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Category: Cesarean Birth

A Cesarean for Breech Birth with Video

A Cesarean for Breech Birth with Video

In the early days of my pregnancy, back when I was an un-crunchy as could be, my husband told me I wasn’t going to get an epidural. Told me. He was on the other side of the world serving the last couple months of his tour in Iraq and I was in sunny Hawaii, where we were stationed at the time, stunned at his words. My friends scoffed at the idea, “Forget him, you’ll get an epidural if you want one! They’re heavenly!” I believed them.

When he came home I was 15 weeks pregnant. Around that time, I watched a show where the woman giving birth was doing so at home using techniques she learned in a Bradley Method class. The idea of natural birth always intrigued me. My mom had done it several times and when I looked up what the Bradley Method had to offer, I started to change my mind. Maybe I wouldn’t get an epidural after all. Maybe I wanted an all-natural birth.

Fast forward a few months and we were taking our Bradley class. By that time I was fully convinced I was going to have a drug-free, low-intervention, hospital birth. I wrote out a beautiful birth plan. We were ready to tackle everything. Except one thing: A breech baby.

My family has a history of breech births. My mom and aunt were both breech. I was breech until the very end; my little sister was the same. But my baby was head down, at least at my 36 week appointment, so when I walked in for my 38 week appointment ready to be checked to see how far I was dilated (I wanted to know if I should start any natural measures to get things going), I wasn’t ready for the midwife to find something wrong. She brought the ultrasound machine over, waved it over my belly, and showed us. She was butt down, her head wedged in my right rib.

From there, began the most frantic and stressful two weeks of my life. They sent me upstairs for a non-stress test, which I passed fine, and a chat with an OB about scheduling a cesarean or doing an external version. No way, we said, we aren’t scheduling anything. We would think about the version, if it came to that. They sent us home with instructions to return in a couple days for another NST.

At home, we decided we weren’t comfortable with doing an external version, but we were try everything else to flip that baby around. Chiropractor, acupuncture, inversion table, music, hot & cold packs, music & recordings of our voices, handstands in the pool… everything. Nothing. She wasn’t moving.

At my 39 week appointment, the kind OB and midwife sat us down to talk about our wishes. We told them we didn’t want to schedule anything, that I wanted to go into labor naturally to give her every chance she had. They accepted it. And then again, at my 40 week appointment, we said the same thing.

That ultrasound, though, showed that she had one foot up and one foot down. The OB warned that if my water broke, there was a high chance the cord could prolapse and cause an emergency situation. He still was fine with me going into labor naturally, but urged me to consider scheduling a cesarean by 41 weeks if she hadn’t showed. He said it was up to me, of course.

The next day, while dealing with some awesome Braxton Hicks, I decided if she had showed up by the next day (a Friday) I would schedule something for the next Wednesday, 41 weeks. However, as the day progressed I noticed my BH coming regularly, about 6-10 minutes apart. By dinner time, I knew something was up, and even though I had wanted to labor at home for as long as possible, I was worried about the risk of cord prolapse. The hospital had us come in that night.

Our daughter was born via cesarean at 1:05am on December 16, 2011. She was 6 lbs 12 oz and 18 inches long. We named her Penelope “Penny” Ann.

The cesarean was an interesting experience, but so unlike what I was expecting. I received a spinal and requested anxiety medication as well, because I was feeling a panic attack coming. I didn’t feel a thing except some rocking, like I was on a boat. After the baby was born, my husband went to recovery to do skin-to-skin and I chatted with the anesthesiologist for 45 min while they stitched me up. In recovery, after nursing our desperately hungry baby, I vomited from the medicine. The next few days in the hospital were painful, and the recovery took several weeks before I could walk normal or feel an ounce like myself. I never wish a cesarean on anyone who doesn’t absolutely need it.

I don’t feel guilty about doing it, though. There were no doctors or midwives on the island who would deliver a breech baby. Giving her position, I wasn’t going to risk doing it by myself. In the head, we weighed our options and felt fairly in control of the whole process. Still, I feel some disappointment in missing out of the experience that I was envisioning, though I hope with our next baby we can have a home birth after cesarean.

