December, 2016 | The Not So Hoity Toity Life

Month: December 2016

An Birth Story from an Airplane

Every single airline in the world has rules. Some of them seem stupid – no more than 3 oz. containers, no hockey sticks (seriously, that one is detailed in print). But some, believe it or not, are actually there to ensure passenger safety.

What does this have to do with a baby, you might ask?

Most airlines do not let pregnant women fly in their third trimester, and women who insist on flying in their last month of pregnancy must get a written letter of approval from their OB/GYN.

This is a rule I did not listen to.

I was 36 weeks and 6 days pregnant. It was June 30th, and I was due July 21st. I was at home in Ohio, excitedly anticipating my beautiful baby girl – but not rushing it. No bags were packed. No thought of an early arrival entered my mind.

I thought Rose would be textbook, 40 weeks. She was absolutely flawless in every ultrasound, every test. Through the whole pregnancy, I had had not one complication. Not the slightest pain, ache, swelling, sickness, aversion, craving, you name it. I guess there is something to be said for 20.

My wonderful boyfriend (now fiancé) was in Coast Guard A School for Maritime Enforcement in Charleston, South Carolina. He was graduating on the 1st of July, and wanted me to be there. I wanted to be there to support him, as well.

I had an extra appointment with my OB the day before I left. He said there were no signs of labor, and since the flight was only an hour and 45 minutes, I should be fine to go.

So I did.

No one said anything to me at all as I went through security, boarded the plane, took my seat. From the back, you would never know I was pregnant, although because of my short torso, baby girl – who was measuring large – had no where else to go but out. Which, now that I think about it, may have contributed to what happened next.

The plane took off, and about 15 minutes in, it started.

No pain. No leaking. No cramping. I thought it was another gentle round of Braxton-Hicks. The only difference was, after an hour, these contractions still hadn’t stopped.

I timed them, and got even more paranoid. They lasted one minute. They were coming every 4-5. And I know I didn’t pay the best attention in that mommy class, but I think I remembered that that was the time you were supposed to go to a hospital… I tried to calm myself down. After all, there was absolutely no pain. And I’d also paid enough attention to know that it would hurt.

I tried to change positions and take deep breaths, but that economy class seat was not good enough. I saw the flight attendant eyeing me, and when she inevitably came over to ask if I was okay, it was all I could do to reassure her.

Labor? This? No. Are you crazy? Just some pre-landing stress, that’s all, ma’am; I promise I’m fine.

And really, I was fine at that moment. It really didn’t hurt at all. I was just scaring myself, I thought. And it seemed like an eternity, and everyone was staring, and the flight attendants were all on high alert, but it was ultimately unnecessary. We finally landed, and I waddled uncomfortably off the plane, to the relief of everyone in the cabin.

My boyfriend and I rushed to the hotel, very happy to see each other after his 10-week-long school. I told him immediately, of course. The contractions still had not stopped. And something was starting to feel different about these – still no pain, but the pressure. It felt like my abdomen was still 15000 ft. up in that airplane.

So when we got to hotel, I called my OB immediately. He informed me that it was probably just the plane, said to drink lots of water and walk around. If they still hadn’t stopped, I should go to the nearest hospital, explain to the nurses what was going on, and get checked out. “If you’re in labor, you’d know it,” he said. And I definitely didn’t know it yet.

Another hour went by. No changes. It was around 5pm now, and I told my boyfriend that we’d better go see what was going on with me. We explained my situation to the nurses, and they appeared relaxed enough. “We don’t have a room clean right now, so just sit tight and we’ll call you back when we can,” they said.

Great.

Finally, at 6pm, we got into a room. At 6:30, a fantastically brilliant nurse named Becky came in and told me she’d check me out. She went in to see if I was dilated, and gave me a funny look. She took her glove off and said, “Let me get the doctor in here.”

I exchanged glances with my boyfriend. This didn’t sound good.

The doctor, a no-nonsense lady from Cuba, repeated the same test as the nurse. She shook her head and laughed. “You’re 4 and 100, sweetheart. We’re going to break your water to speed this along, and you’re staying right here.”

Shock, that’s the only way to describe it. I thought it would’ve hurt before I got to this point. I laughed, said “Alright then,” and called my family to let them know. My mother had our car seat at their house; they started the 10-hour drive from Ohio that second.

