I had my third c-section on Tuesday, and holy shit, you guys, I survived. I’m still here, as is my perfectly beautifully awesomely wonderful baby. Most people would expect this result — the still being here thing — but I am not most people. Most people are not crazy.
I am crazy.
Maybe not crazy as in plucking out my own hair and constructing spaghetti monster wall art out of the strands whilst commanding my royal subjects — my two dogs and the bevy of forgotten lotions and wrinkle creams adorning my bathroom counter — to reenact Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night as I prance about in nothing but a homemade lettuce leaf crown and tattered period undies, but crazy enough to let my friend the Anxiety Monster toy with my irrational fear of labor and c-section delivery. Crazy enough to work myself into an irrevocable panic lasting from hours before right on through the actual surgery itself.
And surprisingly? This third c-section experience was the best one yet.
Though I felt like a death row inmate waiting on the executioner the morning of delivery, I still tried to compose myself this time. Unfortunately, as soon as the medical team began wheeling me from my hospital room to the O.R., leaving my husband behind to dress in the required hazmat suit before joining me in that steely room of horrors, I burst into tears and began moaning and breathing erratically, enough so that the nurse charged with my care had to make a pit stop at the supply room to provide me with not one, but two boxes of tissues and a gentle reminder to pull my shit together for Christ’s sake.
Once in the O.R., the nice anesthesiologist, a British gentleman who very well might have had zero idea what the fuck he was doing but who sounded like it nevertheless because he had a British accent and I always make it a habit to put 100% confidence in the capabilities of people with British accents, asked me to hop over on the operating table, which was no wider than a 2 x 4 and no more comfortable, either, so that he could place my spinal, which according to him, would feel like a little bee sting, a little pressure, and a little pop.
That bee sting felt more like a scorpion tickling the nerve endings in my spinal column, that pressure more like a hammer driving said scorpion into the meaty part between my vertebrae, and that pop more like the vessel housing my cerebral fluid being penetrated so forcibly that my brain juice began leaking all down my back and onto the operating room floor, none of which actually happened, of course, but which felt like it regardless.
From there, the team laid me flat on my back as my legs became warm, heavy, and tingly, at which point the nurse decided to insert my catheter, something I should not have been able to feel but felt nonetheless — something that felt less like the insertion of a catheter and more like the insertion of electric barbed wire into my urethra.
It was right about then that I begged them not to get all cutty just yet, my request being met with repeated needle prick tests from the nice British gentleman who began by pressing the sharp object into my collar bone area before gradually moving downward, repeating this poking ritual a good five or six times until I felt satisfied that I would not feel them skewering my flesh with their surgical torture devices, a gesture I very much appreciated coming from my friend across the pond.
Another thing I appreciated was that the nice British gentleman’s sidekick, a sweet nurse anesthetist of about 12, did not strap my arms to the table in standard crucifixion style, instead allowing me to freely squeeze the shit out of her wrist until she could no longer feel her finger tips while we awaited my husband’s arrival, something that took about 37 years and no fewer than 24 expletives on my part to occur.
My admiration for the nurse anesthetist didn’t end there, though, for she was on top of administering anti-nausea medication intravenously each time the smell of my own burning flesh made me want to empty what little stomach contents remained in my bloody, disemboweled organs. Apparently, the surgical team had to do a lot of cauterizing down there, a little pleasantry I had not experienced with my first two c-sections. Perhaps it had something to do with the “scarred up mess” my OB kept referring to as she and her colleagues hack sawed their way through my innards, or perhaps it was the result of my low blood platelet count, an issue that can lead to a clotting problem as explained to me by my nice British friend who came into my room quite early that morning to order another blood draw so as to determine whether he’d allow the surgery to continue with the spinal or have to order it to be performed under general anesthesia.
Either way, the nurse anesthetist came through in a pinch, even going so far as to tear open alcohol swabs and place them on either side of my nostrils — a little creation I would lovingly refer to as my “huffers” for the remainder of the surgery — replenishing the dried out ones with fresh ones periodically so as to tantalize my olfactories with something other than the fucking disgusting aroma of my own melting corpuscles.
As if her performance weren’t stellar already, the sweet British gentleman’s nurse anesthetist sidekick really nailed it when she offered and then kept pumping me full of anti-anxiety medication once the baby was safely out and my OB began to tackle my tubal ligation, a procedure that either involves or follows “wrap[ping] the uterus like a pot roast,” a little something I overheard her tell the medical student observing and/or actually assisting in my surgery. It was after the administration of approximately 473 doses of anxiety medication that things got a little fuzzy for me, but my husband reports that the surgical team was having a grand old time down there, swapping chicken recipes (inspired by the wrappage of my pot roast uterus?) as they finished basting my entrails and suturing me shut, not without first spilling a notable amount of my blood on the floor, evidence of which seeped onto my husband’s hazmat shoe coverings that, for the first time ever, he was glad to have been forced to don.
Though things got real dicey immediately following my surgery, what with my body’s refusal to cooperate with pain medication and every medical person’s refusal to believe this fact until shit really hits the fan, this truly was my most pleasant c-section experience to date.
And all sarcasm and assholery aside, I am thankful for the medical team who reassured me, kept me alive, and delivered my precious little man safely (even if their work was accompanied by unsavory commentary about the condition of my viscera and its comparison to the culinary arts).