A good friend shared this with me: “Every baby has their own birth journey. And this is hers.”

When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately contacted my friend Kat to be our doula. I knew I wanted her to help us with the birth of our baby, as well as help me do it naturally and without medication. We hired her and enrolled in her Hypnobirthing classes. I bought and borrowed at least 4 different books all about natural childbirth. I listened and repeated the Hypnobirthing mantras every day for weeks; I was ready to do this thing! However, every single sonogram I had throughout my pregnancy Pepper was breech, and in the same comfortable position. I wasn’t concerned about it because I knew in time she would turn on her own; if it was meant to be. At 36 weeks she still hadn’t turned and I knew if I wanted a chance to have her vaginally, I needed to do some work on my own. I went to a chiropractor who specializes in the Webster technique { a specific sacral adjustment to help facilitate the mother’s pelvic alignment and nerve system function. This in turn balances pelvic muscles and ligaments, reduces torsion to the uterus and offers a greater potential for optimal fetal positioning} five times and two acupuncture sessions. At my 38 week check up, Pepper still hadn’t turned.

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Our doula, Kat.

During one of our Hypnobirthing classes, Kat asked the group collectively, “What’s our end goal?” Everyone in the class answered, “to have a vaginal birth” and my answer was “to have a healthy baby” because for me, that truly was my end goal. I had been praying all along to simply have a healthy, strong, thriving baby; no matter which way that happened. Yes, while I was preparing for a vaginal birth, I wasn’t afraid or ashamed of the idea I may end up having a c-section. In fact, after I found out she still hadn’t moved from her breech position at 38 weeks, I stopped all “interventions” and just prayed for God’s will; not mine. I wanted this to be her birth journey; not mine. I also couldn’t help but think there may be a reason she hadn’t turned – I didn’t want to try to force her into a position she may not need to be in for my own selfish reasons. Plus, maybe she just wanted to be closer to my heart; maybe it soothed her to hear it. I know now that’s her favorite way to fall asleep; nuzzled right on my chest – near my heart. It’s her familiar place.

I know most women want to have a vaginal birth and they prepare for nothing other than that. Speaking from my own experience, if this is you – please mentally prepare yourself for a c-section as well. It can be a very scary and disappointing experience for some if you are not mentally open to the idea that it could happen to you. I’ve read blog posts about women crying and being upset when they find out they have to have a c-section. It makes me sad to read such things; as if we have to prove our worthiness of having a child by the way that child is birthed. I know people say, “you’ll miss out on the experience of labor and that moment they come out” but I didn’t feel that way at all. For me, the most special moment(s) were the 9+ months we spent together, just her and I – feeling her every move, the kicks, jabs, and punches in the middle of the night – those are the things and feelings I wouldn’t trade for the world. Those are the times that I fell more and more in love with her every day.

Pepper’s Birth Day

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Off to the hospital!

The c-section was scheduled for 12 noon; which meant I could not drink anything; not even water or eat after 4am the morning of. We arrived at the hospital at 10am to check in, sign papers, and get prepped for surgery. Because I wanted to be able to have immediate skin-to-skin contact and breastfeed as soon as possible, I was designated a nurse who prioritizes those things as well (I wish I could remember her name). She was with me from the moment I checked in and afterwards during the recovery. At around 12; I walked back to the operating room where they sat me on the table, gave me a spinal, along with some other meds, and started prepping me for the surgery. During this process, Rick was not allowed to come into the room (in order to keep the procedure sterile). It seemed like the longest 20 minutes of my life. I’ve never had surgery before and I’ve also never experienced serious drugs like that. Needless to say, I felt anxious, scared, and a little nauseus. This is where I was able to use the Hypnobirthing mantras. I repeated, “My mind is relaxed; my body is relaxed. I feel confident, I feel safe, I feel secure” as well as, “Holy Spirit you are welcome here; come flood this place and fill the atmosphere,” over and over until Rick was able to come into the room. As soon as he was in they started cutting me open. The doctor said, “There’s a foot” and then I felt some serious tugging near my upper stomach/chest to get her head out. In less than 5 minutes, we had a beautiful, crying, little girl.

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They immediately took her to the warmer, checked her Apgar score (which was awesome for a c-section baby), took her weight and length, and quickly brought her over to Rick and I so I could have skin-to-skin contact and an attempt to breastfeed her while they sewed everything back together. Rick and I just stared at her with tears rolling down our eyes. Just thinking about that moment of first meeting her makes me cry right now. I prayed silently thanking God for bringing her to us; for her being healthy and beautiful. The lactation nurse was by our side as well and helped me to get her to latch on with no problems at all. Believe me, she’s a good little latcher. Once she gets ahold of it; there’s no prying her off (unless she falls asleep). Ha.

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About an hour after the surgery a wave of nausea from the anesthesia hit me and I threw up off and on for another hour or so. Because I had nothing in my system for the last 10 hours it was mostly dry heaves and bile coming up. If you know me, you know I hate throwing up but I figured since I had probably the easiest pregnancy ever with no throwing up from morning sickness; if this was the worst then so be it. And the vomiting didn’t disturb Pepper because she was still nursing while I was heaving into a bag. Ewww.

Sidenote: my doctor did mention while she was sewing me up, “your pelvis is really small; it’s a good thing she was breech.”  I also had two stress fractures in my pelvis from running in the Boston Marathon and I’ve always wondered if this would effect my delivery if it was vaginal – a part of me is glad I didn’t have to find out.

The rest of the afternoon was spent visiting with Pepper’s grandparents from both sides of the family and resting. Luckily, we only had to stay two nights in the hospital and since then we have been adjusting to life at home with a newborn. My mom aka: “Nana Nursery” has been staying with us the past week as well to help with Pepper and make sure we are well fed. It has been a tremendous help to have her around.

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Placenta Encapsulation

I also chose to save my placenta and have it encapsulated. I’ve shared with you before that my hormone levels and thyroid have been the best they have ever been while pregnant. I knew I wanted to keep my placenta to help keep my hormones just as regulated afterwards and to help combat any post “baby blues”. It also helps to shrink back your uterus as well as many other benefits. You can read more about it here. Lindsey from Encapsulate Your Placenta is who I used and she has been great to work with. It’s only been a little over a week and I can tell that taking the placenta pills has helped a lot with my recovery; I feel great!

Pepper’s first week home has been filled with the following: naps on mom, naps on dad, first bath, first walk in her baby K’tan, first photo shoots, and more. Snuggling with her never gets old; I’m loving every second I get to spend with her and to say Rick is too, is an understatement. We are so in love.

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