‘A time to be born’Ecclesiastes 3:2a
I’m writing a few posts about becoming a mom. They will be about different aspects of my mommy journey like falling pregnant, my pregnancies, births, etc. I’m writing them more from a journalling perspective but if I can bring hope or encouragement to anyone who may come across them, that would be such a great bonus! This post is about the days my boys were born.
Before falling pregnant, I had it all planned out in my head… If pain in childbirth was a result of the fall of man and Jesus died to set me free, then there was no reason that I was not going to have a natural pain-free water birth. I remember a time in my second trimester with Caleb that I was driving home and complete fear swept over me. All I could think was that my baby would have to come out of me at some point, one way or another… and the thought terrified me! There was no getting out of it and none of the options were all that enticing, but my plan was by far the way to go.
Most people I told were supportive, some not. What I’ve learnt as a mom is that you’ll always have cheerleaders- some cheering you to victory, and some cheering on for you to fail. I’ve had to learn which voices I let into my life. I’m a small girl; I knew that there was a chance that things wouldn’t go that way, but I was going give my plan to God and let Him make adjustments where necessary; And boy did He do just that…
First of all, my husband insisted that we use a hospital so we chose a hospital that would still have facilities for water birth. We chose a doctor that would support our choices and we were very happy. The problem was that beginning at our 12 week scan, Caleb measured more and more ahead as we went along. All along, I kept asking my gynae if we’d still manage natural and she kept reassuring me that we would try… Until our 32 week appointment.
She measured, measured, and remeasured his head circumference and it was already over 35cm. She told us that we should think about our options because if his head was bigger than 36cm, she wouldn’t feel comfortable going natural. We prayed hard. Andrew really felt that we should trust our doctor and not take any risks for the sake of just being able to say I’d had a natural birth. by our 34 week appointment, his head was still growing and we made the call to book our c-section. My heart broke. I cried the whole way home and prayed 2 things… 1) That God would show me that we were making the right decision and 2) that he would help me make peace with the idea that He wasn’t choosing our son’s birthday.
The morning of our c-section came, we needed to be at the hospital by 2pm to be in theatre by 3pm. Andy and I had our last breakfast date before our lives would change forever, we killed some time around the shops buying snacks for the hospital, and then headed to the hospital. 15 minutes before I was due to go into theatre, I was still waiting in the reception to be admitted. The hospital was full and they were trying to squeeze as many of us into their limited rooms as possible-I felt like Mary at the Inn. To cut a very long story short, we landed up in the Matron’s room with our Gynea having a very heated discussion about what our options were. Eventually, our c-section was rescheduled for the next morning and we were sent home. God chose to move our baby’s birthday.
We went home and spent our second last night together. We woke up super early. I downloaded and previewed the new Skillet album that had released on Apple Music overnight, then I showered and we headed off to the hospital again. This time, things were far better. We’d filled all the forms out the previous day so admission was easy. Before we knew it, we were heading into theatre.
We had a wonderful anaesthetist who really set such a fun, chilled tone for the procedure. My biggest fear was the spinal block and that was over so quickly. However, as they laid me down, I began to feel very dizzy, like I was going to faint. Caleb had dropped onto my Vena Carva. The nurses tilted the table and physically pushed my tummy to move him off; I instantly felt better.
I watched the whole procedure through the reflection of the light above my tummy. I was amazed at the steps involved. Then the whole feeling in the room changed- They were battling to get him out. They had to cut the incision even wider and they still battled. Eventually, the anaesthetist had to stand over the table to push down from the top, while the assistant used both her hands, pulling back with forceps to get him out. I just remember how quiet it had all suddenly gone and I just prayed ‘Lord, please get him out safely’. After what felt like an eternity, Andy looked at me and said ‘he’s out’. It took a while before he cried but with the sound, I finally breathed out- I hadn’t realised how tense I’d been until then. They weighed him and Andy cut the umbilical cord, I could just see Caleb and whispered across the room that he was beautiful; which, coincidently, were the exact words my mom uttered the first time she saw me.
Finally, my healthy 3,5kg, 50cm baby with a 37cm head circumference, was placed on my chest, and everything else in the world melted away. It didn’t matter how he had come into the world- as long as he was in my arms. All that I knew was that if they battled that hard to get him out via c-section, I was so glad I didn’t try for natural. God had reassured me that we’d made the right decision. Caleb didn’t leave my side for the rest of our hospital stay.
