Whether you are preparing to have a baby or just love a good birth story I hope you find enjoyment and ease in my C-section birth story.
So Big J and I had been making bets with each other when we thought our Little J would be making an appearance. He said the week of July 19th and I said the week of July 26th. I say I won because my water ruptured Saturday August 1st at 11:36pm. So I made it with 24 minutes to go! Big J obviously says since Little J wasn’t born until the next day that neither of us wins. We’ll agree to disagree.
I’d been trying to induce myself during the week by eating spicy food which I don’t normally eat. I specially went to Taco Bell and got a bunch of Fire sauce but no luck.
Rupturing My Water
Instead late on Saturday night I was trying to turn on my bed side lamp but I didn’t fit on the far side of the bed anymore with my belly. So I lunged and reached long across my bed. Well that’s what did it. I felt an odd feeling and about five minutes later I went to the bathroom to pee (yet again). Well on my way to the bathroom I felt a bit of a gush between my legs. Honestly, my first thought was did my water just break or did I lose control of my bladder?
I walked around for a bit and felt just a little trickle happening but nothing going down my legs. So I sat down on the couch and the next thing I knew I’d leaked on the couch. That was it, I called the overnight Labor and Delivery number and awaited a call back. When they called me back I explained everything that happened and they agreed it sounded like a ruptured water and told me to come in so they could test the fluid to confirm.
I woke Big J up and told him come on it’s time. I thought for sure he was going to panic but to his credit he was calm but speedy. He grabbed our bags and a few last minute snacks while I snagged a towel from the linen closet to sit on in the car since I have cloth seats. Once we were on our way he finally asked why it was go time. What a trooper! He never once questioned me before leaving he just trusted me and went. So I went over again what happened.
Checking In At the Hospital
We arrived at the hospital a little after 12:30pm on August 2nd. We checked in, went through the temperature check and screening questions they had in place for the pandemic. Then headed up to Labor and Delivery Triage.
Unfortunately, no one was at registration to check us into the Triage area. So we had to hang around waiting for someone to show up. Since we’d slowed down my adrenaline came down and I realized I was hungry, thankfully I had a Nutri Grain bar in my purse. So I munched on that and after 20 minutes someone showed up to check us in.
Labor & Delivery Triage
Once in Triage I got hooked up to the monitoring machine to monitor baby and my vitals as well as the contractions. I went over what had happened at home again with the head nurse and provided a urine sample. The nurse and resident physician came in next and I repeated my story for the fifth time. We then attempted to test the fluid but due to some on-going issues I have we weren’t able to complete it.
The nurse and resident came in again after discussing with the Attending and said that instead of having an early epidural like my OB and I had previously discussed they were recommending going straight to a C-section. They said that the epidural only helps with pain and doesn’t block the feeling of what’s happening when staff are touching you, doing exams and eventually pulling the baby out but that the spinal tap numbs all feeling and due to on-going issues I have the birth would end up being pretty traumatic for me.
I was pretty surprised that we’d go straight to that option but I do understand why so I asked for a few minutes to talk to Big J to make a decision. After talking it through we only wanted ask if there would be any negative impact to Little J going this route. Thankfully, they said there wasn’t so we agreed to follow their recommendation. Unfortunately, that dang Nutri Grain bar I ate around 1am bit me in the behind. They wanted me on an empty stomach because of the drugs I’d be on for the surgery. Nothing like having to wait around for four and a half hours in an uncomfortable bed with contractions starting, but at least we didn’t get sent home.
So that would be 8am but shift change was going to happen around then so they said 9am. By the time I started getting prepped, contractions had started and were 7 minutes apart. They gave Big J some scrubs while I signed some papers. A little before 9am we were off. At this point I was so glad we hadn’t brought all our bags in with us because Big J had to bring what stuff we had brought inside with him. Thankfully, we only had my little purse, my clothes I came in wearing and his wallet. Not to hard to move around with. Up until this point we had masks on for COVID protection.
