Here it is: long, kind of boring, and bereft of any of the more thrilling labor details that typically make up a good birth story — but I’m glad to have written it down so it’s not lost to my untrustworthy memory in the years to come.

:::

First of all, let me just tell you that an alarm going off at 5 AM on the morning you’re supposed to have major surgery resulting in the birth of your second child is one hell of a nerve-wracking sound. I was a nervous wreck and the fact that I was not allowed to immediately plunge my head into my usual morning feedbag (Cinnamon Life, and LOTS OF IT PLZ) was depressing, plus I had to shower with this stinky antibacterial soap that made me dwell on the fact that in a matter of hours someone’s scalpel would be hacking into my flesh.

We arrived at the hospital at 6, and were immediately ushered into a labor and delivery room and attended to by a very nice nurse, who despite her friendliness wasted no time in spiking the world’s gnarliest-looking IV into my arm. I was hooked up to some sugar/saline solution and a bag of medication (this wouldn’t normally be necessary, by the way, the drugs were for my own medical situation), a fetal monitor was strapped on my belly, and we were left to wait. And wait.

I spent nearly the entire time reading your comments and I cannot tell you how grateful I was to have them. They cheered me, distracted me, and provided lots of conversation fodder for JB and I. Thank you so much for that, guys.

We were visited by the nurses who were going to attend the surgery, and two of the doctors who would perform the surgery (trivia: the lead surgeon was one of Mike Holmgren’s daughters). Then one of the anesthesiologists came to visit, which was disconcerting because he was not only our age, but also . . . well, um . . . he was sort of cute, okay? Blue eyes, goatee, bearing mood-altering drugs — what’s not to like?

He proceeded to freak me right the hell out by covering many of the potential side effects of the surgery, including a little thing they call DEATH. I told him that I was less worried about death than I was about barfing during the operation, and he mentioned that they would try and help mitigate any nausea and also that the surgeons would keep my uterus inside my body if that was possible. “Sometimes they just have to take it out for a while,” he said, shrugging. “The manipulation can make people sick.” I nodded sagely, like I totally knew what he was talking about, while desperately trying not to picture ANY of my organs being outside of my body.

At around 12 — at which point I could have eaten a LIVE HORSE, despite the nerves — they finally brought me into the OR. The nurses had me sit on the side of a table with my surgical gown wide open in the back so the anesthesiologists could start working on the epidural. At that point all I could think about was how my ass probably looked: squashed, dimply, totally white and gross. It didn’t help that Hottie Anesthesiologist was back there murmuring in my ear about how I was going to feel something cold now, Linda, we’re just swabbing your back.

They had me bend forward over a pillow for several minutes while the anesthesiologists — there were two, Mr. Hottie and an older man with a wonderfully soothing voice; I think Hottie was interning under him — inserted the epidural. There was some discomfort, a little stinging, but overall this didn’t hurt at all. After the epidural was in, they started the meds, and I felt the familiar sensation of warmth running through my lower body. My legs began to tingle, then go dead.

The nurses helped move me onto the operating table, and someone covered my chest with a warm blanket. They neglected to cover any other part of my body, though, so when the nurses then began to get the catheter in place I realized I was completely naked and spread apart like a frog. On the table. Under the bright lights. Visible to everyone in the room.

I must have been squirming and wincing, because the older anesthesiologist asked me if I was feeling any discomfort. “Um, just MENTALLY,” I said, and earned a hearty chuckle from the room. The roomful of people next to my naked body, that is.

They got the catheter in and covered me up, and the anesthesiologists began the process of checking my progress with the medication. They would prick my upper body with a safety pin, then ask me to tell when I felt the same sharp sensation in my lower body — then they’d begin pricking my skin from around mid-thigh on up. They did the same sort of sensation test with an alcohol swab and eventually ice cubes, asking me to say when it felt cold. As the numbness crept up my body, they adjusted the drip until they were satisfied that I was in the right state, at which point they told the surgeons we were good to go.

