By Keisha Graziadei-Shup
Photo by Jon Shup Photography
Disclaimer: This personal birth narrative was written by Keisha Graziadei-Shup. Opinions expressed here are hers and do not necessarily represent New Life Birth Center.
I didn’t want this c-section, but now they were rolling me into the surgical suite.
At least for me, I had the option to simply strengthen the epidural I already had, and stay conscious. By this time I wasn’t totally naked anymore, and they hung a large curtain over my midsection so I couldn’t see past my chest. That was probably a good thing, as I could already mentally picture well enough what was coming.
The procedure was quick, as I expected. At one point I felt a dull jolt of pain on the right of where my abdomen and pelvic area meet. “It hurts,” I told the anesthesiologist. He turned up the dose on my IV.
I felt some tugging as they pulled my baby out. I heard her crying. She was hidden from my view by a walking crowd of bright blue scrubs. They transported her from one area out of view to another. I was delirious but anxiously aware that I couldn’t see her.
Jon saw her kicking and also heard her stop crying when she heard his voice. She must have been so scared. I was weak and drugged, so all I could manage to do was cry when a nurse came over to me to show me pictures of her on the review screen of Jon’s camera. My tears were those of sadness and not of joy.
The anesthesiologist came over to me sensing I was troubled. “Are you okay?” he asked me.
“I just want to see my baby,” I said with a cracking voice. “My first time seeing her was on the camera screen.”
Tears flowed. His eyes filled with sadness, and also a look of helplessness. His silence reminded me that there was protocol, and protocol was Lord here.
While I wasn’t allowed to hold her, Jon had convinced staff to at least let me see her. Blue rubbered hands brought her toward me and I caught just a momentary glimpse of her tiny body and gave her a kiss before they whisked her off to the nursery.
Later I would peruse the hospital records to find out that someone gave her a very low apgar score, suggesting that she was practically lifeless out of the womb — which wasn’t true. It would probably go into the statistics alongside “birth center transfers.” I could only guess what would be done with that.
After the c-section they rolled me into another room and, an hour later, they brought my baby to me.
An hour after birth, I finally got to hold my daughter against my chest and really look at her face.