Thursday, May 13, 2010

Adventure at the Brazilian Public Hospital continued...

As pictured, I returned to my room to wait.  Here I am all dolled up and ready to go.

I was visited by my doctor, the anesthesiologist, and the pediatrician.  We talked more about my impressions as an American at a public hospital than what was going to happen.  I raved about the wonderful care, and in all honesty, I did have amazing doctors.

My Mother, who had been waiting with me, was told she needed to wait outside.  The operating room wasn't big enough for her to be there. 

They told me to come with them. Just that, come on Rachel, it's time.  This I found strange.  Super pregnant lady walking. 

I got up and walked into the operating room. There was a tiny little table.  Now, you can't see my ass in this photo but I can tell you that it was not tiny. 

I looked at my doctor and told her I just would not fit.  Seriously.  She laughed said not to worry, I would fit.  So I used the little metal step stool and laid down. I did fit! Barely, but I did.  

At this point I was scared. All the doctors were preparing and I felt so alone.  They were not lying, the room was too small for me to have my Mom stay for the birth.  I think there was only a foot of space left over on either side of the room.

They prepped me for my spinal tap. Now I was terrified.  I was shaking. My no-nonsense Dr. Nancy came to one side of me and the anesthesiologist the other. They had me lay on my side facing Dr. Nancy and curl into as much of a ball as possible. When I got into position, Dr. Nancy then pushed my head further down and my legs further up.  I was almost crying. 

She then did the most surprising thing. She leaned as close to my face as possible, stroked my hair, and just started talking to me in a soothing Mom voice. This only confirmed what I already knew, I adored and trusted that woman with my life.

By the way, I'm shaking just typing this.

It was done before I knew it.  They rolled me back onto my back and proceeded to shove a 2 x4 thing up under my shoulders.  My arms were placed on it and they taped my hands, palms opened up to the ceiling, to the board. I was horrified. They used enough tape for the Hulk.  I could have used some warning but I guess it's how it goes. It would have been horrible if I freaked out during surgery and tried to run away. 

In all seriousness, they do have women that freak out and try to run away. They try to sit up, they scream, etc etc.

Next the anesthesiologist put on the oxygen and told me he was going to give me something to calm me down. I told him I didn't need it. I insisted that I didn't need it but he gave it to me anyway. I did not like that anesthesiologist. Hell, I still don't like that anesthesiologist.

I started to feel extremely weird because of whatever he gave me. I told him I was tripping out badly and asked if he could please do something about it. Thankfully, he managed to bring me back down.  While that would be enough to piss anyone off, he continued to irritate me during the entire surgery. 

My doctor and a student started my C-section.  That part was funny because you could tell that Dr. Nancy is a good teacher. She started psyching up the student.  "Are you ready?! Are you ready! You get to do this. You get to do this!" I found this humorous instead of scary. They have to learn somewhere, right.  It was also educational for me because she talked to the student about the C-section while doing it.  Very interesting stuff.

So that damn anesthesiologist.  They have this rule here that you can't speak during or after a C-section because you'll become full of gas. I had never heard of that but I hadn't ever had one so I was trying to follow their rule.

I was all quiet and the anesthesiologist would ask, are you ok. I'd tell him yes and then he'd yell at me to stop talking.  15 minutes later, again, are you ok? Yes. Stop talking!  About the 5th time I was pissed.  I responded to his "stop talking!" with a "then stop asking me questions.  I'll tell you if I'm not ok"  He stopped.  Hallelujah!

Finally my boy was born! He came out screaming like a 40 year old fat man with the voice of a tenor.  He was a big one for Brazil. 3.8 kilos/8lbs 4 oz and 21 inches long.  Big healthy beautiful (for a newborn) little boy.  They took him to the nursery to be checked.

My doctor let the student sew me up.  I had complaints about that but we'll discuss it in the next chapter.  Dr. Nancy told me that if my bikini is any lower than the scar that my husband would have a right to complain.  Surgery was done. Everyone gave everyone a pat on the back and headed out. 

Really, everyone. I was just sitting there on the table alone.  About 3 minutes passed and I was about to scream for help when some guy came in. Some guy. He walked in like he was a waiter coming into work and I was just someone sitting at a table.  He said nothing.  That made me a little nervous.  I told myself he must work for the hospital.

Once he got his stuff set up he finally spoke to me. It was a very awkward couple of minutes... for me.  He took off the sheet covering my nakedness and told me that he was going to clean me up. 

I was manhandled and not in the fun way. I couldn't feel anything and, from my position laying on the table, all I could see was him vigorously scrubbing my stomach and remaining areas with what seemed to be iodine.  He was pushing my legs over and letting them drop dead from side to side as he worked. A little TLC would have been appreciated even if I couldn't feel anything.  I kept my spirits up thinking of how it would make one hell of a story once I was out of there. 

Then my spirits dropped. He brought in a gurney, lined it up with the operating table, and told me I was going to help him.  I started laughing.  How in the hell was a woman who just had a C-section and was numb from the waist down going to help him get her onto a gurney? 

