This is one of the most beautiful birth stories I've ever read. It is a positive family-centered Cesarean experience. Congratulations…
Welcome Cora Lou
On July 24th at 1:15 in the afternoon, we welcomed sweet Cora Louise into our lives. Nothing can fully prepare one for the experience of becoming parents. The moment she arrives feels hurried and fleeting but it is nothing short of miraculous.
Jesse and I had been hoping for a natural birth, with as little medical intervention as pos- sible but our little baby’s head was securely positioned, close to my heart, up between my ribs. We tried everything to encourage her to turn, from Moxibustion to Chiropractic to Massage to a pregnant version of “planking” and although she felt very active and we held out hope she would flip, we had a Cesarean scheduled for the 28th of July.
I had expressed to Jesse on Saturday, that I was disappointed to show no signs of labor
as the 28th drew nearer because I really wanted the baby to let us know when she was ready to arrive. Well, that night, I had an unexpected “bloody show,” which Jesse insists on pronouncing with a British accent, and proceeded to re-read every book on pregnancy we had to remind myself that there was nothing to panic about and to go about life as normal. I was very grateful to baby, though, for the little hint at readiness.
Early Sunday morning, I awoke to what I knew were the signs of beginning labor. Mild, slightly painful, definitely not practice, contractions which were about 10 minutes apart. Our weeks of preparation, of staving off the trip to the hospital for as long as possible, were challenged by the breech situation and my desire to avoid an emergency cesarean.
So against Jesse’s urging, I called the hospital nice and early. My reasoning was, if we checked the position of the baby and she was side- ways or maybe even head down, I could return home to eat my meal and prepare my body to relax for natural labor, but if she continued
to be head up, I wouldn’t eat anything as I would be having major abdominal surgery later in the day.
My midwife, in the last few weeks, had spent a generous amount of time mentally and spiritually preparing me for a cesarean. I had some definite fears and disappointment about requiring medical intervention but we did a lot of work to reframe the ideas and details of a cold and routine surgery to a warm and celebratory birth that would allow me to be brave and present no matter how my daughter should arrive into our lives.
When we arrived at Tri-City around 10:00, I requested to first see the position before a vaginal exam. Our little girl was absolutely, unmovably, head up. The surgeon said that the contracting of my uterus would actually make it harder for her to flip. We discussed waiting until the planned cesarean in four days but my cervix was soft and dilating and waiting put us at the mercy of hospital scheduling. I felt I had done so much work to prepare for the surgery that the less rushed we were, the more present I could stay.
I met with an anesthesiologist, and by 12:30 I was ready for our birth experience. I know that we have spent weeks in Liza’s class educating ourselves so that we can avoid an unnecessary cesarean, but if it is necessary, here is what I can offer that helped me along.
Crossing into the operating room is a big red line, as I walked over it, I took a moment to think that crossing it meant I was going to become a mother. I knew what the spinal block was made of, the position I would sit in to receive the shot and the feeling it would give me as it numbed my lower body. The spinal was not very painful. The needle was small; it burned a little. The midwife held my hands and looked straight into my eyes to encourage me. I was quite scared and close to tears, but tried very hard to just take it all in. This was my own birth story happening.
When they laid me on the table, the lights were very bright and they spread my arms out to the sides. Sometimes they restrain them, but they laid a warm blanket over me instead. Waiting for the medication to set in, I paid close attention to my breathing and tried my best to relax. In the room were two assistants, a midwife, the surgeon, a neo-natalogist, and a nursery nurse. Jesse arrived in scrubs and sat by my head. Everyone wore masks and it was difficult to hear but their eyes were all friendly and encouraging.
Jesse and I wrote a birth plan that included requests for both natural labor and Cesarean. I had requested music and had planned to spend Sunday constructing the perfect Labor- land playlist. Instead, I had to quickly make a playlist on my phone while we waited in triage before the surgery. Jesse, smelling of my requested lavender scent, held the phone by my ear as I tried to relax to a song about a bird in a cage. Having music was an impor- tant detail that my surgeon broke some rules to accommodate. I am grateful because the familiar songs brought a lot of comfort.
