Birthing Dakota - Finally: Earth-side
TW: Graphic surgical descriptions and pics.
So last we met our heroes, they had survived a few traumatic birth procedures, labored extensively, and their labor stalled around the same time the baby went into distress. They’d decided to do a c-section and were excited, but scared shitless, to meet their baby girl. We’re all caught up! Now, if you read all of that in some kind of announcer's voice, we’re friends now. K, thanks!
So they wheel me out to the OR down the hall. It looked exactly like a tv operating room, but with more shit in it and everyone was super chill. I can absolutely get behind the person cutting me open and tossing my innards all over the place to get my kid here safely having the most chill and confident demeanor. Doc had swag for days the way he strolled in there, you better know what the fuck you’re doing, sir, ‘cause we stan a confident and capable surgeon, amen?!
He verified his instruments with the nurses while scrubbing in, the nurse explained what I’d feel and set the groundwork for what was normal and what wasn’t, and instructed me that if anything could be felt beyond pressure to let her know, so she could alert the doctors. At this point, I was cold and just wanted to snuggle with my wife and baby. That’s all I wanted. Dana was getting suited up and prepped for what she was going to expect when she got in the OR. She’d later tell me that she was freaking out and so nervous she missed half of what the nurses were telling her.
Same, sis, same!
Now, before I go on. Let me share a fun little story with you. My mom had a similar story to mine when she was bringing me into the world. She told me that she, too, ended up having a c-section under similar circumstances. Mom told me that as she’s on the operating table, they give her the rundown of how things will go and she’s jovially going along and just super excited to get me here. They begin cutting through the layers of tissue and my moms feels more than a pinch she feels pain, and the subsequent conversation went a little something like this:
My mom is ever the vocal soul and immediately asks, “Umm. What was that?”
“What is what?” Asked the doctor and continues making the motion to try and isolate what she is feeling.
“That! What is that? That hurts! It feels like a blunt object is cutting my skin.” she said with full conviction.
The staff looked around at each other in disbelief.
“Umm, you can feel this Mrs. P?” The doctor asked in a calm, yet concerned tone.
“Uh, yeah, what was that?” She questioned.
The surgeon nodded to the anesthesiologist who then spoke.
“Okay, Mrs. P we’re just going to go ahead and have you take a little nap for us, okay, and we’re going to get your baby out for you.”
Now obviously, I had to paint the picture for you, but I’m guessing it went a little something like that. She ended up being able to feel exactly what they were doing and they knocked her right on out. Why is this relevant? Well, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, as they say. Before they perform a c-section they take a little tool, what I can only imagine is some kind of spur and then roll it across your skin to make sure your sense of feeling falls within a certain limit; it’s should only be slightly pinchy, but not painful. I could feel the pinchy-pinchy and told my surgical team, they asked a few more times using different instruments before they were confident enough to proceed. However, the truth was, I could feel everything.
I could feel the pinching, the sharpness of the blade, the ripping and tearing as they cut through and retracted the layers of tissue, the deeper they got. The pulling, holy fuck, the pulling! It was an experience, and at one point I swear I left my body. Now a sane, person would be asking, why didn’t you just say you could feel everything? And that’s a valid question. I didn’t want to risk missing her arriving earth-side. I didn’t want to run the risk of missing her first cry as air oxygen came rushing into her lungs. I didn’t want to have that moment ripped away because I inherited a body with a serious case of FOMO from my mother. So I endured all of that silently, didn’t shed a tear, didn’t yell, nothing. I wanted to be there fully for her. And I was.
Then they go, “okay this is the worst part, you’re going to feel lots of pressure, but then you’ll have your baby”. And pressure feels like an understatement, bro, let me
tell ya! I can only imagine that’s what being at the very bottom of an NFL pile-up while you're pressed under one of those car crusher things feels like, but all in your abdomen and back. They were scooping out abdominal junk and fluids then I felt this giant tug and BOOM! There she was. I held my breath, silently searching for signs of life from behind that blue drape, checking the facial expressions of those around me for any sign of distress. It felt like an eternity, though it was only mere moments before I heard it. That sweet little cry. She made it, and suddenly I felt my breath come rushing back in.
I finally let myself cry, releasing the pain and embracing relief. Saying silent prayers and giving honor to our collective spirit homies for getting her here without incident. The nurse asked if I wanted to hold her and of course, I did! I didn’t go through all that just to sit on the sidelines, put me the fuck in, coach! Ugh, my God, I could’ve held her for ages. She was so tiny, 6lbs, 4oz even though I carried like Moby Dick. I was on such a high I didn’t even realize they were almost done putting me back together. Dana and Dakota were escorted out to recovery and I would join them soon after when I velcroed back together. The time between recovery and going to the mother-baby unit was a special stage, we were skin-to-skin loving on each other, just coasting on a fresh-baby high. I immediately breastfed her and she seemed to have it all figured out, it was I that was failing to grasp the basic mechanics of it.
Dana and I studied her features, noticing her cute little birthmarks and how much she looked like me when I was born. We were parents to a gorgeous little baby, and it felt amazing. I got cleared and was released to the Mother-Baby Unit, our would-be home for the next two days. Within the next four hours, I had that stupid fucking catheter taken out, I had fallen in love with Chobani Greek yogurt, and was walking on my own. We had smooth jazz playing the entire time we were there and made friends with the staff because of it. However, I did make the charge nurse, Bo, threaten to retire because I was such a hard stick, she was their “big gun” and I made her look like a .22. For the most part, we did our best to rest our nerves and keep the energy in the room as chill as possible. We did this despite the nurses coming in every 1-2 hours. See, you don’t actually rest in the hospital because they‘re constantly coming in to check you, the baby, mash your stomach, all of it; you don’t rest. Dakota slept well the whole time, though, and eventually passed all of her necessary tests so that we could be discharged. During discharge day we were so excited and nervous, like are y’all really going to let our childish asses take this baby home… with us… unsupervised?!
We got outside, got settled in the car, quadruple-checked the car seat, and started the journey back home. Dana was stressing the entire ride silently cussing out the careless drivers, gripping the steering wheel, and checking the rearview every ten seconds; asking if I was okay every five. I watched our little girl sleep all the way home, amazed that 48 hours prior that little thing was river dancing on my ribs. It’s cliché what they say, in that, once the baby comes nothing else matters because it really doesn’t. Do I remember the hellaciousness (I’m sure it’s a word) of it all, yes; do I care, not so much.
We made it home and Dana hopped out and immediately took a vape break. We got inside and introduced our newest member to the rest of the pack, piled in our comfy bed, and stared at her in awe for the rest of the day. Dakota Rio Pinkston had finally made it earth-side. We were complete.
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