It was at that moment that I officially began to feel very scared, partially because I was paranoid that I wasn’t a good enough judge of how well the epidural was working and oh my god what if I said the wrong thing and now I’m going to feel EVERY SINGLE CUT, etc. They brought JB in, who sat next to my head and held my hand and told me I was doing really, really good, even though my teeth were chattering like maracas.

Things seemed to be happening very fast at that point. A nurse strapped one of my arms to the table, JB held the other. Someone put a drape in front of my chest so I couldn’t see anything. The anesthesiologists told me what sorts of things I should be feeling (pressure, and weirdest of all, a cold sensation of running water that slid down my back from the inside).

The surgeons began their work. Music was playing in the background, something classical. I could feel my belly being moved around, and I could hear a wet suctioning sound. The anesthesiologists talked to themselves behind my head. I took deep, frightened breaths and JB rubbed my head until I finally told him I felt like he was Lenny and I was one of the puppies.

One of the anesthesiologists suddenly said something like, “Okay, here he comes!”. One of the surgeons peeped over the drape to tell me the baby was almost out, and asked JB if he wanted to see. “Um,” JB said, looking totally freaked out, and I whispered, “Do it!” So he did, he stood up and looked over the drape and then there was a lot of movement and the unbelievable, indescribable sound of a baby crying.

Dylan was crying in big lustful wet gasps and so was I, the tears ran straight down my face and puddled in my ears and I was sobbing and asking if he was okay and one of the anesthesiologists said he was fine, they were just taking him to be suctioned and checked on. JB stayed with me for a few moments, then he was allowed to go over to the pediatrician’s station where Dylan was being attended to.

JB was gone for a couple minutes and I craned my neck to see, while simultaneously trying not to pay too much attention to the disturbing movements happening below the drape but inside my body (I did feel some nausea but nothing too overwhelming, I credit the kindness of the anesthesiologists for helping to prevent the dreaded Operation Barf). Soon JB was back, holding Dylan close to me, and Dylan was crying and still sort of goo-covered and absolutely beautiful. A wonderful nurse offered to get our camera and she took this photo:

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Soon everyone was done, they all told me I did great (I was filled with an absurd pride at this, which is so ridiculous because really, what else would they say? “You did really shitty, you big giant pussy”?) and one by one they left the room. The nurses loaded me onto a rolling table, put Dylan in my arms, and pushed me back to the L&D room, comically ramming into 1) a wall, 2) a laundry cart, and 3) a doorway on the way.

We hung out in the L&D room for a while and Dylan was bathed and poked at a bit. Hottie Anesthesiologist checked on me one more time to see how the epidural was wearing off (which was not at ALL, it took a long-ass time before I could move my legs or wiggle my toes). Eventually, we were moved downstairs to the recovery floor, whamming into the sides of the elevator and at least two doorways as we arrived.

And that’s where we stayed for the next two days, while I recuperated. (JB’s parents had arrived at our house last Friday night in order to stay with Riley while we were off producing his sibling.) The evening of the surgery I was allowed to eat, which would have been awesome if the hospital food didn’t suck so much, and I astounded everyone by easily walking around the floor at 9 PM (sadly, it would turn out this was just the magical effects of the drugs wearing off, because it was MUCH harder to walk the next day). We spent a lot of time holding Dylan, trying to sleep, and wishing mightily for an internet connection.

Now that we’ve been home for a while, I can say that recovering from this surgery was initially much better/faster than the first time and now is probably about the same. It hurts to get up, and my scar area is very tender, but I’m definitely able to get around. They tell you not to lift anything but that’s pretty hard to avoid, I’m able to lift Riley out of his highchair and I’m obviously picking up the baby all day long. They gave me a pile of Dilaudid but I’m only taking it at night, otherwise it makes me all woozy and crappy-feeling.

