Friends, my little man is 7 weeks old (as of Friday)! Life has been good, hard, wonderful, exhausting, and more than I could have ever dreamed of. Before the time passed too quickly (I mean the past 7 weeks FLEW), I wanted to share his birth story. I have been a birth story junkie for quite a while and I love reading other’s stories and experiences. Our story may not be what I had hoped for, but it is our story and I am so thankful for it. This is going to be a long post (pictures too!), so just bare with me and if birth stories aren’t your thing then you might want to skip this post.
I was diagnosed with Placenta Previa around 20 weeks. We waited with hope and prayed it would resolve itself as Previa normally does. We went for a scan at 29 weeks feeling confident and much to our surprise, it seemed to be worse – not better. With a crushed spirit I began to come to terms with what would likely be a very different birth experience than I had once imagined. I began reading, researching and talking to as many people as I could to prepare myself for the best c-section experience I could have. With Previa a scheduled c-section around 37 weeks is the safest option as you need to avoid going into labor for the protection of mother and baby. Around 34 weeks we double checked my placenta (which hadn’t budged) and agreed with our Dr that a scheduled c-section at 37 weeks was the best plan. The date was picked and we left the appointment with me heading home and Husband heading back to work. We knew the day our son would arrive and it didn’t even feel real! March 3 would never be the same again.
It was so surreal knowing the day our sweet boy would arrive. Most talk about the whole having a baby experience has to do with your water breaking, rushing to the hospital unexpectedly, hours of horrible pain, and pushing the baby out of you. This was not going to be my experience. I traded this typical experience for being able to plan for a specific birthday. We spent the last 2.5 weeks cleaning, completing projects, and running errands. I was trying to feel as prepared as I could for this big change, but I quickly found there was no way to feel fully prepared so I just embraced the crazy and waited for that special day.
The night before the big day Husband and I went out to eat, grabbed some last minute things at Target (of course!), and enjoyed some Graeter’s Ice Cream. We came home and tried to finish getting the house ready as well as enjoying some time just us which included playing video games (per Husband’s request!). I finally went to bed sometime after 1am and hoped I would be able to sleep. I woke up at around 6 and started getting ready to leave. It was such a strange morning knowing in a few short hours we would be meeting our little boy. We took some final pictures, said a prayer and headed to the hospital.
We met my mom and sister at the hospital and they took me back to start getting me prepped. Most c-section patients are in a room with other patients before the surgery and only one other person can be with you at a time. However the hospital was super busy this day so I ended up getting to be placed in a labor & delivery room which meant Husband, my mom and sister could join me when I was ready. Such a blessing! I headed into my room and my sweet cousin who is an L&D nurse along with her awesome friend (who is like family!) were there to greet me. Her friend was my main nurse and she was such an encouragement and exactly what I needed through this whole experience. We talked, listened to Baby H’s heartbeat, got my IV’s in (yes TWO – they wanted to make sure I was ready for a blood transfusion in case of an emergency), and fully prepped me for surgery. My family quickly joined me and it was so nice having that time to just talk and rest before such a drastic life change. My nurse warned me that things were backed up so it would probably be a while before I went back and that was perfectly fine with me – I was in no rush.
While I was in no rush, I had one request, please just keep me updated so I had time to process and wouldn’t be rushed straight into surgery without time to mentally prepare. Well… a few things happened and they made a last minute decision to go ahead and take me back to surgery because if we didn’t do it now it could be a few hours and they didn’t want me to wait that long. I was immediately shaking as I attempted to mentally prepare myself and Husband was also looking a little pale which made me even more nervous! It was time – I walked back to the OR with the promise Husband would join me soon.
Once in the OR I talked with my Dr and nurses about what to expect while we waited on the Anesthesiologist. We ended up waiting quite a while which ended up being a good thing as it gave me a chance to mentally prepare a little more. At this point I think I was still in shock or denial that I was about to have a baby! Finally the Anesthesiologist came in and it was time for things to officially begin and I knew things would move quickly at this point and we would be meeting our baby in just a few minutes.
My OB, Nurse & Cousin/Nurse
I was most nervous about the spinal block since that would be one of the main things I would actually feel. However, while it wasn’t comfortable it wasn’t exactly painful. It was probably the strangest sensation I’ve ever felt though and I’m not eager to experience it again anytime soon. I quickly felt the affects of the spinal block and unfortunately it somewhat overtook me. I felt lightheaded, I couldn’t breathe and I was sick to my stomach. My sweet nurse talked me through it encouraging me that my oxygen levels were fine and I just needed to breathe. I was given some medicine and I quickly felt better. It probably only lasted a few minutes, but during that short period of time I felt like I was going to die and I was terrified that I would feel that way the whole time and I didn’t think I could go through with it. I’m so thankful it passed so quickly. By the time Husband came in I was feeling wonderful and I was the one giving my nervous husband a pep-talk.
Not only did I have Placenta Previa, but Baby H was also Transverse (aka sideways) and up pretty high. We were prepared that multiple things could go wrong that could turn it into an emergency or could result in an additional incision. I was a bit nervous about the possible complications and later found out Husband was beyond nervous about what could go wrong on my side. God is good though and we avoided all complications.After what felt like a few short minutes I heard my sweet baby boy cry and then I saw his face. He was handed off to my cousin & nurse who checked him out to make sure he was okay. With being born at 37 weeks, he could have had lung issues or sugar issues (or other issues!) but thankfully he was perfect with no concerns. They invited Husband over to see him but he opted not to go since he would have had to have walked past me and my open incision to get to him ;). Thankfully I wasn’t too worried since I knew he was in good loving hands. After just a few short minutes he was placed skin-to-skin on my chest which resulted in some of the greatest moments of my life. I knew before hand that we would try for skin-to-skin but there was no guarantee we would be able to get him on my chest. Thankfully he was able to curl up on my chest and I was completely overwhelmed. I’d been dreaming of this feeling for SO LONG and it was finally here!
Sweet vernix covered baby.
After a little while on my chest it was Husband’s turn. Our nurse cut open the scrub top he was “borrowing” so Baby H & Husband could have skin-to-skin time as well. Within a few minutes things were finished and it was time to send me back to my room. The hour in recovery was bliss as we bonded, breastfed, and cuddled this new bundle of total joy. Soon we were in our postpartum room and introducing him to family.
That day was the longest, greatest, hardest day of my life. I can’t believe it’s been over 7 weeks since he came into our lives, I can’t imagine life without him in it. We’ve been dealing with some hard things which I’ll write more about soon, but I wouldn’t trade this motherhood gig for anything. Life is good.
April is Cesarean Awareness Month. This is my contribution to bringing awareness and normality. Sometimes, like when you have Placenta Previa, Cesarean’s truly are the only option. I still believe Cesarean’s occur far too often in situations where they aren’t truly needed, but when they are needed they are still a wonderful option for birthing your baby. Your story is not ruined just because your baby was birthed via surgery instead of vaginally. It is still your wonderful birth story.