Day 329: C-Section Blues

I remember there was graffiti in the hospital room but not which gang it was from. It’s been 4 years now and my memory is appropriately iffy. I know this for sure: If you have the opportunity to deliver a child outside of downtown Brooklyn, embrace it like a kitten. We figured since it was close to our house and doctors are all certified and stuff, hospitals are pretty much all the same. What we didn’t know was you almost never see any doctors.

Our obstetrician only appeared for  5 minutes every couple of hours, as he seemed to be rushing around to different patients in between obligatory visits to his synagogue. When the labor situation became untenable – by which I mean we all agreed there was no way Silas’ gigantic head was fitting through his small, boy-hipped mother – he performed the c-section. The rest of the time, Lindsay was attended to by nurses who acted like they would rather be on fire than give her another pillow.

We were in a hurry to get it done because her water already broke, meaning the barrier between our baby and the mountains of flesh-eating bacteria floating around the hospital was gone. The elevator was predictably filled with people who appeared to have late stage tuberculosis, or some other illness that made them cough uncontrollably in confined spaces with total disregard for hypochondriacs or unprotected fetuses.

Exiting the elevator, I expected the surgical ward to be pretty nice; it wasn’t.  If you’ve ever opened a random door at an airport or shopping mall and gotten a glimpse of the sparse, flourescently lit areas where they store wheelchairs and dirty catering carts with half eaten fruit plates on them, you get the idea. It was clean – I think –  despite feeling like an abandoned 1970’s elementary school. It wasn’t the type of place you want to welcome a perfect new human being who’s poised to forever shackle your freedom in ways you can’t help but enjoy (65% of the time.)

They made me put on a lunch lady costume so I could be present in the operating room. They hung a curtain so I couldn’t see anything except my wife’s head and the anesthesiologist who was inappropriately friendly and casual. He was wearing a tie-dye shirt under his lab coat and had on orange Crocs. I thought maybe he’d been up all night playing conga drums and drinking Chianti with Mathew McConaughey and Mario Batali. He was  the drug geek in his fraternity whose dad pulled some strings to get him into medical school.

I stood awkwardly behind the curtain with the anesthesiologist and what appeared to be my wife’s disembodied floating head. He was in the zone; prepping all his drugs, chillaxin’, and trying to have a rad rap session with me like we were playing gin rummy. I don’t know if it was his way of getting me to relax or whether he was just a mouth-breathing idiot, but I suspect the latter. Lindsay locked eyes with me; she looked scared. I peeked over the curtain, saw what was going on, had a mild stroke, and told her everything was fine.

She was supposed to be numb from the waist down, but apparently, making that happen isn’t really a science. The anesthesiologist asked her over and over if she could feel anything, to which she continually responded with a confused “yes” like she was getting an eye exam. He gave her another drug, asked again, and received the same answer. Meanwhile, I could see her eyes start floating. This happened two more times until finally the anesthesiologist looked over the curtain at the doctor and they both had a nice chuckle.

“What are you laughing at?” I asked.

“Well, I just gave her a synthetic that’s three times more powerful than morphine, so technically she shouldn’t be feeling anything at all,” he responded with a jolly your-wife-be-trippin’ tone.

I was confused by his attitude and the ineffectiveness of the drugs when I replied, “Well, she said she can still feel it, so do you think maybe you could give her something else?”

His eyes lit up. “Yea, sure, why not.”

I panicked. “Wait, did you just take my advice?”

“Eh, I was going to top her off anyway.” He said, like a diner waitress referring to a half-full cup of coffee.

He removed another vial, twisted off the top with an annoying flare, and fed it into her IV. He looked at me and asked,

“You know what that was?”

“Umm, no,” I answered, wondering quietly why he was speaking about my pregnant wife as if she wasn’t there.

“Ketamine. It’s a cat tranquilizer. They call it special k on the streets.”

Wow, and a lesson in street talk. Super. I thought I was getting all I needed from watching The Wire. Thank you very much Dr. Feelgood. Holy Christ, are we going to get together after this and snort some oxycodone with Nurse Jackie?

How is a cat tranquilizer gonna help after you’ve already given her something three times more powerful than morphine? I have cats, and they fall asleep while petting them.

Before all the Ketamine had completely entered my wife’s system, the procedure was already over. The doctor held up Silas so we could have a quick look, then whisked him away to the nursery. I sat with Lindsay in the recovery room until she eventually started purring and fell asleep. I snuck out to see my little man, Silas.

