Thursday, September 20, 2012

Adele's Birth

Disclaimer: This post is both super long and somewhat graphic so be forewarned! 

Feet. This birth story revolves around a pair of little feet. 

On Sunday night, August 5th, I was my usually grumpy, uncomfortable pregnant self. I remember ordering the kids around to get the house somewhat cleaned up before I went to bed since I had begged a bunch of girls from my church to come deep clean the next morning. 

My belly and chocolate ice cream about a week before delivery.

 All week I had been working on finishing the crib bumpers and owl blanket that I had been trying to make for months, even after a friend had come and done most of the work for me. I wanted to go to bed Sunday night but I remember thinking, "Just finish these stinking things so tomorrow we can put away the mess." Looking back now, maybe I was just nesting hard core. 

The cradle bumpers -with a month old Adele in them! 

I finally got up to bed around midnight and I was surprised to find John still awake watching a show. I remember asking him if the cameras were charged and bags packed cause we had a scheduled c-section on Wednesday morning and, technically, the baby could come early. None of my others were early and my actual due date wasn't until Saturday so I really wasn't feeling a huge sense of urgency yet. Yes, I know, I'm a massive procrastinator, even with getting ready for babies! With my second, Nathan, we ended up getting admitted to the hospital from a routine checkup. Of course, even though it was my due date, did I have a bag or anything ready? Nope. So the fact that I had most of my ducks in a row almost a week before this baby made me wonder why. Hum…. 

I went to bed finally around 12:30 and remember getting up at least twice to use the bathroom. Each time I had cramping and huge contractions, but nothing that any movement at 39 1/2 weeks doesn't usually cause. The third time I woke up about 4:00am  I felt something "squishy" down below so started feeling around, wondering if maybe, by a miracle, my water had broke. Nope, nothing wet so up I went to the bathroom again. However, when I sat down and gushed fluid, I got really suspicious. You'd think after doing this 3 times and all my studying I would have known, but I've never had my water break with any of the others until I'm almost pushing so this was a new sensation. As I got back into bed though, I had another huge gush and I knew for sure. 

I woke John up with, "Uh, I think my water just broke" and he jumped into action. After all my complaining about not being ready as we went to bed, he got ready fast. The plan all along had been to get to the hospital as fast as possible if my water broke since my last 2 babies had come in under 2 hours once labor started. I called Trinlie (the midwife) who headed out to meet us at the hospital and then called a friend to come watch the others. I was starting to shake by now and having a few good contractions, but definitely not the intense type that I normally have as soon as I go into labor. Honestly, I was still holding out for a home birth and somehow thinking, maybe she had flipped around during the night, even though I was pretty sure I had felt her kicking me down low during the night. I even joked with Trinlie on the phone about her coming to the house to check me instead of going to the hospital. 

But we finally did head out around 5am, after waking Ava up to tell her where we were going (she never did go back to sleep). We got to the hospital around 5:45am and met Trinlie at the front door, which didn't open until 6am. I remember just sitting there outside, trying to weakly convince John and Trinlie that maybe we didn't need to go inside and maybe the baby had flipped. I knew once we walked into the labor unit things would start happening fast and I just wasn't ready yet. After about 20 minutes (and soaking wet pants from leaking) they convinced me that, yes, we had to go inside so off we marched to the unit.  

Why do people even take delivery pictures? No one looks good at 4 am with only 3 hours of sleep.
Just like I thought, things got busy inside. I was happy to see all the nurses that I liked were working and everyone was super friendly, which put me right at ease. Literally, there were tons of people in and out of our room, filling out paperwork, asking questions, poking and prodding me but the one I really wanted to see was Dr. Bell and his ultrasound machine. None of the nurses had been able to feel a head when they checked me but they also hadn't felt feet so I still had a glimmer of hope about at least a vaginal birth. My contractions were still coming about every 7-8 minutes but they weren't anything I couldn't talk through. Dr. Bell finally arrived with his machine and as soon as he turned it on we could all see her head right under my ribs. I'd been really nervous that I'd breakdown crying right in the operating room, if it came to that, but I think I just kicked into clinical mode cause from then on I was firing hundreds of questions at them about the procedure. 

They prepped me and gowned up John and I filled out paperwork galore. The anethesthiologist came and joked "that this would be the most natural spinal ever" which made us all laugh. Trinlie and John were really reassuring and awesome at keeping me calm during the pre-op stuff. I got to meet each member of the team and most made some positive comment about my birthplan, which I was totally expecting to be laughed off the table (literally!). Finally, it was time to walk down to the room and I remember saying as I went, "Like a lamb to slaughter." I know that isn't fair or justified but one of the reasons (although a small one for me) in having a natural birth is to avoid a c-section and here I was having a totally planned one! It did help that everyone, midwives, doctors, nurse friends that are pro-natural, almost everybody, did not think that there were any other alternatives than having her by c-section. I just felt like I hadn't exhausted all my options but, deep down, I knew that I had so off I went. 

I'm straining to see the mirror, just off to the left. 

Once we were in the OR there was so much going on that I didn't have time to freak out. The spinal was, thank goodness, one of the easiest spinals I've witnessed (and I've seen quite a few need multiple pokes) so I was super grateful. It was really nice to actually know most of the people that were in the OR and be comfortable joking with them. At one point one of the anesthesiologist that I didn't know came up and pointed to the mirror and asked, "Why is this in here?" I quickly told him, "It's so I can watch!" and although I could tell he was not impressed, he didn't question me again. Dr. Bell did a great job talking to me as he went through the procedure and I could see quite a bit of it.  As they got down to pulling her out, I couldn't see because of the first assist's shoulder in the way. I tried to get him to move but things were happening to fast. Luckily, John got some cool pictures so I was able to check it out later.