My boyfriend ran back to the hotel to get our things, and I waited for another half an hour before he and the doctor came back in. After they broke my water, things moved way too fast. Another hour and I was 7cm. At 10pm, it started to hurt bad, and I asked for an epidural. That slowed things down somewhat – I didn’t get to 10 until midnight.

Pushing only took 30 minutes. It was 33 minutes into July, and Rose was finally here. They practically threw her, still cheesy, right onto my chest. She wasn’t crying, but she was breathing fine, so they let her stay there. I looked at her beautiful, swollen little face, so happy. It was a few more minutes before she could open her eyes past all the vernix, but once she did they locked right onto mine. She was home!

Babies have a funny way of knowing things. If Rose hadn’t decided to come that weekend, her dad wouldn’t have gotten to see her come into the world. She even gave him enough time to make it to graduation. 

We are beyond blessed with this little girl, and so excited for all our adventures to come!

 

Check out more stories from this amazing Mama on her blog!

 

A High Risk Pregnancy

Having a baby is no walk in the park. Not for anyone.

My experience with my first child, Riley, was a tough one. I was young and about to embark on a journey that I could never have prepared for. It was hard and it was scary, but I think it sheds some light on some of the unspoken parts of pregnancy – what happens when it’s not normal?

I was nineteen years old when Matt and I found out we were expecting. We had literally just moved into our first apartment together and here we were about to be parents. It would be my first child, his second (he had a three-year-old son from a previous relationship).  I remember being scared to tell my parents, but I did, and they reacted how I should have expected – disappointed that it was happening so soon, but grateful for a baby nonetheless.

It was at our gender ultrasound that we found out my pregnancy was not normal. I didn’t realize it at first. I was a young, eighteen-year-old, soon-to-be-mom just waiting to hear whether it was a boy or girl. And being so naïve, I didn’t think anything of it when the ultrasound technician left the room to get a second technician to confirm we were having a boy. I still didn’t think anything of it when they grabbed a third tech to look at the screen. How hard is it to find a stick-like object poking out of a big blob??

It wasn’t until my follow-up appointment with my doctor that I found out Riley’s body was not forming the way it should have been. I sat there, listened, nodded my head while my doctor apologized, told me I would be going to a specialist, and sent me on my way. It still hadn’t hit me when I drove back from the doctor. I still didn’t get it. It wasn’t until I googled the term he had given me, gastroschisis, that I realized what exactly was going on. What does that mean? It means that the baby’s stomach hasn’t closed completely when forming, and the intestines were developing outside of the body.

I got home, made some calls to share the unfortunate news and scheduled an appointment with the new doctor later that week. The next few months became a big blur, honestly, I remember little, to be honest. I know we toured the hospital we would be delivering at. I know I had bi-weekly ultrasounds to check on the intestines and see how much, if at all, they were swelling – which would indicate when I would deliver. I remember meeting with a pediatric surgeon who explained what we would be experiencing after delivery – I would have a c-section – not required but given that I broke my pelvis a few years earlier I chose not to risk breaking it again due to the impact of vaginal delivery. Riley would be in the hospital maybe four weeks. They would wrap his intestines in a silo (using gauze or a gauze-like material) and slowly place them back in. Not too bad, right?

I am someone that likes to ponder situations before fulling dealing with the emotions that go along with it. I take things in slowly, so I never had any big meltdowns over the process initially, not during the pregnancy stage at least. Since I can remember, I have always been someone who has to find solutions right away. If I have a problem I literally feel sick until I get a solution. I don’t have to have the problem solved necessarily, but I need to at least have a plan to solve it. That’s how this whole situation with Riley was. I didn’t like what we were dealing with. It was scary, but I felt comfort in the plan I was being given by doctors. And I had a great support system between my family, friends and co-workers. I was told what to expect and so that’s what I expected. Why dwell on it right? Let’s just get through this.

Unfortunately, what we were told to expect didn’t happen. Not at all.

 

In October, two months before my due date, we found out it was time to deliver Riley. During one of my bi-weekly ultrasounds we saw that his intestines were starting to swell which meant he needed to be delivered. I received a call that afternoon with details on my scheduled deliver and that was that. It was time.

