Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Don't Know What to Title This Post

Predictable and Unpredictable.  Planned and Unplanned.  Prepared and Unprepared.  Expected and Unexpected. Routine, Habit, Boredom and Novelty, Surprise, Excitement.

I am a person that is more typically in the first camp.  I once said to my friend Alisha something along the lines of, "I really love spontaneity, as long as it is well planned out first."

I think that is part of why Hazel's birth has been kind of difficult for me to come to terms with.  I wonder if I had known what "umbilical cord prolapse" was, if I had done all my research the way my sister meticulously did, would I have been more afraid of what was happening to my baby, or less? 

Because the delivery was so urgent and there was (thank goodness!) no time for an epidural, I was put under general anesthesia and slept through the whole thing.  This means that I don't really know what happened when she was born.  Everything I know about it I received in bits and pieces afterward from various doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists as they came to my room to check on me.  And sometimes, the information they had for me was wrong.

For instance, once I woke up and was ready to be moved, a group of nurses came to help me switch from the bed in the operating room to the one that would wheel me down the hallway.  A nurse grabbed my leg and began to move it for me, saying as she did so, "We're just going to move you to this bed over here, and since you can't move your legs we'll help you with that.  You just lie there."

And I, in my drugged and confused state, said, "I can't move my legs?!"

At which time, as she continued moving my legs for me, I found myself helping her along by moving them myself.  She noticed this.  "Oh!  Looks like you do have a little movement in your legs!  Usually people can't move them at all."

"I can't move my legs?!" I repeated again, utterly confused and scared.

Finally, one of the other nurses around me stepped forward and said, "She didn't have an epidural."  To which the first nurse responded, "Oh, well.  Then I guess you can move your legs."  To which I felt strangely like I had been given permission to do something forbidden.

I was moved onto the other bed and wheeled down the hallway to my recovery room.  Once there, the bed sort of inflated and lifted me onto my new bed, and then deflated again.  I think it was magic.  It felt like being transported by a puff of clouds.  Although, I was all drugged up so I don't know.

This next part doesn't make much sense, the only thing I can figure is that it must have been a new group of nurses because we went through the whole thing again with the legs.

"Ok, now you're on your bed we're just going to help you get situated so you are more comfortable and we can have a good look at you.  Since you can't move your legs I'm going to..."

and, drugged and confused as I was, I was only too willing to fall for it again. "I can't move my legs?!" 

"It's perfectly normal, we don't expect you to be able to move your legs yet."

"Why can't I move my legs?!" I ask, wondering what they had done to me, even as I move my legs into position along with her.

"Oh, you do have some ability to move your legs!"  as if I had just accomplished some great thing.  I remember feeling vaguely like there was something familiar about the scenario, but couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.

We went round and round until another nurse spoke up and explained that I had not had an epidural.  Shortly after, I got to see Hazel for the first time.

That was the silliest example of not knowing what had happened to me, and I'm sure most of what I have learned about Hazel's birth is accurate, coming straight from the people who were there and answering my questions in the days that followed. 

The nurse who kept Hazel inside me told me that she has been a nurse for 11 years and has never had to do what she did.  She said she has seen one other prolapsed cord case and watched another nurse get wheeled down the hallway in similar fashion, but this was her first time. 

The ob said this was the most complicated c section he had ever performed, referring to how Hazel's head and arms were stuck in the contraction that wouldn't let her go.  He also told me that the whole thing took about three minutes from first incision.  Those guys are fast. 

I know she was born at 4:13, that I had arrived at the hospital at around 3:45, after contractions had started around 2:30, and that I got to hold her for the first time around 6:00.  I know that in addition to the prolapsed cord she was breech with the cord wrapped around her neck. The nurses made many jokes about her being a gymnast, because just two weeks before I had had an ultrasound and she was in good position. 

I know that she weighed 8 lbs 13 oz, and that she was 21 and 3/4 inches long.  I know that she is beautiful.


  1. The leg conversation reminds me of the scene in The Princess Bride where he is recovering from being nearly dead. :) Congrats on another beautiful baby girl!

  2. (And I quote...) “Oh whims are fun, but sometimes they need planning.”

    That all would have freaked me out too. Ezra's birth was bad enough for me. No birth whims for me, thanks. Ugh. I'm so glad you guys are ok.

    1. I KNEW you would remember. I actually was going to write something about how you would correct my paraphrasing. :) The whole thing was literally my worst labor nightmare, but at least it is over and weare all ok and I didn't have to have an epidural. So, not quite my worst fear, actually.

  3. I don't think research would help at that moment. Mom sent the simple email early on mentioning a pinched umbilical cord, so of course I assumed prolapse and all of the sad things that can accompany that. So, I was really freaking out. If I hadn't done any research, I think I would have been a lot more calm wondering what was happening to you and Hazel. And then also, in the moment, if it were me, I don't think research would help, because I think knowing all the things that could go wrong would just add to the terror, and it is so important for you to stay calm and relax. In emergency situations like that, I don't think anything really helps except for time and distance from the event. I'm glad that Devin was there to be with Hazel and Jill, your midwife, was there to be with you. I'm glad you weren't alone. And I'm glad your legs weren't amputated during your c-section. ;) And I'm so grateful that you stopped losing blood. I love you.

  4. Thanks for the legs story.
    I sure laughed when you told me and you wanted to laugh with me but couldn't with your incision. It was so funny to hear you tell the story when you were still drugged-up.
    You and Hazel are both beautiful.