Shortly after 1 PM, Denise, the nurse anesthesist , comes in and discusses the procedure for the spinal. She is wonderfully cheery and upbeat, reminding me of the anesthesia guy we had with Sophia. It sets a great tone. One of the nurses shaves my massive belly to prep it for surgery. About 1:45 PM, Jay is handed his scrubs (which look like a biohazard suit) and told to get dressed while they start my spinal. I walk into the OR (a different experience since I had been wheeled into the OR for both other c-sections) and asked to hop up onto the table. The room looks almost identical to the OR at the other hospital I delivered at, the only bad thing is that I notice that the infant warmer and scale are at the foot of the bed, so I won't be able to see the baby or the scale once baby is born!
Denise tells me to sit indian style and to slump forward and relax! Easy for her to say, she isn't the one who is going to have a needle shoved in her back. She administers a numbing solution and I barely feel anything. I had felt tremendous pressure with my other spinals, but this barely hurt, I couldn't believe it. I was skeptical at first that she had even done it right, but as the familiar warmth and numbness rose through my legs and into my torso, I knew things were alright. By 2 PM, I was completely numb. While Denise does the spinal, the familiar sound of counting instruments is heard throughout the OR. They put a wedge under the right side of my back and strapped my legs to the table. Surprisingly, my arms were left completely free (another new experience). Denise put oxygen on my nose and Laura inserted the foley catheter. A screen was set up to block our view, but it wasn't very high. It was game time!
Doctors who perform the c-section: Dr. Andrews, Dr. Altman, and Dr. Valley.
Jay comes in and joins me just as the doctors test to see if I am completely numb. 2:05 PM the procedure begins. I can smell burning flesh and then realize I can see exactly what the doctors are doing in the reflection of the light. Jay can see right over the screen. The mood in the OR is light, lots of laughing, talking and joking. Denise agrees to snap pictures of the baby being pulled from the incision. Lots of PRESSURE and TUGGING! Jay stands up and actually manages to stay on his feet! Up baby comes into the air..... 2:35 PM....IT'S A BOY! I am completely and totally shocked, I think I even asked them if they were sure! I had spent my whole pregnancy preparing myself for a girl!
A funny sidenote. As baby is being delivered, the song "Rock Star" by Nickleback is playing in the OR. The night before (or more accurately at about 4 AM that morning) I awoke from a dead sleep with the words from that song streaming through my head. I had been dreaming about having the baby. The whole think gives me chills. I mention it to the delivery room. Everyone thinks it is funky!
Jay goes over to the table to watch them assess the baby. Apgars are 8 and 9. The moment of truth, baby is placed on the scale. 9 lb 8.2 oz. What a tiny little sprite for a Riesenberg baby at full term! He is 21 inches long. Dark hair and the most distinguished of cries. Ironically he looks NOTHING like any of his brother's at birth.
While they are assessing the baby, the doctors are busy finishing the surgery. I can see my insides being reassembled in the reflection of the light. It is kind of cool and kind of weird at the same time.
Jay comes back and sits down and is handed our beautiful son. Jay is right, he looks nothing like the other Riesenbergs! They finish sewing me up and staple the incision shut, not that I really notice, I am in total awe of the beautiful baby in Jay's arms. We are wheeled out of the OR and back into the surgical prep suite. We will spend at least the next hour in there being carefully monitored!
An initial blood sugar is taken from the baby. It comes back 37, just below what would be considered normal. Mine is also checked and reads 66. They decide to let me try nursing the baby to see if his blood sugar will come up on his own. i am worried since he has just been exposed to all the meds they gave me, but unbelievably he latches on the VERY FIRST TRY and then continues to suck for an HOUR! We finally take him off the breast because they have to wait 30 minutes after he finishes eating to recheck his blood sugar. I cradle him in my arms the entire time. They retest his bloodsugar and it comes back 43! YEAH! Jay finally leaves our side and calls the kids to tell them the news! We leave the surgical prep suite, baby still in my arms, and head downstairs (Labor and delivery is on the 3rd floor, post partum rooms on the 2nd floor). By 5PM we are settled into post partum room number 220!
