Friday, May 13, 2011

Insides Out

My scar still hurts sometimes. The one from the c-section. Although, to be more specific, I should say that one of my scars hurts. There are five—one for each layer that the surgeons have to cut through to reach the baby and avoid cutting through other things—such as your bladder.

I am often amazed at the nonchalance at which c-sections are sometimes viewed. Almost as a convenience because you can schedule them. Never mind the recovery time and the risk involved. Five layers of stitches!

Of course, there are many women who have no choice. For their safety—or, as in our case, for the baby’s/ies’ safety—that’s just the way it’s gotta be. And I certainly understand that. Just as in our case, the best of course of action was to keep our babies in plastic boxes for a couple of months. But just because our babies turned out “okay” (if you don’t think about the teeth part), doesn’t mean that a six-month pregnancy is the optimal way to go.

This morning one of my internal scars deep, deep inside, the one that has always bothered me the most, felt puckered and tucked. I can feel it when I run my hand along it. It’s several inches above the scar that is visible from the outside.

Matt remembers that day differently than I do, of course. Rushing to the hospital from work, arriving in time to see me wheeled into Labor & Delivery, barely having enough time to call my parents (the people taking care of Chiara that day) before the surgery began. While I was in my moments of Zen, he was trying to put on scrubs a million sizes too big. I couldn’t see what was going on, but he could. He said they put my guts right there on the table. Well, maybe not on the table, but they were outside my body, a big jumble of them. Some of my blood squirted out and landed on his shoe and for days afterwards, he’d look at it and remember seeing that side of me that he had never seen before (the inside). Much like when we went to Rome the year before and he spent the next week at work looking at his shoes, looking at the dust from the Coliseum—real Roman dust here in Mountain View!

For me it felt exactly like two pairs of hands rummaging through your insides looking for a couple of babies on the run.

My guts were touched. They saw the light of day. How weird. They were handled and juggled and (carefully?) put back. I wonder if my organs have fingerprints on them, a frontier where no person had gone before and traces left behind, like those astronaut footprints on the moon.


  1. i wonder if they planted a little flag... " we were here, in Janine's guts". ( in case you ever had to wonder if she had any, which you never did)

  2. You really come up with this incredible honest phrases that I remember, and carry around with me: "My guts were touched."

  3. You have a way of writing that takes the ordinary (not that a C-section could be called ordinary), you take what we know and write about it in an extraordinary way, in a way I have never thought about. Now that's creative. You also made my insides hurt, though there is no physical reason for that to happen. Great!

  4. Actually, Mom, there is a physical reason for that to happen! How the brain processes empathy. Understanding is simulation. When your brain simulates it, you feel it!

  5. My scars don't hurt, but I find it incredibly unnerving that I don't have any feeling along the scar line. I woke up with a terrible, burning pain two days after my C-section, to the right of my incision. It was so bad, I had to tent the sheet/blanket covering me because I couldn't have anything touch my skin. The doctors said it could be nerve damage. The pain was so incredibly intense, it took me about 30 minutes to walk down to the NICU to see my daughter because I couldn't walk more than about 30 feet without having to sit down. It felt like my side was literally on fire. It got better after a few more days and now it's just numb. I don't know if the nerves will ever rebuild themselves, or if it will remain numb there forever.

    My husband never did mention to me about my organs and whatnot being placed on the table next to me while they dug around to fish out my babies. I did feel a lot of tugging and pulling, which is a weird experience in itself.

    Thanks for visiting my blog! :) I want to write more, but will have to do so when I can... life certainly tends to get in the way! :)

    Dana :)

  6. Thanks for the comment, Dana. Keep me posted on your hospital work (if you feel like it, have time, etc!). I'm very interested in how we post-patients correspond with our hospitals for future patients.