It’s amazing how powerful love is though… No matter how stressful the process of getting him out was, no matter how much pain I was in once the spinal block wore off, no matter how difficult it was having a baby that screamed from the day he was born until he was 12 weeks old (He had severe colic and reflux- hopefully I’ll get to a post about that one day), no matter how scary the new season of having to keep this little human being alive was, all I had to do was look at the perfect gift that God had blessed us with, and it all melted away.
Nolan was simpler. I had toyed with the idea of trying for a VBAC but it just didn’t sit well with us. It was much easier going into it all knowing what to expect. And we had made it to our scheduled date which was a relief in itself. Due to many reasons, we’d changed our gynea and hospital for our pregnancy with Nolan. We trusted this team so much more than our first experience.
The morning arrived and we dropped Caleb off with precious friends who had offered to get him fed, dressed and ready before taking him to school for us. We wanted Caleb’s routine to stay as consistent as possible for him while he adjusted to becoming a big brother.
We got to the hospital and everything was so relaxed… So different to our first hospital arrival when we had Cale. We had a beautiful private room to wait in and we spent time chatting and chilling. When they came to do the NST, it showed that I was already starting to have mild contractions which gave us further peace about having moved our date forward (If you haven’t read my post about my pregnancy, you can do so here).
Eventually the anaesthetist came in to prepare us and it wasn’t long before I was being wheeled off. On the way to theatre, one of the nurses commented on how relaxed I was. It was the first time I’d thought of it. I think it was a combination of knowing what to expect and being so ready to meet our little guy, that I honestly didn’t feel nervous.
The only time I was nervous through the whole experience was getting my spinal block. Once that was done, and while we were waiting for Andrew to get dressed in his theatre attire and for my gynae to arrive, I chatted to the assistant. Because of my previous experience, they gave me oxygen which truly made a huge difference. Soon, Andrew and all the doctors had arrived. Knowing what I’d experienced with Caleb, the doctor immediately made a bigger incision and the assistant pushed a little from the top. Without half as much pushing, pulling and fear, Nolan came out screaming. At the first look at him, I said, ‘He looks just like Cale'(That was probably the first and last time I’ve thought that since he was born). They checked him and Andy cut the cord. 3,35Kg, 50cm and a head circumference of 35,5cm The placed him on my chest and I laughed and cried in equal parts- all my fears had disappeared. My heart truly felt like it had doubled in size. I felt a love for him that I’d never felt before, and my love of Cale remained intact. I finally understood. I could share my heart with both of my boys. Andy went with Nolan to do further measurements and put him in an incubator because he was extremely cold and blue.
I’m so glad they’d done so because my blood pressure suddenly dropped. I felt nauseas and faint; all I could hear was the doctors discussing how much blood I was losing and that I needed to try not to gag/vomit while they stitched me up. The anaesthetist set to work adding combinations of meds to my drip and eventually I felt much better- exhausted, but better so I closed my eyes. Eventually, the doctors woke me up as they were finishing up. My gynea looked at my placenta and told me I would have been in labour within 72 hours if I hadn’t been there then. I was monitored in recovery for what felt like forever. I just wanted to be with my husband and baby. I’m thankful for the time now though because I was feeling so much better once I was wheeled back to the room. Andy settled me and then went to fetch Nolan who was finally pink.
Being separated from him for an hour after birth had me so worried that I wouldn’t be able to feed or bond with him but my time with him was the opposite. He latched so well and fed for ages while I stared at all the little parts of him- his eyes, his nose, his little fingers and toes. I totally fell in love.
Later that day, Andrew fetched Cale from school and brought him to the hospital. My dad held Nolan while Caleb came and said hello to me, and then Andrew took him over to meet Nolan. It was so natural. Seeing their instant bond, made my heart grow even bigger- Caleb was now a big brother. Caleb had chosen a gift for Nolan and we’d bought Cale a gift from Nolan and the exchanged these in hospital. We all ate dinner together and then Andy and Cale went home to sleep.
Despite having a few issues with pain control, our hospital experience was so much better than our first. It also seemed far easier. Nolan was far more content and I knew what I was doing. I couldn’t wait to get home and begin our new normal.
As with everything else, my two birth experiences were so different from one another. Yes, I didn’t give birth according to my original plan, but I got two healthy boys out of it and I’d do it all over again for that very reason.