Greetings from the gurney. I’m the woman you’re about to cut open, and I’d like to start by saying that I’m supremely grateful for this scheduled c-section. As I lounge around in your hospital’s finest full-body napkin dress with a peekaboo butt, it’s nice to know that my ten-pound breech baby and I won’t end up like a couple of dead extras on Clive Owen’s operating table in The Knick.
Rest assured, I’m not one of these high-maintenance patients who arrives with lace-bound, scented copies of an 85-page birthing plan; I do find it quite chilly and bright in this operating room, but I am more than happy to sacrifice ambiance so that you can all see which organs you’re shuffling around down there.
That said, I recognize this procedure is just another day in the office for you—my uterus is your metaphorical water cooler. And while I firmly believe everyone deserves a place to openly ponder whether thick eyebrows can survive in the age of Bella Hadid, or perhaps comment on how fall always seems to fly by so quickly, may I offer a few gentle reminders to you, the group of humans who could swiftly kill me in the next five minutes:
Nurse, I know shaving my pubic hair pre-op is not the most meaningful part of your job, but when you say things like, “Whoops! This is a lot trickier than grooming my RuPaul chia pet,” I start to lose confidence in the team.
Anesthesia Ralph, I sorta dig that you seem to be texting while you prep your workstation (I’m all for multitasking at work), but kindly don’t ask me what I think you should get your wife for her birthday as you insert a fifty-inch needle into my spine.
Residents, while I fully support your education, I don’t love it when you quiz each other on every possible severe complication that could result in my immediate death. Also, can one of you please give me something for this nausea?
Visiting OB, it’s always nice to have surprise guests during childbirth, but please don’t introduce yourself just as the anesthesia kicks in. I’m worried I can’t muster the appropriate nice-to-meet-you pleasantries while wondering exactly how a catheter works.
Nurse who arrived late, please don’t openly marvel at being on “day four” of a five-day juice cleanse really puts you in the zone for compassionate care.
Same nurse, the OB just asked you again for the forceps. I’d totally grab them, but I don’t have a medical license or any sensation below my neck.
Lead OB, you’re the only person I’ve allowed to see my vulva this calendar year, so I trust you implicitly. Still, I’d prefer you keep certain thoughts to yourself, like, “Whoa, this baby’s head is HUGE,” “Eh, that suture is good enough,” and especially, “This reminds me of a gorilla c-section I once observed at the Bronx Zoo.”
OB Assist, you’re playing a supporting role today, but it’s not the time to discuss New England-area boarding schools with my husband.
Mean nurse who will definitely be assigned to me post-op, when I hear my little girl cry for the first time and ask how baby’s doing, please don’t shame me with, “If you really wanted to know, you’d have opted for the clear drape.”
OB Assist, look, dude, I know you’re trying to identify which illustrious institution of polo-shirting will be the right fit for your son’s lacrosse talents, but the answer is ALL of them.
Pediatrician holding my precious vernix-laden bundle by the scruff of her neck, I know it’s meant to be reassuring when you say, “I’ve seen bigger,” but somehow you’re making me feel inadequate. I guess I just thought my gestational diabetes would produce… more?
OB Assist! Seriously, man, don’t wonder aloud where the clamp went and then bemoan how reopening the wound will mess up your tee time. I hope Deerfield Academy tells your son to suck it.
Darling husband, while you’re not technically part of the medical team, kindly shut the fuck up about having another baby while these good people are still sewing up the gaping ten-cm hole left by this one. (Nice try, though, slipping that D’Angelo track to the nurse. Give that shit another go in about six to eight weeks, after your vasectomy.)
Finally, to the entire team, if at some point during surgery you remark: “Wow, this is a stunningly beautiful uterus” or “Look! Her weight gain was all baby,” then everyone and everything is completely forgiven.