Fat Thighs, Epidurals and Cousins
So…I think you probably have heard by now that I had a healthy baby girl by c-section on Friday, December 3rd. Anabelle Hope Lemieux joined us at 4:52pm weighing in at 9 pounds, 6 ounces.
The birth went something like this…
I came down with a bad cold on Thursday and was even less excited about the whole c-section thing given that I didn’t feel 100 percent. Then I remembered the last time I felt 100 percent was when I ran the NYC Half Marathon in March, so I back to being ready to get the show on the road.
My parents met me at my apartment, we did some last minute online Christmas shopping and straightening up of my apartment. And when I walked out of my apartment with my mom, I got choked up.
Things were really going to change forever, and this much change is a lot for even the most well adjusted person. And I am not pretending to be the most well adjusted person.
At the hospital, I gave my credit card information to the billing office and went back to a room to get hooked up to a monitor. I am pretty sure I am the only person that shows up for a c-section with four people in tow.
After my nurse, Valerie, asked me a thousand questions and did a quick physical, my OB showed up and I am pretty sure she was more excited than I was. By this point, I had been hooked up the monitor for about 90 minutes and Valerie points out that I have been having steady contractions 7-8 minutes apart since I showed up.
“Huh, have you felt any discomfort?” She asked.
“Yes. For the past two months everything has hurt,” I responded.
“No. I mean every 7 to 8 minutes, have you felt anything?” She asked again.
“Maybe, but in between those minutes I still don’t feel any relief so I just figured it was what it was,” I said, “but I do feel better about the c-section knowing that I would probably go into labor within the next couple days…don’t want to take her out before she is ready.”
Then I kissed everyone in my family, mom got to put on an entertaining outfit while I walked into the OR and hopped up onto the table. And by HOP, I mean my OB and her colleague helped me get myself up on the table using a chair as a step stool.
This is where things got fun.
A good looking resident anesthesiologist started to have an attitude with my nurse because she didn’t start my IV yet. Then there was the great debate over where in my arm/hand to put my IV.
Part of me was annoyed that they were arguing, part of me was relieved to see every workplace is ultimately the same.
Nurse Valerie felt it should go up by my wrist so I could nurse easier, Captain Attitude (the resident anesthesiologist) just wanted to belabor the fact that the IV hadn’t been started yet.
My doctor mediated…Captain Attitude “tried”to start it in my wrist, failed, blood ended up on my socks, (and I still have a bruise to mark his failed attempt) and the attending anesthesiologist (a very nicely put together, no nonsense woman with excellent eye brows) jumped in and started it on the top of my hand.
Next, they started the epidural. My OB had me rest my hands on her shoulders and my forehead on hers, while they started it. The attending anesthesiologist kept asking Captain Attitude to talk through what he was doing and asking him to double check his steps and he kept giving her…you guessed it…attitude.
I was very close to saying, “One more word out of you and I am putting you on a time out. Stop talking back to the person that knows more than you. Ass.”
But I didn’t.
My OB, we will call her doctor M, was trying to distract me and said, “Ya know Cara, my husband was raised by a single mom and I happen to think he turned out quite nicely. Everything is going to work out just fine for you.”
And the attending anesthesiologist said, “Yea, I think you are lucky. I’d much rather have my mom around for the birth of my first born than my husband.”
I’m obsessed with my OB. If she ran for president, I would donate the 27 dollars I have in savings to her campaign. LOVE HER.
After the epidural is in place they lift my legs up and put them on the table and we wait till I get numb. Left side went right away, the right side took much longer. And during this wait I see the attending anesthesiologist whispering to Captain Attitude and asking him if he is SURE he put the needle in properly…she said “if you didn’t, we should roll her over and re-position the needle.”
At this point I spoke up and said, “Um, I just want to make sure no one cuts into me while I can feel stuff.”
They promised and we waited and finally the right side got tingly and then numb.
The rest is sort of blurry. I kept telling my mom and the docs I felt nauseous, “but not I’m going to puke nauseous, more like I need to eat nauseous.”
Captain Attitude laughed at this, saying it didn’t make any sense…and the attending anesthesiologist explained to him, firmly, that a lot of pregnant patients say that because when you don’t eat you get queasy. He wasn’t what I would call, the king of sensitivity.
Apparently my blood pressure kept tanking and that is why I didn’t feel so good…and they gave me something to make it come back up. My mom was rubbing my arm the whole time…some times it felt good, other times I would ask her to stop because I thought it would make me throw up.
