June 23, 2017

Hannah's Birth Story

On June 7th I went in to see my OB for my 39 week ultrasound and cervix check. This entire pregnancy I was planning on a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and my doctor was on board. The plan was to strip my membranes during this visit in an effort to induce natural labor. But that plan failed as I got some discouraging news: not only was I completely closed and baby was sitting high, but I also learned that although baby's head was down, she was in a posterior position, or "sunny side up." This position makes for a long labor (with lots of "back labor"), a high chance of c-section and it happened to be the same position Adam was in, which is partly why his birth resulted in a c-section. My doctor told me I could try spinning babies to get her to turn, and that she may end up turning during labor anyway. But he was pretty clear throughout my pregnancy that he didn't want me going past 40 weeks for a VBAC, both because your odds of uterine rupture increase (bigger baby) and the success rate decreases. So I basically had a week to see if my body went into labor on its own before the 40-week mark (ideal situation), or I'd have to decide if I wanted to induce labor (which also slightly increases your odds of uterine rupture) or schedule a c-section.

I pretty much spent the next couple days researching the hell out of my VBAC options, weighing the pros and cons of inducing before 40 weeks versus going into labor after 40 weeks (which would have been against my doctor's advise). I decided I would wait the week out and hope that my body would go into labor. Otherwise, I planned on going in to see my OB on my due date to see if baby had turned and to check on my progress. From there, I would make a decision.

The following week dragged on for what seemed like forever, as I waited every day for my body to go into labor. Any time I'd go pee I'd wonder if my water would break or if I felt any cramp I'd wait to see if it would turn into a contraction. Unfortunately, I didn't go in to labor.

On Wednesday, June 14th, at 40 weeks pregnant, I went in to see my OB bright and early for a final ultrasound and cervix check. The baby was still high and I was 50% effaced, which is nowhere near labor. She was also still in the posterior position and my fluid level was low. My doctor also estimated the baby's weight at 8 pounds, which was the same as Adam's birth weight. So my OB basically told me I was going to have a c-section that night. Otherwise, if I chose to wait, I'd have to fill out a bunch of paperwork because I'd be going against medical advise. My doctor strongly felt that if I did undergo a trial of labor, I'd end up in an emergency c-section given a number of factors: my first birth experience and the fact that both babies were in the same position, the baby measuring on the bigger side and that I likely have a narrow pelvis for a vaginal birth.

As much as I wanted to try for a VBAC, I obviously didn't want to do anything to put me or the baby in harm's way. At the end of the day, we all just want a healthy baby, however that may be. So I agreed to the c-section. My OB called the hospital to see when they could schedule me in, and told me to get there by 6pm for an 8pm surgery. I was going to meet my baby girl that night.

I went home and woke up George and told him the plan. We made arrangements to drop off Adam at my in-laws at 4:45. I then headed to Chick-fil-A to grab a quick bite to eat since I was instructed to not eat or drink anything after 12 noon. I felt so many emotions during those hours before we headed to the hospital: I was nervous and scared about the surgery; disappointed in my body for "failing" me and not going into labor; excited to meet my baby but sad to be leaving my first. Even though I had a c-section before, it was unplanned and everything happened so fast so I didn't have much time to think. This time I was more nervous because I had time to be with my thoughts, which can be scary. But the baby needs to come out one way or another...

At 4:45 we headed out to drop off Adam, and of course I got emotional about it. I kept thinking about how I was leaving my baby and coming back with another one. Oh pregnancy hormones, gotta love 'em.

Since it was now rush hour, we hit traffic on the way to the hospital. I started getting this pain in my belly, which I thought was just discomfort from the baby moving since it was pretty tight in there for her. But it started to become more frequent and I realized that I was actually having contractions, so I started to time them. Looking back, I think I was actually having contractions even before we dropped off Adam, but I just didn't realize it.

We finally got to the hospital at around 6pm and checked-in to labor and delivery for my scheduled c-section. I told the nurse that I thought I was having contractions, but she said it wouldn't really change anything and we'd just proceed with the surgery as planned. She got my IV going and had me answer a ton of questions for paperwork. 7pm is change of shift so I got a new nurse at that time and she continued with the paperwork. Even though my surgery was scheduled for 8pm, somehow 9:00 rolled around and my OB still hadn't arrived and we were just kind of waiting around and answering more questions for paperwork. At that point, my contractions started to get uncomfortable so I asked the new nurse about possibly getting back on the VBAC track. She said she was wondering the same thing since I was having contractions every few minutes and the baby was doing well, but she would have to ask my doctor. So she gave him a call and had me speak with him. He told me that the decision was mine to make; he had already covered the risks with me, but if I wanted to have a trial of labor he was fine with that. Either way, I had to be 100% sure about my decision, otherwise I'd look back and regret it. He let me know that if I wanted to labor and changed my mind at any point throughout the night, he was only 15 minutes away. He advised that I have everyone leave the room so that George and I could discuss our options and reach a final decision. He also said I could have the nurse check my cervix if that would aide in making my decision. He also warned me that I could be having "false contractions" since I had fasted from all food and drink for the last 8+ hours and if I were to hydrate my body, the contractions may stop.

