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Chloe's Birth Story

This birth did not at all go the way I expected it to go. It was still beautiful in its own way but couldn’t be more different from what I expected. With my first daughter, Lilah, she arrived 4 days early after 44 hours of labor. And she was big, 8lbs 11oz. So this time I naively expected my second daughter to be even earlier and therefore smaller, with a faster labor. All of these are supposedly what “usually” happen the second time around.

So here’s what actually happened. My due date came and went and after much discussion with my doctor, we decided an induction a week after my due date was the best option for me. I was happy to finally have a date set even though I didn’t really want to get induced, I wanted it to happen on it's own. Luckily the morning of my scheduled induction I went into labor all on my own. Perfect! I wasn’t scheduled to go to the hospital until 9pm that night but ended up going in at 6pm because my contractions were so strong. In tears, I said goodbye to Lilah and life as a family of 3. I was scared and excited all at the same time.
We arrived at the hospital and I got the epidural fairly quickly. They checked me and in doing so they accidentally broke my water and discovered meconium, the first sign of distress in a baby. I was at 3cm. Not great but not terrible either, so now we wait... and wait. A few hours go by and they finally decide to check again, only 4cm now and the baby still hasn’t dropped, which we expected her to do by now. It’s now nearly 3am and I’ve already been awake and in labor for 20 hours. I was feeling disappointed but still optimistic that things would still go according to plan. Then just a couple minutes later, while the doctor was still in the room, the heart monitor starts beeping and shows that her heart rate has shot up significantly. We all stare at the screen for a little while in silence and then try a few things to bring it down but it never stays down for more than a couple beats. 

That was it, my doctor looked at me and in the gentlest way possible said “we are going to have to get this baby out tonight and I don’t think it’s going to be the way you wanted” and I said “what does that mean? A c-section?” He nods and then he lists all of the reasons why, I’m not progressing fast enough given that she was in distress and a c-section would be the fastest and safest way to deliver her. He was also concerned that she hadn’t dropped yet and that she may be fairly big. I interrupted him and explained that I understood and he so kindly said “I’m not trying to justify it to you, I’m trying to justify it to myself because I know this isn’t what you wanted”. And he was right but it felt like this was the right decision. Within 15 minutes I was wheeled into the operating room. I won’t get into the details of all that but c-sections are wildly different than how I gave birth to my first! Both have their own challenges, neither is easier than the other.

In the operating room, I was mostly calm but still very nervous at the same time. I didn’t feel any pain but felt a lot of pressure and just uneasy. It’s kind of freaky to be awake during your own surgery, hearing and feeling things, I just couldn’t wait for it to be over. I wasn’t allowed to have any food or drink but I think I asked for ice chips about a thousand times to no avail.

Within the first 10 minutes I heard her first cry. I cried the second I heard her crying, I was so relieved that she was ok. I didn’t get to see her because they wanted to check her out and make sure she was ok since she had been in distress. They asked my husband if he wanted to go meet her but he so sweetly declined because he didn’t want to leave my side. The nurse announced from across the room that my baby weighed in at 9lb 14oz! My doctor took one look over the curtain and gave me a smirk and then kept working. Any slight uncertainty that I had left about having a c section was washed away. I just know that it was meant to be this way and it gone as well as it could have given the circumstances. 

They finally brought her over to me all wrapped up and I couldn’t believe how much she looked exactly like Lilah. I couldn’t wait to hold her but I would have to get into recovery first. Another 30 or so minutes, which felt like a lifetime, and then I was finally in recovery and able to hold my baby.
I’ll admit I struggled with the fact that I had a c section. It sucks the proud feeling that you have after a natural birth right out of you, I sort of felt like my body failed me. And sadly I don’t remember much of that night or the day, I was so out of it. I spent most of the next day throwing up, shaking, and dizzy. But then as time has passed I’ve found myself incredibly grateful to be living in a time where c-sections are an option. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened to me or my baby if they weren’t. I’m thankful that it all happened on the same day that my doctor was on call, the only doctor I would have felt comfortable with performing an emergency surgery. I'm thankful I was his only patient that evening between 2 hospitals so that I wasn’t rushed in any way. I’m thankful for my husband who kept me calm through 20 hours of labor and a major surgery. I'm thankful for my mom who came and rubbed my back then left to go to bed only to return 2 hours later after I called her in tears before going into surgery. I’m SO thankful for my sweet girl who made her way to me on Mother’s Day of all days, by any means necessary.

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