Continued from Part I
[Quick note: Yes, it has taken this many months to write this all out. How many? Eleven crazy crazy months of balls-to-the-wall gnarliness, and I don't wanna hear any guff about the delay. I feel like a war veteran, people - and I think I could really have used the cathartic solace of my blog to get me through it all, except you know... NO TIME. If there was a moment to be had, I tried to get myself unconscious. It's that simple. 'Nuff said. Let's get on with it, shall we?!]
When last we left off, I'd just had my spinal and was feeling pretty wonky. Silly me. I thought that would be the worst part of the day. That is just so cute, now that I look back on it with these jaded, hard-bitten eyes. Somebody pass me a scotch.
ALL JESUSED UP
In the surgery, they strap your ass to the table, flop your legs down where they want 'em, and splay your arms out, strapping those down, too, straight into the crucifixion position. That might oughta been my first clue.
There were at least four people in the room with me at all times. One was this cute boy-nurse who was fiddling with some machine at the foot of the table. I remember this even after eleven months because the first thing they do before pulling the privacy curtain up is to tuck my hospital gown up around my chest, stick my legs into two outward "v" positions (like this: < >) and insert the catheter. Anyway, I watch him look up at the worst possible moment, look straight at my vagina, then to me (to see if I noticed), and I'm like, "Yeah, dude. I just saw you see my girl-junk, deal with it." And he looks away all awkward and fiddles with the machine. And I keeping thinking 'He's a nurse so no biggie,' but part of me still feels compelled to shout that my un-preggo version is SO MUCH CUTER. But I don't. Thankyoujeezus for me shutting the hell up. For once.
Instead I focus on my belly, because after a few minutes, I will never pregnant again. I rub my baby in my tummy for the last time and take a deep breath as the gyno A-Team walks in. LET THE HURL-A-THON BEGIN
Now that the tubes and draping is all set up, The Varmint is ushered in. He was temporarily sequestered elsewhere for the spinal. It's cold, of course. He holds my hand. We make more jokes. Then, it all starts to happen very fast.
The anesthesiologist is at my head, talking to me to determine levels. Later, she tells me she is unique in that she stocks four different types of anti-nausea meds. She tried them all on me. Nothing worked.
There is video of the operation, and I can see the exact point where the nausea begins. I fight it for a second, then immediately tell The Varmint to shut off the camera. From that point until 16 hours later, I will vomit. I am vomiting so hard, that while the doctor's making the incisions, he says to me, "Now Tamara, I really need you not to vomit for a few seconds, ok, because I need you to be still." Um, ok. It was even sort of funny at the time, but I was too busy hurling to laugh.
So I'm sitting there puking my guts out - while my guts are actually out! Funny, huh? So glad Shannon didn't make that joke, because he would have been a dead man. In between barfs, I'm having birth contractions. It's the ab workout from hell.
I can hear the docs talking, and feel them knocking about, grunting, tugging gruffly down inside my belly. The feeling makes me sicker. The only thing that eases it is the view window on the video camera. Being able to see what they are doing helps immensely, sort of like looking up from a book to see where you're going when you're carsick, or at the horizon when you're seasick.
The doc barks some orders to the anesthesiologist. She cracks a capsule under my nose and sprays something under my tongue. My torso is being yanked left and right. It feels like a troupe of meerkats is wrestling inside my colon.
"That's a little better," says Dr. Dunn. "If - ARG! - we - UGH! - can - OOF! "just get her head out from under there! AAAUUUGH!"
"From under where?" I think to myself. I can see him bending the little blue body of my baby up, down, sideways with each yank. She looks like she's made of rubber. The weird capsules were some drug that causes the contractions to ease up. While they tried to take her out I'd clamped down onto the baby's head with a contraction so fierce that they were worried she'd get stuck.
Finally, we hear a POP! and just like that, she's out. Crisis averted. Finally. FINALLY. He shows me my blue rubber daughter. A whole lot of suction, scrubby towels and some German-masseuse style manhandling later, she squawks that anticipated newborn baby squawk, turns pink and starts bawling.
Even mid-puke, it's music to my ears.
BABY COMES OUT. EVERYTHING ELSE TRIES TO.
They tuck me back in, seal me shut, and 45 minutes later roll me to recovery. Shannon goes to keep company with my beautiful, beautiful baby. I'm exhausted and nearly incoherent from puking. It. Doesn't. Stop.
My mom, Deb and Jen are in the room with me. My temperature at one point drops so low the machines start beeping hysterically. They rush in with warming towels to bring my temperature back up. I see my family's faces go white. It's bad. There has been nothing left to vomit for awhile now, but the contractions are not letting up.
Also, my hair looks like shit. So much for the $30 blowout.
FAST FORWARD to MIDNIGHT
The puking finally stops around midnight. Everyone has gone home. They tried putting the baby on my chest a few times, but it was hard to enjoy it. I'm sore everywhere. The Varmint is asleep on the Daddy Couch.
Now, it's just the baby and me, in the dark and the quiet. She is in her bassinet. She looks at me through the clear plastic. I look at her. We meet each other with no one else around, just her and me, and it is perfect.
I don't know it yet, but when I think of giving birth to Teagan in the future, it will be this moment that I savor. The cool quiet hospital room in the middle of the night, and the two of us after a grueling day, at peace, looking at one another. I feel like we are reforging what had so recently been torn away. Different now. But still connected, I touch her pearly pink cheek, her tiny toes. She wraps her hand around my finger and sighs. I smile.
And I realize, that despite feeling like a Samsonite suitcase post-chimp wig-out, that this quiet moment pretty much levels the playing field. You rarely get something for nothing in this world, and something this good is going to demand an extremely high price. I wasn't quite through paying (next up: allergic reaction to the incision glue - think poison oak on a surgical wound and you'll have an idea of what it felt like), but I can say this: Teagan is nothing I expected and so much more than I hoped for.
Totally worth it.