You would think after 3 babies that I knew what was coming and was totally prepared, but it’s actually the exact opposite. With my first baby, there was so much naivety and rushing around that I didn’t have time to be nervous or scared, I was just excited to meet my baby and become a mom. But by baby number 3, I knew how painful and hard this was going to be. C sections are no joke and I wasn’t ready for it again. I was so not ready for it that I puked while walking into the operating room before anybody even touched me.
I got the anesthesia, another joyous occasion with me having scoliosis (hint the sarcasm), and the delivery began. Everything went really smoothly. It was over quickly. I did it again and for the last time. I nuzzled my baby, everything was ok. We headed back to recovery and then it all started to go downhill within minutes. My doctor told me that my uterus was paper thin and was at risk of rupturing. That’s why my body was acting funky, it was literally struggling to keep itself together. On top of that, I was so anemic that my insides were white instead of red. She was going to keep track of my iron levels and suspected I would need a blood transfusion. Thankfully that never happened.
After I was sewn up, I arrived into the recovery room to find out that Baby Ari (we call him AJ) wasn’t breathing properly and a NICU evaluation was called. A sweet nurse named Amy came and picked him up. I’ll never forget her taking him away from me. She was very kind and soft spoken, but she took my baby and she never brought him back. I sat in recovery without my baby. I never got to nurse him or hold him or even see him because the nurses were huddled around him to check his breathing. He was just gone as quickly as he arrived.
I was wheeled back into the room where I would stay and they brought me a breast pump. I didn’t want this. I wanted my baby. I wanted to feed my baby and latch my baby, not pump. I didn’t understand why all of this was happening when the entire pregnancy had been smooth until the day before. It wasn’t fair. I couldn’t see AJ until I could get out of bed on my own, but I just had a c section and I was hurting. The nurses and my husband kept pushing me to get up and go see him and I wanted to, but I couldn’t, I was in pain. They kept telling me “you have to get up, you have to walk around”. It was a strange feeling to have major surgery and then just ta-da, nobody cares about you, go see your baby. Why isn’t he with me? Then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. After nearly 12 hours, I was able to push myself to get up and go see him. It was painful and uncomfortable, physically and emotionally. He was hooked up to all kinds of tubes and wires and monitors and had a cannula for breathing. His breathing was very forced. You could see his struggle when looking at him. With every breath he took, it was a deep powerful inhale and exhale, like he was trying to catch his breath, every single time, but never fully getting enough air. It hurt my heart so bad and I couldn't stand there just watching him struggle. I think that most moms get up and do the hard stuff because they know they have to be there for their baby. But I completely failed in that department, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t watch him struggle and hurt.
I told my husband that I wanted to leave and he didn’t understand. He wanted us to be all together, some sense of a family since everything was going awry. He knew that our baby needed us. But I told him to wheel me back to the room and he could return if he wanted. So he did. He sat at my bedside for a few minutes wondering what to do and I could see the perplexed look on his face. I told him that it was ok to go and I would be fine alone, but I could tell that he didn’t want to leave me. Most people think of the heartache that the mother goes through in these situations. We have the surgery/ the delivery and the physical pain of it all. A father’s emotional pain often goes unnoticed. Since we weren’t allowed to have visitors, my husband felt the burden of always leaving someone alone. If he was with me, the baby was alone and if he was with the baby, I was alone. I could see the internal torment on his face. There was never an easy choice.