By Charlie Emilia
This millennial content creator, social media geek, part-time healthy person and now first-time mom is coming back to her original roots as a writer. Formerly a radio show, “Chill Out with Charlie” was a peek into my life and what I had going on. Since leaving the airwaves, my journey has taken an extreme turn. For updates on what’s been happening, sit back and chill out with me as I navigate these new paths in a whole new way.
At 4:30am, she wakes up to shower and prepare for surgery. Anxious, but excited for what is to come, she moves with vigorous purpose; everything is done as her last time as a pregnant woman. After this morning, everything is going to be her first experience as a mother.
By 9:00am, she’s in back in bed. The traumatic failure of five catheter insertions behind her, white socks in place, she awaits her partner’s arrival for the 10:30am delivery. A nurse walks in, checks the chart, and asks: “Okay, you ready to head over?” She replies slightly panicked, pointing to the young woman in the bed across from hers: “I thought she was supposed to deliver first.” The nurse chuckles a no. Another shows up and they begin the process of moving the bed to the OR. She is able to quickly call her partner, who is thankfully already on the way.
One of the anaesthesiologists goes about chatting with her and generally trying to gauge her mental state. Without her partner, she is distracted as most of the birth scenarios had surrounded the both of them. “I’m sorry. I appreciate you trying to have a conversation, but right now I’m waiting for my partner and it’s distracting me. Honestly, I need someone in there with me. If I have to, I’ll cross my legs until my partner shows up.”
Of course, she is being facetious, but there was truth to it. Who would be there to speak up in her interest or defence if something went wrong? Just then, one of the surgical team busts through the doors, partner scrubbed, ready for delivery. A genuine moment of calm washes over her before the reality of what was going to happen sets in.
With the arrival of my partner, I am thrown back into my body. Surprisingly, I am not scared about the delivery. I am nervous to have half of my body numbed. I am shifted to a smaller operating table and am ready to meet this tiny person who has been controlling so much of my life. My partner is ushered into another room while the team further preps me for surgery. I am dealing with a team who seems to like each other, which puts me at ease. They’re jovial, all the while as they shift 180 pounds of me into place. Although they’re trying to involve me in the levity, I am more focused on staying calm. My gynaecologist shows up and he’s smiling. He’s been with me from the very start of my journey. I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else to deliver my baby.
My anaesthesiologists are an Eastern European woman with an angelic disposition and a local man with a steady hand. Together, they work to reassure me before they begin the numbing process. She explains the procedure as well as what I can expect to feel, then takes her position at the head of my operating table where she would stay for the rest of the operation. He helps me into a seated position; straddling the table with legs dangling at the sides. I am told to lean forward, not to move.
Oh God, please let me be brave and not move. I don’t want to get paralysed by my own weakness. It’s in. I feel no pain and my bottom half is almost immediately washed in warm numbness. Prior to this, I was cold – now nobody could tell me I wasn’t laid out under a heat lamp. The team arranges my limbs, and the upper half of my body is the only thing I can feel. The C-section privacy curtain is in place; they bring my partner back in and I am ready.
I can’t say much of what is going on outside of what I am feeling. My attention is only on controlling my breathing and trying not to panic. I know the better I behave, the easier this process will be. Thirty minutes they’d said. How would I know how long this is taking? I’m lost in a fog of intense concentration. Oh, wait! I’m about to throw up. Umm, I don’t feel very well, I might throw up.
The lovely angel above me places the oxygen mask more firmly on my face with soothing words and I can feel the nausea dissipate. My partner is touching my left hand. I can feel it, but I’m not sure what it’s doing. Focus, Charlie. I am counting – to how much I’m not certain, but I just know I’m counting, because at some number, these experiences will all be over and I can feel calm again.
Over the course of the next few moments – minutes, seconds, I’m not sure – I work on controlling my breathing and not getting too anxious. At some point, I feel a jerk on my lower body, a weird pop. Suddenly, I’m under water. All I can hear are my thoughts.
Screams. Did the delivery go okay? Is she just screaming to announce her new dominion over my world? Wait. Is she really a girl? Did they interpret the ultrasound correctly? Is she a boy?
“It’s a girl!” I am alert enough to hear someone exclaim. A girl. Mine. My heart explodes. I am instantly in tears. They are streaming down my face. The angel is stroking my head telling me I did well. Toes. Fingers. How many of them are there? Please, someone, count her digits!
There’s something tiny and very white being dressed on the warming lamp next to me. I am not wearing my glasses, but my peripheral vision is strong enough. I see what’s going on. Then she’s over me in someone’s arms. I can make out her tiny face peeking from inside the blanket. What’s that white stuff she’s covered in? Oh… why did I think she’d be covered in amniotic fluid and blood? Oh she’s so tiny. My tears are still flowing and my angel is trying to wipe them so I can see the baby better. She looks like a sugar-coated donut. I’m just so tired and relieved. She’s okay. She’s healthy and I can calm down soon.
While all of this is transpiring, I am still being pulled and prodded below the privacy curtain. Out comes the placenta and I am sewn back up. Throughout the process, I can’t stop shivering. The top half of my body is so cold, even though the bottom is warm. I’m in pain, but I don’t know where. They give me something. My eyes close. My eyes open back up and I’m back in the hospital bed being wheeled back to my room.
“Where is my baby? Is everything okay with her?” I manage to get the words out through the fog of drugs. “She’s in the baby room being prepared. You’ll have her with you shortly.” With that, I felt safe enough to let the medication take hold. I allow myself to drift back off to sleep.
Make sure to follow me on Facebook.com/LikeCharlieEmilia or my Instagram Chvrl13. I’m open to questions, comments and any concerns you may have about your own health; but please remember I am not a doctor. My column is strictly for entertainment, and although I may try my utmost to give accurate information, it should in no way replace a visit to your healthcare provider.
Until next time, drive safely!