The next thing I clearly recall is hearing Dr. M say, “OH MY GOD, LOOK AT THOSE THIGHS.”
And my knee jerk response was going to be, “What? I haven’t been able to work out for a while, and maybe I have been eating more than my fair share of Ben and Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream…but I have been walking a lot to stay in decent shape.”
Then I realized she was talking about MY DAUGHTER and not me.
They told me to brace for lots of pressure as I felt them push her head out from under my rib cage and pull her out and I looked over and saw the chubbiest newborn butt I have ever seen. And through the entire OR I hear chatter about how big she is.
9 POUNDS, 6 OUNCES is shouted out and I feel all my complaints about discomfort become validated.
As I am watching them clean her up, I feel a VERY SHARP PAIN.
Now the medical team goes on and on about how I can still feel pressure, but not pain. And I made sure they knew I was feeling PAIN, not pressure on my right side. Someone grabbed a clamp and pinched me and I said, “Um, someone just pinched me.”
That is when I saw the attending anesthesiologist shoot a nasty look at Captain Attitude and she told me I had to focus on my breathing because unfortunately I had a window that was not numb and they couldn’t really do much about it right now.
I kept staring at the baby, and was still shocked that in ten minutes I went from pregnant to a mom.
Anabelle’s blood sugar was low, which I am told can happen with baby’s of that size…the moment the food supply is cut off their blood sugar drops. So nurse Valerie took Anabelle, opened up my gown while I was still being closed up on the operating table and helped me nurse her and her blood sugar went right up. I also was distracted long enough from the pain to let them close me up without me continuing to repeat, “That hurts, that hurts, that hurts.”.
The rest is very blurry again. I was wheeled into the recovery room, I know I nursed Anabelle. I know my dad gave the two of us tons of kisses, as did my sister Mallory and my mom. I know I talked to my sister Adriane and I know I sent a few emails. I also know the attending anesthesiologist came to apologize for the window of pain, Captain Attitude was not present for this conversation. She assured me that this wouldn’t be the case for future epidurals and in hindsight they should have moved the needle in the beginning. Beyond that, it’s a blur.
UNTIL the epidural started to wear off and I became so incredibly itchy that it made my mom laugh.
I however, did not find my impression of a junky going through withdrawal to be the lest bit entertaining, despite the fact that I know I looked very funny.
Apparently a normal side effect of the drug they use is itchiness, but this was beyond anything I had felt before.
Long itchy, pukey story short…any narcotic pain relief they gave me had a side effect worse than the pain I was feeling. The itchiness from one drug, caused my doc to recommend percoset, which caused me to throw up multiple times…which is just awesome with an incision in my abdomen. By day 2 in the hospital I told them to Ibuprofen and Tylenol were just fine.
A year ago I was slamming shots of Patron without breaking a sweat, now one percoset and it’s game over.
Anabelle was really not effected by any of this. She just wanted to eat and eat and eat and suck and eat and eat and eat and suck some more.
In the delightful lactation class that I had taken, they drove home the issue of “nipple confusion”…and told us over and over again that the introduction of any foreign nipples will negatively impact breast feeding. And I listened.
Until two straight nights of Anabelle wanting to feed from midnight to 6am led to lots of crying on her end and lots of discomfort on my end.
See picture below…does it look like she is confused about where the food is coming from?
The lactation consultant also had another crazy idea of not restricting sucking and allowing them to feed for as long as they want. UM…I am not kidding…if I followed that school of thought, I would never ever do anything other than feed Ellie and be used as a pacifier. A HUMAN PACIFIER.
I had to reign in the routine a bit and things are a little more under control.
As I was being discharged from the hospital my sister called and said she had started labor.
I got Anabelle dressed in the adorable outfit her aunt and uncle gave to her and the nurse came in and clipped off her little Lojack ankle bracelet and told me she was all mine.
Then we headed out to CT…and I insisted we stop by Anabelle’s Aunt and Uncle’s house to say hello and wish them luck on delivering their newest addition.
Ellie had a conversation with her little cousin and told her to HURRY UP.
Then we went back to my parents house and she met her big cousin Tré.
Later that night my sister delivered a healthy baby girl, Reagan Noelle…and the next morning, Anabelle and I headed to the hospital to meet the newest addition to our family.
And this is what our family now looks like…
(not seen in photo is my sister’s awesome husband and my fantastic parents…they have been keeping this crazy ship afloat.)