I was brought into the OR first with my husband to get the spinal tap. At this point I was able to remove my mask while everyone else kept theirs one, I had to sit hunched over a pillow pressed against my chest while they did the local anesthesia. I’m a big weenie when it comes to needles but it it actually wasn’t bad. One thing I didn’t know was how nauseous that spinal makes you so they were giving me anti-nausea meds during the surgery. If I said it was getting worse they gave me more if they could. There was only so much they could give me before Little J came out. I had no idea there was a limit while he was still in me.
Thank God they had me wait out that Nutri Grain bar! I had been real salty that I ate that snack because no one was out at Registration and it delayed everything. Oh man, I just kept throwing up in this little kidney bean bowl they’d given me which was hard since I was laying on my back with my arms basically strapped down. The anesthesiologist was amazing and just walked me through every step. At one point she said ok he’s going to come out, the best way to explain this feeling is that it’s intense. You guys that’s the best word for it honestly, I wasn’t in pain it was just an intense feeling.
The next thing I knew I could hear our son crying, Big J started crying and a little window opened in the blue tarp hanging up so we couldn’t see my guts out on the table and viola they held him up so we could see the little guy and that’s when I started crying. After a minute they closed the window up to start cleaning him up and we heard a nurse exclaim that he was peeing all over her. What a funny little moment. He was born at 9:35am, so that part of the surgery was only about 30 minutes.
A few minutes later they brought Little J over to us and handed him to Big J. I wish I couldv’e held him first and had immediate skin to skin contact but it wasn’t meant to be. They gave me more anti-nausea since he was out but I was still really pukey. Since the kidney bean bowl was on my left side and Big & Little J were on my right I kept throwing up on my left, turning right to look at the two of them and that would set off a new wave of nausea so I’d have to turn back to the left and throw up some more. At no point though was I in any pain.
Eventually as they were wrapping up they did have Big J leave and they took Little J to finish their tests and finish cleaning him up.
Once they finished they wheeled me to a pre-recovery area and Little J followed in his little bassinet.
He had some trouble with his circulation at first so they had him under a giant heat lamp on wheels. So yet another point I was wanting to hold him but couldn’t. With that said I was also exhausted so I took a nap while Big J stared at our little one.
After a nap and Little Js temperature doing better, I was able to try breastfeeding him for the first time. I had no idea what I was doing but I gave it a shot! I will say that pre-recovery is actually where I got the least amount of support. Very rarely did someone come by to check on us, when they did it was more about checking Little J.
Which like obviously check on him but maybe while you are here check in with me too? It’s a little awkward when someone comes in checks the baby and doesn’t even acknowledge you.
Attempting to breastfeed for the first time was difficult, since I really had no idea what I was doing and the support nurse wasn’t very helpful it was rocky. I thought all I’d have to do is put the little guy next to my breast and viola! Magic!
Yeah, that wasn’t really the case, at least for us. I wish the first time you were going to try to breastfeed your baby a lactation consultant would be in the room especially for first time moms.
Thankfully, we were finally cleared to be moved up to the recovery suites so away were we all whisked, Little J in his bassinet, me in my bed and Big J following up carrying our gear. Yet another time I was grateful that the bulk of our stuff was still in the car.
This was a much more supportive environment and it felt more intimate for family time. We got to spend time as our new little 3 person family, just hold each other and staring. Lots of coming and going from the staff checking in and making sure that we were all ok. This is when Big J went and got the bulk of our stuff from the car, this way Little J and I were with staff being looked after so he didn’t have to worry.
The hardest things in the recovery suite area were going to the bathroom, just because it took effort to move but was doable with help especially at first also because there is a lot of blood that occurs post birth. It’s not a painful bleed or anything like that, it’s just more to clean up when everything is taking more effort.
Taking a shower was another difficult task, especially that first one again it’s just a lot of effort and you can’t get your incision wet so it takes a while to clean yourself plus since it’s not a full on shower so it’s not the best clean from a shower you’ll get BUT it really makes a world of difference in how you feel. I needed a nap afterwards.
The other part that was difficult for me was when Big J would go home in the evening for a couple hours. He’d leave to take a shower and feed the cat. He’d leave around 4 each day and get back around 6:30-7pm just depending on the traffic. This always seemed to be the roughest time for Little J, he’d wail and fuss and nothing I did would soothe him. I’d try calling the nurses to help but it always took a while since everyone else seemed to be having a hard time too.
