From the moment that I found out that I was pregnant with our third baby, I’ve ridden the full roller coaster of emotions from sheer and absolute elation right down the track to pure, unadulterated terror. And I’m no thrill seeker.
Although I truly don’t have any burning desire to relive the trauma of the early months of our pregnancy, a little bit of background is important to set the scene for our eventual birth story on that steamy Thursday lunch hour in July.
It was Tuesday January 4th 2022. The second work day of a fresh, new year, the second day for most people’s new year’s resolutions, and for me, it was the day of my 8 week ultrasound to check on our sweet baby’s development in the early weeks. I had been sick (as per usual Sara Pregnancy Protocol!) during the early weeks of my pregnancy, and was very nervous about the outcome of the ultrasound, so I told myself that if all went well during the scan, that I would celebrate with an Iced Cappuccino from Tim Hortons on the way home.
I had the nicest ultrasound tech that I’ve ever had, and she showed me Kyle and his heartbeat right away. The relief I felt was so unbelievable, I was on top of the world. I said something to her like “this must be such a difficult job when you don’t have good news for the person on the table, I can’t imagine what you would say”. She agreed and said that she was always super happy to share good news with the mothers, but when there was bad news, she said that she had “a line”. She said that she always just said “I’ll let your doctor talk to you about this hun, okay?”.
After I had seen Kyle and she seemed to have completed everything that she needed to, for some reason, she kept circling around my lower belly over and over. I let her go on for a while, but as the minutes ticked by, I was getting more and more uneasy. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I said to her: “is everything alright?”. She hesitated, and then told me that I had a cyst on my ovary, but stopped abruptly after that. I asked her if it was big, or anything that I should be worried about. I kid you not, as God as my witness, that woman looked me right in the eye and said to me:
“I’ll let your doctor talk to you about this hun, okay?”
Of all the sickening dread moments that I’ve had in my life, that had to be one of the worst. It kind of felt like I was floating above my own body, dizzy, hot, completely oblivious to anything else that she said or did in that appointment. I think she might have asked if I was okay to drive myself home, and I must have convinced her that I was, because she let me go. Even though I wasn’t.
I remember so little from that day, but I do remember getting to my car and sitting there for a long time before I even started it, and thinking to myself that I didn’t know what to do about the Iced Capp. On one hand, Kyle was looking good…but on the other hand… something seemed to be wrong with me. I concluded that the appointment had not “gone well”.
But I got the Iced Cappuccino anyways.
That appointment unfortunately set in motion a tsunami of terror that lasted from January 4th right through to April 20th 2022. The “cyst” that they thought that they had found on my ovary ended up being confirmed to be a solid mass growing inside the lower part of my abdominal wall. I went through a parade of referrals, so many ultrasounds, blood tests, appointments, and the waiting. Oh the waiting. The waiting was the absolute worst. I’m a wordy person, but there are simply no words to describe the waiting. It was the worst torture I’ve been through in my life to date. I wouldn’t wish the waiting on anyone on earth.
After a referral to a leading oncologist out of Princess Margaret Hospital downtown, more ultrasounds and finally a biopsy, it was confirmed that this mass was actually something called a “Desmoid Fibromatosis” tumour. They’re super rare (only about 300 cases recorded in North America last year!) and seem to be caused by a combination of excessive estrogen, combined with prior surgical trauma. I guess I fit the bill for this because of my previous c-section, and my new pregnancy (which, of course causes a spike in estrogen).
In any case, the tumour sits right underneath my old c-section scar, and the oncologist told us in our last consult that the best course of action to get rid of it was to simply get to the end of our pregnancy, deliver the baby and get my hormones balanced out and back to normal to cut off the estrogen supply to the tumour. The other three options (chemotherapy, radiation or estrogen therapy) all sounded decently horrific, and so we were quite glad to go with this plan. We were referred to the Special Pregnancy Program at Mount Sinai Hospital, and met with a new team of OBs there who made a plan to do a “higher” c-section incision this time around to avoid the tumour, and my old c-section scar, altogether. Our surgery was scheduled for Thursday July 28th, at 38 weeks 3 days.