You can find the video here through this link:  http://youtu.be/Ouf4BywpbRA

breech c-section

breech c-section

VBAC Plan Turns into a Healing Repeat C-Section

VBAC Plan Turns into a Healing Repeat C-Section

I had a very traumatic cesarean section birth with my first son. He was induced at 39 weeks because of my rising blood pressure and labor progressed uneventfully. I had an epidural and got to the pushing stage, but he got stuck in my pelvis after pushing for 3 hours. I was terrified of the surgery but the doctors assured me I wouldn’t feel a thing. They were wrong. After my son was out and my uterus was being repaired and closed, the epidural began to fail and I could feel everything that was being done. I felt such intense pain and began to curl up on the operating table with my hands and legs tied down, screaming that it hurt and for them to stop. It took what seemed like forever for the OB to realize I really was feeling everything before she stopped and they ordered more drugs. They drugged me heavily, and though the pain was gone I too doped to stay awake very long to enjoy meeting my newborn son Gabriel. We were unable to breastfeed that night and I had troubles feeding him for the next several weeks, so eventually I had to switch to formula.

At 4 months post partum I was diagnosed with Post Partum Depression and PTSD after my traumatic experience. I re-lived the birth every night and couldn’t stop obsessing over what happened. It took two years for me to come to terms with it and how abandoned I felt by the doctors. It was a rough road, and when I got pregnant again two years later I was so very scared of having the same experience all over again. I began having flashbacks when seeing C-sections on TV and movies.

But I was determined to make this second experience a positive one, despite my fears. I worked with a midwife group to plan a VBAC, and even though my second baby was measuring large at 37 weeks they still were willing to give me time to go into labor on my own. My goal was a medication-free birth, so I read up on Hypnobabies and crafted a detailed birthing plan that would help me in case of any eventuality. I also hired a doula-in-training to assist me in making the decisions I wanted in the thick of things. I was open to the possibility of drugs, but after doing extensive research I was sure that in case I needed a repeat C-section, I wanted to get spinal anesthesia and not another epidural.

I woke up at 7:30am two days before my dute date on October 29th, the day Hurricane Sandy came to town, expecting a quiet hurricane-day off of work. My husband Mike was already up with Gabe and they were watching TV. I got up to use the bathroom and tried to climb back into bed, but the second I put my leg up I felt the POP of my water breaking. I ran back to the bathroom and yelled to Mike that it was time! He immediately got into gear and started running around getting all of Gabe’s stuff ready to go to daycare and then my parents’ house. We finally got ready, and I sat on my trash bag and towel in the car while we drove Gabe to daycare. I began having mild contractions just as we dropped him off. We got to the hospital around 8:30am and got triaged in. The nurse checked my pad to make sure it was actually amniotic fluid and there was already meconium in it, so they began admitting me.

Contractions had picked up by that point, but they were still pretty mild. My doula Rene arrived while we were being admitted and we got everything straightened away and went off to a delivery room. I felt so confident and ecstatic that I had gone into labor on my own and it seemed like everything was falling into place for this VBAC to happen. My birthing room was gigantic, and included a shower, a rocking chair, a birth ball, and a peanut-shaped ball. I immediately changed into a hospital gown because my clothes were very wet, which was nice.

I met my midwife Julie who I had seen a few times before at the midwifery and we talked casually a bit about the weather and how busy it was getting already at the ward. Everyone’s water was breaking because of the storm front coming in! At this point contractions picked up a bit, but I worked through them with deep breathing and some moaning. I labored pretty well in various positions, mostly sitting on the birth ball leaning over the bed. Occasionally I would get up and try to walk but sitting with my butt out was my favorite way to be.

At 12:30pm I was checked and was 4cm and fully effaced. We were all hoping it would continue to progress quickly. Over the next few hours the contractions seriously intensified. The pain began to be less of a pressure wave and more of a sharp, crushing pain that felt like my entire abdomen was being torn into. The nurse tucked hot packs into my underwear to help with the pain, and it felt great but couldn’t dull the sharp stabs of the contractions.

I began trying every position the midwives and doula suggested: on the ball, on the bed on my knees with my arms up on the headboard, standing and swaying with Mike, leaning over the bed while it was raised, and leaning on the windowsill. I liked leaning over with my butt out and swaying my hips. My back was killing me, every contraction radiated back too, so Mike provided counter pressure and he and Rene were awesome at reminding me to breathe through each wave. The contractions came regularly but sometimes there would be two right after the other, then I’d have a few minutes break, then one, then maybe another two. So it was erratic and tough to find a rhythm.