That first time Big J went home was definitely the hardest on me just because I was unprepared and didn’t know what to do. When he got back I handed Little J over and was SO relieved, like here it’s your turn! Each day it got easier though.
Finally, the night time feedings, I had to be woken up every 2-3 hours to feed Little J and when your body is recovering from surgery plus you are trying to breastfeed the level of exhaustion is just crazy. Plus I was trying to be as quiet as possible so that Big J wouldn’t wake up too since I’d end up needing him to watch Little J in the morning so I could sleep more.
All of the support from the RNs, PAs, CRNPs, Resident’s and Attendings was great, especially the nursing staff. The nursing staff will help you get to the bathroom and back again, they’ll bring you medications (Tylenol and Ibuprofen) for the pain, help you with the baby, show you how to bath the baby, bring you diapers and the all important ice packs for your incision and giant pads for the bleeding (honestly it’s like your period but without the cramps).
The other medical staff you’ll see less often, they will do tests on the baby, they will check on you as well. They’d check my legs and feet to make sure my swelling was ok, they check my bandages and incisions. For Little J the tests they did weren’t to bad except one that we thankfully knew about going into it. When they checked his hips, it was frankly a bit barbaric but it’s an effective test. They move the legs into an almost sitting position and then apply pressure down on the knees to pressure the hips.
We’d read about this in advance so knew what was coming but even then Big J was halfway across the room and raising his arm to get the resident off Little J before he’d even realized he’d moved. He sort of blinked, looked around and got this look on his face like how did I get hear. That protective nature in you is so immediate. I sort of chuckled to myself until I realized I’d reached out myself and was holding the residents sleeve.
Going Home: The End of My Birth Story
This was probably the most exhausting day. I was ready to go home, more than ready really. Even though we’d finished all the tests early it was like all of a sudden there was so much more to do. Even though I was struggling to breastfeed the whole time, it all of a sudden was imperative that I not leave.
My milk hadn’t come in yet on the fourth day when you are usually discharged and everyone became concerned. The lactation consultants came more that day and of course it was a different consultant then who’d been coming during the week and she had a different way of doing things. So it was just frustrating to me.
It’s like at the end of traveling and all you want is your own home and bed but in a more extreme way when you want to get home from the hospital.
In the end my milk was coming in and we rented a high level breast pump from the hospital for 4 days. Best $20 I spent the whole time preparing for the baby. It had better suction so it really helped me establish a good supply coming in. I wish that had been the machine that insurance had supplied it was so helpful. If you’re on the fence, I’d totally recommend it.
When they finally cleared me to go home it was probably another 2 hours before we actually got to leave, between all the paperwork, removing the baby low jack, getting someone to wheel me out while Big J packed the car and met us out front. I swear just being wheeled through the hospital to the lobby took 20 minutes.
My final word of wisdom is to make sure that you’ve installed your car seat before this moment AND that you know how to put baby and buckle them. We’d installed it but we had no idea how to buckle the thing. That pull up driveway (dooryard for my northerners) is a busy place and it’s very stressful trying to figure out how to buckle in your new baby when a line is forming behind you.
I changed my mind, this is my final word of advice get yourself the Bodily Post C-section kit, my father got me one of these and while expensive it was awesome. I used everything in this thing. Added 7/23/22: At the very least by the socks, I still use them and Little J is about to turn 2.
PSA: This has nothing to do with my birth story other then the staff told me this while I was in recovery, I’m honestly not even sure how it came up. African American babies are born white and over the coming weeks their melanin comes in and that’s when and how their skin color changes. The staff told me there was a few instances every month where a couple would end up fighting because the man would think the baby wasn’t his because the baby wasn’t black and think his partner had cheated on him.
The staff had actually been receiving training how how to handle these situations and diffuse them before they could occur. So on the off chance you’ve read this far and this applies to you, I’m just putting this here as a ‘The More You Know’ type of thing. My heart went out to new fathers and mothers who didn’t know about this and what pain they must’ve felt in that moment.