From that point on, life somewhat returned to “normal”, whatever that means. The last 10 weeks or so of our pregnancy crawled by. I was dealing with so many aches and pains by this point, and those combined with the overall mental and emotional exhaustion from everything that had gone on at the start of the pregnancy had really reached a peak and I was fairly desperate to get to the finish line and get our sweet baby out safely. Although it felt like it would never end, as time as a funny way of doing, it marched on in it’s steady, rhythmic way, and before we knew it, it was Wednesday July 27th, and we were packing up the car with our hospital bags, the boys overnight bags and all of our other baby gear to head downtown for game day.
Since our c-section was scheduled for 9:45am on Thursday July 28th, Matt and I decided to get a hotel room downtown for the night before so that we could get our heads in the game and (maybe more importantly) so that we didn’t have to get up at 5am to get downtown for 7:45am to check in! Unfortunately for us, it was the Thursday leading into the August long weekend, and it was also Carabana weekend in Toronto, so all of the big hotel chains were either fully booked, or $600 a night. I had finally found us something that looked reasonable for the deal price of $375, and thought that we should be pretty safe with what we were getting for a hotel that cost that much!
Matt and I dropped the boys off at my parents house, and we were all a little jittery because my Dad was starting to come down with a cold. My whole family (myself leading the charge) had been sick with a terrible respiratory virus that had really brought us all to our knees for over a month leading up to our birth. We were all pretty freaked out that my Dad was the latest victim, and that he might pass it along to our boys, who by some miracle had not gotten it from any of us over the past month. In any case, we really didn’t have much of a choice at this point, and so we gamely handed over our children and headed off downtown. I remember feeling such intense guilt when I left Austin to go to the hospital to have Carter, and I felt the same way this time. Like we were about to just rock these sweet little boys’ worlds, and they had no idea what was coming.
Matt and I went out for a quick dinner at Baton Rouge in the movie theatre plaza at Winston Churchill, but my stomach was a bit of a mess (nerves? anxiety? excitement? Some lovely cocktail of all three?) and I only really ended up eating about half of a club sandwich. Matt had a rack of ribs. We spent most of that meal talking about the name we had chosen for our third and final baby, and re-living some of the crazier moments of the journey that had brought us to where we were. We also chatted nervously about what our life might look like with three kids, and how in gods name we might attempt to handle what was coming for us the next day… (spoiler alert: we didn’t figure out squat ;)).
After dinner, we finished the drive downtown to our hotel. It was just off of Church Street, in a new-to-us part of town, and I drove right past it the first time and had to circle back to pull in. The hotel was a little sketchy, but decent enough. We parked underground in the tiniest, spookiest parking garage ever, and were pretty glad that we had brought my vehicle (our new Palisade!) rather than Matt’s truck, because it almost certainly wouldn’t have fit under the low ceilings.
By the time we got up to our room, it was already after 9pm and starting to get late. The rooms were setup like apartments with full kitchens and open living areas separate from the bedroom and bathroom. We got into the room and setup, and then the nerves really hit me hard. I started to get really anxious about the surgery. It’s a blessing and a curse to know what you’re in for (or so I thought lol), and I was replaying the details of Carter’s (very smooth) c-section over and over trying to remember all the details, and what everything felt like.
The mattress in the room was hard as a rock, and I hardly slept at all that night. I was so glad when my alarm went off at 6:15am. As we say in our house, it was “go time”.
I was so nervous. Thinking back to that pregnant girl pacing around, trying to get everything together, I just want to stop her, put my arms around her so tight and tell her that everything is going to be okay. I realized at some point in all of the madness that I hadn’t packed a single t-shirt or top for myself (I had left them all in the dryer at home), so I was stuck wearing my shirt from the previous day.