We call the kids again. I am given juice to drink. Boy it tastes good after not eating anything since midnight. Baby nurses again for about 15 minutes (6:30 PM). They bring my meds bedside (ibuprofen, gas-ex) and tell me that I can take them when I need them, no more than every 6 hours. If I want narcotics, I just need to call the nurse. Jay heads out to run a few errands and to go home and be with the kids. Nurse until shift change is Mary.
After Jay leaves, I call my mother. No congratulations. Only her saying she hopes that this is the last baby we have. I don't get it and I never will. Oh well, not my responsibility for her to take joy in her grandchildren. It certainly is her loss!
7 PM is shift change. Night nurse is Phyllis and the PCA is Lori.
By 8:30 PM, I am eating Jello. Oh, how I HATE jello! I call Deanne and chat with her a bit, but don't feel up to calling anyone else.
11:30 PM, I am given a sandwich, applesauce, and cookie to eat. A very dry turkey sandwich has never tasted so good!
4:45 AM: Catheter is removed. Baby was up the whole night! He nursed some, but mostly fussed.
5 AM: They test my bloodsugar. It comes back 85! YEAH!
7 AM: Dr. Wall comes to visit. Baby is happily nursing once again. He removes the dressing over the staples. OUCH! He reminds me to keep the incision clean and dry. Yeah, like I want to let it get infected! Baby finally falls asleep. Shift change and our nurse for the day is once again Mary and the PCA is Bonita, who is wonderful sweet!
7:30 AM: Breakfast! For a hospital, it really sucks nutritionally! An egg, danish, juice, milk, cereal! But I am hunger so I eat the danish and the egg and drink the milk, even though it is 2%.
8:45 AM: 4 hours after catheter is removed, I finally PEE! What a relief, although it is obvious that the bladder is still being affected some by the anesthesia as it is hard to control the flow. It gets easier to pee over the next two bathroom visits and things are pretty much back to normal by noon.
10 AM: Baby is taken to nursery for circumcision.
2:35 PM: Happy 1 day birthday baby! Checked for jaundice and level is 7.4, just under what would be considered worrisome at 24 hours old (a reading of 8).
4 PM: The gang arrives for a visit! By the end of the visit, Luke has been named! Will insists that his baby's name is PUMPKIN! Emily even changes a poopy diaper!
7 PM: My mother visits. She HATES the name. It so happens her father's name was Lucas so she hates it. Really not my problem. She leaves by 7:30 PM. She comments that I need to lose weight, even though she brought chex mix and trail mix with her for me to eat. I will NEVER understand this woman!
8 PM: Hannah returns with Sarah and Deanne for a visit. They bring a chicken sandwich from Penn Station with them! YUMMY! It is great to have company that actually wants to be there! OK, the kids wanted to be there, but they were VERY LOUD!
Baby is taken to the nursery to be weighed (this is normally the only time each day baby is taken from the room). 8 lb 12 oz. Night shift nurse is Jeanie and PCA is Alice.
12 AM: Luke screams for almost 1 hour. Nothing makes him happy. Hopefully this isn't an omen of things to come!
1 AM: I am in so much pain from the incision,backache and cramping (with baby #9, post partum contractions during nursing are worse than labor contractions, and each contraction is accompanied by gushing blood) that I ask the nurse for perocet. She is a sweetheart and takes Luke out of the room with her and says she will bring him back when he needs to eat. Apparently I pass out from exhaustion ( I slept less than 1 hr the night before) because the next thing I remember is the nurse standing over me with Luke at 4 AM saying he wants to eat! It is amazing what just a few hours of sleep does for the spirit and soul!
4 AM: Luke nurses for an hour! We fall back asleep.
6 AM: Dr. Wall comes to visit. Says we can go home if we want. Incision looks great according to him. It isn't oozing at all! Home health nurse will remove staples when she visits. Need to make appointment for follow up visit in 1 week and at 6 weeks. No long car trips for at least 2 to 3 weeks because of swelling in my legs.
6:15 AM: SHOWER! What fun it is to be CLEAN!
10 AM: Hearing test is administered. Once the vernix is cleared from Luke's ears, he passes with flying colors!
11 AM: Peds round and agree baby can go home! They check a bilirubin on baby at it is 9.4 at 45 hours of age. They do the PKU test and also test baby for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a fatal disorder that only afflicts baby boys. They have just started offering the screening for this disorder and we agreed to participate in the pilot study.
By 3 PM we are heading home. Just 48 hours after surgery and we are reunited with the family!