Today I’m sharing my planned c-section birth story, before all the details get lost in a fog of sleepless newborn nights.
Baby Caroline arrived as scheduled on Monday, August 10, 2015 at 7:20 am. She was eight pounds, five ounces of total perfection, with my head full of dark brown hair and her daddy’s eyes and mouth. My c-section went as smoothly as possible, but still I’m feeling the pain of it over a week later. This recovery has been harder than my last one with Garrett, but I’m slowly getting better day by day. This girl right here makes it all worth it…
I mean really… 1,000,000% WORTH IT.
We walked into an empty labor and delivery room at 5:00 am last Monday morning, the first people to arrive to begin the week. I felt a strong mixture of both excitement and fear, since I had already had a c-section with my son seven years ago. As a second timer I couldn’t decide if it was better to know what to expect during the surgery or not. Sometimes ignorance is bliss when it comes to surgical procedures but it’s also nice to have an idea of what’s to come so you’re not blindsided by things when they happen.
Now I’m sure this will sound shameless to all of you mothers who went through hours of painful contractions before getting any drugs (and I cannot even imagine how it sounds to anyone who went completely drug-free. Let me just go ahead and apologize up front for all the eye rolls you’re about to give me…) but the worst part of the whole day for me was getting the epidural inserted in my back. The IV also sucked, a lot, since my tiny veins were buried beneath my swollen carpal tunnel wrists. But getting that epidural into my spine without being in that halfway-dilated-and-begging-for-drugs mode was no bueno. They made my husband leave the room while I sat on the edge of the bed and hugged a nurse with my giant belly between us. The anesthesiologist poked and prodded my spine and I jumped every time he touched me. To help loosen me up, they gave me a shot of Nubain, which was both awesome and terrible. Seven years ago I got a Nubain shot when I had Garrett, and the first words out of my mouth when the drugs took effect resulted in the entire room full of people coming to a screeching halt and staring at me in wide-eyed disbelief. For my children’s sake I’m too ashamed to ever publicly admit what I said that day, but it’s something that my husband still jokes about nearly 8 years later. I will NEVER live that one down.
But for real, that Nubain is no joke, y’all.
At least I knew what to expect this time. It left me feeling completely relaxed (a good thing) but completely out of control of my body and the words coming out of my mouth (not such a good thing). The effects of the shot were immediate—a tingling euphoria that engulfed me from head to toe and left me struggling to make my speech match up to the thoughts that were zinging around my brain. I resorted to just closing my eyes, practicing my deep breathing and staying silent for fear of saying something terribly condemning again.
Then the epidural kicked in and with it came the uncontrollable shivering and shaking that I experienced last time. The numbness creeping up my legs was unnerving, but I kept telling myself that being totally numb was preferable to the alternative when facing a major abdominal surgery and tried to ignore the panicky feeling of being instantly paralyzed from the boobs down. I spent the rest of the time in the pre-op room taking deep breaths, trying not to say something completely inappropriate and physically holding onto my jaw in an attempt to stop my teeth from chattering non-stop. All the while, my husband sat at my bedside reading me all these text messages from my dad that made me cry like a baby until I finally told him to stop because I needed to find some composure before I got wheeled into surgery.
In other words, I was a high-as-a-kite hot mess.
Finally they wheeled me back to the OR and left my husband alone to take selfies in his blue hospital scrubs and wait until they called him back to be with me. Once I was in the OR I realized that I was being treated by a team of all women, and they were all 1,000% awesome. They took excellent care of me and spoke to me as if I were an actual person and not just a body on the table. My last c-section was performed by two male doctors who discussed their upcoming golfing vacations over me while I lay there chattering uncontrollably. This time my new female doctor actually spoke to me through the sheet and told me what she was doing every step of the way. Well, not EVERYthing she was doing but at least the important parts. She and the Anesthesiologist asked me questions which got me to out of my Nubain induced haze and forced my brain to think about how to form an intelligent answer. Thinking was a good distraction from all the shivering and panic. I also asked for warm blankets which did calm me down and help the shaking subside a little bit.
