A Cesarean Birth Story – Baby #2 – Written by Lisa Nerem
My husband and I waited a few years before trying to get pregnant with baby #2. If you remember from my first birth story, I’m a huge planner! In trying to figure out “ideal” timing, I decided that I loved my first maternity leave – which was in August / September so I thought, let’s try and do that again! Everyone laughed and said, “You would try to plan that.” I tracked periods, ovulation, etc…and somehow I got lucky and was pregnant with my due date being August 16, 2019. We were so excited to tell everyone, especially big sis!
Now, you should know that I’m that rare person who loves being pregnant. If I had endless amounts of money and a lot of patience, I’d have multiple children. But I don’t so we decided that two would be enough. I was blessed with another fairly easy pregnancy! I worked out a few times per week until mid-second trimester. I realized that it’s true what they say, I looked pregnant a lot faster than the first time around and felt huge!
We decided to tell our family at Christmas – where we all celebrated and were beyond happy. Then I woke up Christmas Eve day to some spotting. I remembered having this only once with Sophia (my first) so I tried not to panic…but I made a call into my OB clinic and they wanted me in for an ultrasound. The baby was too small to see but everything looked okay. This happened a few other times early on in my pregnancy so I had more ultrasounds than with my first baby. Thankfully, it was always just spotting (for whatever reason) and nothing serious.
We had a gender reveal party and were ecstatic to find out we were having another girl. My husband is an awesome girl dad and I love all the pink and girly things. We have 3 nephews so when everyone asks, “awe, aren’t you going to try for a boy?!” …we always just say “no, we’re good!” 🙂
One major decision I was faced with throughout my pregnancy was how would I deliver our second baby. The first time around my baby was delivered vaginally and had shoulder dystocia, where the shoulder gets stuck. Thankfully there were no complications from this but if you read about what can happen, it’s scary. My OB is amazing and was confident she would be able to get the baby out if I delivered vaginally, but also said a cesarean wouldn’t be a bad option to avoid that happening and having to end up in an emergency situation, anyway.
It weighed on my mind a lot. I had thoughts of, “Is it stupid to want a surgery?” I was honestly making a list of pros and cons and asking anyone and everyone about their c-section experiences. I ended up deciding to go with a c-section. I knew I would have a harder recovery, but I wanted to avoid all of the “what if’s” with a vaginal delivery, and so we planned the surgery for 39 weeks at noon. (Wow – what a relief for my obsessive planner self!)
On top of being pregnant (a job in itself!) I continued to work full-time, and we decided to move into a bigger house. So at 36 weeks pregnant, on the hottest day of the year, we moved. I was up and moving for 14 hours that day and thought, if this doesn’t put me into labor, I don’t know will! The good news is, we were able to move without me going into labor and I somehow got our house (mostly) ready in time for baby’s arrival.
A couple of weeks later, I was sleeping downstairs on our couch because I couldn’t comfortably sleep in our bed. My hips hurt so badly when I’d try and roll from side to side in bed that I had to sleep semi reclined. My newly turned five year old woke up from a bad dream and called for me from upstairs. I slowly made my way up the 15 stairs (I wasn’t used to stairs) and put her back to bed. On my way back down, I missed the last step and fell. I landed on my hands and knees and didn’t think much of it. It was 5 am so I decided to get ready for work. I knew I had a busy Monday ahead. I texted my mom and she scolded me and told me to go to the doctor. I rolled my eyes and thought, “I’m fine!” I got to work and then the guilt set in. I was trying to count the kicks but the baby wasn’t moving much. I was trying to not be dramatic because maybe the baby was sleeping?! I couldn’t remember how active she normally was at that time. I called my OB office and they basically told me to get there now. I finished with my patient and said, “I’ll see you guys later today.”
I got to the hospital and checked in. I figured they would just want to monitor me for an hour or so and I’d go back to work. I was mortified when I had to be pushed in a wheelchair by the lovely, sweet 80 year old volunteer woman with a wrist brace on! I made it to the labor and delivery floor and got hooked up. Little did I know I was having contractions. I thought they were just Braxton Hicks, if I felt anything at all. Since I was having contractions, they said I had to stay overnight. If they would’ve gotten worse, I could’ve had the baby that night. Thankfully, they slowed down with fluids and rest.
The next day I was released and ended up returning to work. That was one way to start my week! I worked the rest of Tuesday, Wednesday and half of Thursday before I went home to pack for my hospital stay. I had gotten a phone call that my c-section moved up from noon to seven am, so we had to be at the hospital at 5:30 am Friday morning on August 9th. I obviously couldn’t sleep Thursday night so by Friday morning at 4:30 am, I was puffy eyed and exhausted. We checked into the hospital and I was given a bed to wait to be taken down for surgery. I was so exhausted, I was thinking, “I can’t do this, I need sleep, I can’t have surgery and start taking care of a baby?!?” But, as we know, us mamas are amazing and our bodies do what we need them to do.
I was prepped for surgery and quite nervous. It was freezing in the OR but they gave me a nice warm blanket. I waited until I felt completely numb from the chest down and it was go time. The anesthesiologist took pictures for me and little did I know they would be one of my favorite things. She unknowingly took them as “live” pictures so I have multiple mini videos of my baby being born via c-section! My OB initially thought she was a huge baby as she had difficulty getting her out, but once she was out she was actually smaller than my first! My beautiful babe, Olivia, was born 8 lbs, 3 Oz and healthy. My husband got to watch everything he wanted to and was pretty amazed to see my organs sitting on top of me while she removed my tubes. 🙂
Side note, since I knew I was going in for a c-section, I made the decision to have my tubes removed. Everyone asked why I wasn’t having Neil (my husband) get a vasectomy because it’s “easier” recovery, as he would’ve if I would’ve asked him. My reasoning was – 1.) I was already in surgery and 2.) we have different insurances and I had already met my out of pocket.
I was able to hold my baby right away with the help of my husband and I was anxious to nurse her as it took forever for me to hold my first babe last time around. I was in recovery and here she came! She latched right away! We got back to our room and after some time to relax, we called our family to come visit. I was so excited to have my older daughter meet her baby sister. I knew she would be the best big sister/little mommy there ever was.
I couldn’t believe how good I felt! They kept asking about my pain which was minimal. I knew if I would have had an emergency cesarean that would probably be a different story. I kept on top of my pain medication just in case, which was good since I was pretty sore when I came home. Turning in bed and getting up from a seated position was challenging and pretty sore, but nothing I couldn’t handle.After a couple of days, I felt good enough to take short and slow walks. I was beyond ready to make my last maternity leave the best one.
I wanted to share both of my birth stories because they were each so different. One vaginal, one cesarean, both amazing. I know women are made to feel bad about having an epidural during vaginal deliveries. Well – I did that, and it was amazing. We’re also sometimes told “cesareans are the easy way out.” I never did quite understand that one either. It’s definitely not.
It doesn’t matter how we bring our babies into this world! We are just blessed to experience this wonderful, crazy adventure called motherhood!
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