The night before delivering Riley I remember being more scared than I had ever been in my life. Matt and I went and stayed the night with my mom. We got up early the morning of delivery (after a night of zero sleep) and made the drive to the hospital. When I arrived, I realized that my doctor whom I had been seeing since we found out my pregnancy was considered high-risk was not going to be present. She was not working that day so I had another doctor in her place. Unfortunately, he wasn’t made aware that I was having a caesarean. He actually tried to convince me to have a vaginal birth, even after I explained that I wasn’t comfortable given Riley’s condition and my own pelvic history.

After a lot of back and forth the doctor finally accepted that I was going to have a c-section and left to prep the room. Confrontation isn’t an area I am strong in. I find that I stick up for others much better than I do sticking up for myself, so having to put my foot down in this situation was pretty tough, but I’m extremely happy I did. I found out years later during my second pregnancy why opting for a vaginal delivery was a TERRIBLE idea for him to have at all so it definitely worked out for the better.

Going through the c-section was a new experience – one Matt made certain to get photos of. Don’t worry, I won’t share those! The hospital I was out is one that med students train at regularly, so there were many people present during my surgery and lots of conversations explaining what was going on. At one point, I kid you not, my doctor said the words “Oh, shoot!” I remember immediately looking at Matt and thankfully he was able to remain calm and keep a straight face. Had he not I probably would have started freaking out. I never found out what that remark was about.

Within an hour Riley was born. Being only four and a half pounds it was pretty easy to get him out. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get much time with him before they would have to take him away to get his intestines wrapped and secured, so I wasn’t surprised for him to be taken from the room quickly, but as I was in the recovery room I was given a phone by one of the nurses. Apparently, the doctor needed my approval for surgery. Huh?? What surgery? Apparently, there was some sort of complication and Riley needed to go back to surgery asap. I approved the surgery, he was rolled into my recovery room and I was allowed to touch his hand for a brief moment before he was carted off to surgery. I was numb. Both physically (from the surgery) and emotionally. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t tell anyone what was wrong. I was taken back to my room and had family all around me wanting to know where Riley was. And I didn’t know what to say. I could not wrap my head around the situation. I ended up getting on the phone with the doctor about 20 minutes later because I needed answers. I needed clarification.

I ended up finding out that Riley’s intestines had somehow gotten twisted. How or when I don’t know. But it caused every plan we had made go completely out the window. Our stay in the hospital was no longer four weeks. When Riley’s intestines became twisted a portion of them stopped working completely had to be removed. I don’t remember how much exactly, but a good portion was cut off. Riley was no longer a baby born with gastroschisis. He was a baby with short bowel syndrome.

Our very first nurse told us he would never eat normal or lead a normal life. This was crushing to us. I understand being honest about the outcome of certain situations, but this just felt harsh, unnecessary, and quite honestly inaccurate.

I don’t write this to scare people. I don’t write this to worry you about pregnancy. My pregnancy with Riley was extremely rare, like many high-risk pregnancies are. But I realized by having a baby who was hospitalized several times how hard it must be for those families who deal with it much longer than I had to. I had never thought about the families who have children with serious diseases or life threatening illnesses that cause them to live in hospitals a large part of the year. I never thought about women who think they are having a normal pregnancy, but then find out that it’s now a risk to even give birth.

Having a child who is hospitalized brought to light so many areas of parenting that I never spent much time thinking about. Those families have such strength and resolve.

It took Riley almost two months before he was able to come home for the first time, but it wasn’t permanent. He was admitted back to the hospital at least three times over the next year for various illnesses attributed to a weak immune system and the ability to dehydrate very easily. He had two major surgeries (one being to connect his intestines at around 7 months old) and at least three outpatient surgeries. In total, Riley probably took a bottle for all of two months. The rest of his first year and a half was on a feeding tube and with a central line in his chest. He had to taught to eat food. But even with all of that, I am still so lucky. Riley is eight years old now. He plays baseball and basketball. He loves math and reading. He has an incredible sense of humor. The nurse who told us that he would never lead a normal life was so incredibly wrong.

If you take anything away from this article I hope that it’s the fact that we all have struggles. You are not alone. We all go through obstacles that at times feel impossible to overcome. Rely on your friends. Rely on your family. Cry if you need to. Really, you are not alone. There is a light. I now have a happy, healthy eight-year-old who has taught me that strength comes in all sizes. He has been through more than most people will have to deal with in their who lives. Just remember to take a moment to think before you judge. We are all in this thing called life together. 