This was probably the hardest part of the night for me. I was so upset because I had already come to terms with my decision that morning to have the c-section. Then my body decides to go into labor on the way to the freakin hospital! It just felt like some messed up joke my body was playing on me; such horrible timing. So now I had to decide, yet again, if I wanted to have a c-section or have a trial of labor, and I really didn't know what to do. So I had the nurse check my cervix (which was extremely uncomfortable, I don't think she knew what she was doing) and she said I was about 1 centimeter dilated and 50% effaced. After emotionally contemplating the decision yet again, I decided to proceed with the c-section.

By the time I walked into the OR to get prepped, it was probably around 9:45/10:00. George had to wait outside until they finished my prep. Walking into an OR isn't exactly a fun experience. There are bright lights everywhere and the room is really cold. I had to get up on this narrow bed and hunch over so that the anesthesiologist could place the spinal block, which was probably the scariest part. I was afraid to even breathe because you're supposed to be completely still. I then had to immediately lay down since it goes into effect pretty rapidly. After that I couldn't feel anything from my chest down. I remember trying to wiggle my toes and I literally couldn't move; it was the weirdest sensation ever. Even though I had an epidural with Adam, I could still maneuver my lower body, but not with this (which is a good thing if you're about to have surgery!) But one of the side effects is nausea (which is why they tell you not to eat for 8 hours prior) and I remember telling the anesthesiologist that I needed to throw up and asked if I could move. He told me I couldn't and I just had to turn my head to the side and throw up in this tray; not exactly the most comfortable position to be throwing up in.

After that a bunch of people came in that were part of the surgical team and they let George in as well. Once my doctor arrived things moved pretty fast. I had to throw up again and I remember waiting and wondering when they were going to start the surgery. I could feel someone touching my stomach but it felt like they were touching my upper stomach, so I thought we were still in prep mode. I didn't realize that they had actually started the surgery! The surgery itself is pretty fast and by the time I realized that we had started, it was maybe about 5/10 minutes later that my doctor told us to get ready. I had opted for a "gentle c-section" so they peeled off the blue drape to reveal a clear one so that I could see the baby being born. I remember the doctor saying, "come on little one" as he was trying to get her out; I felt like I was just holding my breathe, waiting to see my baby. Then I heard one of the nurses make a remark about the baby's eyelashes, which is crazy because the same remark was made by one of Adam's nurses when he was born. Then my baby girl finally emerged and as the doctor showed her to me I started crying as I was staring at the most beautiful grumpy little face. That moment will forever be enshrined in my memory.

The nurses proceeded to clean her up while my doctor finished working on me. My doctor mentioned that there was a lot of meconium in there so I had made a good decision in proceeding with the c-section. I remember I got worried because the baby didn't cry right away, and I guess that's because she had some meconium in her nose and mouth that they wanted to suction out before they let her take her first breath. But when I finally did hear that cry, the waterworks started all over again. I suppose I'll never know how things would have gone if I did in fact labor, but I'm just thankful that both me and baby are safe and healthy.

After they cleaned up the baby, George brought her over to me. Meeting your baby for the first time after carrying them around inside your body for 40 weeks is a feeling I just can't describe. No matter what happened before, if you had a difficult pregnancy, your birth experience didn't go as planned, you forget it all once you have your baby. It's truly one of life's most beautiful moments that you will never forget.

Since my doctor was still working on me, George and baby went on to the recovery room for some skin-to-skin until I was done. I was then brought to recovery so I could start on breastfeeding and skin-to-skin. That "golden hour" after giving birth is my favorite, since you finally get to hold and bond with your baby after 9 long months. As I finally got to really look at her, I realized how much she looked like Adam as a newborn, except with more rolls; they're like twins! In fact, my whole birth experience was eerily similar to that of Adam's. Both babies were posterior and needed a c-section; both were born late at night (Adam at 10:25pm, Hannah at 10:57pm); both were 8 pounds even; and Hannah was one inch shorter than her big brother. It's kind of bizarre.

Thankfully, my recovery went smoothly and my doctor cleared me to go home anytime I wanted after Friday. So we had Adam come that day to meet his baby sister, which was too much for my mama hormones to handle; oh, my heart. Another moment I will never forget. He was so sweet with her, and seeing your first born holding your new baby just makes you realize how big your first one is (which kind of broke my heart). But as much as I want my babies to stay babies, I'm looking forward to watching their friendship develop and love for each other grow.

We planned on going home on Saturday, but before we could be discharged we needed to pick a name. We had pretty much settled on the name Hannah a week or two before she was born, but for some reason, when I saw her I didn't think she looked like a Hannah! To me, she looked like an Amelia. So we spent from Wednesday to Saturday debating her name, which was stressing me out. I started leaning towards naming her Amelia Rose but wondered whether it was just my hormones that were making me question our original choice of Hannah. Finally, about an hour before we were discharged, we filled out the birth certificate paperwork and settled on Hannah Elise. As much as I liked the name Amelia (and still do...) I decided that I didn't want a name that was trending and stuck with Hannah.

To my sweet baby girl, I've spent the last 10 days soaking in every inch of you, in sheer awe of your absolute perfection. Every time I hold your little body against my chest I am reminded of Psalm 139:13-14: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." You are even more than we prayed for, wished for, hoped for.

Thank you, Lord, for such a beautiful blessing. I really am unworthy of such love, but you continue to bestow it upon me anyway.

Hannah Elise
June 14, 2017
10:57 p.m.
8 pounds, 20 inches


  1. Love love! In tears, can't wait to see Noah one day holding his little sibling. Xox!


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