I wasn’t allowed to eat anything that morning, but I did have to drink two bottles of apple juice about 2 hours before the surgery, which I had brought with me. I anxiously sipped on apple juice as we started the short drive over to the hospital from the hotel. Even though it couldn’t have been more than 2km or so away, it took us quite a while to get through the busy Toronto streets at rush hour on a weekday. Once we had made the U-turn onto University, we got held up quite a bit because there was a big accident right in front of the hospital where a car had t-boned another car trying to turn across the intersection. All of the airbags had deployed, it was a mess.
At this point, we were getting pretty tight for our timing. We were supposed to be at the hospital for 7:45am, and I think by this time it was nearly 7:30, and we still needed to park and get ourselves upstairs. I started anxiously complaining to Matt about how I had no patience, and patience just wasn’t my strong suit (anyone who knows me knows this to be true lol). In any case, we finally made it to the parking garage, went back and forth over the bags and what we wanted to bring up, and finally made our way into the hospital.
We waited in a line for the elevators, which was crazy long, and nearly drove me to insanity because it was past 7:45am and I was frantic to get upstairs to the 15th floor. We finally made it upstairs, and found ourselves in another line of three couples checking into Labour and Delivery. It took forever, the first mother was in labour, but didn’t seem to be in any discomfort, and the second mother said that she hadn’t felt her baby move in a while and wanted to get checked out. When it was our turn, we stepped up to the glass window, like we were at a bank or something, and I awkwardly stumbled through something like “we’re here to have a c section”. She got us checked in (so much paperwork), and then sent us down the hall to a waiting room.
I was so nervous. With Carter’s c-section, I remember Matt and I chatting anxiously to pass the time, but I honestly was in a different head space this time, and we didn’t do a lot of talking at all. The waiting room was cheery and bright, lots of baby pictures. I was thinking to myself how much I wished that our surgery was over and that my baby was safe on the outside like those babies. Even though I hadn’t eaten anything in 12 hours or more, my stomach got really upset and I was in and out of the washroom twice. The second time I came back, Matt said, “they’re ready for us”. And we proceeded to the next step, triage!
We had a young Asian nurse, and she was really lovely. She took us through all the bureaucracy, our 8th set of COVID screening questions, got me into a hospital gown, took my vitals, all that good stuff. She paged our OB that we were here, and asked her to come by whenever she was ready to talk about the tumour and their plans for the surgery.
As we fiddled with vitals and monitors, our nurse said to me “do you mind if I guess what you do for a living? It’s a game I play with patients sometimes”. I said sure, and she said “are you a teacher?”.
I was shocked by that for a lot of reasons, primarily because I’ve applied for teachers college three times in the past 8 years, and have thought about being a teacher for a long time, but also because of my years instructing fitness classes. I told her not really, but that I did teach fitness classes. She asked what I did do, and when I told her she nodded, and then said “well, I think you’d be a good teacher. You explain things well.”
Our OB arrived shortly after that, and I was so relieved to see her. She has a really warm, motherly kind of energy to her, and I desperately needed some of that energy that morning. Although there were things going on to distract me, I had been nauseous with anxious energy the whole time.
She wheeled in a portable ultrasound machine and took a look at Kyle, and at the tumour. She started talking about where she would make her incision to avoid the tumour, and just at that moment, the anesthesiologist arrived to brief us on the anesthesia plan.
I can preface all of this by saying that anesthesia scares the living shit out of me. Like, TERRIFIES me. The thought of being slices open truly doesn’t phase me at all. But the thought of the anesthesia in my spine truly terrifies me. I’m not sure if it’s the paralyzed thing, or the thought of how dangerous this medication can be if they fuck it up, or maybe it’s a loss of control thing. But whatever the reason, the sight of the anesthesiologist made my heart rate climb so high that the nurse said to me “what’s going on, are you okay?”.
To make matters worse, the anesthesiologist was a resident doctor. I think his name was Edwin, but I could be wrong about that. He was funny, and got a small smile out of me, which was damn impressive at that point. He and our OB talked about the plan for anesthesia, and they decided that they would proceed with an epidural instead of the spinal injection that I had with Carter.
I voiced to them that I had had an epidural with Austin, and that it hadn’t worked for me. That epidural was the cause of so many problems with Austin’s labour. They reassured me that it was a completely different situation this time and that they wouldn’t begin until everything was working well. I was uneasy, but agreed.
