Skip to content

Birth Story Part 1: Sunday

07/08/2013

Belle

I had no idea how much time holding a new baby required! This child does not like to be put down. Currently Sabine is in my lap all swaddled and sleeping. I have no idea how long this will last!

*note: I started this THREE days ago! evidently I grossly under estimated the amount of work it takes to care for a newborn 🙂

First: thank you for all the congratulations. It feels so surreal to be here, in my really messy house, full of baby things, stinking like milk, with filthy hair. I am having a hard time believing that five days ago I was pregnant and being wheeled back for surgery. I’m sad that pregnancy already feels like a distant memory and I find myself thinking of ways that maybe we could do it again. I know we won’t, though, and I know that as the postpartum hormones begin to filter out of my system I’ll be able to remember more and find closure and acceptance. Until then I’m so glad that I kept some notes here.

I am sure you all have a zillion questions to ask and I have a zillion posts brewing in my brain, but right now it is hard, hard, hard to find time to bang them out. Instead, I’ll start with a little update of where we are now and then move into part 1 of my birth story.

Sabine was born Monday morning at 6:26 a.m. via cesarean section and by Wednesday we were able to go home. I was healing well, my bleeding was minimal and her tests were all perfect so that afternoon the Professor and I loaded a baby into the backseat of our car. She was wide-eyed with wonder and I fought back tears the entire way. “Holy shit,” I kept thinking. “Is this my baby? Did we take this from someone else?”

Since getting home we have weathered sleepless nights, the massive hormone crash that accompanies milk coming in (did anyone else have this? Shit, I was not prepared and it was ROUGH), more dirty diapers than I can count, sore nipples, milk stained everything, sad cats and jealous cats and cats who are clearly in denial that this little creature is here to stay, tears and laughter, pain medication side effects and hemorrhoids and more. It’s been… intense to say the least! But completely and utterly awesome.

Two days old.

Two days old.

BIRTH STORY PART I

Sunday, June 30

Sunday I woke up and thought I was having some major poo discomfort. Coffee was drank and poo happened but the discomfort increased and was soon joined by waves of period-like cramps. I considered timing the contractions to see if this was the real-deal but decided against it and opted to instead complete my to-do list and enjoy thinking that this was early labor. I was, after all, going in for a c-section at 7:30 the next morning. Surely nothing would progress that quickly.

I spent the day cleaning the house, making trail mix and a big pot of red beans and rice and running errands. I put the last few things into my hospital bag and considered taking a final belly photo but decided to instead wait until Monday morning. I knew I’d be up early and would need things to occupy my time.

By evening the contractions were stronger, more painful and definitely the real deal. I called Dr. Shannon and asked if I should go in early. She said I could, but the earlier I went in the less likely I would have the experience I’d planned. Instead I should time them for an hour or two and see how urgent things were. I timed to the best of my ability. Having known since 34 weeks that a c-section was a real possibility, I did not prepare for active labor. I did not know the signs, how to time or the best Apps out there. After an hour or so I determined that they were coming every five to ten minutes and sometimes 20 minutes would pass between them. Dr. Shannon said it sounded like the real deal, but was early and that I should stay home and get as much rest as I could.

Monday, July 1

To any lady who can sleep soundly through contractions, my hat is off to you. My pain was not bad, but they were uncomfortable enough that a simple position change just was not cutting it. I tossed and turned all night, getting up regularly to pee and stare at my belly one last time. At 3:00 a.m. I peed and then crawled back in bed just to realize I was still peeing… while in the bed. Back to the bathroom I went with pee running down my leg. Looked like pee to me, smelled like pee, might have been a little more slippery than pee but what the hell do I know… I don’t examine the viscosity of my pee regularly! So I went back to bed. A few minutes later another contraction hit and with it came more of the “pee.”

I ran to the bathroom to try to clean myself up, which was sort of futile because as soon as I mopped one trickle up, another one started. I woke the Professor up saying my water had broken and I was going to grab a quick shower and thought we should head in a little early. The look he gave me was one for the books – filled with fear and happiness and shock.

Downstairs I said good morning to the cats and headed to the bathroom for what I had planned to be a long, meditative shower complete with shaving, deep conditioning treatment and lots of reflection on the last 10 months. Instead I looked down at the white bathroom rug and realized a green pool of water was collecting beneath my feet.

