Monday, January 5, 2015

Delia Bea's birth story.

It's been about 3 months since I first started writing down Delia's birth story. I figured I better get it all written down before I completely forget the little details. Here's the story of the day Delia Bea came into the world. It's a long one, so settle on in.

The week before she arrived, we decided to have a simple weekend with just the three of us-- no plans, no company, just enjoying some down time and preparing for D's appearance. On Saturday, we went for a short hike in some nearby hills, where Si found walking sticks, scrambled around on boulders, and said 'hi' to every passing dog. We ate lobster rolls for dinner, and ended the day with a special movie night  on the couch with Si. Cuddling under blankets with my boys, watching "How to Train Your Dragon" was the perfect end to my pregnancy and to being a family of three.

Around three am on Sunday morning, I woke up to contractions that were pretty intense and about 20 minutes apart. After a few of them in bed, I woke Chris up and told him that I was going downstairs to walk, drink some water and see if anything changed. They continued to get stronger, and remained about 15-20 minutes apart. Being that this was a week before my due date (and Si had arrived a week late), I was hesitant to get my hopes up, but started getting excited as I realized that this was most likely the day she would join us. I went upstairs to rest for a little bit, assuming that we had a long day ahead of us. 

The contractions continued as I laid in bed, and started to get closer together. Chris helped me to get as comfortable as possible, and whispered encouragement to me for the next hour and a half. Around 6am, I called into my midwife's office, and they told me to head in to the hospital. We called Chris' cousin, and she started to make her way down to our house to stay with Silas. I took a shower and did my best to blowdry my hair through contractions, but ended up spraying myself in the eyeball with hairspray during one. Thankfully I didn't go blind, and laughing at myself for just a minute helped relax my nerves.  

God's timing and planning is so good. We saw His hand in so many moments that day. Silas slept until 8am, which never happens anymore. It allowed us time to pack last minute additions to our bags, and get some fuel in our bellies. I laid down on the couch while Chris went upstairs to get Silas out of bed. I heard him tell Si that baby sister would be here soon, and Si exclaimed that he would give her a high-five when she got here. His excitement for her arrival made my own excitement trump the nerves that were creeping in. Since I had been anxious about the plans for Si's babysitter while we were at the hospital, I heaved a sigh of relief when it happened to be the very last day that Chris' cousin, Lisa, was available to watch him. After we walked out the back door, with him waving happily at us, I was able to focus on the day ahead instead of worrying about him back home. 

When we arrived at the hospital, we were taken to the maternity triage area, where I donned a gown,  and they hooked me up and checked me out. I had fantasies of being 7cm dilated upon our hospital admission, but I was barely dilated at all, and with that news, my heart dropped. Also disappointing was the news that my beloved midwife, Nannette, was not there that day, and I'd have another midwife with me for my labor and delivery. They told me that I may have to go home for a bit, but soon noticed that Delia's heartrate was dropping during some contractions. It was concerning enough to admit me.

By ten am, we had settled in to our labor and delivery room. Because Delia's heart rate was dropping during my contractions, I had to be attached to the monitor at all times. Even though I felt much more comfortable in certain positions (like sitting on the yoga ball, with my arms resting on the side of the bed), they soon determined that her heart rate was dipping too low, so into bed I went.

The rest of the morning was pretty uneventful as the nurses kept a watchful eye on D's heart rate, I struggled through contractions, and we worked out plans to get my mom to Boston.

By noon, I had been awake and contracting for nine hours and I hadn't dilated even one centimeter. I was beginning to feel incredibly discouraged, and frustrated at my body's apparent inability to progress.

Through all of this-- my lack of progression, and the heart rate issues, I was told by the doc that it looked as if we were headed towards a C-section. I appreciated the heads-up, but we kept praying and hoping things would allow for a VBAC.

As the day wore on, I grew more tired and stressed with each coming contraction. During Si's labor, I was determined to hold out for a natural birth as long as possible, but this time around, I didn't have the same resolve. So, around 1pm or so, I told Chris that I was ready for the epidural. My nurse agreed, telling us that if Delia's heart rate dropped too much or stayed down too long, and I needed an emergency C-section, I'd have to get general anesthesia unless I had an epidural in. Even more reason to convince me that this was a great decision!

By 2:30 pm, the epidural was in, and Chris even managed to get some homework done while I chatted with our nurse, Andrea, and tried to snooze for a little while.

