While I was on bed rest in my final week or so of pregnancy with the twins, a very dear friend came over and brought me lunch. She gave me some of the most comforting information I received during my entire pregnancy: She soothingly walked me through her C-section process with her firstborn so that I could feel a bit more comfortable if the doctors decided that was the best option for me and the babies.
On the day the twins were born, as I was being prepped for and even during the surgery, I heard my friend’s soothing voice at all the right moments telling me what I could expect. It brought me a remarkable calm. And so I want to share my story with you, so that you can be better prepared.
Your birth story will most likely start with the labor and delivery triage area, so this is where I will begin my experience. You might visit the triage area during an early hospital tour. If you haven’t seen it, I would describe it as a sort of partitioned holding area for delivering mothers.
You will most likely be in a small area partitioned by curtains. At this point, your significant other will probably be with you. The nurses will have asked you to change out of your clothes and into a hospital gown. A nurse will come in, check your vitals, and give you any information she can at that moment. For me, a nurse also checked the babies’ heartbeats and monitored them until my surgical room was ready. This time will be a bit nerve-wracking, as you might hear other soon-to-be mommies preparing for their baby’s (or babies’!) arrival and the nurses will be in and out quite a bit.
When all is ready, your significant other will be escorted to get scrubbed and prepared for the surgery. You will be escorted separately to the operating room and will get your first look at the operating table. I want to point out that the operating table is stainless steel and is shaped like a lower case “t” so that when you lie down for surgery, your arms will be spread out in a “t”-like position.
When you arrive in the operating room, you will be brought to the surgical table and will meet your medical team, which will most likely include your anesthesiologist and your doctor or a doctor in your OB/GYN practice.
In my experience, the anesthesiologist introduced herself and began prepping me for the epidural anesthesia. She explained the steps she would be taking to numb my body and then had me sit on the operating table. I was instructed to lean forward and hunch my back as best I could. The needle then went into my spine and felt warm. The pain was not as terrible as I thought it would be; I attribute that to weeks and weeks of carrying the babies as well as to a prior trip to the hospital where I was poked and prodded for what seemed like eternity. Also, I believe at that point my adrenaline had taken over and I was focused on psychologically preparing for the moments to come.
The anesthesiologist then helped me lie down on the operating table. A few moments later, my husband, Andy, rejoined me. Then a large blue curtain moved into place, blocking our view of the medical team and the half of me that was about to be opened up. The anesthesiologist continually monitored my progress. I was quickly numbed, but I could still hear sounds associated with the preparation, including a quick shave of the surgical area. Then the operation was under way.
I mostly just listened and looked at my husband, whose eyes were completely transfixed on mine. He was so comforting and did such a great job keeping it all together.
During the surgery, you might feel a sort of pulling or tugging. Then all of a sudden, the doctors’ conversation will indicate that you are about to meet your babies. And then you will hear their cries. For me, Drew’s first, then Celeste’s—and I must tell you it was like hearing sounds straight from heaven. I will never forget their distinct voices making sound for the very first time—and realizing how much I had yearned, without even knowing until that very moment, to hear them my entire life.
Each baby was quickly brought around for me to see and meet. It is important to tell you that you will not be able to hold them right away, as you will still be numb from the anesthesia and then the nurses will immediately want to check each baby’s vitals. At that point, my little ones were brought to the NICU. I asked my husband to go with the babies and be with them while I was mended back together. Talk with your significant other ahead of time about what you prefer. For me, I wanted him to be with the twins.
I laid quietly as I was mended back together and wheeled off to recovery. My time in the recovery area was longer than most, but Andy checked on me and provided me reports on the twins as much as he could.
The babies were born at 3:21 p.m. and 3:23 p.m. Because of my recovery time, we did not meet again until 10:00 p.m. I tell you this just to prepare you in case you are in a similar situation. When we did meet again for proper introductions, I promise it was like no time had gone by—and they were the best introductions of my life.
Remember to Laugh
Lastly, I must tell you that I will never forget my surgical nurse. While I was prepared for surgery, he began singing under his breath in perfect pitch, “Like a virgin / Cut for the very first time.” I stared in shock at my husband, who was holding my hand in support. You see, I am a lifelong Madonna fan. Andy instantly looked me in the eye and said, “Carrie, they’re singing your song. It’s all going to be okay.” And you know what? It was.
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