Neither Jesse nor I actually watched the surgery, but I constantly checked in for reassurance that every thing was happening smoothly. The anesthesiologist did some very convincing tests that I would feel nothing and the anesthesia didn’t have any of the dreaded rare effects, like headache or shortness of breath. The small incision was made at my bikini line and then the midwife guided little baby down and out. This was quite a feat as she was very high up and very breech. I heard a lot of effortful grunting from behind the drape. When she was out, they lowered the drape, as I had requested, and showed me what looked to be a near perfect little baby. Heavy, at 8lbs 10oz, but proportional. Having been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I spent the pregnancy monitoring and carefully controlling my diet and so I actually argued with the surgeon about my baby’s weight. It went something like this.
“Wow, congratulations, she’s heavy! Maybe nine pounds!”
“No she’s not.”
“Yes she is, I can tell. She’s a very good size.”
“No, I had controlled my diabetes, she’s supposed to be small.” “Well you’re both pretty tall. Anyway, she looks great.”
I remember thinking my midwife would think I cheated on all that food diary business I was keeping for six months. Her blood sugar was thrice checked, though, and she had all the signs of a healthy baby with a well-controlled blood sugar. Not the rolly-polly, smoking youTube baby I had feared!
Jesse then accompanied our new daughter to the nursery where he fielded a barrage of tests and procedures. We opted for no ointment in the eyes and no Hepatitis Vaccine. We did allow the Vitamin K as she had some bruising from being hard to get out from her breech position. The nursery nurse was a little abrasive, so we also opted for no bath until later. We ended up with the best nurse in the world who gave her her first bath a few days later in a loving, calm environment. Cora continues to enjoy having a shampoo, I think thanks to Betty – the greatest nurse.
My delivery of the placenta went unnoticed as I was entirely consumed with new baby. Stitching me up took the most time as they carefully repaired me layer by layer. At this point, I felt pretty dizzy from the morphine in the spinal and also a bit itchy, but still in good spirits.
Jesse brought the baby back to me in the recovery room about 30 minutes later. I had requested for my mom to be allowed to meet me in recovery but you are only allowed one banded person. I actually enjoyed the silent alone time to reflect on my experience and try to calmly relax through the dizziness. When I had Cora in my arms, I set right to work on breastfeeding which has been very successful. I have since had many consultations from the lactation specialists just to double check and continue to encourage what has been going, thankfully, very smoothly.
I spent 3 nights in the hospital. The pain got very bad on the 2nd night as I was really trying to stave off using Ibuprofen and Percocet for pain. I was obviously, very against medication for a natural birth and had a hard time reconciling with using them after surgery. But when the pain got so bad that I didn’t think I could feed the baby, I took them and they helped. Natural delivery isn’t something that needs to be treated and fixed. Surgery kind of is. It has been 10 days and I am down to only an Ibuprofen at night.
We saw the pediatrician on Monday and he congratulated Jesse and me for keeping a new- born baby healthy and happy for a whole week. She is a little person in our lives, surprising us with thoughtful stares and sleepy, unconscious smiles. I would describe my pregnancy as fairly stressful and although I was continuously told none of it would matter once the baby arrived, I didn’t actually understand that until she was in my arms. I plan to use the same advice for any panicked worried mom-to-be I encounter. I totally understand the worry, but I have nearly forgotten the negatives of my journey now that our baby is here. It’s true, I stare for hours and marvel daily. By the way, it’s 5 o’clock and I am still un-showered and in my pajamas. Welcome to baby time!
Tags: baby, beautiful, birth, Bradley birth, Bradley Method, C-section, Cesarean, delivery, doula, family centered, full term pregnancy, hospital, labor, Liza Janda, midwife, positive, positive birth stories, prenant, prenatal yoga, www.yogajanda.com, yoga