He pulled my top half so I was twisting at the waist.  He made me grab onto either side of the gurney. He told me to pull myself and he'd take care of the bottom half.  I started to cry.  I told him I couldn't do it.  I told him I was scared to death. He said that I could and that it was no big deal.

Don't get the wrong idea. He was not saying that supportively, he was annoyed.  Well, I managed, barely.  What did he say to that you ask.  He looked at me and told me that my doubt was a sign of a insecurities and a weak personality.

Wow!  Talk about kicking a girl when she's down.

I'll continue in my next installment with the story of the wait for my room, the room I shared with 4 other Moms and babies, and the infection I later developed.  


  1. brings back a lot of memories... watching you walk away... sitting outside the delivery area door waiting and finally hearing Luka cry. I knew it was him he sounded like you. I was afraid the Gestapo wouldn't let me back in the hospital so I sat in the hall waiting.

  2. And they wouldn't have. You got Daniel, Daddy, and Daniel's parents, right? So they could come see Boo

  3. So, in the moment that you really need someone to talk the anesthesiologist did not ask you if you are ok....

  4. OH MY GAH! Thank you for not telling me this before Gryphon an cailin were born. I would have beeen even more nervous than I alrfeady was.

  5. Oh Jeez, ok, I'll tell you a bit of how that was for me. I had Isa at Perinatal. Perinatal rules! I was fine until they took me to the OR and told me I had to run to get the spinal anesthesia. I did freak, I don't think they taped me on but they should, I did try to run away, cried like a baby, begged to be let go, told them I'd wait to have a natural birth (small detail: Isa was sitting, I didn't have that option), etc. So the obstetrician, who was not a mother-like figure, held me by my neck and knees to make me curl to a ball and told the anesthesiologist to go for it. I yelled to the top of my lungs but there was no point, he was already going for it and all I could do was ball my eyes out. Then, during the surgery, they talked about shopping for vegetables and fruits. I seriously do not recall how long it took and what happened, all I know is that next thing someone said Isabela wasn't crying. I didn't even know she was already born, so I freaked. Thabkfully she started crying right after that and they said she was ok. My husband was crying, my aunt was also in there with me, so I felt conforted. When they took Isa away I ordered (yes, that's the right verb) my husband to go after her. I was paranoid that someone might trade or steal her. And so he did and he became a legend in Perinatal as "the doctor". They didnt want to allow him in the nursery but he said he was a doctor, he had the right to be, he wouldn't leave his baby alone, so the nurses had to let him in. No need to say all the other dads wanted to come in as well and started a riot outside the nursery. I don't remember being cleaned up, or anything after that. Just coming into the room and being really nervous until they finally brought her in. The rest is history, can't complain about the scar, all the waxing ladings swear its the most perfect they've ever seen and that's enough for me. I could talk during the surgery but not afterwards, worse than that was having to be laying flat down, no pillow, no reclination, nothing, to prevent headaches - very annoying. From this experience I learned that I wouldn't get into an OR for a million dollars unless it's absolutely necessary, which means I may become the biggest "baranga" in the world that I would never face a plastic surgery, liposuction, breast implants, nothing. Not cut out for that, call me chicken if you must.

  6. Parinatal is amazing! Had Rafa there. Talk about a different experience. I wasn't even left alone after they were done. I got to leave with the doctors (minus the Ped because he took Rafa up).

    I love that he started a riot! I could totally see that happening. Where are the pictures???

  7. BTW, I can totally see you with your cell phone posting in Facebook: now I'm going to the OR, now I'm getting an epidural, etc... perfect pic.

  8. hahaha. No fb at that time. That's how old we are. Pre-FB era!

  9. OMG! What a scary experience. You are one brave girl. Geeeze. My experience here was different. My anesthesiologist at Perinatal was a charming man who used to live in Napa Valley so my memories of the OR are clouded with talk about wine (which is really fitting for me if you knew me!). I just remember after delivery when they were sewing up that I started to feel nauseous and I asked for more oxygen or otherwise I was going to spew. It's interesting because I thought that when the morphine finally wore off the pain would be at the incision site, but NO...instead it felt like someone had been using my stomach as a punching bag. But I'd happily do it again for another one.

  10. I know that Brazil is up and coming and all that, but its still developing and their medical practices are not up to par in some circumstances. I am very nervous about health care down their I have done a lot of research on it. Seen some studies. The fact that their are a lot of infections, and the schools don't have that much money which kind of makes a point without saying anything.

    I think at this point I will need to find a Doctor that was trained in the United States if that is at all possible.

  11. Hi Rachel I have been following your blog for a while. Every time I hear about a medical experience in Brazil I feel like running for the hills. Anyway another topic. i was wondering if you could help me if you knew. I am over 35 so I am offered in the US to take what they call a 2nd trimester screen or Quad screen. Basically a less invasive procedure than amniocentesis to see if fetus has down syndrome, or any chromosomal abnormalities. Its a ultrasound plus they check the thickness of the neck. Plus blood work combine together to get profile. Then they give probability of having a baby with abnormallities.

    Do they perform that test in Brazil?