about seven or more people rushed into the room… some brought a stretcher in, some worked on taking the leg holder off my leg (it was stuck), and some ran around the room for reasons i can’t remember… all i know was that i could no longer find ari in that room.
a few days prior to the delivery, ari and i was told that if an emergency Cesarean had to be performed, the spouse will not be allowed to be in the operating room. so, i was a little bit sad that ari won’t be able to witness the birth of his daughter…
even though i was allowed to stop pushing, i remember asking the doctor if i could still push, because the contraction pain was pretty intense and the only way to make it disappear is to push. then, they immediately stopped the induction drip. after that, the contraction stopped.
they wheeled me through corridors of the hospital, and stopped in front of the operating room. i was greeted with the doctor that gave me the epidural earlier in the day, but now he’s covered in green drab and a mask, the operation clothing. he explained that he will put more dose in so that the operation can be performed with local anesthetic. he also told me that if i got uncomfortable, i could ask for total anesthetic anytime i want.
as soon as the epidural dose put in, my body started to shake uncontrollably. and i started to feel cold. the doctor, while putting down two layers of blanket on top of my shaky body, assured me that it will slowly go away.
the anesthetic doctor also introduced me to everyone in the team, who are also wearing green drabs and masks, making everyone look the same. i couldn’t even recognize my OBGYN when she came in…
i was so delirious by now. i was very chatty, probably to hide my nervousness. when they brought me into the operating room and lift me up on to the operating table, i remember saying, “oh, this is how the real operating room look like. i’ve only seen it in movies”.
i was still shaking and feeling cold by then. the operating room is much colder than the hallway, so they gave me a pad warmer to hold and blow a heater on me.
everyone worked very quickly. they put up a cloth screen preventing me to see anything below my chest. the anesthetic doctor sat on the head end of the operating table, and made all kind of conversation with me, including discussion about Nintendo DS… he also put the heater closer to my head, which made me feel more comfortable. slowly the chill faded out. then he said, “thalia, we have a surprise for you!”
ari showed up in green drab and a mask, dressing just like the doctors. he then sat next to the anesthetic doctor, right next to me, holding my hand. i’m not sure why they allowed him in the operating room, but YAY!
once again, everything was quite blurred after that. ari and i talked alot during the operation and then, i heard people in the room yelled, “there she is!”
not long after that, the doctor showed Aina to me and ari… my first thought, which i blurted out (thanks to the delirious me), was, “hey, her skin is rather light… i thought she’d have a darker color skin!”.
after aina was being cleaned, the doctor put her on my chest while my OB stitched my belly. it was an overwhelming feeling… all i could say, and i said it over and over again, was, “ooh, she’s pretty… she’s pretty”… i kept touching her face. i caressed her cheek. i touched her nose… it felt unreal. aina was awake, too. she blinked slowly and opened her mouth a few times. she looked like a doll, a moving doll.
i remember thinking what would i do if aina starts crying on my chest… but then, i started to feel slight pain on the tummy every time the doctor did the sewing. it might just be my imagination, but it got more and more painful each stitch. i panicked and asked the anesthetic doctor to get me sleep… so, they took aina off my chest after i gave her a little kiss, and there i went to sleep…
At last, the doctor told us that the baby definitely had to be delivered through a Cesarean. Doing a normal delivery is no longer an option at that point. Within the next few seconds, around 7 people wearing nurse uniforms burst into the room, carrying an equipments to facilitate Thalia’s move to the surgery ward. There was a certain stiff urgency in the air, although everyone tried to remain calm. Even though she didn’t specifically tell me that we needed to get the baby out of Thalia as soon as possible, I could tell from all the commotion that time is of the essence. She did explain to me that all of this was caused by the fact that Aina’s face was pointing upwards this whole time, instead of having her chin against her chest. In doing so, she had made her circumference larger and it is impossible for her head to exit.
During our conversation on the side of the room, I could see one nurse having difficulty lowering one of the leg supports that was still attached to Thalia. A more senior nurse joined to help her but the chair seemed to be stuck. The junior nurse suggested that they carry Thalia over the leg support and into the stretcher that her colleagues had set up next to them. The senior nurse wisely declined and instead, poked her head out of the room to call for assistance from the people in charge of the hospital’s equipments. Meanwhile, Thalia’s contractions were still continuing, making her scream in pain every few seconds. With all this commotion, no one had remembered to turn off the machine supplying the contraction inducing drug. The doctor quickly turned it off. At the same moment, the leg support suddenly gave way and Thalia was quickly lifted onto the stretcher and wheeled out of the room.
The senior nurse asked me to wait at the reception for a while as there might be a chance for me to be allowed into the surgery ward. Before long, she came back with a big smile. Before I could decide if this is such a good idea, she quickly explained that I needed to put on the appropriate clothing and that there should be a nurse to help me dress up at the changing room near the entrance of the surgery ward. After having her repeat her instructions, I headed for the ward. In the changing room, I was made to put on a pair of blue trousers, slippers, a matching blue shirt and cap, and finally, the white paper mask. I think the male nurse could sense my nervousness, so he made a much appreciated attempt to engage me in small talk. “First child?” he asked me. “Yup”. “Boy or girl?” he asked again. “It’s a girl”.
As I entered the surgery ward, I was greeted by the anesthetic specialist. He’s a pretty friendly guy, explaining to me where I should sit and what’s happening to Thalia. He even tried to make conversation about living in New York with me and Thalia, which I thought was a little strange. Then I realized that Thalia seemed a bit delirious, due to the drugs I guess. So I just played along. I sat on a stool next to Thalia. There was a green tent-like contraption covering her view of her belly. I could see the doctor and two other people huddling around Thalia’s belly. If they were to step aside a bit, I was in plain view of the belly. The surgery began almost immediately, and within less than 5 minutes, I saw the doctor pull Aina’s head, and then left shoulder and then followed by her right shoulder out of what appears to be a tiny opening on Thalia’s belly. She looked purple-ish grey and rubber-like. The doctor handed Aina over to the Pediatrician who was standing behind her. He then inserted a suction tube into Aina’s mouth, took it out, and then Aina began to cry. It was quite visible how her body started to fill up with blood as it turned red-ish pink. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion as the doctor gave Thalia and I a first good look of our baby daughter. The miracle of life. I had this weird feeling that I’d always known what was supposed to happen after each event but unable to control or even guess what’s going to happen next. kind of like deja-vu but not really. It was a one of a kind experience for me. Maybe the helium tank was leaking.
After wiping Aina with a towel, the pediatrician put her down inside a large plastic tray for me to have a closer look. She looked bigger than I’d anticipated. And quite exhausted too. Meanwhile, the doctor finished off with the delivery of Aina’s umbilical cord, placing it next to Aina’s tray. The pediatrician did a couple of quick checks on Aina’s condition and assured me that everything looked good. “She has a bit of a cone-shaped head, that’s because of the vacuum. But don’t worry, it will become normal looking in a few days.” he said. He then picked Aina up and gave her to Thalia to hold as the doctor began sewing Thalia’s belly. Unfortunately, the anesthesia began wearing off within a few minutes, and Thalia was feeling the pain together with the tugging motion of the sewing process. So they decided to let her sleep through the rest of it and put Aina back in her tray. I was told to wait outside at the reception. Aina soon joined me there, curled inside a tray with a light box attached to it to keep her warm.