I got checked again at 4:30pm and I was at 6cm. Baby Evan was also still very high up. I was both amazed that 4 hours had gone by and discouraged that it was so painful and yet I was only 6cm and he hadn’t dropped. I started asking for some drugs at this point.

To keep with my birth plan Rene suggested trying the Nubian in my IV. It seemed to take forever to get ordered and injected, but it did help cut the edge off. I progressed for another hour, but at that point I was lying down on the bed on my side, clutching Mike’s hand and the bedrail and shaking and moaning with each contraction. I was out of my mind with how much it hurt. After each one passed I broke down crying and sobbing at Mike and Rene and I remember feeling like I couldn’t do 4 more centimeters of that kind of pain.

The midwife offered to check me again and was at 7cm. At this point I let a few more contractions go by, each one just more painful than I could handle. When my head cleared at one point I looked at Mike and Rene and said I had made up my mind and wanted the epidural. I needed a break and I was no longer able to relax my hips and body. I was clenching everything in my body and shaking with each wave, completely unable to control my breathing at that point. They both agreed that I was serious about my decision and the epidural order went in.

That also seemed to take forever to arrive. I tried to remind myself that relief was on the way but the contractions were just too painful and I couldn’t manage it anymore. I had also vomited a couple times by that point. My body felt entirely out of my control. Finally anesthesia arrived and the epidural was placed. I was checked again once it went in and was at 8cm or so, Evan was still high up and hadn’t descended at all. At that point it was around 6pm.

I labored on lying each side for a while, getting checked intermittently and resting for the pushing stage. I made it to 9cm and was hoping the end was in sight.  He was still high, and I said I was worried and the midwife agreed that it was not a good sign. We had me laying almost on my stomach with my leg over a small ball on each side for the next few hours. This was pretty uneventful, and I was feeling a lot of low pressure, but another cervix check at 11pm showed that I was still 9cm and he was still high up.

The midwife started talking C-section. I had a moment of panic watching her use those words, but I had started feeling that this discussion was bound to happen, and so it wasn’t too much of a shock. We had gone 5 hours of no more progress or descent of the baby. He was way too high and I wasn’t able to get completely dilated. The midwife called in the OB on duty and she agreed with the decision to go for a cesarean section. I started crying, and admitted that I was terrified of another section. I explained again to them what happened with Gabe and they assured me that the epidural should be sufficient pain management for the surgery. But I just didn’t trust it. I wanted a spinal. I had them call in the anesthesiologist on duty to talk over my decision.

The anesthesiologist came in and I laid out my fears. He just shrugged, grinned at me, and said “Sure I’m cool putting in a spinal.” I almost hugged him! He said “I just want you to be comfortable.” I was still nervous but his attitude was so refreshing and reassuring. I really felt like the team listened to me and let me make the right decisions for me. So I signed the consents for surgery and we shut off the epidural to give it time to dissipate before putting in the spinal.

Once I got into the OR it went very quickly. I unfortunately vomited again on the table just before they put in the spinal. But Julie held my hands and reassured me that it was going to be fine. The anesthesiologist placed the spinal and I started going numb very quickly. By the time they had the drapes up and Mike was allowed in, I was numb up to my chest and felt it in my fingertips!

I felt absolutely NOTHING for the whole surgery! Roger, my nurse anesthetist, asked me who my favorite band was and put on a Pandora playlist. I was able to just enjoy some music and let myself relax and not panic, using some self-hypnosis techniques to calm my nerves. They pulled Evan out and he immediately started crying. I was so excited to hear him! Mike went to get pictures of them cleaning him off, and we learned he was 9lbs 4 oz and 23 inches long!

At this point I told Roger I was feeling like I was going to have a panic attack, because during the closing is when things went bad last time. He immediately ran some meds in my line and I felt awesome. Not too doped up, just less panicky. I heard them say Evan’s Apgar’s were 7 and 9 and the NICU team checked him out and made sure he had no issues with the meconium. They swaddled him and let Mike bring him back to me. I didn’t have to have my hands tied down, so they let Mike lay him on my shoulder and I could wrap my arms around him and touch him. It was amazing! Roger took some pictures of us all.

The OB came to see me off in recovery right away, and she informed me that when she opened me up I had begun to rupture along my scar. It was a small rupture, technically called a dehiscence, but amniotic fluid had begun to leak out. I just felt a huge wash of fear at that news. I’m so glad nothing happened and we made the choice to have the surgery! It made me wonder if all the sharp, tearing pains of my contractions weren’t normal after all and were in fact signs that I was beginning to rupture. It also made me wonder if this was the reason why Evan would not descend. I felt so grateful I didn’t try pushing him out with a rupture. It could have been disastrous!