 

Please check out more stories from this amazing mom on her blog! You can check it out here!

A Preeclampsia Birth Story

I remember it like it was yesterday. The day I went in for what I thought was a routine prenatal checkup turned out to be one of the most emotional, scariest days of my life. I certainly never expected to end up in the hospital in tears. The remaining five weeks of my pregnancy thereafter were much of the same.

The Diagnosis

Thirty-two weeks pregnant and feeling somewhat okay, I headed to the doctor’s office on my lunch break for a routine checkup. I told my coworkers I’d be back soon and left my work on my desk. I hadn’t been experiencing any major issues at the time so there wasn’t any reason for me to think I wouldn’t be returning. Although there was a bit more weight gain than I was expecting, I wasn’t overly concerned. I knew many women who gained more weight than they’d like during their first pregnancy so I figured that’s all it was; however, I was starting to feel uncomfortable. I remember thinking that I shouldn’t be feeling that uncomfortable yet. I still had several weeks to go. It was one of the questions I was going to ask the doctors while I was there. I figured they’d let me know if it was a problem, but I assumed there wasn’t. On I went.

My appointments were normally quick, just simple measures like blood pressure and urine samples. I had no clue that these two tests were about to turn my entire world upside down. My BP readings had always been normal prior to and during my pregnancy.  This day was different. It had skyrocketed. I thought to myself, “Was work stressing me out to cause this?” “Is it a false reading?” The nurse checked it again. Still abnormally high.  I was starting to get a little worried but not so much just yet. She started asking me questions about my vision and headaches. I answered no to all of them and told her that I had been feeling okay. The next step was to test the urine sample. This was the ultimate indicator that led to my diagnosis. There were high levels of protein found. The doctor said you have to get to the hospital now. I, obviously in disbelief or denial, (not sure which),  told her I couldn’t because I had to get back to work. Her response was, “You aren’t going back to work anytime soon. You have preeclampsia.”

What is Preeclampsia?  

Preeclampsia is diagnosed by high blood pressure, proteinuria (protein in the urine) and edema (swelling) during pregnancy. It’s a dangerous condition for both mother and baby and can become life-threatening if not properly managed. (You can find more information here about the condition.)  

I couldn’t believe it. I had researched so much about pregnancy, what to do and what not to do. I thought I was fully prepared; however I was not prepared for this.  What I failed to research were pregnancy complications. I always ignored those chapters in the pregnancy books. I recall reading briefly about preeclampsia but I also read it was rare. I never assumed it would happen to me.

Surely enough, this just added to the already-difficult pregnancy I had experienced in the earlier months. The first five months were hard, with extreme nausea. I had even ended up in the hospital once for dehydration. In my sixth month, the nausea had dissipated and I was finally feeling better. But now this? I couldn’t catch a break. Not only was the beginning of my pregnancy tough, the end is going to be tougher than ever.

The doctor had explained that the only cure for preeclampsia was delivery of the baby and that the goal is to get me to 37 weeks to then be induced. She explained the danger to my baby and myself if I didn’t watch my blood pressure and stress levels, which could result in an even more dangerous life-threatening situation. Preeclampsia places great strain on major organs such as the kidneys, liver, and brain. I was put on bed rest for the next five weeks. I went outside and called my husband. I cried and cried, a lot, and I told him he needed to meet me at the hospital. I was scared for myself, but more so for my baby. How did this happen and what is causing this? I have always been healthy so this really caught me off guard.

The next five weeks were grueling. I could only go up or down the steps once a day. My husband had to make me lunch before he went to work and bring it up to me to keep me from pushing myself. I’m one who loves to move, needs to move, always working, always accomplishing something. It was extremely difficult for me to do nothing at all, but I had to for myself and my baby. My husband and mom were so supportive during this time. I appreciate all that they had done for me. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

More Worry and Weight Gain

I was gaining weight much too quickly. (Sudden weight gain is a symptom of preeclampsia.) I was so swollen and I was extremely uncomfortable. Every day, I was scared. I was scared I’d develop eclampsia, a severe complication of preeclampsia which causes seizures. I thought of my baby every minute of the day, praying that everything would be ok. Did I move too much today? Is my baby getting enough oxygen? Am I going to wind up in the hospital again? These were just a few of the questions I asked myself on a daily basis. There was not a moment that went by where I didn’t worry about my baby boy as well as my own health.