The next few hours held few changes, and we continued keeping a watchful eye on Delia's heart. Occasionally, I was not even aware that I was contracting, except for the slowed beeping of the heart monitor and the rush of nurses that came in to change my position or move the monitor around. Through the fright of it all, I had an overwhelming and unexpected sense of peace.

When my mom walked into the room at around 5pm, I had still not dilated beyond 2cm. It was looking like a C-section was imminent, but we were still waiting on the doc to make that decision.

A bit later, my nurse came into the room, and began to make preparations for surgery. At this point, nobody had come in to tell me that it was C-section time, so as she shaved me, my mom and I looked at each other wide-eyed, wondering if we had missed some communication. That was first of several interactions that set me on edge for the rest of the evening, and unfortunately left me and Chris feeling pretty peeved at some of the hospital staff.

Around 7:30pm, another small crowd of nurses came running into the room, and when things settled down, my doctor (and the surgeon who would do my C-section) told us that Delia's heart rate had dropped too low and too long that time. It was time for a C-section. I was thankful for the clear communication at last, but annoyed that C-section prep had started before we even had the conversation.

Fat, wet tears rolled down my cheeks as I started to sob. The simmering of emotions from the day-- the fear, the pain, the uncertainty, the exhaustion, the frustration was all boiling to the surface as I realized that this was it-- time to meet our baby girl. I remember the same moment from Si's birth- the declaration that it was C-section time. Though I've never heard the words, "It's time to push!", I imagine that many of the emotions are similar-- fear, excitement, the prospect of meeting that long-awaited little person in just a few short moments.

As the rush of surgery prep whirled around me, the anxiety and fear pummeled me. They wheeled my bed out of the room, Chris disappeared somewhere behind me, and my mom clenched my hand and whispered a hurried prayer before she was left behind too.

Into the operating room we went, and someone started briefing the room-- "OK, we have Brooke here..." Even as one of the nurses looked me in the eyes, assured me that they knew who I was, and the team re-started the brief, I felt panic rising in me. Tears streamed freely down my cheeks, and sobs shook my chest as I lay on the operating table with my arms spread wide and bright lights in my face. One warm hand wiped away my tears and spoke reassuring words to me in a deep, Indian accent. Even though I never saw his face and I don't even know his role in the room, I am forever thankful for his presence in the midst of my panic.

As I felt the deep aches and pulls of the surgeons making a way for Delia, Chris stepped into the room and took a seat at my side. At 8:08pm, the surgeon held up a sweet screaming, messy little peanut of a girl, and introduced "Delilah" to us. I whispered, "Delia...", and focused on that sweet, loud cry of hers. Chris held my hand and looked into my eyes, as I shook violently and tried to get a handle on my nerves before meeting our sweet girl. He held her face to my hand, and as I shook, and the doctors sewed me up, I stroked her soft, warm cheek.

For one miserable hour, I was completely overwhelmed with my shaking body, and refused to hold her until I could calm down a bit. Chris is convinced that I was in a bit of shock, but I never got any explanation from the nurses, and it remains a pretty fearful memory for me.

Later that night, in our postpartum room, I was finally able to relax, stare into the deep blue eyes of our daughter, and take a deep breath, as we marveled at her tiny chicken legs, her itty-bitty fingers, and button nose. Despite all the ways the day could have ended, we were holding our perfectly healthy, beautiful girl, and couldn't wait to introduce her to her big brother the next day.

Even though there were buckets of frustrations surrounding Delia's birth, I will say this. I'm grateful for modern medicine that allowed both me and my daughter to survive. I am beyond grateful for the surgeon who was able to take Delia out of my womb, unravel the cord around her neck, and bring her safely to me.  After Delia's birth, my surgeon informed me that she had seen evidence of a prominent sacrum, which meant that there was part of my pelvis tilted in such a way that did not permit me to progress in labor. This news was almost relieving to hear, since it freed me from beating myself up about "failing" to labor the way I wanted. It also sealed the deal that any future children will most likely end up being scheduled C-sections. I'm still reconciling with that fact, and at times, I grieve a smooth labor, and delivering my baby like so many women around the world get to do.

As I write this last sentence, Delia is laying on a blanket on the floor of our living room, squawking like a mad woman at the reflection in her toy mirror. She is an angel baby, sleeping through the night, and giving us gorgeous smiles through the day. There are moments in my day where I can't help but giggle from the joy she brings us, and seeing her light up at Silas' voice feels a little bit like heaven.


