These posts are in reverse chronological order. Read earlier posts first. They can be found by scrolling all the way down or clicking the links provided here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, and Part VI.
The only time I have ever seen a C-section setup in an OR was on ER. Well, in that respect, the set of ER got it right. Kate’s neck and head were peeking out from a curtain draped across the top of her shoulders. There was a nurse standing to the right of Kate’s head. There was a chair positioned to the left of Kate for me to sit in. I walked over and sat in it. I gave her a kiss. We exchanged “I love yous” and I sat down.
At this point, we didn’t have to discuss whether or not I would watch the baby come out or whether I would go be with the baby once she was out. Just a few days ago at home over dinner we had talked about what we would do in the case of a C-section. I said I would sit by Kate and would want to be present for everything. We agreed that I would go be with the baby once she was out of Kate, if Kate was clearly doing okay. I also expressed interest in seeing the baby being pulled out. In hindsight, it is incredible that we had this discussion already.
When seated next to Kate, I couldn’t even see the doctors working on her lower body. Kate said all she felt was pressure. I could see Kate’s head and shoulders shifting up and down and left to right on the bed as the doctors peeled away the layers, pushed things to the side, and cleared a path to the uterus.
The urgency of the C-section and the speed at which it all happened was astounding. I was not next to Kate long before the nurse next to her spoke up, “They are about to pull her out. Do you want to look?”
“Yes,” I said. The nurse would tell me when to stand up and look. “Okay.”
“Alright, stand now if you want to see,” she said.
I hesitated just for a second or two, perhaps not quite ready to see what I was about to see, scared to see what I was about to see, or just trying to register the moment. I’m sitting by my wife behind a curtain and on the other side is the rest of my wife’s body with a significant opening in it from which they are pulling out this human being we made, our daughter, who will be in my thoughts for the rest of my life no matter what happens in the next few minutes, hours, or days.
I rose from my chair and saw two doctors lifting my daughter up out of Kate. My daughter’s foot, the last part of her touching Kate, was just slipping the protective casing that had collapsed around her. Nothing could have prepared me for that view. It was beyond beautiful and it literally took my breath away. My legs gave out a bit and I had to sit down quickly. I was crying and Kate was looking at me expectantly. “She is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” I reported. We smiled through our tears. It was 4:02am, twenty-seven minutes since I had texted my dad, saying we were going to the OR.