and never had a problem with it. In fact, I strongly considered requesting it in advance in order to minimize the risk due to the whole placenta issue. I've had surgery before with no real problems. I honestly wasn't scared. In some ways surgery was the known when you compare it to the unknown of a vaginal delivery.
The first real problem is that I had no idea how much I was supposed to feel. I could feel the brush of antiseptic across my belly. Was I supposed to? When they asked if I could feel poking, I could. Was I supposed to? What if the drugs didn't work properly again? It would be too late once they started. And here's where I started to panic. I mean, seriously panic. I was trying to hold my shit together because I was about to have a baby and it was going to be wonderful, but I was getting really scared. The bad epidural experience really messed with my head.
And hey, where was P? I heard my doctor call for someone to bring him in from the other room, but he wasn't there when my doctor made the first cut. And I knew it. So I added that to my worries. By the time (all of one minute, I'm sure) he made it to the room I was not doing so well. I was feeling frantic. I was happy to see him, but by that time it was really too late to roll back the tide of panic. The anesthesiologist was very kind. He tried to reassure me and told me to hang on and he pumped a whole mess of who-knows-what extra drugs into my IV. Then I got a bonus something else in my mask (not just oxygen) that was probably supposed to calm me down, but it smelled bad and I wanted to rip it from my face. But hey, also, they were cutting me open.
In my opinion, no one can really explain what it feels like to have your uterus removed while you're awake and can feel it. See, the whole "tugging and pulling" you hear about is accurate, it's just not clear. Let me tell you right now: It hurts. I felt each swipe of the blade as the doctor separated the layers, but it wasn't how it feels to cut yourself with a knife. Creepy. The actual getting the baby out part? Yeah, that was not great. It hurt, I didn't expect it to, I was tired, emotional, and freaking out in my mask and I felt like I was wrecking it for myself by being so upset. Only I couldn't stop crying.
Then I heard my doctor, "There. You see the eyes?" My baby was looking up at him, eyes open, before she was actually born. It was cool and freaky and other doctors came to look because that's kind of bizarre and I cried right through it.
The next thing I knew, I could hear someone else crying.
Someone who was not me.
It was my daughter.