Edwin scared the hell out of me. He had to give me the risks and complication possibilities, and by the time he was done, I was basically in tears. My OB stuck around and took my hand in hers and said “it’s going to be just fine, we do epidurals all the time, it would be nearly impossible for any of those things to happen, don’t worry”. Her skin was warm and her hand was soft and comforting. I really appreciated that gesture.
Everybody left us, including our nurse, and we waited. A couple on the other side of the curtain from us went in for their surgery and then not too long later, the most unbelievable sound, a newborn crying on the other side of the curtain from us. It was a totally surreal moment hearing that baby cry in that quiet room. It made everything suddenly so, so real, and was a reminder that in just a few minutes, we would have a BABY in our arms, in our family… it was crazy.
About an hour and a half late, they finally came to get us and said that they were ready to go. They transferred me to a traveling bed, and wheeled me down the hall with Matt in tow. I didn’t like that. I wanted to walk, but they preferred to wheel me and I wasn’t going to fight with them. We got to the doors of the operating room, and that was where Matt had to stop and wait for us. I can’t remember if we said goodbye, I just remember being terrified. So terrified.
There were a lot of people in the operating room, too many for me to remember them all. They got me sitting upon the operating table and got to work on the epidural. This was the part that I had been dreading for my entire pregnancy, and I just kept repeating to myself over and over in my head “you can do this, you can do this, you can do this”. They had me hold onto a pillow and hunch forward, and a really kind nurse held my shoulders and talked to me. I don’t remember her name, but she was very nice, had a cool and confident demeanor to her, and I trusted her right away. As they were getting ready to start the epidural, my OB asked me what music I’d like to have playing in the room, which I thought was kind of cool. I couldn’t think of any music fitting for my baby’s entrance into the world, so I said Elton John, and she put on the best of Elton John on some Bluetooth speaker right in the operating room.
Almost like that first ultrasound back on January 4th, I knew that something wasn’t quite right with the epidural because it was taking too long. I’ve had an epidural, and a spinal injection before, and both were quite quick. It felt like I had been hunched over for a long time, and I had. They wheeled over an apparatus for me to rest my feet and forehead on, and the nurse kept holding my shoulders and talking to me. They gave me a very painful shot of something to numb my back I think, and then there was all sorts of weird pressure, clicking, and sensations for several minutes. My OB came over to my head to talk with me and the nurse as well, and as we were in the middle of a tense conversation about their teenage daughters traveling on their own, I started to feel a panic attack setting in.
I suddenly got it into my head that I needed to sit up, or lie down, or stand up, but whatever happened, I couldn’t be in that hunched over position anymore. And I also knew that I absolutely, under no circumstances could move a muscle, because they were screwing around with my spinal cord. The combination of those two thoughts spiked my anxiety to a pretty unmanageable level, and I said to the nurse and my OB, “is there any way that I could lie down, do you know how much longer I have to stay like this?”.
They never did explain to me what exactly was going wrong with the epidural, but assured me that they were almost done, and got me some ice for my forehead. I fought like a warrior against that panic attack. It’s one of the most persistent ones that I’ve ever had, and I somehow managed to stay absolutely still and keep it together. Finally, after what I soon learned had been 45 minutes in that position, they said that they were ready to lay me down.
Laying down was the biggest relief ever. EVER. My lower body was tingly and numb-ish, but it was a very different sensation then what I had had with Carter’s c-section, where pretty much instantly I was paralyzed and couldn’t feel a thing. I was happy to be able to move my toes, but a little uneasy at how much I could still feel my legs and move them on command.
Matt appeared shortly after I was laying down, and I was so happy to see him. The poor guy had been waiting outside the operating room for nearly an hour. I can’t begin to imagine what he was going through out there with Kyle and I on the other side of the door.
Another dead giveaway that things were not going to plan was that at some point, Edwin the Resident transferred my care to his supervisor. The guy was a jerk, to put it kindly. He clearly thought highly of himself, and seemed to be very irritated by what was doing on with my epidural. They started testing my lower body to see if I could feel ice, pokes and prods, and a reflex test which felt like a jolt of lightning down my leg.
