I originally wasn’t going to do a birth story with Rowan because it was a scheduled C-section, so I figured it would be pretty boring. I came in, got cut open, had a baby, the end. Right? Well, Rowan decided that he would make his entrance into the world a little more exciting even though we thought we had things “planned.”
At 36 weeks Rowan tried to make a break for it. Skeptical, Doctors weren’t ready for him to make his debut, so we stopped labor. Twice. I proceeded to have contractions up until our scheduled C-section date. While most were just an annoyance, towards the end they got incredibly painful. The worst part of it all, none of them were productive enough to dilate me. But anywhere from every 5 to 15 minutes I was contracting for 3 whole weeks. That, plus an ever expanding bump was pure torture and made the last few weeks of pregnancy total hell. Hence, the lack of bumpdates. I try really hard not complain about pregnancy, because its a beautiful gift to carry a child and some women would give anything to be as uncomfortable as I was feeling. But, that wasn’t reality. My skin was stretched so far it hurt to touch, I couldn’t breathe I was so jam-packed full of baby, and the pressure in my hips was insane.
Finally, the day had come and it was time to go to the hospital and meet our boy. I had so anxiously awaited this moment my entire pregnancy, still unsure as how I was supposed to be a boy Mom. We walked into the ER where we had to check in expecting to slip right in and be on our merry baby-having way. We go to check in and registration is dealing with a hot mess of a man who apparently had been passed out in a yard only wearing pants, but swore he arrived at the hospital wearing a shirt and shoes as well. So, registration and a few nurses scoured the hospital looking for this gentleman’s belongings only to be informed that he arrived in nothing but the bottom half he was wearing. Insert major eye roll as it is now an hour past my registration time and I’m still sitting in the waiting room impatiently waiting to check in. My Southern Belle demeanor then turned into Southern Sass and in a hormone induced panic I adamantly expressed to the front desk clerk that I needed to check in, and check in now. An hour and a half past my initial check in time I was on my way to Labor and Delivery to meet my sweet boy.
By the time we made it upstairs and got connected to the monitors it was now an hour until surgery time. Not something I was prepared for, I didn’t even have an IV yet and it was almost surgery time. I hate feeling rushed and that’s exactly how I was feeling. Nurses were scrambling getting me prepped and ready. Of course, because nothing seemed to go smoothly that morning, they couldn’t get an IV to stick without blowing my veins. After blowing a few veins, an IV was finally inserted and everything seemed to be back on track. The clock strikes Noon, this was it! My Doc came in and said, “Let’s have a baby!”
My first c-section everything happened so fast. Nurses were running every which way and I had been in labor for 16 hours at the hospital plus 24 hours at home, so I didn’t care what was happening as long as they got the baby out of me! This time was so different. It was a little scary knowingly walking into the operating room to be cut open to have a baby, but this time was so calm. I walked in with my nurse, who I absolutely adored! She explained everything, I laughed and joked with the other members of the operating team, and having a spinal sober wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be.
They brought my husband in, the Doc came in, and we were ready to rock and roll. Staring into a blue abyss that is a sheet, I anxiously awaited the moment they told me I had a baby, but time kept ticking by and they kept saying, “a little pressure.” Let me just tell you, with my daughter, it was a little pressure. This time a little pressure was them pushing the baby so far up into my ribs that I panicked because they squished my lungs and I couldn’t breathe. I looked at my husband and nurse and said, “is everything ok?” and they assured me everything was fine, but I could tell there was concern. Then, I heard my Doctor say, “Nurse, I need the vacuum. I can’t get him out.” What?!! You can’t get my baby out? What does that even mean? And vacuum?! I put no mention of not using tools in my birth plan because I didn’t think you used tools during a cesarean. Babies are supposed to just slide right outta there, right?! The nurse walked in with the vacuum, and about that time I felt a huge pop and a huge release in pressure. The other Doctor assisting my Doc managed to wedge his fingers under the baby just right and literally pop him out of place without the vacuum. Thank you, Jesus! After a few moments, I heard the sweetest little cry and I couldn’t do anything but cry too. His little cry was perfect, and I couldn’t wait to see his face.
They let me do skin to skin right away while I was still on the table. It was a precious moment that I didn’t get to experience with my daugher’s c-section. They whisked her away to the nursery, so I only caught a glimpse of her. I got to soak up all Rowan’s newborn goodness right away and for that I am so thankful. We delayed his bath and measurements so I got to spend the next few hours with him on my chest and feeding right away. They also saved some cord for my husband to cut, something he missed out on with our daugther. I was so happy he got to have that experience since we didn’t have a typical vaginal birth where they do that for the Dads.
Once I got wheeled into recovery, I thought we were golden and would spend the next hours in awe over our little man. Then, all of a sudden pain started becoming outrageous. I had to have my Husband take Rowan from me, at which point they took his measurements, and my nurse was giving me pain medication that wasn’t touching a thing. They called my Doctor and Anesthesiologist who allowed Morphine to get my pain under control. Even then, the pain was dulled but still severe. Nothing I ever experienced with my first c-section. After some time and the right medication cocktail, I was finally getting back to somewhat normal. Rowan was brought back to me an 8lb 8oz, 20.5 inch perfectly healthy baby. My Doctor came in shocked that my little 5ft frame supported an 8.5lb baby. He mentioned I lost more blood than I should have, but not enough for a transfusion. He also told me that I had a few bruised/cracked ribs from them trying to get the baby out. He was so big he was stuck. He never made it to the birth canal, so even if I did attempt a VBAC he is 100% sure it would have been unsuccessful. My skin was also stretched so thin, that my incision didn’t want to stay closed because there was no elasticity left in the skin, and then he dropped the bomb. He told me because Rowan was so big and it took a such a huge toll on my body, that I should probably be done having babies. He’s not saying it’s impossible for me to have anymore, but for my health, I should seriously consider being done. This cesarean could’ve turned very bad for the both of us, and I’m so thankful that it didn’t and that we are both healthy. Although, it is a little heartbreaking to hear that you shouldn’t create anymore beautiful little lives. I felt I was done after Rowan anyway, but I wanted it to be MY choice, not a choice that was made for me.
The days following proved to be harder for me than I anticipated. Thankfully, Rowan was thriving. Despite me having Gestational Diabetes his sugars were great, and despite the blood type incompatibility his bilirubin levels were checking out too, which is amazing considering all the risks we were facing. He did have a higher count of red blood cells which made him appear red, but that was normal in GD and Incompatible babies. Me on the other hand, I could barely do anything. I could barely walk which they want you to do a lot of after a cesarean. They kept me bandaged longer than usual, and they made me keep my staples an extra week to ensure my incision would close.
Recovery has been slow. I just got my staples out this week, but I’m still in a fair amount of pain. I can’t lift my girl for another 6 weeks which is so hard. My incision keeps popping open, but they assure me it will heal fine. Mentally, I’m doing great. Postpartum has been a breeze compared to postpartum with Mykenzi. Rowan is already a chunker at 9lbs at his two week check up. He has blessed our family so much. He fits perfectly and Mykenzi adores him. She has her moments where she shows her butt for attention, but those are few and far between her holding his hand during diaper changes, singing to him while he’s swinging, and offering her own pacifier when he starts crying.
Life with two is chaotic, but perfect in so many ways.
Did any of you have repeat cesareans? How did they differ? Did you have to have tools like a vacuum or forceps used? How did that make you feel? I love hearing how we all conquer birthing our babes! We are warriors!