Monday, November 21, 2011

Life After an Emergency C-Section

If you didn't happen to read Conner's birth story below, the gist of it all is this: unfortunately during labor I contracted an infection called chorioamnionitis, and as a result ended up needing to have an emergency C-section in order to safely bring my son into the world.

It wasn't at all what I had planned, envisioned, hoped for...and while I was so grateful and glad that my little boy was born happy, healthy and just plain beautiful, I still have had to deal with the fact that my dreams of being able to push my son out myself were shattered.

Shortly before I was taken into surgery, I called my mom. I remember saying to her in tears how disappointed I was. I wanted to do it myself, I told her...I felt like I had failed. My body had failed me. I knew that the infection wasn't anything I could have prevented...and I knew that the doctors, nurses and midwife who took care of me that day did everything they could to avoid the C-section...but it just wasn't in the cards for me or Conner...and that was hard to swallow.

I still find myself getting emotional thinking about the whole thing. More than once I have broken down in tears over the fact that I didn't get to have the experience I wanted to. What's worse than that is the guilt I feel. My son was brought to me by my husband as I laid on the operating table so that I could give him a kiss before he was taken to the NICU. It's standard procedure when a woman develops chorio that the baby is taken to the NICU for evaluation, but because they had discovered the infection had affected my entire placenta, they needed to take Conner immediately and get him on antibiotics in case the chorio had begun to enter his blood stream. I didn't get more than a few seconds to kiss my son...and I didn't get to see him for several hours later as they needed to get my temperature under control, and a dose of antibiotics in me as well. I have never felt so guilty in my life. Guilty that my baby had to go through that. Guilty that it was my body's fault that that's how everything ended up.

It was so hard watching my baby be taken to the NICU and being so helpless on the operating table. I can say though that I was so grateful for my husband that night. He couldn't have been more amazing and I was so glad that he was able to stay with our baby boy the entire time I wasn't able to be. He went with Conner right away, making sure our baby was ok...and even that my wishes regarding nursing him were followed. What a guy, right?

Luckily for me there's been a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. A few hours after my surgery, before I was moved from the operating room to my room on the Mother-Baby unit, I was brought to the NICU. I had the opportunity to hold, kiss and nurse my son right away and it was incredible. Throughout the night, Conner's nurse would call when he seemed hungry, and my nurses would help me into a wheelchair and send me down to feed him and love on him for as long as I wanted. The next day, I was even on my feet and walking myself down to the NICU to spend my time with my baby. I was determined not to let the fact that I had a C-section limit me from being with Conner. I hated being in the wheelchair, and I refused to lay in bed without my son there with me, so I made a point to get on my feet as quickly as possible. I made sure that I could walk myself there and sit in the comfy rocking chair with my little love. For having such a rough delivery, the recovery wasn't so bad.

Even better for me was and still is the fact that the doctors, nurses and midwives at our hospital HIGHLY encourage VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), so even though my hopes were a bit thwarted this time, I can hope, dream and pray for my perfect delivery when we're ready for Conner to be a big brother....but that's not going to be for a while :)

1 comment:

  1. I know EXACTLY how you feel! They took Natalie away right away, and my Dad didn't even get to see her before they took her, and didn't get to see her until a week later because of it. I still sometimes feel like such a failure that my body rebelled on me and wouldn't let me carry my daughter to term. I blamed myself for my preterm labor, even though they couldn't find a cause and said "these things just sometimes happen for no reason." I felt intensely guilty and cried many tears afraid for my daughter to be born early. But, I just take one look at my gorgeous, perfect daughter, and I say to myself, "I am SO blessed to have spent extra time with you and met you early!" All the late nights, and endless trips after discharge to the NICU were WORTH EVERY SECOND. =)