During my pregnancy I had talked to my doctor about all my grand birth plans like skin-to-skin on the operating table and nursing the baby as soon as possible. She assured me they would try their best to make my c-section birth as similar to a vaginal birth as they could. But as I lay there on the operating table, quaking and shaking under my semi-warm blankets, all those plans went right out the window. I just wanted it all to be over with as quickly as possible. They brought my husband into the room and within minutes Caroline was being held up over the sheet for us to see her beautiful face for the first time. She screamed and I cried, and my husband snapped a bunch of pictures. They took her to be weighed and measured, and I got to watch all of that on a tv screen over my head so I didn’t miss anything. Then they came back and laid her skin-to-skin on my chest, while she screamed her little head off and I cried some more. Here is the obligatory new family photo:
After that, they took her out to the recovery room along with my husband to get her Vitamin K shot and eye goop while I stayed behind for a few more minutes to be stitched up and moved onto a gurney. Thankfully my doctor wasted no time getting me back to be with her, so I was only away from her for a few minutes. I got into the recovery room and tried more skin-to-skin, but she continued to scream about it. Finally after listening to her yell until she was hoarse I looked at my husband and said, “Swaddle this baby up and hold her on your chest!” So the nurses swaddled her and he held her tight, and BOOM. She was instantly calm. And in that moment I knew that she was going to be Daddy’s little girl forever. Watching the two of them sitting there happily staring at each other made me forget all about trying to nurse her, and even after I remembered she wasn’t ready to try anyway. So, like I said, all my grand birth plan ideas went right out the window. But, none of that mattered anymore because Caroline had finally arrived, and she was completely healthy and happy snuggled up on her Daddy’s chest.
The rest of the birth day was spent with me thumbing my morphine pump like a jeopardy contestant and dozing while the immediate family came to meet her for the first time. We spent two days in the hospital until I was literally begging to get home to my own bed so they released me a day early. After that moment, my life has become a big blur of tracking the amount of time between dirty diapers and popping Percocets and counting down the hours until daylight.
Caroline is honestly a wonderful baby, but she’s still a newborn with immediate needs like nursing every few hours and filling her girly bits with poop. (THAT is a whole new experience for this boy mama, lemme tell ya…) My hands have literally been full for an entire week, but finally at just over a week old she is napping on her Grandma’s lap and I’m able to finish up this story and get it published.
Garrett also started 2nd grade yesterday so it’s been quite an eventful week around here. My husband and mom have been absolute lifesavers, taking care of all of our needs and tending to the baby so I can get some much needed sleep. Garrett has also been AWESOME, running to get me refills of water and whatever we need. He is such an amazing big brother, just like I knew he would be.
What I wasn’t prepared for was just how much he loves his baby sister. He kisses her non-stop and tells me how beautiful she is. The tenderness he shows her fills my mama-heart up to the brim.
We are so, so blessed by these beautiful children.
Baby bootcamp is always hard, but I know that it only lasts for a few weeks so I’m trying to soak up all her sweet, sleepy newbornness while I can. As the mother of an almost 8 year old I KNOW just how fast time will fly from here on out. Pretty soon she will be walking and talking and clinging to my leg on the first day of kindergarten and riding a bike… Ugh. I’m already sad thinking about how fast she will grow up. These first weeks are so very precious and we will never get them back, so excuse me for being quiet around here for a while. I’ll be back soon, I promise!
For any pregnant lady searching the internet right now for information on what to expect during a c-section, I hope my story will give you a realistic view of a planned c-section birth. It’s meant to empower you, not scare you. And also to serve as a warning not to get too loose-lipped after that Nubain shot.
Dianne G says
Congratulations on your new bundle of joy!
She is gorgeous.
Brenda W says
Such a beautiful baby, and Garrett should be very proud of himself for being such a great big brother! Congratulations again!
Oh Beth your story brought tears to my eyes.
What a beautiful story and one you will cherish forever.
She is such a perfect, beautiful baby girl….enjoy every minute with her.
Rachel Rockwell says
Congratulations. She is so perfect!!!