My Books




39 thoughts on “Day 329: C-Section Blues

  • As a reply to Lindsey: for some reason it won't let me 'reply' directly under ??? I had 3 children, all completely natural. I am pointing out that the only way she could have not been coherent afterwards is if she had a vaginal birth, not a natural one. They are completely different. One should not boast of something they did not accomplish. I am trying to educate you all about the difference between a natural birth & simply a vaginal birth. I am very educated on the matter of child birth. Do not throw stones. =)

  • I would also love to hear about your wife's VBAC, compared to this awful C-Section experience! I just had a VBAC a few months ago, and it was such a completely liberating and exciting experience, after a terrible C-Section nearly four years earlier.

  • Oh sweet JESUS, that was me on the operating table. My kids' ginormous heads wouldn't begin to fit through my (not really small at all pelvis). Apparently, having birthing hips doesn't mean anything. It's all about the pelvic opening, yo!

    My anesthesiologist was a complete douche. He was more concerned about his new blackberry and flirting with the nurse, than administering my epidural correctly, so yes, I felt EVERYTHING. He kept pushing drugs until I was shaking and crying and then they all decided I had to be "put all the way under". I woke up in recovery 3 hours later and felt like my crotch was on fire. It sucked big hairy balls. I blame all the drugs for my blood pressure skyrocketing and having to stay 4 days in the hospital. I also blame it on my son's colic and the fact that he hated life for the first 5 months. I can do that right?

    That being said, my husband is now a doctor (well, almost). He's a resident and NOT an anesthesiologist. He's a cutter (surgeon), but definitely not a douche. :)

  • Oh my! I had my daughter outside of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has some of the best hospitals in the world. I was just outside of that. To sum up, the epidural took 3 times to take and all it did was numb my legs. I thought " What could be worse than that horrible needle in my back? I'll just say it's working.".

    What I could not have imagined was the pain of basically naturally delivering a 10lb 8oz child, who by the way, got stuck. A "nurse" ( at this point it could've been the janitor, we were in panic mode also known as delivery room A, so I can't be sure ) straddled my chest and began pushing my stomach to "help" with the delivery.

    I screamed. At this point I saw my husband cock back to knock out the she beast that was sitting on his wife's chest. He was thankfully subdued and eventually our daughter was born. All 10lbs 8ozs and 22 1/2" of her. Given the opportunity, she probably would've crawled out on her own.

    That being said, she's 10 now. Can i get some of that cat tranq now?

  • You often feel something with a c-section. They make is so you don't take away pain, but you often feel pressure. That's normal.

    • Sorry, I can't type…I meant to say they make it so you don't feel any pain, they take away that, but you often feel pressure. The Dr should have asked if she felt pressure or pain.

      • I’m guessing the woman in question knew the difference between pressure and pain and likely would not have complained if it was only pressure. Give her the benefit of the doubt-her husband was the only one of us that was there. Pain isn’t acceptable during a c-section.

  • I had an emergency c-section at 24 weeks 4 days gestation. Needless to say I was out of it and my hippie dippie anisetsiologist(can't spell) gave me a liquid to drink and said it tasted good. Last thing I remember before waking up and feeling like I was hit by a Mack truck was "You lie" and him laughing. I don't remember who my doctor was except that her last name was Woods and she looked a lot like Reese Witherspoon. This was with my youngest son who is 3 now.

  • Sir, I strongly suggest filing a complaint if your partner feels the same way. Whether it is with the hospital, or with their governing body, someone should know that's not okay.

  • Wow. I was lucky (?) enough to deliver naturally … but in Alabama. We moved here when I was 30 weeks pregnant. I loved my doctor but, of course, he was not the one to deliver my baby. The guy that actually delivered my baby started reciting Psalms and other Bible verses to me AS HE WAS STITCHING ME UP.

    My husband is a firm atheist and I like to call myself an agnostic, you know, just in case. Anyway, I almost kicked him in the head as I tried to get up off the table. The nurses had to supervise me to make sure I didn't try to get up again. I wish I had been coherent enough to slap him.

      • I don't know Miss D, but as someone else who delivered naturally, I can attest to the fact that the difficulty of the thing I'd just done, combined with the fact that I needed to be stitched up, made me less than coherent. I'd guess that the same was true for her.

        • I've had 3 kids, no drugs, vaginal births. I was completely coherent after birthing them. So, I do not understand if you have babies naturally, how are you not coherent afterwards? Even more confused now that I found out you weren't coherent either…wow.

