Thursday, January 12, 2012

Baby E's Birth Story {Try New Adventures Thursday!}

Two weeks ago today, our dear baby boy made his arrival into our lives. What a sweet, full, and incredibly fast-flying two weeks these have been!

At 40 weeks pregnant, I was antsy for baby's arrival. I had not been having the pre-labor signs that I had experienced with my firstborn, which left me feeling as if labor would never start.

Happy due date!
40 weeks!
Andrew was on Christmas break, so daily we were going for long walks in hopes of prompting labor to start. On my due date, we walked all over campus for 50 minutes at a quick pace, and for the 1st time, I could feel it. The walk was like one long, giant Braxton Hick contraction, and I finally felt the pressure I had been missing before.
At 40 week appointment, waiting for an ultrasound.
Waiting at the office...
Later that afternoon, we went as a family to my 40 week midwife appointment--I was hopeful that baby's head had finally engaged or that there would be some encouraging signs that we were getting closer to having him!

In the office, a concerned look crept up my midwife's face as she palpated my bulging abdomen. She felt the bony protrusion on the top right of my belly and said, "I think this is his head!" My husband and I exchanged questioning glances, and next thing we knew, I was sent across the hall for a last minute ultrasound to ascertain our baby's position.

Sure enough, the ultrasound confirmed my midwife's fears. Baby boy was head up!

The midwife spelled out the practical meaning of this sudden finding. She explained that since I was already starting to dilate (3 cm at the time), if my water were to break, there would be a risk of the cord prolapsing (falling through the opening in my cervix). This could cut off oxygen supply to the baby in a matter of minutes.

"We need to do a c-section."

In a last minute effort to get baby to turn, the OB on call agreed to attempt a manual version of the baby (where they attempt to turn the baby from the outside). If the version was successful, we could go home and wait for natural labor to start. If not, they wanted to take me for a c-section as soon as I was past the "I-haven't-eaten-for-6-hours" mark. In other words, that very night! Our instructions were to go home, quickly gather our bags, drop Squishy off with his sitters, and check back into labor and delivery for the manual version/potential c-section.

When the midwife left the room, I shed a few tears at such an unexpected turn of events, but I felt God's sure peace in my heart. Andrew and I prayed together and sent a host of text messages asking dear friends and family to pray for a successful version!

Baby is frank breech...just discovered. Checked into hospital for a manual version. #AliciasLabor
Waiting for the version
An hour and a half later found us checked into the hospital. Two and a half hours after that (our doctor was busy delivering babies), and the doctor, midwife, and nurse were at my bedside to perform the version. I was given a medication to relax my uterus, they did a bedside ultrasound to determine baby's exact position, and then the doctor used her hands to firmly coax baby boy to move head down. He pushed right back and didn't budge. The experience was uncomfortable but not terribly painful--I breathed through it as I would for contractions.

After several attempts, it was apparent that our little one wasn't moving anywhere.

Time to prep for the C-section. There was excitement at the realization that we were going to meet our second child that very night and apprehension about undergoing major abdominal surgery. A cesarean was certainly not in my book of plans. But underneath it all was reassurance that we were in God's hands. 

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Waiting to go back to the OR
The c-section experience itself was surreal. A night and day difference from laboring naturally. In the OR, it was business as usual...the anesthesiologist prepping meds while the nurse helped position me for the spinal block which would numb me for the surgery. There was casual conversation. I was strapped down to the table, arms out, with my head slightly elevated. All the while, I could not stop thinking about how this was such a strange way to have a baby and please, when can my husband come to my side (no family was allowed in the OR until the spinal block was completed)?

Numbness was creeping up my body, and I began to feel as if I couldn't breath, piggybacked by nausea. I had to focus my full attention on trying to breath and not panic. I couldn't move, but everything in me wanted to come off the table. The OR team assured me that I would feel better momentarily, and within a few minutes I felt the panic subsiding and my ease of breathing return. They told me that the spinal block had caused a sudden drop in my blood pressure, which was what had made me feel so ill. A few seconds later and Andrew was next to me, wiping my hair from my forehead, the tears from my eyes, and holding my hand.

Next thing we knew, they were holding our son up for us to see, and the sound of his glorious crying filled the room. They brought him to me wrapped happy I was to kiss that warm, soft face over and over!

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First cries
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First kisses
1st moments together...

There is nothing like that moment.

After some precious minutes together, Andrew left with our fresh new one for the nursery (I urged him to go with baby instead of stay with me...on the condition that he take lots of photos and videos! Hehe). I stayed in the operating room for the next 40 minutes, being sewn back together. It was bizarre to be there without my baby, as the OR staff discussed New Year's Eve plans. I fell into conversation with them, but in the back of my mind I could not get over how strange it is to have your baby cut out of you. I couldn't believe our son had already been born! Compared to the 20 hours of labor I experienced with my firstborn, it all felt very sudden.

Back in my room, I had to wait an hour before our little boy was finally in my arms again ("recovery" time for me). It was no fun to wait, but that was all forgotten when we were reunited. Baby E. took to breastfeeding like a pro, and Andrew and I took joy in examining his every little feature.

