During their first December in South Carolina, Emily and John were scheduled to bring their beautiful boy, Arlo, into the world via cesarean section. The little guy loved to hang out transverse or breech, so at her 38 week appointment, Emily and her favorite OB scheduled her birthing day-- December 9.
Originally from Michigan, they were really enjoying the sunny, mild weather. After a long night of little sleep and even less food (no eating after midnight), Emily and John arrived at the hospital to meet their doula (me!) right around 10am. They got signed in and the waiting game began.
For the next few hours (ahem, seven), we alternated between laughter, pacing, and napping. When things were quiet we could hear the doctors murmuring about one emergency cesarean after another. I could sense the gratitude in the room, for being there NOT in an emergency situation. Despite understanding that these things just happen, the anticipation in our little pre-op "room" was palpable. I love Emily's own memory of what happened around 5:15pm. "Entering the OR was surreal. There were so many people in the room! Everything moved quickly. There had been many emergency C-sections that day which is why we had waited for so long and they were backed up with many more surgeries scheduled for the day. The anesthesiologist was preparing for my spinal, but needed another person to help hold me in position. Instead of waiting for their arrival, my wonderful OB got down on her knees and held my hands while I rested my forehead on her head. She said to squeeze as hard as I needed to while the shots went in. I had been scared about the spinal, asking the anesthesiologist a ton of questions, but it wasn’t bad at all. The medicine kicked in immediately! They swung my legs around, which I stopped feeling almost instantly, laid me down, put on my oxygen, and hung the drape. John and Kaylin came in shortly after and they were each next to me, holding my hands. I remember a wave of nausea hitting pretty quickly because my blood pressure dropped from the spinal. The incredible anesthesiologists gave me meds immediately to make me feel better. I said, “Ok, when’s it going to start?” They laughed and said, “The doctor has already started!” I couldn’t feel anything at all."
We all squeezed hands and I did my best to explain what was happening over the drape. Emily felt that pulling and tugging sensation that cesareans are famous for and pretty soon we could hear that sweet new baby cry! Emily asked, "oh my gosh, he’s out??” The anesthesiologist chuckled and said “not quite yet!” Arlo was yelling from inside her belly, his head not entirely born! It was totally bizarre and hilarious. At least we knew his lungs worked well!"
It wasn't much longer before Arlo's bloody, purple, screeching little self was displayed over the drape. He was so chubby and perfect.
The oxytocin delirium set in immediately. John and Emily cried the happiest tears. They went through so much to get to this point and their baby Arlo was finally, finally here. I remember Dr. B talking to Emily before the birth about a potential myomectomy (removal of a uterine fibroid). She said it would preferable to leave it alone since it wasn't bothering her (Em's body had enough healing to do right now, without adding another thing to it). Once she got to closing Emily back up though, it was just in the way. Peeping over the drape I caught a glimpse of her racket ball-sized fibroid as Dr. B removed it. The thing was pretty neat to see in real life and I was amazed at the fact that Emily wasn't bothered by it in the slightest while it was inside of her. The recovery room was peaceful when Emily was rolled in. John had been doing skin-to-skin with Arlo while they patiently awaited his Mommy's arrival. The following two hours were pure bliss-- minimal pain, sweet baby snuggles and some much needed snacks and water! What more could a new momma want? Some final thoughts from Em on her beautiful, scheduled cesarean birth, "I had planned and hoped for a natural vaginal birth for a long time. I was disappointed to need a C-section, but I also accepted the fact that my son could not be safely born vaginally due to the position he was in. I knew that having a scheduled C-section would be preferable to an emergency one and that I could rest up to the surgery without becoming exhausted by labor. As the week prior to the surgery went on, the disappointment dissipated and I was just excited to meet my baby. The surgery and recovery scared me, but I was confident that I would be well taken care of before, during, and after. I’m so thankful for the incredible care I received from my doctors and nurses, my doula team, and my mother and husband." I think this is just a testament to the importance of choosing a supportive and loving birth team. Knowing all of your options and choosing the best one for YOU and your family is what helps you to feel empowered during your birthing time. I have a great guide to creating your birth plan that you can download here. If you need a little guidance on creating your birth plan, book an appointment with me over on my Facebook page. I'd love to talk it over with you and answer any questions you may have.