So though I had been really hoping for a VBAC, I feel this was an incredibly positive birth experience. I felt true healing from my previous trauma for the first time. Everything went step by step according to my birth plan because I had been sure to cover every eventuality, and the entire team I worked with respected my feelings and tried to make me feel comfortable. This was the surgery experience I wish I had had the first time around. I felt in charge of every decision and listened to every step of the way. It wasn’t the birth of my dreams, but it was a powerful and moving birth that healed some very deep wounds for me.

{Holding Evan for the first time}

HoldingEvan (2)

{First family photo}

FirstFamilyPhoto (2)

{Skin to Skin}

skintoskin (2)

{Brothers}

brothers (2)

A Much-Desired VBAC with a Supportive ObGyn

A Much-Desired VBAC with a Supportive ObGyn

The stories of my children’s births are both my worst and best day ever.  My son was born February 26, 2011.  I had wanted a natural childbirth, unfortunately that did not come close to what I got.   I was called by my midwife on the 23rd, stating that she had concerns regarding some of my blood work and said that I would need to be induced that day.  This is a moment I think of often and wish so much I could have acted differently.  I was close to 42 weeks and was ready to be done, and so I said “okay”.  I knew I should have asked what other options were available, but I didn’t.  When we got to hospital my birth plan fell apart immediately.  They let me know that my platelets were low and I would be unable to have an epidural.  This wasn’t a big deal to me; I didn’t want an epidural anyway. I was dilated to a one and nothing seemed to help, my body and my baby were not ready.

The first day they tried Cervidil which did nothing.  The second day they tried Cytotec which gave me some mild contractions the entire day.  I was still excited at this point and couldn’t wait to meet my baby.  I was not scared of birth; I couldn’t wait to take part in this amazing journey.  Even though I was contracting, I wasn’t dilating.  The next morning they gave my Pitocin.  This is when my world fell around me.  Two hours after receiving the drug I was in agony.  I was unable to get through a contraction without vocalizing and I felt completely lost.  I was not prepared for this.  After hours of intense contractions with no relief my pain transitioned into suffering.  I was begging for help, but no one could do anything.  At one point I looked around the room and saw our midwife, nurse and my husband simply staring at me totally helpless.  No one could help me, I was entirely alone in this room full of people.  I continued this way for almost an entire day.  I got to nine centimeters dilated and stayed there for hours.  My hope was gone, I had done enough.  I was ready.  They took me in for a cesarean.  Every part of me that makes me “Meghann” was gone.  When I got up to go into the surgery room I didn’t say goodbye to my husband, the only thought running through my head was that the pain would be over soon.  I cried knowing I would not be awake at the birth of my child because of my platelet levels, but needed help.

When I woke from surgery the full impact of what just happened hit me.  I was stuck on the table and could not get up.  I did not know one person in the room.  Tears instantly began streaming down my face.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  All of my physical pain had turned into emotional pain.  One of the nurses came over when she saw I was crying and asked what hurt.  I told her I wanted my baby.  “In just a few minutes.”  I heard them tell me that for almost an hour while I waited to meet my son.  I asked “what color eyes he had?”, “what color was his hair?”, “how much does he weigh?”. They told me, “I don’t know”. How much longer until I could meet him?!  It was the worst time of my life, waiting and searching for my baby while I knew he was doing the same for me.

Finally they took me into our recovery room where my husband and my son were waiting for me.  I remember them wheeling me down the hall, still lying in a bed.  I could not stop crying.  I saw family of other women who were likely having beautiful births waiting to meet their newest family member.  They saw the look on my face and they no doubt knew that child birth did not always go that way.  Once I was in the room I hurriedly looked from side to side asking where he was.  My husband pointed to the bassinet in front of the bed.  It was strange, but I felt like I could not have him, like he wasn’t mine, as if it would be inappropriate to ask them to give him to me.  It was as if the hospital had more rights to him than I did at that moment.  My husband went over and picked him up and put him in my arms.  While I have read about difficulty attaching after a cesarean, this was not what happened.  I felt instantly bonded to him, and did not let him go.  I felt that I needed to protect him and make amends to him for what we had just experienced.