I have a very dear friend whose first-born was a c-section baby and came out covered in meconium. This little boy spent the first week of his life in the NICU with tubes in his chest. She did not get to hold him for days, failed at breastfeeding due to the separation and stress and still has PTSD over the situation. This is the only meconium experience I had known about so when I saw green water I immediately panicked. My shower took less than 2 minutes – just enough time to hose myself down, clean the fluid from my body and slap on a pair of granny panties and a huge pad. No makeup, no hair styling, no mediation, no final photo of my beautiful 40 week belly. We drove to the hospital in silence and I cried and cried and cried thinking that my selfishness over wanting a beautiful birth experience was now jeopardizing my baby’s health and well-being.

The folks at Labor and Delivery were all super nice and no one panicked when I said the water was green. They brought me back, hooked me up and we heard Chicken’s heartbeat thumping away. I was only a centimeter dilated  At some point during all of this I called my doula and Dr. Shannon and they arrived. I also mentioned to the  nurse about our struggle through infertility and how long we had fought for that day. A few minutes later the charge nurse came in and I explained to her that Dr. Z was supposed to do my c-section at 7:30 that morning and that we had spent a lot of time and effort planning a family centered experience.

Both nurses smiled and the first said that as she listened to all we had been through she had been thinking I was a perfect candidate for immediate skin-to-skin and that she and the charge nurse were the two at UK who were really crusading for this change. They vowed to do everything in their power to make my birth as perfect as possible, assuming baby was healthy, and told me that Dr. Z was already there and they would hunt him down and find a way to have him do the surgery.

Everything else went so quickly. I handed out copies of my Family-Centered Birth Plan and the nurses raved over it and asked if they could keep it for use in training others. The anesthesiologist came in to review my medical history and discuss what she would be doing – a spinal epidural – and prepare me for the procedure. I did not expect the epidural to scare the hell out of me the way it did. I spent weeks preparing for the cesarean surgery but spent no time looking into epidural. I figured I’d had 70 big needles in my butt daily, a huge aspiration needle shooting through my vagina wall, the OBGYN equivalent of a ShopVac used to suck out the remains of my first pregnancy, surely a little epidural would not be a big deal?

Wrong. I could not stop shaking and crying as she prepared me for it; shit going into my vagina seemed to pale in comparison to shit going into my spinal column. The anxiety over the epidural spilled into the operating room and left me unsure of my choice to watch the surgery so I opted out. The Professor sat by my head and held my hand as the doctors discussed the logistics of getting baby from womb to chest as soon as possible. From what I understand, I am one of the very first people to do this at UK so the change in procedure was very foreign to them. Then they started poking me to determine if I was numb and suddenly we were off. And I was a crying shaking mess.

Y’all, no You Tube video can prepare you for this. None. I was scared, I was creeped out by the epidural, I was overwhelmed that within moments my baby would be out, I was sad that I had missed my 40 week photo and my zen morning, and most of all, I was TERRIFIED that my baby would be sick due to the meconium. I’m a big sobby mess writing this, actually. It was intense and not the experience I had prepared for.

At one point I asked Dr. Z if he was about to start and he laughed saying he was already in and working on opening my uterus. “Really? Does my Ute look good, Dr?” I asked. Everyone laughed and I felt a little better – all hope is not lost if I can still make light of what was hands down the most overwhelming situation of my life.

“I have a foot out… and now a leg… and now you will feel lots of pressure…. baby is out!” he said. And then I heard nothing. I knew that it took c-section babies a little while to cry, but my baby? I expected my baby to wail immediately and give me a little reassurance. THen there were lots of suction sounds and I must have looked horrified because the anesthesiologist put her hand on my shoulder and assured me that this was perfectly normal and that they just needed to clear the airways of fluid. My baby, she said, was beautiful.

6  days old and napping in Nana's arms.

6 days old and napping in Nana’s arms.

And then crying. This tiny little lamb of a cry, each of which ended with little cooing sounds sort of like a dove. My baby was carried to my side of the drape where she was shown to us and the Professor got to announce “It’s a little girl! We have a little girl!” The doctor took her to another table to very quickly clean off the poo while I stared at the Professor in shock and said, “What? A girl? Are you sure????”

I have to give the entire surgical team at UK huge kudos. My baby was wiped off, deemed healthy and put on my chest within a minute of showing the gender. She was so perfect and pink and tiny, tiny, tiny. I held her and cried while she cried and, honestly, I’m not sure what the Professor did because at that moment all that mattered in the whole wide world was that my baby was here. Every single reader reminded me of this as I came to terms with the changes in my birth plan and to each I muttered to myself, “Sure, easy for you to say.” But they were right.

Even though I did not watch the surgery, even though I did not get my zen moments and beautiful belly photos, even though things were a little scary with the poo water, all that mattered was that she was here and pink and perfect.

