I Quietly Put My Hopes To Rest

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.

Getting ready for the Cesarean

I had previously written about my birth experience with  my special needs daughter, Bella. I recently went back and read the post and  I was surprised to find it so clinical and dry. I explained the step by step procedures of what happened that day, but I left out a very important part of the whole process; my emotions. Let me assure you there were plenty, one on top of the other, all swirled together and shaken.

 I had a wonderful drug-free, natural  hospital birth with my first daughter. I was planning a birth at our local birth center for our second child, Bella. All was well until we had our one 20 week ultrasound. Our life changed forever that day. We were in shock when given the news that our baby girl was missing part of her cerebellum, and she had severe hydrocephalus.  We later learned her full diagnosis would be Walker-Warburg Syndrome. Needless to say, we were now thrown into the whirlwind of a high-risk pregnancy and birth. “Goodbye, birth center!” and “Hello, Cesarean!”
I really was in denial for quite some time. I held on to the slim hope that a vaginal birth would be possible. I would ask at each appointment about the possibility.  It was clear as we approached our due date that I had to accept and make peace with a Cesarean birth. Bella was born with a head with the approximate size of a 3-6 month size baby. This was one of those situations where a Cesarean would save both of our lives. I had to accept it and move on.
I suppose because of all of the traumatic experiences we were going through due to Bella’s circumstances I came  to view the Cesarean as more of a blessing. I gave myself time to quietly put to rest my hopes and ideas of  what we thought life would be like with our second child. This included tucking away my birthing center birth and embracing the idea that interventions were what was going to allow us to have Bella in our life.
By the time the day arrived for Bella to be born, I had mourned my normal, healthy birth and had moved to acceptance. We had dozens of doctors and students watching and standing by.  It was not personal, intimate or beautiful. There was tension in the room that was broken by small quips of humor from our side and that of the  hospital staff. It was intense, surreal and public.  However, the end result was a beautiful, life changing little girl that would be in our life for such a short time yet have an enormous impact.  THAT we were willing to embrace.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • I was Foolish Then — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings describes how foolish lack of preparation for childbirth led to a feeling of powerlessness and fear, but that in the end she had her baby in her arms, and that’s one thing she can celebrate.
  • Sometimes no plan is the best plan — Tat at Mum in search contemplates that maybe she doesn’t need a birth plan for her upcoming birth.
  • Disturbing the peace — Kenna at Million Tiny Things thought she would be a calm, quiet baby-haver. Ha!
  • Accepting the Unexpected During Birth — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM imagined herself laboring on a birthing ball but she never imagined where she’d really be most comfortable when the time came…
  • Sacred This Time, Too — Kimber at The Single Crunch learned enough to know that the way she birthed wasn’t they way she wanted to; but she also knew to enjoy it for what it was.
  • The Birth Partner: A Great Natural Labor Companion — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger thinks that the secret to her pleasant natural labors was having a great support system.
  • the Best Thing About My Labor ExperienceCrunchy Con Mommy realizes that amidst all the things that seemed to go wrong with her labor, the love and support of her husband was the one thing she could always count on!
  • Your Birth Was My FavoriteDulce de leche describes some of the highlights from each of her four births and explains why despite the differences, they are all her favorites.
  • Birth Story: Part One – Moon on a Stick! Gentle Mama Moon tells the first part of her birth story to share some of the delight of labouring at home.
  • Embracing My Birth Experience by Sharing My Birth Story — Dionna at Code Name: Mama made peace with her first birth by sharing the story with her son.
  • Focusing on the Beauty of Birth — Julia at A Little Bit of All of It shares the beautiful aspects of her birth center water birth.
  • A Joyful Induced Delivery — Amy Willa: Me, M
    othering, and Making it All Work
    notes the meditations and perspective that helped her achieve an unmedicated birth despite being induced for medical reasons.
  • Finding Joy in an Imperfect Childbirth Experience — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells what she learned from her two very different childbirth experiences.
  • What’s to like about a c-section? — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama is glad she her second child at home, but she also cherishes much about the c-section she had four years earlier.
  • What Story Will I Tell? — Rachael at The Variegated Life realizes that the way she tells the story of her second child’s birth matters — and could be exhilarating.
  • I Quietly Put My Hopes to Rest E — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her emotional ups and downs with the highly intervened birth of her special needs daughter, Bella.
  • Tale of Six Births — Jessica at Instead of Institutions appreciates that unique challenges and joys of each of her births.
  • Labouring naturally: nature’s gift — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the most beautiful, spiritual aspect of the labour of her son, the first stages along a bumpy road to giving birth.
  • All The Woman I Am. — Lindsay at This Woman’s Work shares a poem about letting go and surrendering during the thralls of labor.
  • A twin birth story: embracing the unexpected — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her twin birth experience and how she found the silver lining when faced with preterm labor, premature birth, and a two-week NICU stay.
  • Giving Birth With Eminem — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how fiery rap music contributed to an empowered homebirth with her third baby.
  • Two Different Births — Cassie at There’s a Pickle in My Life shares how she learned from her first birth experience and how to trust yourself and your body.
  • Embracing Our Potential: Birth as a Metaphor — Sheila from A Living Family guest posts at Natural Parents Network and expresses how birth has served as a metaphor to help her through other experiences in life.
  • Little Sister’s Birth Story: Our VBAC Adventure — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama describes the recent birth story of her baby girl, her pride in an epidural-free VBAC, and how her story isn’t exactly the birth experience she had planned for.
  • A Journey in Birth Confidence — Shannon at The Artful Mama shares her experiences with labor during both of her sons’ births.

