OK .. so here's what happened...
After trying to get some sleep the night before .. John and I got up at 4am on Monday, November 17, with the goal of getting to the hospital at 5:30am for 7:30am surgery. I was strangely calm the night before - but still dopplered Jack one last time to make sure his heart was beating. The morning of the C-section, I was nervous, and part of me wondered if we'd even have the section - could Jack have turned?? Maybe that was his butt up by my ribs and not his head? We'd find out once we got to the hospital.
We pulled together the last of our things and headed out the door at 5am. We made it to the hospital by 5:30 - and pulled into the emergency entrance (as instructed.) We told the guard I was having a baby, and they were waiting for us upstairs. He got me a wheelchair and I got in. I was holding my belly - one of the last times I'd do so with Jack inside - and the guard said "Oh, look at her she is READY." He thought I was in labor. I didn't correct him, just smiled. And as it turned out ... I was in the beginning stages of labor! Once they got me on the monitors upstairs, I was having mild contractions, which made me really happy. The timing was right. It was time for Jack to be born. A quick ultrasound confirmed that Jack was indeed still breech. I was actually a little taken aback. I think something like "holy shiit, I'm having a freakin' C-section at 7:30 went through my head..."
It wasn't clear exactly who was doing my surgery. I wanted Dr. T ... but was told it might be Dr. G. I started to cry. Dr. G. had never been anything but totally grumpy to us. But thankfully - all of a sudden - Dr. T. came strolling through the door and I lit up like a Christmas tree. Dr. T. is the back up high risk doctor for my midwives and just such a great person. Great doctor, great guy. I was happy again. But NERVOUS!!
John and I hung out while they continued to monitor Jack, who was doing just fine. Dr. T. patted my belly and said "see you soon Jack!" and soon - it was time to head to the OR. John suited up in his scrubs but was not allowed in for the spinal. I was very scared of the spinal ... but Dr. T. stood right in front of me as I hunched over for the initial lidocaine injection and rubbed my shoulders and literally HUGGED me like a dad and told me how great I was doing. I breathed deeply in and out. They said the lidocaine would sting but it didn't really phase me after giving myself two lovenox injections a day for the last bazillion months in order to stay healthy and pregnant. Then, it was time for the spinal. A resident named Rachel administered it with the attending standing right beside her. Earlier, I had asked her "do you do a lot of spinals? How do you feel about mine? You feel good? You excited?" ha ha!! I wanted to make sure she knew where to stick that friggin' thing!! She did great though - and soon I felt weird and numb and they laid me down. They did NOT strap my arms down, honoring my C-section birth plan request. I thought that was very cool. And though my birth plan had requested no students - there were some in the room. I was OK with it. At that point, I just wanted to get it going and get it OVER with and be OK and have the baby be OK.
John came in once I was laying down - I had an oxygen mask on which was freaking me out but I focused on staying calm. My midwife, Kathy, there as a support person could see that John was freaked out and calmly said "John, you'll sit right here" and plopped him on a stool by my head. The surgery began and they did NOT mess around - Dr. T. is known for his FAST C-sections. I could feel A LOT of pressure but no pain. I did feel nauseous though and kept saying "Rachel, I feel nauseous" and she'd up my anti-nausea meds in my IV. She managed to keep me from puking, so she did a good job!
I could hear surgery chatter but felt pretty out of it and disconnected. Although I did say at the beginning "remember he has a big head, make sure you make room!" So typical of me - giving the surgeon last minute instructions! I am so controlling ... ha!
At one point I knew they were pulling him out and I could feel them sort of wrestling to get him out. I said in a small voice "is everything OK?" and John assured me that it was. He told me later he was sweating and so scared for me. Not the baby - for me. Hearing that reminded me how much he loves me. (OK, that just made me teary-eyed.)
At 7:54am - Jack Clifton was born. He filled the air with lusty cries immediately! I could hear him and just could NOT believe it. I think my midwife said "mom wants to see her baby" and they brought him around the corner. I looked and saw this BIG baby crying away and couldn't believe it. I burst into tears - relief, joy, so many emotions. Unfortunately, I still felt pretty out of it - and nauseous. I said to John "go with the baby." I wanted him to be with the baby while I got sewn up and while they examined Jack. He told me later he went and stood by awkwardly until someone said "you can touch him" and not knowing what to do he sort of patted Jack's head. ha ha!! So cute.
As they got ready to wheel me out - they brought Jack to me, briefly, all swaddled up. I honestly don't really remember this - but we have a picture! So I know it happened. They then took him back for more whatever and wheeled me to recovery. I hoped to have Jack at my breast within an hour of the surgery and lo and behold - 59 minutes after the surgery - there he was - and we put him to my breast. He latched on immediately. I later found out that John was the driving force behind the effort to get Jack to me within an hour - as it usually takes longer. He kept saying, Alicia wants to nurse within an hour (I have trained him well) and I guess he bugged everyone so much they finally gave in!
Finally, we were all together. A family of three. The end of my wonderful, scary, miraculous pregnancy - and the beginning of our new lives together.