  1. I loved reading your story! You did an amazing job of capturing all of the emotion surrounding that a day. She's a beautiful baby :)

  2. Thanks so much for sharing! Childbirth is such a strange thing, and it's always wonderful hearing others' stories. Praise God for a healthy baby girl!

    The wrong names made me laugh - when we had our 3rd, we were repeatedly referred to as the "unmarried couple" as in, "Here you have to fill out this form since you aren't married." It was frustrating at the time but we were able to laugh about it afterward :)

  3. I'm sorry that you didn't get that VBAC you wanted or the explanation that you were going in for a second c-section. I know that would be very hurtful for me to experience as well. When I was pregnant with my second one and toyed with the idea of a VBAC...I just never felt God's Peace over me with that. When I got news that the second c-section was scheduled and such, I felt a wave of God's Peace. When I was in there, the doctor said if I would of labored I would of still ended up in the same spot. My little one was no where near she needed to be. I too am thankful for the help of modern medicine and the ability to have a c-section to receive the gift of being a mama. Now as I'm a month away from my scheduled 3rd c-section...I'm anxious to meet the next member of my family and I'm so thankful for the staff that will look over me during this process. As well as a God who loves me and sends his Peace to help calm my anxious heart.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story! I'm 6 days post repeat c-section. I too was a hopeful VBAC but baby girl was breech. I hated having to have a second csection and felt so sad that I didn't get to experience a vaginal birth. Happy that we're on the other side and have our sweet girls in our arms. xo

  5. What a beautiful story! I may have cried a little when I read it. :)

  6. Beautiful story:) I don't think, as a mother, I can read any birth story without crying:') I'm so glad you came out of this with such a positive many moments, while reading this, that I felt SO frustrated for you!!!:/ But a beautiful baby in the end is all we can ask for! Such a gorgeous family:)

  7. My heart goes out to you!. I can imagine the anxiety... What a beautiful family portrait... Silas definitely knows the camera... In the end everything turned out just the way it should... You are blessed!

  8. Such a sweet story. I could feel the heartbreak, though. I had a cesarean with my daughter and am planning a VBAC with this baby.

  9. aw I love a nice birth story! so sorry you had some frustrations with the staff :(
    but, I wanted to let you know that with general anesthesia and epidurals it can be quite common to have some uncontrollable shaking, so I wonder if that's what you experienced.
    thanks for sharing!

  10. Beautiful story! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Congratulations!!! Hugs and Blessings!!! As a mommy who also had an emergency c-section the first time around, which was in December 2010... and who is expecting Baby Boy #2 in March 2015 and is debating about whether to attempt a VBAC or schedule a c-section... and, above all, who loves Jesus... I wholeheartedly agree that "God's timing and planning is so good!!!" Thanking God with you for a healthy baby!!!

  12. Such a well-written story! It is very similar to my son's birth story. I feel bad about not being able to give birth the way I wanted and that I never heard the words "Its time to push". It feels good to know that someone went through the same feelings I did. I was really shaky after my emergency C-section, it could be because of getting the epidural before the medication for the C-section. Did you have an epidural before Silas' birth? It took me a while to come to terms that I will never be able to birth the way I had planned but I know my body will not be able to deliver that way and I will just have scheduled c-sections from now on, it is kind of a peace knowing that I won't have to go through the stressful day we did our first birth. You have such an adorable little girl! I bet your son loves her!

  13. Such a well written story - I just had my first via an emergency c-section and I'm struggling with writing his birth story. I was really shaky afterwards too but the anesthesiologist had warned me it would happen, he said it was the anesthesia leaving/working its way out of my body and told me it would last 2-3 hours (I had a strong spinal instead of the regular epidural since it was applied in the OR) and right about 3 hours after the c-section I stopped shaking. I'm so glad he warned me though because if he hadn't, it would've freaked me out.

  14. We had our first baby on October 5th. So just a few days after you! I had a similar experience except I was fully dilated and pushing for almost 3 hours when they decided she wouldn't come that way and took me into C-Section. I was also discouraged with the lack of communication. My husband is a medical student and he was confused often with what was going on. I almost couldn't read your story as it reminded me so much of mine. It was not a good experience. I was shaking uncontrollably and finally one of the nurses told me that it was normal and a reaction from the epidural! Goodness I thought I was having a panic attack!!! Communication is so key. Thankfully my husband learned a lot about being very open with his patients to avoid confusion and unneeded worry! Congrats though you have such a beautiful family. It is worth it all!!


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