I failed every test.
They spent close to 30 minutes messing around with things. Another white haired anesthesiologist came onto the scene. My OB was clearly starting to get anxious and was up and down from her seat in the corner fussing with things here and there. Finally, I seemed to pass their tests, and they deemed that I was numb enough to begin the surgery.
At some point shortly after they began, I started into another fairly predictable panic attack. These always start the same for me, and begin with me feeling really hot and tight around my neck and up into my head and face. I had warned Edwin that this was likely to happen, and that it would be great to have some ice packs or bags of ice nearby for my face / neck, as that usually helps to ward them off. There was something so odd about how the surgery was unfolding. I could feel an alarming amount on the other side of the curtain. Not pain at this point, but I could clearly feel their hands and fingers moving around me, I could tell when they were using a different tool because the pressure felt different… it was completely a different experience from my last c-section where I felt nothing at all. Being able to feel things like their fingers moving around (presumably inside me…. ick…) really freaked me out and I was very, very anxious and scared. I started doing what I did during Carter’s c-section which was to count the minutes. His surgery had been so quick, that it literally was only a matter of minutes, and so I focused really hard on breathing, and trying to just get through a few more minutes. I figured that Kyle would be here very soon, and then I would have a baby on my chest to distract me from everything else going on.
Matt was very good at my head, he was basically on “ice duty”, re-positioning ice packs, holding my hand and providing totally baseless reassurance that “everything was going great” haha. I managed to get the panic attack somewhat under control, but the sensation wasn’t gone completely. I was very, very anxious to see Kyle, and saw that as the “end” of the hard part.
Unfortunately, the surgery just carried on and on. I was watching minutes tick by, fighting off waves of panic every so often, but no Kyle. My OB wasn’t saying anything to me at all, but was speaking in lower, very firm and direct tones to the people assisting with the surgery on the other side of the curtain. I don’t remember exactly what she was saying, but I do remember her repeatedly saying “clamp here please”.
I don’t know how long it had been on the table, when I suddenly realized that I was feeling a dull, aching sensation up near my right ribcage. It started off as nothing at all, just a very dull, far away ache. But as the minutes progressed, I realized that the ache was turning into more of a “hurt”. My brain started to play tricks on me immediately, because I realized that the pain actually very much resembled the pain that I had felt during Austin’s labour when my epidural had stopped working. It had started as a 2/10 ache, and then slowly, eventually escalated to no pain relief at all, and a full on 10/10.
I started to panic inside because I realized what a situation I was in, and that it wasn’t going to fly for the epidural to “wear off” in this situation. I remember saying in this small, meek little voice, “I think that I can feel some pain”. My OB stopped and looked over at me, and said “is it pain? Or is it pressure?” and I said that it was pain near my right ribcage. My OB looked at the anesthesiologists (all freakin’ three of them lol) and said VERY sharply, “can you please take care of that? NOW?”.
I had to laugh because there were literally only three men that were part of our birth from start to finish. They were all three of the anesthesiologists. And the anesthesia was a raging shit show from start to finish.
I’m just sayin’….you want something done right folks… give it to a fucking woman 😉
This was where our surgery started to go off the rails. The anesthesiologist started to push more drugs down my epidural line. Every time he did that, it felt like a rush of ice down my spine all the way down to the tips of my toes. I thought that that would be a good thing at first, but what I didn’t bargain for was the whole parade of complications that these drugs would bring.
Shortly after I got more medicine in the epidural, I started to feel absolutely HORRIBLE, extremely, extremely nauseated. I told Matt that I was going to throw up, and started to dry heave a little bit. I asked the anesthesiologist for anti-nausea medicine, because I remembered from my previous c-section that the anesthesiologist had given me an anti-nausea medicine in my IV that immediately solved all of my nausea woes, and made me feel like a million bucks. He pushed that medicine through my IV.