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6 days old

Now I'm two weeks into my c-section recovery, and it's going well so far. I'm able to start driving again, and I just have to watch myself closely to make sure I don't lift heavy things. My doctor and midwife assurred me that I should be able to delivery naturally in the future, as long as I choose a practice that does VBACs.

As a family, we are adjusting well after Baby E.'s birth. A routine has come pretty easily. The days are chock-full, but pleasant. He is a really easy baby so far! Honestly, I forgot just how much fun it is to have a newborn in the house!

So, it's ironic that I had my unexpected delivery on a Thursday, right (as one of my readers pointed out!)? Link up your new adventures below--I look forward to reading them! Don't forget to link back to Alicia's Homemaking and leave a few cheerful comments on the other participant's posts. :) Happy adventuring...



  1. Awww, so excited to read your story! Silly little guy wouldn't turn around. You handled a stressful situation with grace and ease, Mama. And what a beautiful blessing!

  2. Ooohhh beautifully written, Alicia. I love how honest you were at how you were excited to meet your little man but apprehensive about the surgery. There is definitely lots of thoughts and feelings happening all at once.

  3. Congrats on your new bundle of joy! I am new to your blog and I have enjoyed reading your posts. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I can't remember if I have ever commented on your blog before, but I love reading about all of your adventures :) I originally found you through A Wife Loved Like the Church. LOVED reading your birth story of Baby E! I remember before I was ever pregnant watching those silly "Baby Stories" on TLC thinking, "I'm not going to let them kick my husband out if I ever need an epidural!" Well, lo and behold when I had my c-section I was too overwhelmed by the whole process to really stick up for that and didn't get to have him in there until after the spinal, just like you--it did seem like forever until he came in! I loved your comments about the OR folks chatting as they went about their business-I know they do this EVERY day, but to us it's brand new! I just trusted they knew what they were doing... ;) Enjoy your adorable baby boy! (Sorry for the super long comment!)

  5. I'm so happy Baby E is here and in your arms!! I know that how he arrived wasn't what you had planned, but God did! And I'm just grateful that there are medical means to help a baby out {literally} when they decide to get all flippy. Enjoy this time, sweet mama, even the crazy long nights. :)

  6. What a wonderful story, I love how honest you are. I also really appreciate how trusting you were when God had different plans for you! When Archer was 8, 9, 11....days late and induction approached I really really struggled being angry with God about the possibility of not getting my way. It was a difficult but good time. I will definitely be rereading this beautiful story if things get crazy at the end of this pregnancy. Thanks Alicia and enjoy the sweet time with your beautiful family!

    1. So, did you end up delivering naturally at 11 days late?

  7. Wow, what a story! Congratulations! May God shower you and your family with abundant blessings.

  8. Congratulations!!! What a whirlwind it sounded like. Glad you are recovery well. Enjoy the first weeks and take tons of pictures. I know you will :)

  9. Hi Alicia, I don't think I've ever commented before, but when I read your story, I had to let you know that I can completely identify. When I was pregnant with our first son in 2007, I had a completely normal pregnancy and was anticipating a natural labor & delivery. At a routine appt. at 39 wks. it was discovered that maybe this baby was breech. Like you, I was sent for an ultrasound. When it was confirmed, they tried a version which didn't work and since I was a 3 already and they didn't want to risk me going into labor, I had a c-section. I am glad that this was all discovered before I went into labor - it wasn't as scary as having an emergency c-section, but it was not at all what I was expecting. Everything was fine though and I recovered quickly. And to give you hope, I did have a successful, completely natural VBAC with our second son in 2009. What a wonderful experience! And we are planning another VBAC with our next baby which is due in June. We feel very blessed to have doctors/midwives and a hospital that is VERY supportive of VBAC's. Blessings to you with your two boys! It's a lot of fun!

    1. Debby, that's wonderful to hear!
      (and THANKS for commenting for the 1st time! I love it when readers come out of the shadows)

  10. Aww he is absolutely precious. So very happy for you, and how gracefully you handled your CS, I feel just like you, a C/S is totally out of the plans but it went so very well and smooth, that is great.

  11. No adventures this week for us...trying to "recover from the holidays" ;)

    Melody says, "Awww, whose baby is that?" =)

    I'm so glad that both you and the baby are okay. Praying for a speedy healing.

  12. I'm so glad everything went alright! It sounds a bit scary, but he is absolutely lovely! And that hat you made for him matches his eyes and wow! hehe, I love stuff like that. I can't wait to hear more about your adventures with the new little guy, especially how Squishy adapts!

  13. Congratulations!!! He is beautiful!

  14. Sounds familiar. I planned to have a natural birth and ended up having a c-section when my blood pressure went nuts and the baby's heart rate would drop between contractions. The only time my husband had to leave is when they asked me if he abused me when we checked into a room and when he went with the baby after the c-section.

    I didn't enjoy my hospital stay :/ Nothing went well and all my hopes and expectations were dashed. The baby had issues with breastfeeding (gave up at 3 months), with holding her temperature, gaining weight, and all the other issues you don't realize until you're a parent and then the other issues of having a c-section. We even had a nurse accuse us of lying about the baby and how many diapers she was doing.

    It was quite miserable for me. I think about having another baby and I just feel fearful and sad that it's all going to happen the same way again.


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