They checked me every half hour or so (NO PAIN during the checks which was lovely, truly, what a relief), and after each check, nurse D cranked pitocin up and up and up and up, and at 2:45 am or so, she had the doc come by.
Sarah came in from the lounge where she has been listening to her mind race, Doug woke from the sofa...
and the doc checked me after the nurse did, and said what I had feared: after 3 hours of monster pitocin plus the epidural, I had progressed in the smallest possible way, I was still only 7cm dilated.
At this point, the baby was starting to show stress/exhaustion. Heart rate of up to 170 then down, then up again--and by far the most important thing for me ever is/was safe baby-- so it was no surprise at all when she said it was time for a C section.
Doc D was called (was still in the hospital)-- there was some fun trying to get me ready for surgery since Doc D had threaded the epidural through my tank top, and remember, that little sucker (epidural) was only in by 2 cm... so there was some undoing, unthreading, Was I even in a hospital gown? or was I nekkid? no idea, just that things moved very swiftly.
Doug got a big white mechanic jumpsuit that made him look like an Elvis impersonator, and they wheeled me down the hall. We got to wait for a while outside the scrub area while they prepped the room, put my hair in a net, told me about the other people who would be in the room (a mean nurse, a guy named Steve who keeps track of the Things so they make sure nothing is unaccounted for when they are done sewing you up) then into the OR where it was damn cold. Dr D was with me, by my head, the whole time and incredibly present.
Dr S from my OB practice was the OB on duty that whole night and I have failed to say how great she was with me- how clear, and how compassionate, and Kendal (whom I adore) was with her in the OR so I felt that I was in really really good hands.
Mean nurse would not let two folks be in with me, so Sarah waited in the room (now, without the bed, she said it was bizarre to be there waiting)-- and apparently they decided Doug's goatee needed to be covered too--
In the OR, they moved me to the table, careful of the epidural (I was practicing handing over control), then on the table they started to prep me, put in the catheter, swab my belly, etc, while Dr D gave me more medication to make me go numb. Luckily the window of aliveness in my crotch was not in the window of pain for the C section, so after testing me for sensation (full sensation of pressure, none of sharpness in the zone)-- they started.
Dr D kept saying, look at me, look at me, stay with me here, don't let the anxiety get you-- and I remember a few weird things:
Looking up I was impressed at how present he was for me, considering that he had been so grouchy during the epidural,
and how he looked me right in the eyes like I was a real person in real stress/duress not just one of a thousand of these he does each year...
I was impressed at how carefully he shaved his neck, ending perfectly at the border of his underchin goatee, and
suddenly, they had begun, I felt the pressure of the scalpel...
but Doug was not there!
I remember saying over and over, Wait! where's Doug?
they so clearly were trying to get me open and get the baby out...
there was a new sense of urgency (or new that I noticed)...
then, just about exactly at the time they were yanking and I do mean YANKING the baby out of my body
Doug miraculously arrived at my head, (Doug saw my body lift each yank)
Dr. D took the camera, we had a lens fault (classic),
got that cleared up by turing it off and back on again...and he took photos over the blue curtain...
then we heard him say, here he comes... no wait,
you have a daughter! and then, finally, a cry
and we burst into tears
They showed her to us over the partition, so briefly, a pissed off red faced baby- ALIVE.
And that, my friends, is the single most amazing moment of my life so far.
Very soon they brought her up near my head. Dr D took the photo of Doug holding Della near my head, and he undid one of my arms from the soft restraints so I could touch her face. I could NOT believe she was real, it was over, and all that happened, the whole long journey was over.
Doug and I asked each other what her name was, that moment, as they took her away- and we agreed, Della.
And then Doug went with her, and I got sewn up,
and just kept thinking about her