Many stress tests, hospital visits, and 24-hour urine samples at home were warranted.  I was pricked by needles and given ultrasounds more than ever at this point. I never lost sight of the 37-week goal and I couldn’t wait until that day. I wanted my baby safe, with me.

My original due date was May 12, but was now scheduled for April 22. I was trying to keep as positive as possible, but I was worried, really worried.

Delivery Day is Finally Here: 

After a lot of doctor’s visits, occasional hospital stays, urine samples, blood pressure readings,  tears and worrying, I had made it to 37 weeks. Looking back at the below picture with my mom at the hospital reminds me of how uncomfortable I was, how much weight I had gained, and how difficult the entire journey was.

I couldn’t wait to have my baby. I was induced at 11:00 a.m. My BP remained stable and my beautiful healthy baby boy was born at 4:00 a.m. the next morning, 6 pounds 11 ounces. It was long, tiring and scary. There weren’t any issues at birth, and I’m very grateful for that.  I’m thankful for a great team of doctors to provide me with support, good care, and careful monitoring. It does break my heart, however, that may baby didn’t get to come when he was ready.

It took me two years to feel like myself again. I had finally lost the weight and my body felt like it used to. The condition itself definitely leaves its mark. I did go on to have another baby years later. I thought long and hard about it. It wasn’t an easy decision. Once you have preeclampsia, you are more at risk of developing it again, but doctors had told me it happens often with first pregnancies. I thankfully had a very easy pregnancy the second time around, no issues, no preeclampsia, but I can safely say I am done with pregnancy. I have been blessed with two beautiful boys

The Impact of Preeclampsia 

I will never know why I developed preeclampsia and I worry about the toll it has taken on my body. Although delivery is the only “cure,” it doesn’t end there. Recent studies have shown that women who have had preeclampsia during pregnancy are at double risk for heart disease and stroke later in life. 

Raising Awareness:

It’s important women are made aware of this condition so they know the signs and symptoms. Sometimes you don’t even know you have it, like me. I luckily kept my doctor’s visit that day because if I had gone any longer it could have been much worse. I’m not even sure how long I had been walking around with the condition.

Last year, I raised funds for The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia. Many of my family members donated and my mom and stepmom joined me in the walk. I was so happy to take part in such a great cause and have family by my side

I will continue to be an advocate for further research and education on this condition in which there is still uncertainty as to its cause. Too many women and babies have lost their lives to preeclampsia. Raising awareness is important. Acknowledging and showing support towards women with this terrifying illness is necessary.

 

Check out more stories on motherhood and parenting at this Mama’s blog: http://www.macchiatomom.com/

A Birth Story

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I also had a sister and a sister-in-law who were pregnant.  We were all greatly anticipating having these three babies all so close together.  We lamented our pregnancy aches and pains together, and planned for what life would be like for these cousins.  I was due March 24, my sister-in-law was due on April 15, and my sister was due on July 21.  It was an exciting time in our family.

On March 11, my sister-in-law, went into labor.  She had texted all of us (it was the middle of the night) to tell us that she was in labor.  Because I obviously had to go to the bathroom during the night, I was awake when she texted us, and I immediately started sobbing.  It sounds so silly now, but at the time, when I had been pregnant for 37 weeks, and when I had hormones going crazy in my body, it was a HUGE deal that my sister-in-law, who was due 3 weeks after me, was going to have her baby first.  I HAD BEEN PREGNANT LONGER!!!  I was actually so jealous that I couldn’t even look at pictures for the first few days.  I’m really embarrassed about all of this now, but as any woman who has had a baby can attest, it is easy to be irrational when you are THAT pregnant.  (I have since apologized to my sister-in-law for being so insanely jealous.)

When I was about 30 weeks along, I started having contractions every 10 minutes.  They never got any closer or any more painful, but they were very consistent.  I finally went to the doctor after about 2 days, just to make sure everything was still okay.  He said that I was dilating very slowly, but it wasn’t really anything to be concerned about.  I did that for the rest of my pregnancy.  When they got worse, I would take a bath (usually in the middle of the night), and that helped them calm down a bit.  But almost 10 weeks of contractions every ten minutes does get old after a while!

