Saturday, July 20, 2013

Birth Story of Erik James

Life happens when you are busy making other plans.  True story.
Me, at 40 weeks.

Throughout this pregnancy, I planned on having a natural childbirth with no interventions or pain medications.   Josh and I took courses in the Bradley Method. I switched care providers to someone who would be more supportive of me having a VBAC. I was seeing a chiropractor to help with aches and pains and help baby achieve the perfect birthing position. We were ready to have a successful natural birth.

My due date came and went on July 10th.  I wasn't having any consistent contractions.  I went to a doctor's appointment that day and unfortunately my blood pressure was up, which was a huge concern in my last pregnancy but I had managed to keep it down during this one. I was hooked to a machine to monitor baby's heart rate ( which was wonderful) and given the blood test to test liver function for preeclampsia ( which were all acceptable levels).  We decided with that information, we would just wait for Erik to arrive and schedule a follow-up appointment for Friday to do another fetal stress test ( just monitoring baby heart beat) and ultrasound to check for sufficient amniotic fluid.  Both pretty standard tests for overdue moms.

Josh came with me to the Friday appointment.  Baby's heartbeat still looked good, I was doing well.  I laid down for the ultrasound, excited to see my baby since I hadn't had an ultrasound in 20 weeks.  The tech put the sensor on my belly. "Oh wait, baby's head is up here.  He's breech."  No!  Turns out, what we thought was Erik's head was actually his bottom sitting firmly in my pelvis.  The reason my daughter was a c- section was for breech position as well. I swear they should design a baby BarcaLounger based on my pelvis shape because evidently, it's pretty darn comfortable.

From there, my decision was easy.  A breech delivery was never something I was willing to try and being 3 days overdue, I didn't have much hope that any method would turn him the correct way.  I was disappointed, but a little less anxious because I knew what to expect in a c-section.

Many new moms get to tell a story about their labor. I wanted one of those, but didn't get it. So instead, I have a surgery story which honestly, I find pretty cool.  

My fabulous Dr. scheduled me for the next morning at 9:30 am.  I was told to not eat or drink anything after 11pm and needed to check in at maternity triage at 7:30am.  Once I arrived, I met my nurse, Brooke, who showed me to my triage bed.  Coincidentally, it was the same one I used when Camdyn was born.  I changed into a hospital gown and socks.    Then, Brooke hooked me up to the contraction and fetal monitor for 20 minutes.  I was having contractions about 5 to 7 minutes apart, so if Erik was facing the right direction, he probably would have arrived on his own in a few days time. Brooke inserted my IV and started loading me with fluids.  I needed to have two bags of saline before the section.  I also got antibiotics as protection against possible infection.  The blue curtain surrounding my bed opened again and someone from the lab drew my blood.  Then the anesthesiaologist dropped by to answer any questions, a really sweet woman named Dr. Aswahi.  Josh was with me for most of my time in triage, only leaving to eat some breakfast that my parents brought for him and checking in with family in the lobby.  I heard a patient being wheeled into triage with their new baby and thought how that would be me in less than an hour.
In triage, ready to meet Erik!

Josh, all scrubbed up.

At 9:30, Brooke came to walk meinto surgery.  Josh had to wait outside initially in the "daddy" chair while they got me prepped.  I sat on the table and Brooke supported me as Dr. Aswahi inserted my spinal.  This was honestly the part I was the most anxious about.  I felt a tiny burn and sharp pinch as she numbed the area.  For the actual spinal, I only felt a little bit of pressure.  With that done, they helped me lay back and I felt a warmth radiate slowly from my stomach down to my feet, sort of like getting into a warm bath upside down.  After that, they inserted a catheter and started scrubbing my belly with blue antibiotic wash and draping me with the blue towel dressings.  We talked about smurfs.  

Once I was prepped, Josh was led in.  They brought up a big blue screen that started at my mid-chest and went about 4 feet high.  Josh held my hand.  Dr. Kells did not tell me when they started cutting which I am thankful for.  Pretty soon I heard, "You're going to feel some pressure."  I felt pushing right under my rib cage and then felt my lungs delightfully expand with the extra space.  "Here he is" was followed by a big cry from Erik.  

The pediatrician examined him over to my left.  He looked so different than Camdyn!  He was then bundled up and laid on my chest.  Josh supported him as I talked to him and gave him kisses.  I loved this because both Josh and Erik stayed with me throughout the rest of the procedure.  They only left the last 5 minutes as I was transferred to the stretcher to move back to triage.  Back in triage, the area where they checked Erik was right next to my bed so there was really never a time that I was without him or Josh.
Baby boy!

Our family of 4.
I'd always heard of the hormonal high that followed natural childbirth, but honestly I was incredibly happy and "with it" following this c-section.  The happiness "high" lasted for a few days and then I just started feeling normal.  After Camdyn, I had post-partum depression, but so far I see no signs of that.  I've been getting quite a bit of sleep, making sure I stay current on my pain medication and taking placenta pills when I feel the anxiety creeping in.  Although I am nowhere near the activity level I would be at with natural childbirth (today I exhausted myself walking in Target), recovery hasn't been quite a demobilizing as I thought it would be.  I have an amazing support system through my husband, my mom staying with us right now, my Bradley teacher Wendy and my doula Diane.  Also the many friends and family who have visited and offered to help in any way they can.  I am truly thankful and completely elated with my new baby boy.
1 week postpartum  Pregnant belly still receding.

1 week old!


  1. I am so happy for you!!! I love his hair :-) We need to post Daddy's scrub picture in our Daddy's group, hehe.

  2. You are amazing. Things may not have gone as planned but the strength it took for you to keep moving forward and keeping baby safe is immeasurable. I am in such awe of your courage. Thanks for asking me to watch you guys as walk this path.

  3. lovely...
    a time to cherish for a life time

  4. Congratulations!! He looks adorable! Glad all went well at the end.