Shortly after THAT, I was laying on the table, and I started to drift away from my body. If you’ve seen the movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, I felt a bit like Elizabeth Taylor at the end during her c-section when she passes out and is talking about the pigs wearing flippers on the surgeons surgical caps. I felt like I was floating, spaced out, I was cold sweating and my arms started to tingle. I turned to Matt and said super calmly. “Matt, I’m about to pass out”.
Poor Matt, this entire ordeal must have been so hard for him. I can’t imagine being in his position and feeling so helpless. He immediately got the attention of the anesthesiologist (who, I kid you not, had moved to the back of the room and was ON HIS PHONE while this was going on). He came over right away and announced “blood pressure’s tanking, pushing meds”. I glanced up at my blood pressure monitor, and although I can’t remember what the exact numbers were, I knew that it was shockingly low. The lowest that I’d ever seen, and I’m prone to low blood pressure.
The authoritative nurse that had been with me for the epidural came back around the corner and held firmly onto my hand while the anesthesiologist messed around with more medication in my IV. “It’s okay.” She said, “Your blood pressure is low from all of these meds, which makes you feel yucky. It’s going to be okay.”
The anti-nausea meds helped, but from there we entered a very long cycle of increasing my epidural meds to manage the persistent aching pain on the other side of the curtain, which led to my blood pressure tanking and me starting to fade out of consciousness. Matt said that it was like clockwork, he would watch my numbers start to fall off on the blood pressure monitor, and my skin would almost instantly turn a sickly grey colour, and I would get beads of cold sweat across my forehead, and he would call the anesthesiologist (who still did not deem it appropriate to just STAY BY MY HEAD lol) who would give me more anti-nausea meds.
I’m not sure how far we were into the surgery by now, but it must have been hours. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and asked my OB, “how much longer do you think it will be? Is everything going okay?”.
I knew the answer. Of course I did. I had been on the table over 2 hours at that point. Carter had been out within 13 minutes of them starting the surgery, and I was out of the OR in recovery within about 40 minutes total time start to finish. It was very obvious that things were NOT “going okay”.
My OB didn’t answer me. So I asked again, a little louder. She then looked over the curtain and said “I’m not ignoring you Sara, we’re just at a very critical stage and I really need to focus. In fact, can I get the music in the room off, and no more conversation in the room from anyone please?”.
As Matt and I have replayed this whole scenario over and over again, he says that that was the moment that he got really scared. Up until then, he figured that we were dealing with relatively simple things, but when she said that, he knew that we were playing with higher stakes. I was in a similar boat, and I remember that that was the first time that I had the horrific realization that it was not a given that my baby and I were going to make it off of that operating table alive. Horrible, horrible things started to flash through my mind. Austin and Carter’s sweet faces. My parents wringing their hands by their phones, waiting for an update. Matt walking out of the hospital and back to our big 7 seater vehicle to drive home with an empty car seat and / or an empty passenger seat.
So many of the things that I’ve achieved in life (not that there have been a lot), haven’t been anything to do with my physical or mental abilities at all. It’s been sheer, “do it or die trying” determination. And that was all that I had in that moment. I started trying (unsuccessfully for the most part) to change the narrative, and I kept repeating to myself some wisdom from my grandmother, a favourite of hers:
“This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass.”
There was literally nothing that we could do except wait, and keep fighting off the relentless waves of nausea and pain. In fact, the waves of nausea and losing consciousness might have been what saved me from myself, because as I just outlined, my head had wandered down a pretty dark path.
Around this time, my entire body started to convulse and shake violently on the table. I felt like I was freezing cold (all the ice was gone at this point), and my entire upper body was rattling and shaking on the table, completely out of my control, and my teeth were chattering so hard against each other that it hurt my jaw. I started to close my eyes for small stretches here to try and just “escape” the situation for a moment, but when I would open my eyes again, I found my field of vision cloudy and much smaller than usual. It’s clear now that my body was going into some kind of shock, and that I was fading in and out of consciousness. Matt told me that the anesthesiologist was standing by with an oxygen face mask in his hand, I guess in case I really did crash.