Writing this has been good for me. I realize now that my birth experience was really shockingly perfect. I had a compassionate team who worked so hard to meet my requests, my baby is healthy and was on my chest within minutes and I actually got to labor for a full day and have my water break meaning no matter what I choose, July 1 would have been Sabine’s birthday. The hormones and squeezes Sabine got from the little bit of labor helped her come out pink, strong and yelling. The only thing missing was my calm, and sometimes that just happens. Nothing can prepare you for your first birth, natural or cesarean section, and you never truly know how you will react. All considered, I’m proud of my body, I’m proud of my baby and I’m immensely proud of my progressive and kind surgical team.

Part II will hopefully come tomorrow or Wednesday. For the next few weeks Scrambled Eggs might not post as frequently as before, but I promise that as Sabine adjusts to life outside the womb, and this Mama learns how to sleep during the day (my tragic flaw), posting will return to it’s regular five day a week schedule.

38 Comments

Post a comment
  1. July 8, 2013

    Yay! I’m glad you got almost the whole experience you wanted! I don’t think any mom is zen the first time, even if they want to be. Anyway it sounds so wonderful. I am so happy for you guys. 😀

  2. Mo #
    July 8, 2013

    just amazing. I’ve been looking forward to reading this. Dude – you’re totally a mom! 🙂
    Lots of love!

  3. Shinara #
    July 8, 2013

    She is sooo beautiful!!! …and I can’t stop laughing…”who in the world looks at the viscosity of their pee?!?” I am so happy for you, I can’t stop beaming. I have one more week to go and I so hope my little babe makes it out fine, too.

  4. 35life #
    July 8, 2013

    This is just a beautiful story, even if it took turns you weren’t planning or expecting. I am tearing up just reading this. She is so precious!

  5. July 8, 2013

    Ever since your last post, I’ve been checking my reader obsessively. Belle, this is so very beautiful, and I can’t even express to you how much your whole IF story has blessed and inspired me. I am so happy for you. She’s perfect.

  6. July 8, 2013

    She is beautiful! I am looking forward to part 2. 🙂

  7. July 8, 2013

    Wow, Belle. This is perfect. Congratullations Mama.

  8. July 8, 2013

    Congratulations!!! She is absolutely beautiful!!!!

  9. July 8, 2013

    This is so absolutely beautiful you brought tears to my eyes. I am just so insanely happy for you! Congrats on your beautiful girl and for being able to have a birth story that you can happily write about. The early days are hard the sleep deprivation is crazy and the hormones and the hormone crashes all make it so hard but it gets so good and so much better. A good friend told me after I had my daughter to get through the first three days, then the first three weeks, and then the first three months and by then it’ll be so different. And it really is. Congrats again! I didn’t really realize how invested I was in this little chicken but I couldn’t be happier for you and your family.

  10. Amy #
    July 8, 2013

    So beautiful! The whole experience, Sabine, everything. I think it’s so cool that you got to labor and even have your water break. By the time mine broke I was at 9 cm and could not even form coherent thoughts well enough to ask about meconium. Sorry that scare was part of your experience, I would have been scared shitless too, but it sounds like all is perfectly well in the end. Can’t wait for part two! Congratulations again!

  11. jak #
    July 8, 2013

    excellent birth story. sounds like everything went really well and you had a great team and (despite a little poop drama and a totally understandable fear of someone sticking needles in your spine!) a very peaceful, planned experience. i’m with you on the not-watching-surgery. omg, i would have totally barfed on myself. i’m good with pain, but not good with gore.

    i’m sure the meconium scared you, but i think what it means is that chicken cooked as much as she should have – that you did something good for her by waiting until 40 weeks for your planned c. and you already know that because your body was having early labor (although I had early labor like that every night for a week before real labor and was walking around at 1cm+, but everyone is different). if you look at stats, recent publications and CDC data, there have been a lot of late pre-term babies born recently in the US, mainly due to women opting for “term” elective (or planned) c-sections and in the end, it’s actually sometimes too early for the baby and there can be complications. 37 weeks is term, sure. but scientifically, spontaneous low risk labor onset averages 41 weeks and 1 day (peer-reviewed, published study). so 37 weeks is more than 4 weeks early. anyone who compulsively checks their baby’s progress and growth like an IFer knows that a whole shit-ton of development can happen in 4 weeks. i’d rather have my baby safe in utero with me than in the nicu because i elected to have a c too early because family were in town, because it was easier with my work schedule, because i was tired of being huge, etc….

    wow. you’re a mama, belle. to a beautiful chicken. great job:) – enjoy holding her and not wanting to ever, ever put her down!!!