Little Brother’s birth story

I had been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks before going into labor. I was expecting to go into labor early since Big Sister was born at 36 weeks, and Bella at 38 weeks. However, our little guy had a different plan. I was as big as I ever. I had always wished with my previous pregnancies for a large pregnant tummy. Well, be careful what you wish for..it came true. We had some family portraits taken a few weeks ago and I also had some maternity photos taken to celebrate this pregnancy.
Over the last few weeks, I was feeling very excited and anxious for his arrival. I had contractions about 10 minutes apart the day previously, they continued all day long but they did not get closer together or any more intense. The next day I didn’t have the contractions start until late in the afternoon. My mom picked up Big Sister and planned on keeping her for the night. My husband and I spent the evening eating dinner my mom brought over and talking about the upcoming birth. I had a few contractions that started while we were making dinner, I took a bath and the contractions continued. We decided to time them and they were about 6 minutes apart, though not very intense. I went to the couch and we were watching TV when my water broke at 8:30. It caught me by surprise, I let out a scream. My husband was startled and we started laughing about the amount of water that was now all over the couch. We called our midwife, Lisa Coomer and she said she’d be heading over. We continued to watch TV and realized my contractions stopped and I was feeling fine. We called Lisa back and told her not to hurry that I might not be in labor yet. She said she’d head over anyway just in case and get set up. Well, I vomited up my dinner and started to have a few contractions, but they were still very mild. Lisa arrived and so did my contractions, this was around 9:30! I’m very glad she had the intuition to head right over. I guess the very presence of Lisa made my body feel like it could finish its work now. I tried to relax on the couch and breath through the contractions. They were now very intense and caught me off guard. They didn’t build in intensity, they just became instantly intense. My husband was my strength through the contractions, he sat close, held my hand and I focused on his eyes through the contractions. He was awesome. Lisa checked my cervix and I was 4cms at that point. I found that quite discouraging and thought how will I continued with this intensity of contractions if I have to be in labor for another 5-10 hours! I went through 2-3 more contractions and Lisa checked again, I had progressed to 8 cms! My mother had arrived with Big Sister somewhere around this point. They also started drawing the bath water. I went through a few other contractions and made my way to the bathtub. With one foot in the tub and one foot straddled over the edge onto the floor, I had a contraction that was now feeling like I needed to push. Lisa is telling me to not push until I’m in the water and told my husband to get his swimsuit on right away! Once I entered the water it really felt a lot better. I started pushing right away. My brain gets foggy at this point and I seem unable to remember how to push. Lisa gives me instructions and keeps reminding me to keep my chin down. My husband kept whispering supportive words in my ears also reminding me to keep my chin down, he’d also give a gentle push to push my head forward which was very helpful. He tells me at some point Lisa had me touch the babies’ head as he was coming out and I said, “oh, my little guy!” I didn’t have many breaks, it was pretty constant pushing for the next 20 minutes. My umbilical cord was rather short and wrapped around his arm so I pushed extra hard at the end to get him out. He was lifted from the water placed on my chest and he was very calm. We rubbed his feet and he started crying. He had so much hair and he was so beautiful!! Grandma and sister were crying and mom and dad were staring in amazement at our beautiful little baby boy. We moved carefully from the bathtub to the couch where big sister cut the cord and our little man had his first nursing session. Our friend Mandy arrived just in time to take a lot of pictures and share a glass of champagne. He was born at 10:49 on January 13th. He weighed 8 lbs and was 22 inches long. He was such a big boy and I didn’t even have a tear, I was so excited.
It’s a week later now and I can’t take my eyes off of him. He has such a beautiful color (thank you daddy!) and is a very peaceful content little guy. We all spent the first night together snuggled in the living room. I didn’t sleep the first night, I really spent the first night staring at my family and feeling so blessed and thankful. Our first week went by so quickly we were all together as a family snuggling and loving, it has been wonderful!!