Catch and Cut Episode 3

March 6, 2010

Hello from a long break. My letter from Doctor Camp is probably still in the mail (stay tuned…) To summarize, I did enough shmoozing, eating, and suit wearing to last me a year.

On to our regularly scheduled program.

Wikipedia says, “a Roman legal code called “Lex Caesarea” allegedly contained a law prescribing that the baby be cut out of its mother’s womb in the case that she dies before giving birth.” Some people argue that Julius Caesar was born this way, but there’s no proof in the history books.

Julius Caesar


By 8:35 a.m. I was in the OR for my first C section. Mom’s water broke, and the fetal heart rate dropped quickly. A normal fetal rate is between 120 and 160 bpm. Our son-to-be’s heartbeat fell below 70. The docs and nurses doubled their pace. In a few minutes, everyone was gowned, blue sheets were drapped over Mom, and iodine painted on her belly.A few quick strokes opened her abdomen. Everything I’d learned in anatomy lab was alive in front of me. Only, unlike lab, all the flesh and organs were in pools of blood, which the PA suctioned up as best she could while the hunt for the baby continued. (No fainting this episode.) Compared to the methodical surgery a few weeks ago, this was a slasher film.

I wish I knew the names for all the tools – half a dozen kinds of clamps, scissors, needles, blades, each with their own technique.

They sliced through layers and layers of bloody tissue, as if digging for treasure. Soon, the attending pulled out a 6 lb 5 oz creature. Gray and gooey. I caught myself not breathing, waiting to see if the baby would.  A little voice came, crescendoed, and I exhaled. From behind a blue curtain (that partitioned the top half of Mom from her bottom half) Mom said “I can hear him!”

Like most things, it’s easier to take a body apart than it is to put back together. The majority of the surgery was spent carefully sewing, layer by layer. First, they took the uterus out of the abdominal cavity. It looked like a slimy rugby ball. Once that was stitched, they put it away. Next came the layers of fascia, then fat, then finally the skin was stapled shut. Mom’s belly looked like the womb Frankenstein’s Monster might have been born from (If he had been – ya know, born).

I looked over to the little gray person. He was wrapped in a blanket. His eyes blinked unbelievingly; his lungs pushed an pulled air for the first time. All this to take in after such a sudden eviction from his home; which – if you think about it – was demolished and rebuilt in an hour. I wonder how he feels.

By 9:50 a.m. I get a cup of coffee. Saturday morning.


3 Responses to “Catch and Cut Episode 3”

  1. cory Says:

    I am really enjoying this blog. Although this entry made me queasy. More behind-the-scenes reveals, please!

  2. Rachael Says:

    it happened! surreal.

  3. […] It reminded me of my first C-section. […]

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