I can’t tell you how painful Jackson’s birth was.  He was our first child and I missed everything.  I missed his first breath, his first cry.  I missed my husband meeting his son for the first time.  I didn’t know if someone had bathed Jackson or not.  I couldn’t answer simple questions in our baby book such as “Dad’s first words to his son”.  Jackson was introduced to me by others, others who knew my son first.  I should have been the first.  This was never going to happen to me again.

When Jackson was 15 months old we learned I was pregnant with Audrey.  A dark shadow hung over my pregnancy as I was told that my platelets would likely drop again.  I went back to my midwife and she told me not to worry, that it would be different.  I wouldn’t have to labor, I would come in for a scheduled cesarean.  She gave me a concerned look when I said that I was going to VBAC.

My platelets were indeed dropping.  I did everything I could to keep them up.  Took an array of vitamins, ate huge amounts of organic fruits and vegetables.  I scoured the internet for anything I could find on lifting platelet levels.  I had to be awake for this birth. I knew that my success did not just depend on me, it also depended on the people I chose to support me.  My husband and I chose to birth in a hospital, which meant I would need to find an OB, which was a little concerning to me.  It was at this point that I realized how much women come together to help one another when needed.  There was hidden in society a network of women who understood the meaning of birth and would fight to help one another succeed in achieving their desired birth.  I spoke to doulas, midwives, women who had beautiful and horrific experiences.  Over and over the same names came up, doctors to definitely check out and doctors to definitely avoid.  I began interviewing those doctors and was feeling a bit hopeless.  Then I finally found a one that I intuitively felt I could trust.  He listened to me and seemed to understand in a way you would not think a man could, how much Jackson’s birth hurt.  He vowed to help me.  I also hired a wonderful doula that listened to Jackson’s birth story and knew my desire to witness my child’s birth.  She helped me establish a birth plan for every possibility and stood beside me throughout my pregnancy and birth.

I went into labor with Audrey the night before her due date.  My contractions began at just under four minutes apart, but were easily handled.  After about two hours of labor I woke my husband up to let him know.  He urged me to call the doctor’s office.  I got the doctor on call, not my doctor.  She said that I needed to come in and that I shouldn’t worry, if I’m not dilating she’ll just start me on Pitocin.  I got off the phone with her and felt like I could not leave my house.  Was this battle starting already?  I called my doula.  I felt grounded when I heard her voice.  I remembered that I have the right to refuse any procedure, but that I would need to be strong.

We drove the hour drive on ice covered roads.  When I got into my room the doctor came to check on me.  She immediately said that she wanted to feel my stomach so she could measure the baby.  She said that if the baby was too big she would know later not to use a vacuum.  What?  Why were we already discussing vacuums and babies that are too big?  I knew I had to tell her no.  I then had a contraction and it hurt.  I thought to myself, if I’m strong enough to get through this contraction then I can tell a doctor no, and I did.

I asked about my platelet levels right away, they were high enough that no matter cesarean or vaginal, I was going to be awake!  They told me this, but it didn’t really sink in.  I could only concentrate on the contractions, nothing else.  I began vocalizing like I did when Jackson was born and I was ready for relief.  I opted for an epidural.  Once it began to work was when my doula looked at me and said “You’re going to be awake”.  Tears fell, happy tears.  I had worked so hard and everything I had worked for was being realized.

My doctor came on a few hours later.  His first words to me I’ll never forget, “Goal one met, you’re going to be awake”.  I had been clear with him that while I desperately wanted a vaginal birth, it was more important that I was awake, it was of primary importance.

He checked me about an hour after he came in and I was fully dilated!  I began to push but wasn’t making a lot of progress.  He told me that my little girl was sunny side up.  I worked and worked, and the pain was excruciating.  Even though I had an epidural, I could feel my doctor attempting to stretch me to make room for my baby to change positions.  I screamed through many of the contractions.  I worked for over three hours and then consented to allow a vacuum to help her out.  Looking back, this wasn’t what I planned, but I trusted my doctor and felt that he would not recommend anything that was not necessary.

An intense and indescribable pain, the hardest push I could muster, and then I heard the words, “Meghann, reach down and grab your baby”, and I did.  I pulled her onto my chest.  I heard her cry, saw her first breath.  I was the first to hold her.  I kissed her and told her I loved her.  I saw my husband meet her.  Nothing happened to her without my consent.  She did not leave my arms unless it was to go into my husband’s.