        • I am not trying to pick a fight. I must admit I am amused that you interpreted my inquiries as such. LOL I am trying to get to the truth. If you have a natural child birth, you are coherent during the entire process, as well as afterwards. Unless you do not have a natural child birth & are on drugs during the course of labor &/or child birth. If my questions seem like I am trying to pick a fight, I apologize. Maybe my lack of tact is assumed as trying to fight. I am a straight forward person, I don't sugar coat things. I am pointing out that a natural child does not consist of only a vaginal birth, but also a drug free one. Many people get this confused. =)

      • Mary-I see you haven’t had a natural vaginal birth or had a very unusual one and expect other women to have had your experience. Perhaps instead of asking this mother to enlighten you, you could put some effort into educating yourself. Personal responsibility is an important thing to learn.

        • I had 3 children, all completely natural. I am pointing out that the only way she could have not been coherent afterwards is if she had a vaginal birth, not a natural one. They are completely different. One should not boast of something they did not accomplish. I am trying to educate you all about the difference between a natural birth & simply a vaginal birth. I am very educated on the matter of child birth. it was my personal responsibility to educate myself on this when I was carrying my first child. Obviously I did this or I would be under the same assumtion that a natural birth & a vaginal birth are one in the same. I know several women who delivered naturally, one being my sister. I was privileged enough to be in the delivery room with her (the most magical day of my life was to be on the opposite end of a natural birth, it was amazing & beautiful) & she was completely coherent after her delivery, just like I was, the same as other women I have talked to that have had natural births. The only people I know who are not coherent after child birth are those who take drugs during labor. Also, before modern medicine; women would birth children, then immediately proceed to work in fields. So, this isn't something that is uncommon when a woman actually has a natural birth. Who's the one who should educate themselves? Do not throw stones, you're way too old to do so, as well as make assumptions. =)

        • I had 3 children, all completely natural. I am pointing out that the only way she could have not been coherent afterwards is if she had a vaginal birth, not a natural one. They are completely different. One should not boast of something they did not accomplish. I am trying to educate you all about the difference between a natural birth & simply a vaginal birth. I am very educated on the matter of child birth. Do not throw stones. =)

        • Every childbirth is different!! Whether you choose to have drugs or not. I can tell you I have delivered 3 children and each one was different!! When I had my daughter I was NOT coherent afterward….I had pushed so hard I bursted all of the blood vessels in my eyes, my eyes were literally a pools of blood. The doctor did have to put me on oxygen because I was not breathing correctly which she later explained that was causing me to not be coherent. Just because YOU were coherent after your childbirth does not mean that every birth is just like yours!

  • Geez, I'm so glad I live in St. Louis–we might be in "fly over land" but our hospitals are top notch. I labored in a room with a big tv, a recliner for my husband and walls decked out with nice wood cabinets. When the baby came the nurses opened all cabinets and pulled out the freakin' Enterprise sick bay. I wasn't moved until after I had recovered. This is the hospital that the local Earth Mothers look down their nose at and call the "baby factory." I say, if they deliver babies all the time, then they must know what the hell they're doing.

    • I had the same experience though I did end up with a c-section. The operating room was nice and clean and everyone at the hospital was wonderful. I even had my doctor that Ive been seeing for 13+ years deliver. I ache for people who dont have the same experience.

  • This is terrifyingly hilarious. Or hilariously terrifying. I'm thankful for my scheduled c-sections, and apparently now how wonderful military hospitals are, by comparison.

    • Wow…so I'm not the only one…& it was on TV. YEAH!!! Pain is weakness exiting the body &it's all about mind over matter. If you believe (because of modern media) you will be in excruciating pain during labor & delivery, you will be. If you are strong minded enough to believe in yourself & the power of your own body; the process is less painful than period cramps. I felt worse cramps while I was menstrating than I ever did during labor & delivery. To those of you who don't have babies yet; please take these words heart. There are so many things that can go horribly wrong for both mother & baby when all those drugs are used. Have a blessed evening everyone!! =)

  • After the experience I had, I think for the next one, I'll take the C- Section. With a side of that ketamine and whatever the s**t is that's 3 times more powerful than morphine. Anything would be better than totally natural. Never again.

  • Awful– sounds traumatic! Where did y'all go for your second son? (I ask because there's a good chance I'll be delivering my baby in NYC this summer; we're moving there for a year. Looking for a good kitten to embrace.)

  • Although…. I have an eye doctor's appointment tomorrow evening and he serves beer, wine and snacks during appointments.

    • I know this is a super old post, but Tamara, you cracked me up with this. If my eye doctor served wine during appointments, I would go home with the wrong lens prescription every time. lol

  • I'm so glad you all survived. I live in Brooklyn and I hope never to have to go to the hospital. Doctor's offices are bad enough.

Comments are closed.