I’ll try to keep this post as clean and as PG as possible! To be honest going into my c-section I was petrified, a surgery where you’re awake the whole time?! No thanks!! It wasn’t that bad though, in fact I could totally do it again and again :)
The biggest thing I was nervous about was the pain medication. Having achondroplasia means having issues with your back and although I personally have never had any, I’m still wired differently than someone who doesn’t have achondroplasia. You can get pain medication when you have a c-section one of three ways: General anesthesia, a spinal or an epidural.
General Anesthesia: They put you to sleep
Spinal: Pain medication is administered all at once
Epidural: Pain medication is administered a little bit at a time and it slowly builds up
One big problem that we faced was that none of the anesthesiologists at the hospital I was delivering at had ever met anyone with achondroplasia so we set up a meeting and met with one of the doctors, after he checked out my back he felt confident about performing an epidural on me.
Another big problem we faced was how much fluid I had, it was getting to the point where I could not lay on my back without getting dizzy and almost passing out. It’s a big problem because to have a c-section you have to lay flat on your back for a long period of time. Luckily my doctor came up with a brilliant idea! The morning of my c-section I came into the hospital an hour earlier than I needed to and my perinatologist came in and performed an amniocentesis and extracted 3 liters of fluid! I lost about 12 pounds! Taking all that fluid out was the best possible thing they could have done! I could finally lay on my back with no problem. One funny thing that happened during the amnio (it took about 45 mins to perform the whole thing) was that at one point Ray started playing with the needle that was extracting all the fluid! We saw it through the ultrasound and the doctor assured us that he wasn’t going to get hurt, he wasn’t strong enough to poke himself, either way it was hilarious to see a little bit of his personality shining through!
Next was the C-section, the epidural was pretty painless (I have a very high pain tolerance so it might be different for other people). After it was administered my anesthesiologist kept poking me with sharp objects and if I felt any sharpness he would give me more medicine. This went on for about 5 minuets till I couldn’t feel the sharpness anymore, then my mom and Nathan could come into the operating room. They started the surgery right away and within about 5 minuets Ray was out and we could hear his precious cries! He let out a few good ones and then when they cut his umbilical cord he relaxed and went to sleep. They got him cleaned off and put him on my chest as soon as possible. He was the sweetest baby I had ever seen! He took about 4 good deep breaths while on my chest and then his breathing became more shallow and less frequent but the doctors would check his heart every few minuets and he was with us the whole time in the operating room.
While we were loving on our sweet baby the c-section was still going on. I could feel a lot of tugging and pulling but nothing unbearable, it also was nice to have a super cute baby to look at! Seeing his sweet face was the best moment of this whole pregnancy and made everything worth it: Sleepless nights, stretch marks and tears. I just kept saying over and over “I could do that again and again.”
Healing from the c-section was tough for the first few days. For the first day you’re mostly stationary in the hospital bed, but by the second day the nurses want to get you up and moving to the bathroom. When I first sat up my first thought was “this is IMPOSSIBLE!” The more you move though, the easier it gets.
I stayed at the hospital for 3 days and I was walking around with no problem and going shopping with my mom about 2 days after that. Overall my experience was a lot easier than I thought it would be and right now as I type this I’m feeling about 95% back to normal and I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight (-2 pounds even!)
Keep in mind my story is my own personal experience and it may not be as normal as everyone’s. I praise God that I had such a wonderful and safe surgery and that I could meet my baby and see some life in him. Healing physically has been so easy that I can focus more on healing emotionally and although it’s an everyday struggle we’re getting through!