April 28, 2015

I Chose a C-Section: Ari’s Birth Story

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I love this photo! It makes me want to cry tears of joy every time I see it. Even though I didn’t have the labor I was hoping for originally, my delivery of Ari was so meaningful to me. I look at this picture and I remember the happiness I felt.

I had two very different experiences with the births of my two children, but overall, it doesn’t matter how our children come into this world. We love them all unconditionally and every experience is unforgettable and beautiful.

With my first son, Lucas, I went into the hospital on my due date expecting to have a baby in a few hours. I had a great pregnancy and was expecting a great delivery too. I was only dilated to a 1, but I was contracting regularly; my doctor said that he could start me on Pitocin and break my water to make my labor happen more quickly. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with this, so I agreed. Well, my labor was extremely slow (as with most first pregnancies) and after 22 hours Lucas’ heartbeat started to struggle after each of my contractions, and I started to swell. I was rushed in for an emergency C-section. I was completely shocked and scared. I remember shaking so badly on that operation table! 20 minutes later we had our beautiful baby boy. I saw him for a brief moment and then they took me into recovery and took my baby to the nursery. I didn’t get to see him again for a few hours. Once I saw him and held him in my arms, the world disappeared and I completely forgot about all of the difficulties for a moment. Afterwards, my recovery was hard, long, and painful. I had a few other minor difficulties in the hospital and after 5 days I was able to come home. My mom stayed with me for the following week and helped me, since I could hardly walk for the first few days.

With my second baby, Arianne, I wanted so badly to do a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian.) You can only do a VBAC after your first C-section; once you have had two C-sections, you have to have all of your babies that way. I remembered how bad my recovery was after having Lucas, and now I was also going to have a 2 year old to chase around. So I was praying so hard to be able to have a normal delivery! To do a VBAC, you have to go into labor on your own (you cannot be induced.) My due date came and went and I was so anxious to go into labor! I felt huge, I had no energy, and I was ready to meet this baby girl!

A couple of days later, I went to the doctor. He checked me and I still had NO progression. Oh I wanted to cry! I was barely dilated enough for him to strip my membranes, but we were both pretty certain that I was going to have the same problem I had with Lucas and wasn’t going to dilate. He told me that if I did have to have a C-section, it would be a much different situation than my first experience. He said that I would come in at a scheduled time, under no stress, and have a baby shortly after. He said that my recovery would be much easier because I wouldn’t have to go through such a long labor like I did with my first. We were going to wait a week past my due date and if I hadn’t gone into labor we would schedule a C-section. I was content and told myself that whatever was supposed to happen would happen!

For the rest of the day I was in a lot of pain and discomfort. At midnight that night, I lost my mucous plug and started having contractions every 3 minutes that lasted 45 seconds. I was ecstatic! I couldn’t believe I actually went into labor on my own! After a couple of hours, we went into the hospital. When we got there, the nurse checked me and I still hadn’t dilated. Are you kidding me?! I figured they were just going to send us home and tell me to come back tomorrow. Because I was in a high risk situation, they kept me and had the doctor come in. After monitoring the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions, we found that Ari didn’t like my contractions. After each contraction, her heart rate would drop. My contractions were getting more painful. My doctor said that contractions can be very painful, but unless the baby is in the correct position applying pressure to the cervix, dilation won’t occur. At that point he gave us a choice. He said that we could try to proceed with a VBAC, but he didn’t think the baby would last through a long labor and there was a 90% chance I was going to have to have a c section anyways (after going through a long and painful labor.) Or, we could just proceed with the C-section right then, while both the baby and I were still healthy and strong. Mike and I felt like the choice was obvious, but I was so set on trying to do a VBAC I wanted to make sure it was the right choice. We said a prayer together and I immediately felt peace and comfort that I was supposed to have a C-section. We told the doctor our decision and the process for the operation began.

As I was wheeled back to the operation room, the OR team was happily talking to me. They were so kind and relaxed; it made me feel so comforted. In the operating room they had classical music playing. The team was laughing and talking together. As they were prepping me, I actually felt like I could go to sleep! My husband came in when they were ready to begin. I didn’t feel a thing. I had to ask Mike when they were cutting me! I had an overwhelming peaceful feeling come over me. I thought, “This is how I am supposed to have my babies. And that is okay!” I had a warm smile on my face. It was a very special and spiritual moment to me. A short time later, our little angel was born. I was so happy; I was able to hold her right after they pulled her out.  My arms were slightly numb, so my husband had to help me, but it was still such a beautiful moment. The first thing I thought of when I saw her, was how much she looked like me! My little mini-me. I was unbelievably happy.

My recovery from this c-section was so much easier than my first. I felt great, I was able to walk around the next day, and after about 5 days I felt practically back to normal. I was so grateful that Ari and I were healthy. But, I would go through what I went through with Lucas a thousand times over just to have these sweet babies in my life. It doesn’t matter how they come into the world, a mother will love her babies all the same.

I can’t help but to express outward appreciation to my Heavenly Father. I am so grateful that I have these sweet spirits in my life. I can’t get enough of my baby girl. I want to hold her and cuddle her ALL THE TIME! She is so sweet and such a good baby. Lucas is just smitten with her. It makes my heart melt to see him interact with her. I thought he was going to be jealous because he is such a mama’s boy, but he has been such a good big brother. I’m so grateful for my family that has helped me so much– both Mike’s family and my own. I’m grateful for everyone who came to visit us, even when they had to drive a long distance. Everyone has been so thoughtful. I’m especially grateful for my mom’s help. I love watching her play with Lucas. I know she is part of the reason Lucas has been adjusting so well. And lastly, I’m grateful for my loving husband. He is such a good father. Lucas loves playing with his daddy and needs him in his life. And Ari just stares at her daddy every time he holds her. She is already wrapped his finger. I feel so incredibly blessed to have this beautiful little family of mine.

 

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