All in all, it went as well as I could have hoped. Easy enough procedure, not too hard of a recovery, and a perfect, perfect outcome:

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Comments

147 Responses to “Dylan’s birth story”

  1. Alyson on February 10th, 2008 1:42 pm

    What a great story. The new family addition is just amazing. As are Mom, Dad, and Brother Riley. (He seems to be taking the upheaval really well – you’re doing a great job!)

    Where did Dylan get that rockin’ handknitted hat?

  2. MotherGooseAmy on February 10th, 2008 1:45 pm

    Sniff, sniff… reminds me exactly of Jacob’s birth except I didn’t get sent home with DILAUDID! You got some monster awesome drugs. I got crappy Vocodin and ibuprofen. I can’t believe the details you remember… very impressive!

  3. Kari on February 10th, 2008 2:44 pm

    What a beautiful little boy. Love the little old man faces, too. Congratulations.

    I held my sister’s hand through her c-section and dared to look on the other side of the drape. I am ashamed to admit that I was stunned that there wasn’t a little face waving at us when they made the incision. I had no idea they had to go digging for her.

    Glad to hear you are recovering and that everyone is doing well.

  4. Jenna on February 10th, 2008 3:36 pm

    Oh his squishy, wrinkly feet! Want to kiss them!

    Also: sniff the newborn head smell.

    And now that I’ve totally skeeved you out: Yay for healthy baby and healthy mom!

  5. Mel on February 10th, 2008 4:12 pm

    Very cool birth story, Linda. Congratulations again! It makes me look forward and dread the same thing five weeks from Tuesday as that’s when my daughter will be born.

  6. grandmama on February 10th, 2008 4:18 pm

    Those are 3 gorgeous guys! Congratualtions!

  7. Marlen on February 10th, 2008 5:08 pm

    Lovely story and beautiful baby. What a combo!

  8. Gentry on February 10th, 2008 5:31 pm

    oh! He looks like a little cheeto! I want to crunch him. And you are crazy brave for doing this thing they call birth.

  9. Mandi on February 10th, 2008 5:36 pm

    Congrats again! I am so thrilled for you all. Dylan is just an adorable little old man. Thank you for sharing your story. It made me laugh and get all warm and fuzzy at the end. So glad it all went so well for you.
    It’s interesting hearing a c-section story as I’ve never experienced one. Four kids and all born vaginally. It’s interesting to hear what it’s all like the other way. It always shocks me to hear that getting an epidural didn’t hurt too bad because when I had each of mine it hurt like hell. About as bad as a really hard contraction. I wonder if my spine is not quite normal and it causes more pain for me to get one.

    Ok. I’m done yammering. Keep the pics coming. :D I am so happy for you guys.

  10. Shawna on February 10th, 2008 5:51 pm

    Yay for a boring, uncomplicated c-section birth story! I’m looking forward to mine with mixed feelings and it’s a relief to read a first-hand account.

    I’d be very curious to see a baby picture of Riley beside one of Dylan – to me they don’t look much alike at this point, but maybe they did when compared at similar ages? Of course, I’m no great judge – I was looking at baby pictures of Grommet a couple of days ago and was astounded to see how much she had changed since she was born. If I can’t remember my own kid’s exact face from a couple of years ago (and really, I spent days just holding her and gazing at her after I brought her home), what chance do I have with another’s?

  11. Mnerva on February 10th, 2008 7:30 pm

    Congratulations Linda and JB! What a cutie pie, and (as many have commented already) those feet!

