Joe and I have never been ones to celebrate Valentines Day. Eleven years ago on Valentines Day, we were getting ready for Sofia to make her grand entrance into this world via a scheduled c-section on February 15th. Our Valentines Day was spent with me packing for my hospital stay, finalizing the time Joe’s parents would come and watch the kids, that sort of thing.
When I had Gracie, it was an emergency c-section. It played out much like you see in the movies. I was being rushed to the OR in hopes that they could get the baby out in time. For Sofia’s planned c-section, I actually had to make the walk to the OR by myself. I did not even have a wheelchair. One of the first things I remember is it was so cold in the OR. I was freezing, shivering. I clearly remember thinking “there is no way I can have a baby, it is too damn cold in here!”
After I was prepped and hooked up to every machine imaginable, Joe was allowed to come in. I asked him “Is it cold in here or is it just me?” I do not remember his response, other than him looking at me like I was crazy, but I do remember the nurses telling me they have to keep it cold because the lights the Doctor needs to perform the c-section are pretty hot. Who knew?
So, there I am laying on the operating table with the divider set in place so I could not see the Doctor cut into me. I have Joe to the right of me, and my anesthesiologist, let’s call him Bob, to the left of me, making sure my vitals are where they need to be. The doctor tells me “You may feel some pressure, maybe a little bit of pulling.” I think to myself, “Yeah yeah, I know the drill, this is not my first rodeo.” At this point, I am just waiting to hear the baby cry. I never heard Gracie cry when she was born, because, well, she was sick. I had read enough books to know that if I hear the baby cry then that is a good sign. I am waiting and waiting. I just need to hear the baby cry, that’s it. Joe keeps looking over the divider, good ol Bob keeps asking me “How ya doing, are you feeling okay?”
Everything was going fine until I noticed that something was burning. I look at Joe “Do you smell that?” Joe pretends he does not hear me. I look at my new annoying friend, Bob, and ask the same question. “Do you smell that? It smells like something is burning?” Bob gives Joe a quick glance and replies with “It’s something in our electric system, the vents.”
And, in pure Jen form, I freak out. “WHAT?” “Is it safe to be in here?” “Are we at risk for a fire?” “I am in the middle of a c-section, what will happen if there is a fire?” Perhaps I have seen one too many episodes of “Greys Anatomy” or perhaps I just have issues.
Again, Bob looks at Joe, I quickly turn to look at Joe, just to make sure I do not miss any secret signals they may be given to the other. Joe kinda shrugs his shoulders which means “Okay Mr. Anesthrdiologist, ball is your park now!”
I may be wrong, but I may have seen good ol Bob roll his eyes. “Jennifer, may I call you Jennifer? Everything is fine.”
I am not convinced.
“Then what is that smell?! Why does it smell like a fire? I am telling you people something is burning!”
Bob looks at Joe, Joe is looking over the divider. Looks like Bob is on his own with this one.
Bob takes a look at whatever machine it is that displays my vitals. He puts his hand on my left shoulder.
“Jennifer, it’s just the Doctor closing the incision that brought your new baby girl into this world.”
Ummm. Is Bob on crack?!
“No, that’s not right. Why would an incision smell like that? Don’t they just use a scalpel?”
Our friend Bob was pretty much done. Once again looks were exchanged between Bob and Joe, a look that told me “Dude, take control of your wife, I need help here!”
Joe give Bob a nod, Bob is back looking at my vitals, and Joe takes over.
“Jen, everything is fine, they are just closing up the incision, the baby is out, everything is fine.”
Again, in pure Jen form, it kinda took me a second to comprehend what these fools were trying to tell me.
“WHY ISNT THE BABY CRYING?”
Calmly, Joes tells me everything is fine they are just cleaning her up.
I am somewhat able to relax, and order Joe to go be with the baby. I had seen way too many Lifetime movies about kids getting switched at birth, so his ONLY JOB was to stay with Sofia.
Back to Bob. Again, he is making sure my vitals are in check. Apparently, my very small outbursts made one of the machines beep.
I cannot see anything. The divider is in my way, Joe is off with the nurse cleaning up Sofia, and once again, for the last time I look at Bob.
“So wait a minute, you mean that smell I was smelling was me?!?!?!”
I hear some muffled words from the Doctor.
“We are just about finished here.”
Bob looks at me, most likely thanking God that he is just about finished with me.
“I have to tell you, Jennifer, you are very intuned with your body.”
I need a drink, and since I am not breastfeeding I start my countdown on when exactly it is I can have a drink.
“Sooooo, you are telling me that the smell was me?!?!?!?! I need answers!!!”
Bob is now breaking out in a sweat.
“The medical term is cauterization. It is used to help close up the wound from the incision.”
“WELL, THAT’S JUST GROSS!!”
Bob looks like he needs a drink himself.
“Yes, typically we do not tell our patients that, but…”
“Are there any side effects?”
Bob is trying to clear up his station while motioning to the nurse to take me to recovery.
“Only temporary nerve damage. It won’t last for long.”
Fast forward ELEVEN FREAKING YEARS.
Guess who still can’t feel the lower part of her stomach?
The important part of this story is Sofia.
Tomorrow she will be eleven years old. I have absolutely no idea where the time goes. Sofia is one of the sweetest little girls you will ever meet. Unless you piss her off, then she will want to punch you in the face…..because, after all, the apple does not fall from the tree.