I was teaching full-day kindergarten when I was pregnant, so it was actually kind of fun.  My students were SO excited that I was having a baby, and my belly was CONSTANTLY being touched.  I got so used to it that I didn’t even notice.  The kids would tell me that they could hear my baby crying, or that she had just kicked them in the head, or that they heard her talking.  That last one is a little bit creepy… Just sayin’.  They also came up with a pretty fabulous/weird list of names for the baby, and voted for which gender they thought my baby would be.  Some of them were so disappointed when I had a girl, even though they had voted for a boy.  I had to burst their bubble and tell them that their vote actually couldn’t change the gender of the baby.  And thank heavens for that!  I would NOT want a kindergartner to have that much power.

I went into labor at around 11:00 pm on March 20th.  I am pretty convinced that what put me into labor was playing with my kids at recess that day.  I played basketball and soccer with them…  And then, in the end, I ran races.  I’m sure I looked like such a dork, but I was SO desperate to go into labor.  I was 39 weeks and 3 days along at that time.  There was one little boy who was SO concerned about me running around.  Ha.  He kept saying, “Ms. Keddington, you need to rest!  You can’t run around!”  But, it worked.  I felt the baby drop when I was walking back inside.

It still took a while for the labor to actually begin.  At one point that night, my husband asked, “What do you want to do tomorrow?” and I longingly said, “Have a baby!!!”  I knew that my wish had come true when I was trying to calm my contractions down a bit by taking a bath at around 4:00 am, and they just kept getting worse.  I started bleeding a bit, too, so I realized this was the real thing.  I actually then tried to go back to sleep for a bit, but it didn’t work too well, because my contractions were now 5 minutes apart and getting rather painful.  So, around 5:30 am, I finally woke my husband up to take me to the hospital.

On the way to the hospital, we called his aunt, who is a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital I was delivering at, so she could meet us there.  We also called my sisters so they could meet us at the hospital, too.  The rest of the time, I had Jeff distract me from the pain of the contractions by having him talk in detail about…  well… I have no idea.  Ha.  I just needed to have something to focus on besides the pain.

We checked into the hospital at about 7:15 am.  They had a nurse check me, and she said I was dilated to a ten already.  I was pretty shocked, and thought, “This was it?  That’s not bad at all!”  But apparently it was her first day on the job, and when another nurse checked me, she said I was at a 3, not a 10.  Darn!

I didn’t really have a birth plan when I went to the hospital.  I figured that I would try and go without an epidural, but I wouldn’t be heartbroken or disappointed if I ended up getting one.  So, we did it the old fashioned way.  My sister had told me a bit about hypno-birthing, and my husband’s aunt showed my husband how to really calm me down and support me.  I honestly did not anticipate how much of a bonding experience it would be to go through labor with my husband by my side.  He helped me SO much.

At around 10:00 am, they checked me, and I was told that I was still only at a 4.  By then I had been in labor for 11 hours, and was afraid that if I didn’t get an epidural, and things kept progressing as slowly as they had, I would not have enough energy to push when the time came—especially considering I had not slept at all the night before.  I decided to get an epidural, although the anesthesiologist was busy for a couple of hours.  I wish they had checked me before I got the epidural, because when they checked me just after, I was at a 7.  I think I may have been able go without an epidural at that point.  But I still feel fine about it.  There is no right or wrong way to give birth.

When the anesthesiologist finally came, he told me that due to my small size, it would probably be a little difficult for him to place the epidural, but that it would likely be fine.  He told me to tell him if I felt my heart race, heard a ringing in my ear, or got dizzy.  As soon as the epidural was in, all 3 of those things happened.  So, he had to pull it out and do it again.  Everything went well the 2nd time, and I actually got to take a bit of a nap.  It was a great decision for me, because a couple of hours later, when I was at a 10 and ready to push, I had enough energy and strength to do it.

When the time came for me to push, I only had to do it through 2 contractions, and then my baby was out.  My husband’s aunt was kneeling on the bed next to me, encouraging me (in her adorable southern accent) to dig deeper and push harder.  My daughter cried right away (and to be honest, she didn’t stop for several months ;).  Ha.  I tore quite a bit, so I got a few stitches, and it was painful to sit for at least a week.