  12. Josh on February 10th, 2008 7:48 pm

    Damn. I had never even considered how much it would suck to barf while stuck on your back, naked, and half anesthetized. You wrote such a great description of the birthing process. I have to say it sounded much less like a beautiful part of life, and much more like living hell. This post really tugs at some of my deepest fears. Will I be a good father and husband when it’s time? Is it even something I’m meant to do? Is it possible to live your entire life without ever getting a catheter? I guess it’s something that most people manage to get through when it is thrust upon them, (parenthood, not the catheter thing) but it scares the living shit out of me. I only barely feel I can manage my own life most of the time, could I ever grow into someone capable of taking care of a family and being responsible for the entirety of their well being? Could I ever be a good enough man to carry the responsibility of raising children? You joked about the medical staff telling you that you did a good job, as if they could say anything else, but I honestly don’t know if I have the strength to face the things you have already faced. You are an excellent mother and I tip my hat to you. (not really, I’m not big on hats, but you catch my drift) And I guess JB is alright too. ;)

  13. #6 on February 10th, 2008 8:18 pm

    Congrats on a beautiful baby boy!! Is that a hint of suspicion I see on his furrowed brow?

  14. Donna on February 10th, 2008 9:37 pm

    Okay. . . shed enough tears (the happy kind) over this child. . . I’m ready for the FUNNY stuff!

  15. Pickles on February 10th, 2008 11:01 pm

    Heartwarming story of birth; Congratulations! I think your son Riley looks mostly like your husband and new baby Dylan looks more like you. I enjoy your “blog” very much. Thank you for sharing your life and the best of luck to you all.

  16. Carrie on February 11th, 2008 5:46 am

    Dewd! His feet are huge!

  17. JennyM on February 11th, 2008 7:27 am

    I think I have now died of the smoosh. Such a cutie. All of you are cute!

    The unvarnished truth of how the surgery happens — no one TELLS you about these things. You write so well about the reality of the situation setting in — as I was reading, I was thinking “ok, NOW is where I’d be suddenly scared shitless….”

  18. SJ on February 11th, 2008 7:31 am

    Such a heartwarming birth story. Thanks for sharing. Dylan is absolutely beautiful – not like any of you guys aren’t though!

  19. Renee on February 11th, 2008 7:35 am

    Congratulations, he is absolutely beautiful! You did a great job, which was never in doubt!

  20. superblondgirl on February 11th, 2008 7:38 am

    Look at those FEET! So freaking adorable!!

  21. Pickles & Dimes on February 11th, 2008 7:45 am

    What a great birth story. And I love that teeny knitted hat; hats + babies = my heart-melting weakness.

  22. Angela on February 11th, 2008 7:52 am

    I absolutely adore that last picture. I just want to rub those soft baby cheeks and smell that sweet baby smell. He is precious. Congrats!

  23. Eric's Mommy on February 11th, 2008 8:26 am

    Love the last picture, so cute!

  24. Lynn on February 11th, 2008 8:29 am

    What delicious monkey paws and feeties he has!

  25. Becky on February 11th, 2008 8:39 am

    What a cutie! I’m loving those long fingers & toes. I’m glad your recovery is going so well!

  26. Leticia on February 11th, 2008 9:38 am

    He is so sweet. I love that last shot.

  27. telegirl on February 11th, 2008 9:42 am

    He’s so beautiful! I would bet that despite the discomfort, you are truly on cloud nine. I completely forgot about the teeth chattering. Why does an epidural do that, I wonder?

  28. Caroline Bingham on February 11th, 2008 9:44 am

    He is just beautiful! I love the B&W picture.

  29. Janet on February 11th, 2008 9:54 am

    Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  30. Kristin H on February 11th, 2008 11:08 am

    You know how people always SAY a newborn is beautiful, even when they don’t really think he is? Except yours really IS that beautiful, and no one is just saying it. He’s awesome.

  31. FishyGirl on February 11th, 2008 11:10 am

    What a great c-section story – brings back memories of all four of mine. On at least two of mine, the anesthesiologist wiped my tears for me so they didn’t pool up in my ears (silly DH was too busy watching the surgery to attend to his wife), and yes they absolutely do take your parts out and mess with them, then put them back (to check to make sure they don’t forget part of the placenta, which would be BAD). I always ended up shivering for hours afterward because taking your organs out is a good way to cool you off quickly (useful to know if one ever gets hyperthermic in an or, kwim?).

