I should start with the first thing one needs to be sure to know before a c-section:
The statement “you don’t feel any pain, just some pressure” is inaccurate. You don’t feel any pain – but you feel EVERYTHING else.
Sure, I saw my hospital gown get flicked up and over the screen in front of my face, but I also felt it. I knew I was completely naked from the boobs down for the 8 or 9 people in the room to see. I felt my legs get lifted and parted. I felt the nurse touching my private bits before she told me she was inserting a catheter.
I didn’t feel my (fabulous) obstetrician cutting me open, but I felt her putting pressure on my baby’s butt up near my ribs (my poor ribs), and I felt her shoving and pushing baby lower so she could grab a hold of it.
During my extensive googling prior to this procedure (in the dead of the night of course – a Google-clamp-down had been enforced by both OH and my mother) I had read that when the baby is pulled out of you, it’s as if there was a foot in a gumboot stuck in mud, and then the wearer pulled their boot out of the mud. Only you’re the mud, not the foot.** This strikes me as the most perfect explanation I’ve ever heard or read. The feeling is entirely unpleasant, much like the rest of the experience.
It was at this stage that my obtsetrician - fully aware, I might add, of Joe's sensitivities - said "Hey Joe! Check this out." Almost as if it were in slow motion, I saw Joe stand up and move to peer over the screen. This was it. We were going to lose him. Before I could say anything in protest he was standing and gazing into my abdominal cavity. There were a couple of cor-blimeys and just like that, Joe was an E.R. fan. There's always something to be gained.
I want to be honest. When my baby came up and over that screen, and my doctor pulled up her leg to tell the gender (“It’s a girl!”) ALL I could think was “Guys, this is all really very exciting, and I want to enjoy this moment but I have a gaping hole in my abdomen and I can’t feel my legs, so if we could just move things along….”
I feel a bit guilty about this now. I should have been gazing wistfully at this purply-red slimy being that was both the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen and, all ours. Instead I wondered how much longer that doctor was going to have her hands full of neonate before getting back to the task at hand (SEVEN layers of stitching! Get on with it!)
At this stage, our lovely paediatrician took our darling girl and bought her straight to me. No time to waste, she was right there on me, goop and all. Her head against my face, me kissing her goopy head. I will never forget the paediatrician wiping said goop off my mouth with a white towel and thinking “Crap, he’ll totally know I had lipstick on now.”
Joe then went off to the side with the lovely doctor to check her over and give her the first of two Apgar scores (a brilliant 9 followed by a perfect 10, my friends.) It was then I cried. She cried. And I cried. I was lying there, away from her, but it felt so right. I know it’s strange but one thing I’ll always love about the caesarean experience was how it involved the dad so much. Due to my being so indisposed, he was much-needed and had a fabulous start at bonding with our baby. He held her, watched her, cut her cord, wrapped her, and bought her over to me. We cried together and loved her for 10 minutes or so afterwards, before he and the midwife took her to be weighed and dressed. It doesn’t sadden me that those minutes were spent with us apart – I just loved that Joe played such a vital role.
Finally, I was done. They took out the pads from under my hips (yep, because I could FEEL it), covered me up (felt it!), took the screen away and scooted me back across to my cushy, clean, starchy, warm, wheelie bed. Off to recovery, more lovely nurses whom I always want to kiss a little, and that baby was on my boob. So quickly, it was ridiculous. Baby – Boob – Mouth. Humans are amazing.
Welcome to the world, baby June. We love you more than we could have ever imagined.
Caesareans though? Jury is still out on the “love” part.
P.s. In the end, when they pulled her out, her cord was wrapped right around her neck. I'm so glad we made the decision we did - the trauma that we all could have gone through otherwise simply isn't worth thinking about. It was the best thing for that perfect little baby, that's for sure.
**(Jamie Kenney, https://www.romper.com/p/7-things-you-learn-when-you-have-unplanned-c-section-800)