I’m sure you don’t hear many birth stories when it comes to scheduled c-sections (but I could be way wrong)! The story may seem pretty obvious – no surprises here – the mother goes in, gets numbed from the waist down, the medical team performs the c-section – out comes a baby. The end. Many would speculate it’s rather “simple”…not a whole lot of surprises with a scheduled c-section birth. Which is mostly true. But in contemplating writing this vs not writing it due to lack of “excitement” behind baby Q’s whole “birth story”. I decided to write it anyway. I wanted to bring empowerment to the women who choose to or have to undergo a planned cesarean section. There is a lot of bravery and pre-anticipated stress that comes with cesarean births and I am a firm believer that birth is to be celebrated no matter what avenue your baby takes to arrive safely into this world.
We scheduled Q’s delivery for Wednesday, July 31. We picked that day because the day before was our wedding anniversary and we wanted Q’s to have her own day. A day she didn’t have to share with us or with anyone else in our immediate family. So the 31st of July it was! We also went into it open-ended about whether or not we’d try for a VBAC should she decide to come before my scheduled c-section date. Once her eviction date was selected…the nerves started to set in. With R’s birth, I didn’t have the chance to think about all of the things that came with realizing you’re going to be numbed from the waist down and then cut open to deliver your baby. While I had gone through a c-section once before, without a problem, the anticipation drove me crazy. The weeks leading up to my delivery date were full of emotion and nerves. I had plenty of Braxton hicks contractions and spontaneous labor pains that made me believe I wouldn’t make it to my c-section date…but Q stayed put and we reached July 31 ready and eager to have it all over with.
The night before the c-section I waited for the call telling me what time I’d have to come in the next morning and whether or not I’d be the first delivery or the second. The call came and I found I’d be in the number two spot…which after fasting for the entire night and not being able to eat prior…sounded absolutely horrible. There isn’t much else that’s worse than a hangry pregnant woman (my husband can attest to this). That night we made sure our bags were set and packed and ready to go. I actually slept quite well considering. When we woke the next morning it was nice that we had some downtime with R…just the three of us before we left for a few day hospital stay away from him. Looking back now…having been the second surgery that morning was a blessing and one that I can now smile about. Everything felt slow, un-rushed, and intentional. We took one last photo together as a family of three…hugged R goodbye and then we left for the hospital.
We ended up arriving at the hospital much earlier than we were supposed to…but it gave us time to use the bathroom…walk slowly…and share in some nervous and yet excited conversation about all that was about to take place. When we checked into triage they ushered me into a private room where we had a nurse give us one on one attention – she monitored the baby, took my vitals, and was our point of contact and answered our questions and helped calm any nerves prior to going back for delivery. I was happy to find that she would also be in the delivery room – she was an angel in scrubs for sure! The entire delivery team came in to see me one by one and to chat with me about what role they would have in my care, answer questions, and give valuable patient education and information. After a little while, they ushered me back to the operating room – Dusty had to wait in triage for them to come back and get him for the operation. Once inside the operating room, I sat down and they began prepping my lower back for the spinal (numbing agent). After some careful work by the anesthesiologists, they instructed me that I’d feel a “cool or warming sensation move down my lower back and into my legs”….at that moment I felt exactly that and told them so. Although uncomfortable, I can’t say that the spinal hurt what-so-ever…I’ve heard mixed reviews from many…and for me…aside from a little bee-sting type pinch in my lower back…it didn’t hurt at all.
The team then helped me to slowly lay back onto the operating bed. Everything after that was quite a whirlwind of activity. There were a lot of questions and people checking in on me and asking how I was doing. “Do you feel this?” (and then someone was supposedly poking my leg or side). After what felt only like a minute or two…then Dusty appeared near my head. They drew up a curtain around my torso/lower body and pretty soon I heard Dusty say “oh I think she’s almost out.” Just at that moment, we heard a whimper and then a wail. She was here! baby Q was born at 11:49 a.m. – it all went so very fast. The moment we heard her cries Dusty and I both cried as we listened to her strong lungs carry out the best song parents could ever hear. Someone exclaimed, “Look at her hair! So much blonde hair we don’t see that very often!” they warmed her, made sure she was breathing good and then brought her to Dusty and I. I was able to do skin to skin and a sweet and wonderful nurse came to help me hold and steady Q on my chest so she could start nursing while they stitched me up. The stitching up process takes a whole lot longer than the delivery itself. I do recall feeling some pressure up into my right shoulder and chest area. When I mentioned it I was told how there is a nerve that extends up into that area of your body that when lower bodily organs are being moved around can sometimes cause it to be noticeable. It didn’t hurt…it just felt slightly uncomfortable, like someone was pushing up into my diaphragm – which, looking back now was exactly what was somewhat happening!
I remember feeling a bit sleepy and a little woozy but overall I felt great during the entire procedure. Once everything was good to go and my stitching complete they ushered me back to the triage room where I waited with Q, Dusty, and our nurse to then be sent to the post-partum recovery unit. We had about two hours to ourselves with Q…she snuggled, slept, nursed and we just soaked in her sweetness. They continued to check my vitals and check on Q – the two hours went by in a flash and we were brought to our rooms.
We stayed in our room for roughly three full days. The recollection of our stay with R came back to us as we were often woken up from sleep with the words “Mrs. Collins, we need to check your and baby’s vitals.” This occurrence happened regularly enough to keep us from having a good sleep that extended more than two hours. The exhaustion was real…but not as terrible as I recall it being after having R. He was a bit fussier and we were a bit more worn out going into his delivery having had done almost 24 hours of labor prior. All-in-all the three days went by super smoothly…R and my mom came to visit that same afternoon that Q was born and it still brings tears to my eyes remembering his face when Dusty carried him around the corner of the room and he saw her for the first time. He was so gentle and sweet with her. I only wish I knew what thoughts were running through his sweet little blonde head as he stared down at his new little sister. R came each day with my mom to see Q (or Q as we’ve been calling her per R) and then Dusty would take R home to hang out for a little bit and put him down for bed and my mom would stay with Qand I. Overall, my recovery has been a breeze compared to the first go-round – I’ve healed quicker and my pain was managed really well!
I had no idea my heart could grow as big as it did in this very moment above <3