After what seemed like an eternity, my favourite nurse poked her head around the curtain and said to me “baby is almost here, hold on Sara!”. Not long after that, my OB said to me “you’re going to feel a lot of pressure Sara”. I was on another planet by this point. I was fighting like a dog to stay conscious on the table. I wanted more than anything I’ve ever wanted in the world to stay awake to meet our baby. There was a lot of tugging, pulling, and pressure…and then that sound. Ah that sound.
A big, loud, wet, throaty cry that echoed off the walls of the operating room.
I was really in a bad place when Kyle was officially born at 12:04pm. I remember crying hot tears that felt good against my freezing cheeks. I remember saying “my baby, my baby, my baby” over and over again. I remember sending Matt away from me over to the little incubator to get him wrapped up and check his vitals, and while Matt was gone, having another heaving wave of nausea.
The nurse and Matt brought Kyle back over to me, and started pulling back what was left of my hospital gown to put him on my chest for skin to skin. But the problem was that I was convulsing out of control. My whole body was rattling on the table, and I just couldn’t stop it. I was also extremely weak and shaky, and while I tried to hang onto him in that awkward position, Kyle was getting bumped around my chest, and I just didn’t feel safe having him there.
“Please just hold him.” I said to Matt, with tears streaming down my face. I was so sad that I couldn’t hold him myself. So, so sad. Matt did such a good job though, he kept him right by my face, as much as I could tolerate, and still managed to keep an eye on my vitals and advocate for me, while holding a newborn.
I was really hopeful that we were almost done, but it took another hour (yes, an hour lol) to deal with me after Kyle came out, and close me back up. That was so hard. My OB started to explain to me that when they had opened me up, they had uncovered a number of very thick, varicose veins in my abdomen that were essentially “feeding” the tumour a blood supply. She said that I had lost a lot of blood, and that they had “cauterized” (ick) those veins in an attempt to “starve” the tumour and cut off it’s blood supply.
It seemed like an eternity, but finally, at long last, they said that they were all done, and they transferred me to a stretcher bed. Almost immediately, I started to feel better. Something about being off of the operating table that I had been on for over 3 hours just felt like I had a tiny bit more control over the situation, and there were less drugs flowing into me now, so my blood pressure stabilized fairly quickly.
We got back to our recovery bay, and realized that our surgery had screwwwwwwwwwed up the c-section schedule for that day. There were husbands and couples everywhere complaining that they had been waiting for hours and that the poor mothers hadn’t had anything to eat all day. I felt so bad about that, I knew that it was our fault that they had been waiting.
It was unbelievable how much better I felt in the recovery room. I finally got to really look at Kyle and take him all in. He was perfect. Just perfect. I couldn’t believe that my partner throughout all of the trials and tribulations of the past year was finally here on this side. I also, almost immediately started looking back at the surgery, turned to Matt and said
“Holy shit. That was intense.”
Matt went down to Second Cup and got us four plain bagels with butter (LOL) and we both scarfed down two bagels immediately, we were absolutely starving because neither of us had eaten anything that day either. There seemed to be a bit of a delay getting our room ready up on the maternity floor, so we ended up staying in the recovery room for about 5 hours. Once we got some food into us, we felt so much better, and things just started looking up from there.
Our stay in the hospital was relatively smooth, I struggled with pretty severe pain the second night, and had to take some low dose morphine to get it under control, and Matt and I had a bit of a standoff with a nurse who thought she knew better than we did how to feed our baby (lol). We had a good laugh afterwards about how timid and scared we were the first time around, and how much more confident we are with our routine and way of doing things now. We were both super anxious to get out of the hospital and just start doing things our way.
And the rest is history! Our birth story, while definitely a bit tumultuous, is perfect to me. A perfect blend of adversity, determination, love, purpose and triumph. Kyle is a product of all of those things, and his parents fought like hell to bring him into this world.
I fought like hell to bring him into this world.
Our birth story feels like the perfect ending to a very challenging pregnancy, and we are so beyond thrilled to be onto the next chapter of our lives as a family of five!
Welcome to the jungle, Baby Kyle!