  12. Elizabeth #
    July 8, 2013

    Oh, this is so beautiful and I am so very happy for all of you. My son is 4 months old on Friday and I STILL haven’t been able to write down his birth story. It’s just so emotional! Hats off to you for writing so soon.

    Lots of love!
    Elizabeth

  13. July 8, 2013

    Oh look at her!!! She is absolutely precious. This story made me so happy. You got to experience natural labor, Sabine is beautiful and healthy, and she came right on her due date. There’s something really magical about that. Can’t wait to hear more.

  14. July 8, 2013

    Awh, this was so much fun to read. I’m so glad that you had such a wonderful surgical team supporting you through this experience. I really sounds perfect!

    I was laughing at your plan to wait to take your final belly shot when you mentioned that last week – it seemed crazy to me that you wouldn’t go into labor before the scheduled time. 🙂 I ended up having my daughter the morning of 38w exactly, and I was bummed I missed that last weekly picture – until I realized I had even better ones in its place! I’m sorry you didn’t get that final belly shot and calm morning at home that you had planned on, but you DID get your first pic of your beautiful Sabine, and that’s not half bad!

  15. APE #
    July 8, 2013

    I remember shaking so much during my cesarian that my teeth were chattering. I guess it’s the spinal that does that. Reading your post brought back a ton of memories for me! 🙂 Anyway, I am so happy that your experience went almost like you planned. It is awesome that you got to have the skin-to-skin right away. I wasn’t allowed to have that and my son had to spend one night in the NICU because he wasn’t squeezed enough on his way out and his breathing was irregular. A piece of advise, don’t worry about changing the pee diapers so much at night and that way you can get a little more sleep. The poopie ones yes, but the pee ones can last through two pees as long as she doesn’t freak out about having a wet diaper. My son hardly cried about dirty diapers but all babies are different. That was just something i learned in the beginning and it helped me get more desperately needed sleep. I was changing him every single time he wet and then I realized I was being a little too worried about everything. Also, just keep repositioning her on your breast. Sore nipples happen (use that lanolin) but once a baby latches on correctly, you shouldn’t feel sore at all. I can’t wait to read the rest!

    • July 8, 2013

      I JUST started practicing the “don’t change every pee diaper” last night and it was glorious…. Until I forgot id done that and he leaked on top of me in bed this morning! Ha! Good advice, just remember to change her first thing the next pee. 😉

      I wish I’d known this, or thought of it, with baby #1!

  16. Kathy #
    July 8, 2013

    Amazing ! Somehow your birth turned out even better than the plan. I think in time you will realize how awesome it was to experience labour and the excitement of having your water break on its own. You will always have that memory of the profs face when you told him it was time ! The real thing is always different than we imagine. Kudos to you for presenting the hospital with some new and innovative ideas for cesarian births and kudos to them for being open and willing to try.

  17. July 8, 2013

    Yay! I am so so happy for you! Your baby girl is perfect! She is sooo beautiful! That is what a cesarean birth should look like, what a wonderful team of people you had! This post was so sweet, I really felt your words in my heart, especially moments like when the professor realized “it was time” and the look he had on his face, and when he got to announce that you had a baby girl! How amazing! Thank you so much for posting this and your beautiful pictures! I can’t express how happy I am for you!

  18. July 8, 2013

    Oh, she is just so gorgeous!! I love seeing her in color. And your story made me cry… I can’t tell you how relieved and happy we are for you. Hang in there through the hormonal roller coasters. They’re not easy, but they *will* pass!

  19. July 8, 2013

    Oh wow, Belle, she is just so beautiful! And for once, I’m actually reassured by a birth story… sounds like everything went as well as you could’ve hoped. And by the way, if you guys ever decide to cross the border for a family vacation, you should know that Sabine shares a birthday with Canada — so an entire COUNTRY will always be celebrating with her each year. 🙂 xo

  20. July 8, 2013

    So great to read this! I am so glad things went as well as they did and in the manner you had hoped for.

    As for day sleeping, I have never been a nap taker and still never learned how when my guy was born. I hope you are able to learn the skill.

  21. July 8, 2013

    Glad to hear you got to experience at least a little bit of labor and your water breaking and such and so happy for you that Sabine got her birthday she was meant to have even with the planned C!

  22. Jennifer #
    July 8, 2013

    I am so very excited for you and I’m loving reading about your first days together. I’m sure there are no words that can express everything you and the Professor are feeling right now, but take it all in and enjoy it!

  23. Ginny #
    July 8, 2013

    Belle, she is so beautiful that the word beautiful just doesn’t seem to say enough………………..what an angel. I am so happy for you and your hubby and what a sweet little family you are!!!! What a wonderful wonderful thing this is to read..love it!

