It occurs to me that I've alluded to quite a lot, but haven't taken the time to sit down and write out our grand adventure.
Repeat c-section was scheduled for Friday, November 23rd. We were organized and ready - everyone had their marching orders. Favorite doc was scheduled to cut, plan for Nate was perfect. I had my packing list ready for my bag, and for Nate's (to stay with grandma and grandpa).
Monday the 19th, I went out to dinner with my neighbor and friend Sara. Had a wonderful time, late into the evening, and lots of wonderful food. The wonderful food is important to the story, so bear with me.
Came home around midnight, puttered around, and off to bed. Woke up at 5 am needing my traditional pregnancy trip to the potty. Remember the wonderful food part? Let's just say that the chickens came home to roost. So I spent a little while in there, reading through our baby-names book for some last-minute second-guessing of our choice, and trying to figure out how to sneak Jack's middle-name-to-be past his Daddy.
Around 5:30, I realized that something seriously bad was going on. The pain was getting worse and worse, and I started vomiting. The pain didn't feel anything like I've ever read about contractions. I'd figured they'd feel like the Braxton Hicks contractions with pain involved, but there was no "contracting" that I could feel. I'd also heard it could feel like very strong menstrual cramps, but it didn't feel like that either.
It felt like a burning pain, like the worst urinary tract infection ever, that only briefly abated before starting up again. I had a break of maybe 20 or 30 seconds in between the burning coming back, and I was embarrassingly unable to control what I was saying or doing. This included a lot of moaning and occasional yelling, and a lot of slumping to the floor. Not my best show.
Woke Stewart around 5:45, and told him that I thought I was in labor. Asked him to call my Mom and have her come to take care of Nate, and then changed my mind to say we'd just meet her at the hospital - with the frequency of the "contractions" I didn't think we had enough time to wait at the house for her, and then drive the 40 minutes to the hospital.
Called the OB and explained what was going on. Had two "contractions" while I was on the phone with her, and she said I should head straight to the hospital and that she'd meet me there. I was initially a bit worried - she's the newest and youngest OB at our practice, and I'd only met her once before. She handled the phone call very well, though, and I was hopeful.
Threw some random items into a bag for me and for Nate, and put Stewart in charge of getting Nate up and packed into the car. I was really scared at how frequently the "contractions" were coming - I'd been timing them at around every 2 minutes - and considered calling an ambulance. I decided that if my water broke, we were calling an ambulance; otherwise, we'd try to make it to "our" hospital where my OB was waiting.
It took longer than it seemed possible to get out of the house, but we eventually found ourselves in the car. My sweet boy handled the situation so well, and seemed barely phased by being put into the car in his pjs, with his Mom moaning and yelling the whole time. I tried to mitigate the stress for him by pretending to be kidding with the yelling - in the short spaces between pain, I'd turn to him and do a big pretend yell with a smile on my face, hoping that he'd think it was all a game.
My manly husband blew my mind at the first red light we came to - he drove around the cars waiting on our side by driving on the wrong side of the road, and then drove right through the red light honking the horn the whole time. Wow. If you've ever been in a car with my manly but very sensible husband, you'd know how crazy those actions were.
He took us all the way up Georgia Avenue like this - we ran about 12 red lights before making it to Holy Cross. Met my parents out front and handed off the car and Nate to them. Stewart wheeled me up to Labor and Delivery, where I threw myself on their mercy. They had me back in a room in no time flat, and the nurses were absolutely incredible. I was a very nice patient, but not an easy one. The pain was excruciating, and I spent most of my time begging for some help or relief.
They put me on the monitor, and it showed very frequent, very long contractions. Exam showed me dilated to 2 centimeters, and 80% effaced. I was shocked - I'd never done either with Nate, and it seemed like something that happened to other people. We still didn't know how big the baby was, so I decided to go ahead with the c-section instead of attempting a vaginal delivery. I'm very grateful that I did, for reasons to come.
Got my IV, got prepped for surgery. Dr. Potts came, and I explained that I needed some pain relief. They didn't have access to any, so they gave me a shot of Terbutaline which is designed to stop contractions in women who are having pre-term labor. Best shot I ever got. Heaven. I'm still giddy from the relief.
In all the rush, we'd forgotten to bring a camera. I had planned on taking a belly shot before having the baby so I'd have one to compare with my first pregnnacy, but we hadn't gotten around to that either. So Stewart took a little video footage while they were transferring me to a wheelchair, and they carted me off for surgery. The nurses continued to be wonderful, and I met the guy who would assist Dr. Potts - adorable, professional, and very gay. Made me feel very comfortable.
They got me into the operating room, and started preparing everything. I told everyone that I really wanted to know what was going on every step of the way - the more information the better. Everyone was so respectful to that need, and it made the whole experience so much less scary for me. Dr. Potts held me while the anestesiologist gave me the spinal which was shockingly painless. They got me settled onto the table, and offset me with a towel under one side - it kept my belly from pushing down so hard on me and really helped me be comfortable. There were 4 people working on / around me, and every single one of them was giving me a blow-by-blow of what they were doing to / around me. It was funny and great. I kept waiting to panic, but never did. I had asked the anesteologist to make sure to keep me calm, and I was also very very very happy that the hours of pain were over, and I think the combination carried the day. I remember staring at the ceiling and thinking "This is going to happen no matter what. Don't miss it. Stay calm." I did.
They brought Stewart in, and he started taking photos with my cell phone camera. They turned out far, far better than I could have ever hoped for. I told him to try to catch everything I was going to miss, and he tried so hard to do that for me.
They got started, and it went very smoothly. I don't remember the feeling of them pulling Jack out, like I do with Nate, but this time I got to stay awake and hear everything else. They worked on him for a while, and then I finally heard him cry. Stewart hung out with him for a bit, and someone finally brought him over for me to see. My first response was shock at how much he looked like Nate!
Dr. Potts talked to me at this point, telling me that there was a hole in my bladder from an adhesion, and that they needed to repair it. She sounded calm and normal, and I stayed that way, too. It took a while, but they got a urologist in to make sure he was happy with her repair job, and then they finally closed me up. My only real feeling at this point was boredom from lying on my back, unable to see anyone or anything! The urologist came and went without my ever seeing his face, which I find very weird and funny.
The pediatrician checked Jack out, and said that he might have an umbillical hernia. They were able to do the Viacord donation without any problem, so that's stored away safely.
They wheeled me into recovery, and I got to show the baby to Deborah and my parents. Told them the name, and tried to get my legs to work so that I could get to my room. The doctors told me that the only complication consequence was that I'd have to keep my catheter in for a week, instead of overnight, and it mostly turned out to be so. And the bladder problem explains much of the excruciating pain of the initial "contractions" - my bladder had adhered to my uterus with scar tissue from my first c-section. So each contraction literally pulled on my bladder, contributing to the tear. I'm very grateful that I weenied out of considering a vaginal delivery - the bladder would still have likely ended up with a tear, but I wouldn't have been open for them to see it. Bad.
Anyhoodle, that's how I got my Jack!