One thing I learned from this experience was that each birth is a little bit different, and there’s no one right way to have a baby.  You just have to do what is right for you, in your circumstance.  I am so grateful I had the experience to give birth.  It was one of the most beautiful, wonderful experiences of my life.

A Repeat C-Section Birth Story

I’m Cambrea, 36 year old mother of four c-section babies! I blog, inconsistently, about living life outside of normal over at www.cambrealynn.com. This is the birth story of my fourth and last baby, my favourite birth story.

After having a c-section due to complications with my first I opted for repeat c-sections with the other three. I went through a phase of shame over not giving birth the “real” way, but with my last baby I decided to embrace the special way that I give birth. All births are different and enchanting in their own way.

Henrietta’s was my most magical birth. I had a scheduled c-section after much prayer and advice from the best obgyn on the planet. I went in for an additional ultrasound to check to see if I had a placenta accreta. (Where the placenta grows into the uterine lining. This can happen with repeat c-sections.) I did not have an accrete, but the doctor really thought it would be safer for us to have a c-section with extra blood on hand just in case. My husband is rarely concerned about anything and asked that I would go ahead with the c-section so we did.

We got to choose her birthday, another perk of having a scheduled c-section. I think birthday’s on minor holidays are really fun, and the dates lined up, so we chose St.Patrick’s Day! We even gave her an Irish middle name, Saoirse (pronounced seer-sha) means freedom in Irish. It definitely embodies all that I want for her in life.

The night before I had her we went to Chili’s, I ate a bacon cheeseburger and chips with queso. We went home, put the other kids to bed, played FFXIV, and washed all her tiny things. My sister stayed over to be with the other kids in the morning. I went to bed well after midnight, having babies is so exciting for me.

We left the house at 5am and headed down to the hospital. They buzzed us in and two nurses took us to a room to fill out paperwork. Jimmy pointed out the name of one nurse, Svetlana, it’s one of my favourite names. The second nurse, though equally well intended, was not my favourite. She attempted to give me an IV while Svetlana filled in paperwork. After three tries and telling me I was moving too much she took a break from stabbing me. I don’t understand why they tell you not to eat or drink then are surprised that they can’t get an IV in you! Fourth time was the charm, but it felt like the needle was going into the bone on the top of my hand! Luckily, the IV was the worst part.

After a relatively short wait I went right across the hall into the operating room. My husband went to prep and wait, for some reason they don’t ever let him in until after they give me the spinal block. I discussed previous births with the anesthesiologist. I was really nervous after having such a terrible time with the IV. One of the nurses stood right by me and held my hand while they put the needle in. It turned out to be my least painful spinal block yet.

While that set in I talked with the doctor and listened to the nurses. Having a baby is such a happy surgery, everyone seems excited and in a good mood. Someone brought me a warm blanket and wrapped it around my head and arms.

My husband came in and the doctor started the procedure. It seemed like a long time, but it was only about twenty minutes until they were ready to push her out. There is a lot of pulling and pushing around, but it didn’t hurt in any way.  My husband was in charge of capturing the event, he turned the video off and back on and it messed up the camera settings so we got a picture but no video. I have said picture, but I will spare the queasy among you.

In a comedic turn of events, Henrietta pooped on the doctor as he delivered her! I heard her tiny cry and they checked her real quick before handing her over to my husband to bring to me. I did get nauseous at this point but the anesthesiologist was right on it and I only gave the doctor a little bit of a hard time by retching while he was stitching. I was so apologetic and he laughed and was very kind and patient.

After we were all done, they handed Henrietta to my husband and we walked back to the little room across the hall. Usually I have to wait in post-op, but this hospital lets you stay with the baby the entire time, just no visitors! The nurse asked if I wanted her to wash the baby and I forgot my plans and said yes. Then they asked if I wanted to nurse, “Oh yes!”

My girl latched right on and was a rockstar at breast feeding all the way up until 23 months when she was over it. We nursed and snuggled and took selfies and texted everyone while they waited to be let in to see us. My husband napped in the chair by my bed and it was so quiet. The light in the room was warm and beautiful. It really was magical. 

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