Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cut, tug, pull, whaaaaaaaaaaaa - Leo's Birth Story

Leo's arrival into our world was via an elective c-section.  My womb had been perforated when operated on in South Africa and we were advised that if I was to find myself pregnant again then a c-section was an absolute must.

Typically for us this wasn't quite the text book operation we had hoped for. 

Thirty minutes before being flipped onto the operating table the surgeon and anesthetist spoke about my risk of placenta previa.  Due to the potential scar tissue if the placenta didn't come away intact they would leave it behind in the hope that it would eventually dissolve back into the womb (thus presenting a high risk of infection).  Alternatively they'd perform a hysterectomy.  Whoooopeeeeeee.  I was like a deer caught in ginormous headlights at the news.  Completely dumbed into shock.

Cannula's spearing my hands, epidural, a mob of people, theatre scrubs, removal of my glasses, hand holding, gentle voices, kind nurses, husband sitting by my shoulder wearing a funny hat. 

Strangely what I hadn't banked on was the c-section being so damn brutal.  It was an unknown.  The assumed cut of the knife followed by the pulling, the tearing, the rush of fluid, the suction, the tugging, the shoving and eventually our son.  He came out screaming loudly at the top of his lungs, fighting his way into the surgeons hands via a set of forceps, all 8lbs and 4ozs of utter perfection.

The sensation of having Leo dragged from my womb was like an African woman doing her washing on the banks of the Nile.  A) Plunge the garment into water B) Rub soap through the offending item with vigour C) Twist and squeeze it tightly  D) Slap it time and again against an old rock. 

After the pediatrician had tweaked him Leo was given to us wrapped in a huge towel.  He looked like ET - the bit in the movie when he's in the tent with Elliot, his skin all powdery white.  Chris and I spilled tears of love and relief and held him as tightly as you would the most precious and fragile gift known to man. 

Thwack.  My placenta was removed fully intact.  Thump.  My womb was removed and placed on my stomach.  It had torn slightly during the birth (next to where it had been punchered) and was hurriedly being sewn back up.  Chris briefly watched and said it looked like an old fashioned leather football, the kind with heavy stitches threaded over it.

Surgeons quietly talking, repairing and taking care. 

Whilst we soaked up our baby they proceeded to anchor my womb back into place and then pain - unrecognisable pain as my organs were shifted, shoved and moved.  My face contorted, the anesthetist asked how much did it hurt?  Too much.  I struggled to find a voice, but finally asked to be put under.  Minutes later Chris was taking Leo from my arms and they were both quickly taken next door. 

In total I was in theatre for 2 hours - carefully zipped up, tidied up, cleaned up.

The surgeon visited me in the recovery room and said that it hadn't been a straight forward c-section but it had gone as well as they could have hoped.  Although the placenta had come away intact I'd lost blood, which was being cleaned and would be reintroduced via a drip.  A catheter was now in place and a drain snaked its way from inside my stomach to a bag beneath the bed. 

She looked me in the eye.  'Sadly due to the surgery we had to perform on your womb I would advise you to seriously consider becoming pregnant again.  Not only could there be problems resulting in a possible miscarriage, but your own health would certainly be put at serious risk.'

We were visited on the same day by the Senior Midwife who we knew from when we lost Ella.  She greeted us warmly before giving me a hug and admiring Leo.  She had heard about the surgery and the consequences of us having another baby.  'You are so unique Georgie, but would you stop now!'  She had a point.   

It's been 3 weeks and 3 days since those blurry conversations and coupled with a crash course in parenting it's taken a while for the information to be diluted and accepted.  But accept it we have, because we understand just how lucky we are.  My body has honoured us with the most sought after gift we could ever have hoped for and we now have only respect for the advice given. 

And should we one day choose to extend our family then we'll look at other options available, but in the meantime, Leo, Leo, Leo.

Our lion, our phoenix, our beautiful miracle. Roar on.


anymommy said...

Such joy and such hard realities all at the same time. If I had known the pain of this mothering gig before I went into it, would I have done it. Shit, yes, I would. Gluttons for punishment, we are. Seriously, though, I'm sorry you have to grieve lost possibilities, even if you wouldn't have chosen them, and I'm so, so happy that you have the ultimate little bundle of joy to see you through.

Roar on, Leo. This writing is gorgeous, GG and so are you.

Ggirl said...

I love you, you get it, all of it as we lead our parallel lives. Come for sundowners soon.....

Kelly Normal said...

He's beautiful.
Congrats, mama.