  24. nonsequiturchica #
    July 8, 2013

    Excellent birth story and I can’t wait to read the second part. I would definitely like to know how you are feeling after the c-section.

    Sabine is beautiful! Congrats again.

  25. July 8, 2013

    What a great experience! I am so happy for you! I sort of wish I’d experienced some natural labor, but it wasn’t meant to be.

    Sabine is beautiful! I love her lips!!!

  26. karaleen #
    July 8, 2013

    Okay…aside from the fact that she is GORGEOUS!!! (and I love her name)…..Yay for you mama! You did it. When I first saw how early Monday that she was born…I had an incling your own body may have sped things up. And then when I started reading the birth story…I was so happy to see you were getting some of the natural labor you wanted to help her. But then so bummed to hear about the green fluid. And then even more bummed that you were frightened when the epidural came…..HOWEVER….as someone who has been here twice….I am really kind of jealous. I had two scheduled c-sections and have no regrets. But I do love that whole….”honey my water broke” moment and that would have been kind of fun too. I have had two babies and never felt a single contraction. But….like you said….and like I and other readers have told you….once that baby is in your arms…..soooo much of that other stuff just fades away. I won’t lie…sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to give birth naturally (or…at least non surgically)…but those moments are few and I really don’t have much angst about it…it is just a healthy wondering.

    Anyway….Yes…holding a baby and getting into any sort of routine in the first 3-6 weeks is pretty much fruitless. I was better at it with my 2nd only because the 1st needed to stay on his routing…..don’t sweat it though….just enjoy these moments….hold her and snuggle her and memorize how tiny she feels and enjoy the nursing. I still have dreams about nursing my babies….it really is the best and most awesome thing.

    Congratulations. You can just post picture after picture and I’m sure we will all be very happy.
    kd

  27. July 8, 2013

    I had to laugh and cry when I read this – Its pretty close to my own recent experience that I could totally relate to yours. I have NO IDEA how you have managed to find the time or energy to write but thank you for doing so. Your baby is just too darn beautiful and I am so glad that everything worked out so beautifully for you. And dont worry about the messy house, milk smells,hormonal landslides or anything else…it all gets better as you go along although the hormonal changes are almost as bad as the sleepless nights in my opinion!

  28. Cammy #
    July 8, 2013

    Congrats on Sabine! So happy to hear things went well and she is healthy. I too underestimated EVERYTHING! Mia is 8 weeks tomorrow, the first 3/4 weeks were really hard but things couldn’t be better, especially with breastfeeding! Good luck and I look forward to your future posts.

  29. Arbrefleur #
    July 9, 2013

    What a story. What a perfect little girl! Based on pictures only of course, I think Sabine looks JUST like you!!!! Congratulations, she is beautiful!!!

  30. July 9, 2013

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. xx

  31. July 9, 2013

    That is so awesomely amazing that you ended up going into labor on your own, and that the July 1st birthdate was always meant to be. : ) I love that stuff. I am so happy to hear the experience at the hospital was warm, accepting, & family friendly- and Sabine is just precious!

  32. July 9, 2013

    OMG! I read this at work on my phone and cried. re-read it when I got home, cried again. I am so happy for you and your healthy family and so happy you essentially got the birth experience you wanted! it’s nice to know July 1st would have been the day no matter what. And maybe it was a blessing she was butt down… gravity pulled the poop down and out 🙂 hope you are savoring every single moment!

  33. Esperanza #
    July 12, 2013

    I’m so glad everything went well! What an amazing birth story and an amazing little girl. I can’t wait to read more about your new life with Sabine but I’ll understand if the posts are sparse for a few months. 😉

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I’m so happy for you. Truly.

  34. July 12, 2013

    I love this. And if/when we get pregnant again, I’d love to see your birth plan. A huge congratulations! Now rest, my dear, and when you find the secret to daytime napping, please share. (The only time I’ve slept during the day post-birth was when I had the flu, and even then, it wasn’t much. Although, I count laying down and watching TV as rest…at least it’s not cleaning!)

  35. Rebecca #
    July 12, 2013

    I’m in tears! So happy for you – congratulations! I’ve been a reader for a while but I’ve never commented. I’m a silent infertile myself slowly making my way through my first pregnancy right now. I’ve enjoyed reading your honest thoughts, and thank you for making me smile during this difficult journey. Sabine is such a beautiful name – I’m over the moon for you guys – soak in every moment.

  36. July 12, 2013

    Congratulations Belle! She is beautiful. Glad all is well and everything went so well with delivery and beyond 🙂

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Birth Story Part III: Tuesday, Wednesday & C-Section Recovery | Scrambled Eggs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: