Thursday, September 20, 2007

Labor and delivery - the finale

This time it's for real!

The day of the baby's arrival has finally come. This time, as opposed to the last time we headed to the labor and delivery unit, we arrived at the hospital knowing what to expect.

Vic, Linda and I got to MacDonald Women's Hospital at 7 a.m. My parents arrived a little later. After answering a lot of questions about my pregnancy and general health, the nurses hooked me up to monitoring belts and started an IV in my wrist (I'm such a chicken about those things and Vic had to hold my hand while they did it). I was really nervous and excited, and I guess I must have had a lot of adrenaline going because the baby was kicking like crazy. The belt kept falling off my belly.

Soon the attending anesthesiologist came in and talked to me about the epidural/spinal block procedure. Then, Dr. Chapman arrived. It was so comforting to see him. By that point, it was really reassuring to see my own doctor after talking to so many strangers - doctors and nurses I had never met before.

The epidural procedure was nerve wracking. When I delivered Nico, only three people were in the room when I got the epidural: me, Vic and the anesthesiologist. When I had to hunch over so the doctor could insert the needle, I was able to lean on Vic for support. This time, Vic was not allowed in the room and I had to lean on a nurse for support while the needle was inserted into my back. I was really nervous and shaking a bit. The nurse I was leaning on told me to drop my shoulders and try to relax. It seemed like there was a chorus of nurses and residents behind me saying, "You're doing great, you're doing great." I was sitting on the bed hunched over for a long time, it seemed, so at one point, I asked, "Is everything OK?" The chorus answered, "Yes, you're doing great!" Finally, I remarked that my legs suddenly felt really warm. Maybe it's my imagination, but it seemed like the chorus chimed in, with relief, "Good!"

The medicine kicked in quickly and soon I was unable to feel anything below my chest. The surgery team lifted me onto another bed and laid me on my back in preparation for the c-section. Someone pricked my abdomen with something sharp and said, "Do you feel that? Does it feel sharp?" I kept getting poked until I didn't feel the sharpness anymore.

At some point, Vic was allowed into the room and it was incredibly comforting to have him at my side. Then, I saw Dr. Chapman and the resident assisting him prepare for the surgery. Then it was time for the main event, the real deal Holyfield!

I didn't feel any pain during the surgery at all - maybe just a little pulling sensation, but that's it. But then I heard the most amazing sound of the baby's cry. It was awesome.

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