FYI. I’ve been through several different birth scenarios (2 c-secs, 2 VBACs and one of those was without pain meds working), but that second planned C-section was one of the worst. The coldness and pain of the spinal tap when I wasn’t in labor at all… it just seemed more intense… so no eye rolling here! Hope your pain eases soon… she’s a cutie.
Bless her, she is beautiful! Congratulations mama! You forgot to warn me about the Nubain shot, I made an offhand comment about motor boating the nurse when mine kicked in! I mean your face is right there hahahaha
Karen @ Dogs Don't Eat Pizza says
Congratulations!! I’m so glad Caroline’s here and everyone’s doing well. The pics of Garrett and Caroline are precious. xoxo
What a beautiful baby ! Your family is wonderful. That young man of yours is something to be proud of ! Although I am past child bearing age, I am sure glad I could have conventional births with my two children ! My DIL has had both hers by C-section also.
She is beautiful! Congrats to you and your family!
What a beautiful baby girl you have! I know your heart is full because just reading about it here brought happy tears to my eyes. So very happy for you and your precious family.
Mary Bogart says
Just wanted to send you and hubby a big congrats on the birth of your beautiful, precious baby girl! I so enjoyed reading all about it and looking at the pics of Garret with his little sister! Enjoy your time with them, mama!
Lisa Mothersead says
Way to go, Garrett! She’s so cute, just like you. (See if mom will let you take her for show-and-tell!). 🙂
Beautiful story, beautiful baby and son! Love that close up of the 2 of them.
jeanne / juNxtaposition says
congrats !! she’s adorable !
[email protected] says
I am smiling with tears of joy for you. I hope I can meet your beautiful family someday. You are blessed… enjoy every second with your little girl. XO’s to Garrett.
She’s beautiful Beth! I had 3 C-sections, all planned but I had similar Drs my first time that you did-mine was a female and talked all about her upcoming Mexican vacation while I cried because I was so scared on the table. The second was better because I had an understanding and kind male Dr and the third I had all females that were amazing as my husband was stuck trying to get home from Iraq and our third came early! Thanks for sharing your story-soak up those newborn cuddles!!
donnalee B says
After I had nubain, I started rambling about naming my child nubain. I was so relaxed and happy. Then after the epidural, I tried to name my child after the anesthesiologist. No C-section, but drugs nonetheless. Birth is so amazingly miraculous however it happens. God bless you and your precious family!
Well you just talked me into every birth I have from here on out not being a c-section, I’m gasping for breath as I type thinking about being numb from the boobs down, full out panic attack at the thought. Then again if God wanted to give me just one more beautiful little girl like he did you, I’d even take a Nubian hit. The only thing left that my inquiring mind wants to know is do you ever wonder what it would be like to have a baby that looks like you? Those kids of yours look like their daddy to me.
So you’d rather not have a c section even if it was going to result in a healthy child? Not everyone’s c section story is as errr..dramatic as this one. I think that if you’re blessed enough.to be having a healthy child you shouldn’t care.how its.coming into the world. Says alot about you.
Heather W says
Aw, you have me crying! My sister just had my 3rd nephew on Friday, and we’re all totally in love – even the 2 year old who said he wanted nothing to do with a little brother 🙂 Congratulations, she is beautiful! Garrett seems to be doing a great job!
That close up shot of the two of them……her nose….his freckles….perfection!
Jan Fusco says
She is beautiful! God’s most precious blessing. Take time off and enjoy your new bundle of joy.
Congratulations! Having never experienced a c section, this story is very well written and I think I get an idea of what to expect if it were ever needed. She’s beautiful and I’m glad she has such a loving big brother. Enjoy your baby time & recovery and thanks for sharing!
Amy Hill says
Congratulations to all of you. You are a beautiful family and so blessed
Congratulations! She is absolutely beautiful!
Terry Moore says
Blessing to you and your wonderful family. I too have a boy and a girl though mine are grown and my daughter just gave us our first grandbaby…a girl! I had an emergency c-section with my son 34 years ago because after three hours of natural labor, no meds, he got stuck coming out. I have very small hips and he was only 6 lbs. Go figure. Nine years later, I gave birth, this time vback with no meds to my daughter who was 5 lbs. Fast forward 25 years, She has my small hips and after 40 hrs of labor (24 without meds) they finally did a c-section on her and told her to have a planned on for the next baby. She hated all the shaking and teeth chattering that happens too.
