The big C

Me just before surgery

So many of you may know that on Monday last week (21 May), Jon and I were surprised with the birth of our twins after a week of guessing when it might happen. It has been a dream two weeks, filled with some amazing memories and a few minor tough times. Simply having our boys enter the world has been an overwhelming experience – one that I will treasure forever.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about “being prepared for anything” and yet, come that Monday morning, I still didn’t take my own advice.

Luckily, my very practical and very amazing husband did. We had a check-up planned on that morning bright and early, part of the routine check-up we had planned for every second day. I was convinced everything would be fine, and we would have a few more days with babies in my belly.

The night before, Jon convinced me to make sure my bags were fully packed and that I would have everything in case we were checked in on Monday morning. As fate would have it, he was right. The scan showed that one of the babies had a cord around its neck – and that coupled with the calcified placenta, doctor decided to do the C-section on that day.

So bags were hauled out of cars and I was checked into the maternity ward to have babies only a few hours later.

I think the surprise was a bit of a blessing in disguise, because I really didn’t have time to think about the surgery – my book club friends will tell you just how nervous I was about the C-section.

But it all happens so fast that there is really nothing to think about once it happens. Its also a little bit of a blur, but I am hoping that I remember at least some of it forever.

Jon and I have decided to write up the memory of the surgery, just to see what memories we each have of it. See what his version of the story is here.

For me, the concept really only hit me when they wheeled my bed into the theatre and then left me there to stew. You see, they take your husband away from you for a little while so that he can change into scrubs (which look dashing on my hubby). In the meantime, you are wheeled into a corner  – your only company the many people in scrubs missioning around purposefully.

Every now and then, someone would come and introduce themselves: “Hi, I am so and so and I will be doing this during your surgery.” Which I really appreciated, but it was not the information I was hoping for.

Even once Jon had joined me in the corner, the information was in short supply. I would have liked a little schedule that said – “at this time you will be given a shot of this to deal with this pain. Ten minutes later it will kick in.”

But alas, we were left to wonder about how things would proceed and once they did, it happened very quickly.

I remember being wheeled into an operating room, where a kindly man that looked a little like Santa in hospital greens, said he would be doing my spinal. He first did the drip in the hand (which I must say is the worst part of the entire surgery). Then he asked me to sit on the very flat bed that looked something like a torture chamber device, so he could do the spinal. I remember a pinprick in my back and then spinal fluid dripping down my back – all that worry over nothing – it was a breeze.

It was at this point though that I could feel a little panic set in. It was during a conversation the anaesthetist was having with Jon. I can’t remember exactly what was said, except for one bit where the anaesthetist said something along the lines of “two batches didn’t work this week.” Because Jon had had the entire conversation with the anaesthetist, he seemed confident all was well, but I couldn’t put that statement out of my mind.

So with this little titbit on the brain, I was told to lie down on the bed and the bustling started. I was convinced, however, that the anaesthetic didn’t work – after all, two other batches hadn’t worked before this… what if he doesn’t notice mine didn’t work?

I was convinced I could still feel my legs, I could wiggle my toes. My legs were tingling – I could feel them…..I really could.

Before surgery, just to prove to me that all was well, doctor took a clamp of some kind and pulled my tummy with it – I could see it, but I couldn’t feel it. But it was only half the reassurance I was hoping for, because I could still feel my legs.

Turns our it was probably just phantom feeling – kind of like the phantom feeling people who have lost limbs talk about. The reason I say this, is because I didn’t feel the surgery at all, and after the surgery was finished, the nurses were cleaning the insides of my legs (which I couldn’t feel). But most surreal of all, they had my legs bent up to my waist, but I could still feel my legs flat against the operating table. It was a very strange feeling.

Through it all though, I remember Jon. I don’t’ think he could contain his excitement, but when it came to the gory stuff, he dutifully kept his mouth shut. It must have been interesting to watch from topside, although I am grateful I couldn’t see any of it.

The whole surgery was really overshadowed by two major events. The first was the arrival of Dylan Peter, the first twin to emerge. The minute he came out he let out a yelp – the sound of which I will never forget. That first baby cry is the most relieving wonderful sound any woman could hear.

And then there was Alexander John, our second bundle, who was a little less responsive, but when he eventually let out a cry, I burst into tears. I could barely breath when I heard them.

They were placed into my arms for only a few minutes, but those minutes could have been years. I was just so overwhelmed by these two tiny things that had been inside me less than ten minutes before.

Our boys Dylan and Alexander

Unfortunately the boys where whisked off to Neonatal ICU, and I had to sit through quite a chunk of stitching up. But literally all I could see was the needle and thread every now and then.

It was all over within 45 minutes, from being wheeled into the theatre corner to being wheeled into the recovery area.

All in all it could have been worse and I was fussing for no reason at all. The wound is healing nicely and hopefully tomorrow’s checkup will prove that all is well.

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One response to “The big C

  1. I didn’t really get the technical terms of what the anaesthetist was saying regarding non-functional procedures, but I remember what he was doing: drawing a little of the spinal fluid back into the syringe before injecting the anaesthetic, and then repeating that process several times. The point he was making, I think, was that the draw-back-and-inject technique was there to catch cases where whatever it is (wrong injection site, perhaps?) was off. So, two failed incidents, but safely caught. And we weren’t number three. Yay us!

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