Curriculum of the Day: Teamwork
C-section was not on our birth plan, but it was now. Since both babies had been head down for months, we all assumed they would come out the traditional way without too much agony. Oh well.
I was wheeled into the operating room and was immediately surrounded by people in their hospital costumes doing everything from shaving me to laying me out in a position with both arms straight out to my sides and strapped down on boards. Suddenly, I was feeling mighty fine. A magnificent drug had obviously been administered, overriding the magnesium. Marty and Tara were suited up in scrubs and now at either side of my head. In front of me was a blue cloth obstructing my view of all the activity below my chest. A burning odor filled my nostrils. Marty popped his head over the blue partition and informed me they were burning an incision across my abdomen.
These were superior drugs.
Then we were all given a blow-by-blow narration of my C-section by Marty who was allowed to stand and watch the entire event from his place by my head. (We were informed later that they usually don’t let husbands observe and talk. I like to believe that Marty was so entertaining, the doctors let this rule slide.) Marty described every moment as the doctor reached into my abdomen, broke my water and pulled out Lyra. She was rushed over to the receiving table to be weighed and cleaned. 5 pounds, 15 oz! They brought her around to me so I could get a good look and have a few pictures taken before she was carried off to the neonatal unit. I remember feeling very overwhelmed and wanted to touch her but I was still nailed to the cross.
A second team took the place of the first—new baby, a new team who had been waiting on deck. The doctor reached in deeply, fishing for Baby B. She was a slippery one, hard to find. Marty might be exaggerating when he says the doctor was inside me up to her elbows. Finally, she snagged my little girl. There was another gush of water and out came Ripley. She was supposed to be the same size as Lyra from the ultrasounds, but everyone immediately exclaimed she was smaller as she was placed on the scale. 4 pounds, 9 oz. When they brought her over to me, she looked like a little monkey. She resembled what Marty will look like at 100. Then, she was rushed off to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). She needed an hour or so on the respirator to be sure her lungs were clear. (Our maternal medicine doctor rechecked the ultrasounds on Ripley later to see why they were so off on her weight. It was because she was extraordinarily long, so she fooled the computer.)
Meanwhile, it was time to put me back together. The doctor was now being quite effusive, showing Marty my uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. My bizarre meter was beeping as my husband told me my uterus is brown like a teddy bear and the umbilical cords are a beautiful rainbow color. At some point, I fell asleep listening to this astonishing information and Marty was brought to the NICU to visit with our newborn baby girls—Lyra Lorraine Evans Robinson and Ripley Patricia Evans Robinson. I’ll never know how many people were actually in that operating room with us, but they knew the concept of teamwork. Perhaps they’d watched Sesame Street
Marty and Lyra. A first moment.
Those healthy lungs getting exercise.