As she came out - look for the little hand on the bottom of the picture!

Obviously, babies are extremely flexible because I have no idea how she is bending like this. 

I remember Dr. Bell held her up for me to see and all I could think was, "She's so TINY!!" I kept asking, what's wrong with her, she looks tiny!! She quickly started crying and pinked up nicely with APGARs of 9 and 9. I had asked that the receiving table be moved where I could see it so I was able to watch them wipe her down. One request I was adamant about was that they NOT wrap her up tightly and bring her to me. After waiting nine months, I wanted to count toes and look her over so I didn't want a little bundle with a face sticking out of it brought over. They were great about that and I got her goopy and messy, just the way I like them! 

I love, love, love babies hands. 

Definitely different from our other births but still amazing.
Total time from incision to her being in my arms was only 2 minutes, which is amazing for a c-section. Right after I got her, wiped her down and inspected her, the nurses asked me if I wanted to nurse her - right there on the O.R. table! Of course, I did so she spent 10 minutes nursing while I was getting stitched up. From the reports I got from the nurses afterwards, it is unheard of to be able to nurse in the O.R. during the surgery. I was extremely grateful for the staff that actually read my birth plan and made it happen. 

My awesome baby nurse, Sarah Powell, who is a lactation consultant and had Adele nursing within 10 minutes of being born!
I finally let them take her to get her weight and measurements - she was 7 lbs even and 18 3/4 inches long. Tiny, compared to my last 9.6 chunk of Elias but perfect in every aspect. 

Kangaroo care...or should we say hairy gorilla care? 

John and Adele headed back to my recovery room while Dr. Bell closed me up, taking out the 6 cm ovarian cyst that he happened to notice (it had been there since my first pregnancy with Ava). Earlier, he had also removed another small cyst while I was numb. Three surgeries for the price of one and yes, I'll take it! When I got back into the room I couldn't see Adele and quickly realized that was because John was cuddling her skin-to-skin instead of putting her in the warmer, just like our birth plan had asked. Adele's temperature was a little low (the O.R. is freezing) so Trinlie had John stick her under his shirt and that's how she stayed for the first 20 minutes. 

After she was warm I got to finally really inspect my baby and she was beautiful. Nine months of wondering makes you very curious just who this person inside is and it's nice to see them. She didn't look a thing like any of my other babies and she was so small I kept saying she reminded me of a premie. All the nurses kept pointing out that she was a normal size but I had made her out to be this huge chunker that couldn't physically turn around. Ha, not so. 

Soon after I got done checking her out, the kids arrived and all chaos broke loose!! 

I had imagined this serene and lovely experience of all the kids kissing and loving on Adele and it just did not happen.

Notice Nathan falling apart in the background…. 

Ava was completely enthralled, the boys were fighting, ice chips were all over the floor, kids were jumping onto my recovery bed and knocking into Adele, and John and I were exhausted from only 3 hours of sleep the night before. Oh, and my pain meds had worn off and I was in such pain I remember I couldn't even take a deep breath to tell them to calm down. Not fun times. 

In my mind I had invisioned us all giving her her first bath, inspecting her and enjoying the family bonding time. In reality, all the boys wanted to do was watch Netflix on my laptop and there was no way I could bathe a baby. At least Ava was way into helping with Adele and the nurse was super about letting her help with the bath. 

When we were planning the homebirth Ava had kept asking if she could cut the "un-ba-dill-ic-al" cord and this was one of the details I was so sad we would miss with the c-section. Dr. Bell suggested that he could just leave the cord long so she had the chance to trim it up and she loved it. I remember being the one to cut the cord for my little brother Steve when my mom had him at home almost 20 years ago. I'm glad Ava got the chance after all. 

During her bath John got quite a few nice pictures of her details.  Hookbeak nose (it's since straightened out!), tiny ears, rolls on her thighs, and those beautiful, delicate, wrinkled fingers. 

All in all, even though it didn't work out exactly how I had hoped it would, it was an amazing experience from start to finish. I felt like there were tiny little miracles all along the way, from the staff being so accommodating, to us getting to the hospital with plenty of time to spare, to her being totally healthy and fine, even after all our worrying about why she wouldn't turn. I can't say enough good things about Dr. Bell and his willingness to take me in at the very end, his reassurance that things would be fine, and his nonchalant, humble attitude that you just don't find in most doctors.

And, of course, Trinlie most of all let me sit on her couch for hours on end, giving me therapy sessions (which is what I always feel like I need during my mentally challenging pregnancies, much more than physical checkups). I absolutely loved every bit of the prenatal care I received and had so badly wanted to experience the calmness I knew Trinlie would have brought to the birth. Luckily, she was there through it all and really did an incredible job of keeping me emotionally whole. 

It was tough getting her here, but we're so glad that she's part of our family. Everyone absolutely loves her and she's quickly taken the role of spoiled baby in the family! 

And yes, we even kiss those little feet that gave us so much trouble!  


  1. She's beautiful, Lynnie! Good job, Mama!

  2. Awww, that's adorable! Congratulations again :-)

  3. Loved your story...great photos too! What a great story to share with Adele when she gets older !! Really enjoyed it! Congrats!!!

  4. So nice to hear your story Lynnie! I'm glad everything worked out so well even though you ended up needing that c-section. I've heard horror stories about them so it was nice to hear of one where your needs were honoured so beautifully. Congratulations again on your beautiful little girl.

  5. Congratulations, Lynnie! Thank you for sharing your beautiful birth story and all the great pictures! I admit, I even cried. I have always been really scared of the idea of c-sections. I love natural births. But, your story brought hope to me, and I'm not quite so afraid of the idea anymore, if it ever comes to that for me.

    Congratulations, again. She's a beautiful baby!

  6. Lynnie, you're my hero. Adele is beautiful! Congratulations!