    Anyway, that is one cute squooshy baby. Almost makes me regret my tubal. Almost.

  32. Heather on February 11th, 2008 11:41 am

    I’m so happy that I’ve finally got the inside info on a Caesaran birth, however I am now convinced that there just isn’t less painful alternative to giving birth. I am childless at the moment and scared shitless to stop taking the pill. My clock is seriously ticking, but I’m terrified of the one million consequenses of not only giving birth but also what it will do to the relationship between my husband and I. I am so perplexed..

  33. glambertz on February 11th, 2008 11:46 am

    Oh my uterus is aching! I have a 10 month old, and my husband and I are doing the “should we try again?” dance. The fact that you cried at the second birth makes me feel squishy inside. I was worried that the second birth wouldn’t be as special. I love your blog, the fact that you update it so frequently is orgasmic! But anyway, thank you for putting humor into parenthood. “We’re never gonna survive, unless we get a little crazy.”

  34. Chark on February 11th, 2008 12:12 pm

    He is so cute! Love the black and white photo.
    I’ve only been reading your blog for about a month, but am thoroughly enjoying it. I’m having my second bambino in early July so the timing of finding you is perfect!
    Enjoy your new little bundle!
    I can’t wait to hear your stories of having 2!

  35. She Likes Purple on February 11th, 2008 12:55 pm

    He’s beautiful and perfect and your family just oozes happiness and joy. I couldn’t be happier for you four.

  36. Sarah on February 11th, 2008 12:57 pm

    So glad that everything went as planned and that Dylan and you are safe and sound and healthy! Welcome to the world, little one, and you’ve got a wonderful mommy (and family)!

  37. Bianca on February 11th, 2008 3:18 pm

    I have never had children before and seriously, your story makes me not want to.

    I typically pass out every time there’s a syringe NEAR me. I don’t know if I could do all of that, Linda. You realize you’re like an incredible action hero to me for putting up with all that stuff!

    I had to put my head between my legs and walk away from the computer and lie down for awhile, you’re a little TOO GOOD with words woman.

    BUT then, the pictures… I see your beautiful boy with his chimpanzee feet that I would love to monch on and I think, “Well, if that’s the final product…maybe I could”.

    Incredible.

  38. Miss on February 11th, 2008 5:14 pm

    Great story. That last picture just made my overies ACHE! If I get knocked up, I blame you. (and will eventually thank you.)

  39. jen on February 11th, 2008 5:59 pm

    i love the first photo. he’s gorgeous. can’t wait to see more!

  40. Ginitag44 on February 12th, 2008 9:05 am

    YAY for a great birth. I ‘m so happy for you. I also had 2 c-sections, and when I had my 2nd, my OB burned a cd just for me (named Sebastian’s Birth Mix) and it was GREAT. He had secretly asked my hubby what type of music I liked. So at the very moment that Sebastian was born the song that was playing was one that I aboslutley LOVE and will now forever be associated with the heart stopping joyful sound of Sebastian’s newborn cry.
    Believe me – whenever you listen to classical music from now on – you will remember the first time you heard your son.
    God Bless you all – he is gorgeous and the pictures are beautiful. Love the one of JB and the boys together.

  41. Jen on February 12th, 2008 9:14 am

    Delurking to tell you that the last picture brought tears to my eyes. He is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  42. Ash on February 12th, 2008 1:13 pm

    Sooo adorable, congrats! Dylan looks like a wise little old man, I love babies that look like that! I’m a new reader, just found your blog the other day. I have a baby boy, Riley, 8 months. (weird huh? at least for me, as I pretty much only hear that name used on baby girls anymore, but I love the name) And I just want to say, props to you for nourishing your baby whatever way you can, and please DO NOT feel guilty about it!

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