This picture that you see is not simply me meeting my daughter; it’s a moment I knew I could miss.  It’s a moment I missed with her brother.  It was the most precious moment of my life.  It was something that is entirely indescribable.  Since her birth I still feel as though oxytocin is cursing through my body.  I feel so empowered, so strong.  I am capable of anything!  To be a woman is truly an unbelievable gift.

Meghann's much-desired VBAC

Birth of Twins {Baby B-Birth in OR before CS}

Birth of Twins {Baby B-Birth in OR before CS}

A few days after finding out I was having twins, I began mourning the loss of my birth experience. Dramatic? Probably. But as a Doula and at the time, prospective, Childbirth Educator, and someone who’s frankly quite terrified of needles, I knew that medication, needles, scalpels and augmentation were not for me.

Coming to terms with the possibility that my birth was most likely going to be filled with things I didn’t want was very difficult. I agonized, cried and had panic attacks over it for weeks. After seeking the advice of other doulas and doing some serious soul searching, I finally started to feel peace about the possible ways I would birth these babies. However, I was very prepared to make informed decisions and fight for what I wanted and needed during my birth experience.

I knew that in order to have a birth that somewhat resembled the ideal I had envisioned, I would need to have a doctor who was ok and on board with at least some of my desires. Home birth was not an option for me so I chose a practice I was familiar with through both personal experience, and experience as a doula, who I knew would give me the best chance at a vaginal birth of twins in the area. That being said, out of the four doctors in the practice, only two were ok with the fact that I didn’t want an epidural or even want the catheter placed but only one of those two was ok with doing a breech extraction if needed, should baby B turn breech after baby A was born. While I knew I could make the decision to refuse any procedure, I also knew it was probably going to be an uphill journey and one I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to climb.

34 Weeks with twins

On the day I went into labor (around 34/35 weeks gestation), the doctor who didn’t mind if I refused the epidural but wouldn’t deliver a breech baby B was on call, but I felt at ease. We arrived at the hospital when I was 5 cm and 100% effaced. Within an hour, I had progressed to 6 cm and was hardly uncomfortable, despite the air conditioner in L&D being broken, and it being 82 degrees in my room. The rest of the labor progressed quickly, with minimal discomfort, and without any mention of pain meds, or epidurals from the nurses and the doctor.

At 9cm I was not feeling the typical transition-like contractions I had felt with my previous 2 labors and wasn’t quite sure what was happening with my body. I had prepared for something so much more intense! I had also prepared to defend my choices with the medical staff every step of the way, but none of that was necessary as they were in awe that I was completely in control of my contractions and pain management, and was willing to listen to and think about the choices I was presented with and decisions I had to make.

There were a few things I did agree to and ask for after making conscious and educated decisions, but they were MY decisions. I did ask for a bag of fluids when I arrived at the hospital, so I had an IV and I did ask for pitocin to be turned on during pushing if it was needed. Staying in the labor room to birth my babies was not an option because of hospital policy, but I was ok with that and we did move to the operating room at 9cm. Though it wasn’t a climate controlled, dimmed room, I was able to maintain my focus and feel at peace with being there.

Immediately after being checked and found “complete” I felt the urge to push, and 5 pound 13 ounce Baby A was born after a few pushes, 5 hours after arriving at the hospital.  Not one nurse counted or yelled or told me how to push, which was exactly what I had asked for.

When Baby A was born I remember thinking she was tiny and had a great cry, but I didn’t get to actually see her face. She was passed to my nurse who started checking her over, who then had to passed her to the NICU nurses because the doctor needed her help. Baby B had flipped transverse as soon as her sister was born and she did it fast too.

Everything I had read about twin births said that the worst pain you would ever feel would take place if you had to have a version during labor without an epidural. And there I was, facing a version without an epidural. When I made the decision not to have an epidural I was very much aware of the possibility of the pain but I figured I would rather endure 5-10 minutes of intense pain than all of the risks and side effects associated with an epidural through a labor.

Somewhere between both the doctor and me “talking” to Baby B and begging her to turn and the doctor and nurses beginning the version, I went into a trance like state. I didn’t feel pain, just a lot of pressure. I spent the last minutes of labor fully aware of everything that was happening, but It felt like  it was happening to someone else and I was just watching.

