About a year ago I started collecting birth stories from moms around Juneau, hoping to give expecting moms an idea of the range of experiences women have giving birth. I got stories about natural births, VBACs and medevacs, but I didn’t get any stories of scheduled c-sections. Not terribly surprising. What’s interesting about a scheduled c-section? You go in, you have your surgery. You’re done. Right? Well, that’s what I thought when I was scheduled to have my c-section this Valentine’s Day. The birth of my son was quite turbulent and ended with an emergency c-section so I kind of welcomed the idea of having the surgery planned. However, my experience was not exactly what I was expecting!
Two days before Valentine’s Day I went to the hospital to have my blood drawn to check its platelet count. Unfortunately, the count was a little lower than they wanted it to be, but it wasn’t going to upset our plans. The doctor told me we’d draw my blood again before the surgery to see if anything had changed, but at this point they’d just make sure to have extra platelets available and we’d continue to have the c-section as scheduled.
So, the morning of the c-section my husband Ty and I checked in at 5:30 a.m. and the nurses began prepping me for the surgery. My blood was drawn and we waited for the results. Then, the anesthesiologist came in with surprising news: my platelet count was down and he wasn’t comfortable giving me a spinal because of the bleeding risks. So, alternatively, they planned to put me under.
Putting me under general anesthesia meant that I wouldn’t be awake for the birth of the baby, obviously, but it also meant that Ty couldn’t watch from the other side of the curtain like the dads normally do during c-sections. Instead, they’d allow him to be in the OR but he’d have to watch from the other side of the curtain. And… because I wasn’t going to experience the birth they’d even let him record it!
My nerves really blew-up over the thought of going under. However, I trusted the doctors and anesthesiologist and tried to be brave. I’d had a c-section before and knew what to expect, but I really had no idea what it’d be like to have a baby WHILE I WAS ASLEEP.
Things moved really quickly. I felt everything they did to prep me for the surgery, and although some of it was uncomfortable I knew better than to complain about a little sting here and there. After all, I could be PUSHING out a baby, right? I did that for three hours with my son before having the c-section. I knew things could hurt A LOT more. My nerves had me shaking as I waited for the anesthesia, which I’d be getting via the IV.
The next thing I knew I was in another room and my husband walked in gently jiggling our baby girl in his arms. I never felt like I even went to sleep. My awareness went right from one moment to the next. The birth was lost time.
I have to say, although not being awake the moment my daughter was born was disappointing, it was likely the easiest possible way to have a baby! The recovery, of course, was the hard part. I’d like to thank the doctors and nurses at Bartlett for their great care! Special shout out to MJ!
Oh, and yes, Dr. Valentine delivered Kristin on Valentine’s Day! Thank you, Dr. Valentine!
Fortunately, my husband was able to record enough of baby Kristin’s first moments for me to make this little video.