Sandy R says
Beth…….you are an amazing mom! Caroline is adorable! Garrett is so sweet and handsome! NEVER apologize spending time with your precious family! All moms know how quickly our children grow, and you’ll never get those days back……ENJOY! Congrats to you & your hubby and all your beautiful family! xoxo
Awwwwww, she’s beautiful. Congratulations.
I’ve had three cecaereans. Nuff said. 😉
Kimberly VanDyke says
Your baby girl is beautiful. Your story made me cry. Congratulations to you and your family. God Bless You All.
Congratulations! You have a beautiful family. I wish you all the best.
Caroline is absolutely beautiful!! Enjoy every minute of her. Blogs can wait. But I’ll look forward to hearing more from you when you feel better. Can you tell I’m an old Granny? I do know how fast they grow up.
Beth, She is so beautiful, congratulations to your whole family. Love all the pictures, thanks for sharing. I love Garretts freckles.
She is absolutely beautiful! I think she looks like you 🙂
Karen @ The Decorated Nest says
Oh Beth, the photo of your sweet boys freckled cheek and that delicate kiss he is givinh his baby sister remind me so much of the first time I put my daughter Tamara into her big sister (3yrs) Katelyn’s arms. She looked up at me and said “Mommy, thank you for my baby”. They have been virtually inseparable since. The most they have gone without being with each other is for one week, when Tami and her family went on vacation. They are devoted to each other as I am sure Garrett and Caroline will be. It’s such a gift to have your children unconditionally love each other. With two adoring men and a loving Mama, Caroline is a very blessed little girl. She is absolutely precious and I can’t believe that was a smile I saw on those sweet lips already. I am so happy for all of you. Enjoy your beautiful family and take care of yourself. God Bless
Jane @ Cottage at the Crossroads says
Caroline is beautiful and that photo of Garrett kissing his sister is absolutely precious! I’m just dying to know what you said the first time you got the Nubain.!
Laura @ The Turquoise Home says
Congratulations, Beth!!!! She is so beautiful (as we all knew she would be) and sounds like you are doing wonderfully! Those first few weeks are crazy with all of the keeping track of meds, nursing times, diaper changes and then trying to take care of yourself. Take it SLOW and enjoy those baby snuggles. Hopefully you won’t have too many of those all-nighters and she’ll be sleeping like a champ soon. 🙂
All of the all-natural moms will surely hate me too. My scheduled c-section sounds like a dream even compared to yours. 😉 No Nubain or shaking or chattering. My epidural was so great that I was up walking around and going to the bathroom on my own 6 hours after surgery, which compared to my first c-section was a dream. I even took a shower on my own that night, which also didn’t happen for a few days after my first. Anyway, I’m glad yours didn’t involved any shameful declarations this time! Ha!! Take care of yourself. I tried to do too much too fast and that’s no good for anybody. 🙂
Erin @ How to Nest for Less says
Congrats Beth. She is absolutely beautiful!!! Love that your family is now complete. Garrett is going to be an awesome big brother. Please sit back, relax and enjoy every moment of this newborn stage. It’s over way too fast!
Congratulations to your newly extended family. She is just beautiful and love how sweet big brother is with her. Best of luck.
Better Built Craftsman says
Happy Birthday Baby Caroline!
Congratulations Beth and Family, May Your Futures be bright and prosperous.
Hello, Beth we met at 2014 Havens Conf just like to congratulate you on your new family member.
Wishing you and her the best!
Beth at Unskinny Boppy says
Thanks so much Mike! Hope things are going well up in St. Louis!
Wow, this brings back sooo many vivid memories! I had one emergency c-section after trying it the conventional way and then a scheduled c-section. recovery from both was long. The anesthesia made me sick but I was numb up to me neck and could not turn over to throw up – luckily my husband recognized the panic in my eyes. Bad experience but IT IS ALL WORTH IT! My babies and 12 and 15 and I have LOVED every moment of motherhood:) Thanks for sharing your story!