During the version there were about 5 hands on my belly, some holding the space where baby A had been, others turning baby B. They were able to turn her to be head down, but she then turned transverse again and her heart rate became rocky.  The doctor decided it was best to do an internal version to try to get her into position to be born. He was holding the ultrasound transducer with one hand and internally moving the baby while trying to keep her cord from prolapsing with the other. He was able to move baby B into position to be born but then she moved her hands above her head. So we sat, and waited. Waited for her to move, waited for something, anything that would allow me to push for her birth. And we waited while the doctor still was holding her cord and her in place, internally.

After roughly 13 minutes of waiting, her heart rate plummeted and wasn’t showing any signs of recovering. She needed to be born right then, but that wasn’t going to be possible to do vaginally. I will never forget the look in the doctor’s eyes when he looked at me and told me he had to do a c-section. He knew how much I didn’t want one and how hard I had fought for this birth. I knew that he didn’t want to do a cesarean and had tried everything possible to get Baby B to be born vaginally. There just weren’t any other options.

Because I had chosen not to get an epidural I was going to go under general anesthesia, which I had never been under before. The anesthesiologist who was standing by quickly started preparing the anesthesia while the nurses were racing to put sensors on my chest. The pitocin was turned off, and the room was switched from a birthing room to a fully functioning operating room in less than 45 seconds.

Right before I was put under general anesthesia, the doctor saw on the ultrasound screen that Baby B had moved her hands, and yelled for me to push. And in the confusion and haste of the OR, I pushed twice and our feisty 5 pound 8 ounce Baby B while the doctor guided her into the world, just 17 minutes after her sister was born.

I will forever be grateful to my doctor for trying so hard to give me the birth I wanted and what I needed. He respected me and my knowledge and trusted me and my body to do what it needed to do to birth these babies. Never once did he look down on or question my choices, he never made me feel like naive or pressured into anything. He went well outside his comfort zone and fought for me and fought for birth and in those 17 minutes, admittingly learned a lot.

Edited To Add:

Even though it’s been nearly seven years, the story of the birth of my twins will sometimes hit me and cause me to pause. I’ve never shared this picture before- I wasn’t ready to. I was honestly scared to. This picture captured and froze a moment so personal, and intense. The intensity and emotion are still fresh, even after all this time.

My sweet Baby B, being born into the hands of our extremely patient and incredible doctor. Her umbilical cord coming before her, after a nearly 15 minute internal version (without pain meds), seconds before I was going to be put under for a crash c-section. This moment, with our baby girl halfway between my womb, and the beginning of her life outside, before she’d even taken her first breath, was captured by my husband as he stood next to me, praying desperately for his wife and baby. He will tell you this moment defined and shaped him more than any single moment before, or since. And I don’t doubt that because it did for me too. But I can only imagine what he felt watching our baby’s birth unfold from his vantage point: the unknowns, the joy, the confusion in the chaos. Truly needing to trust, have faith, and let go.

Seven years later my perspective is changing. Instead of the uncertainty and a moment hanging in the balance, I am starting to see a joyous beginning, a triumphant entrance into the world and the perfect start to the life of our feisty Baby B.

twin vaginal birth

The birth of my twins serves as a reminder of strength and courage that I hold within. If I can get through a nearly 15 minute internal version without pain medication, I can handle almost anything. I look back on that day with peace and a sound mind, knowing it went exactly the way it was supposed to go, with nothing to regret.

GGTwins Mom

gg twins 2

GG Twins sleeping

gg twins

Twins Born at 27 Weeks {A Mother’s Story of the NICU and Coping}

Twins Born at 27 Weeks {A Mother’s Story of the NICU and Coping}

My twin boys were due August 28, 2012. They were born June 1, 2012, 13 weeks early.

I had a doctor appointment that morning. I was so excited because it was an ultrasound appointment and I was going to get to see my little boogers. I met with the doctor after the appointment and he kept me a little longer because he was afraid that I had twin to twin transfusion. They tried to hook me up to heart rate monitors but said I wasn’t far enough along for them to work…. So he sent me on my way and made an appointment for the following week.

By now it was 10:30AM and I was supposed to be at work at 8:30AM. I grabbed my lunch on the way but I wasn’t able to eat on the way because I had to update my husband, my mom, and my mother-in-law. I worked the drive-thru so I was busy all day long and I ate in between customers. I didn’t get to sit down much, we were just really busy. I was lucky and got off at 5:00PM because I had to work Saturday. I went to the bathroom before I left and noticed something wasn’t right. I called my husband and he said that once I talked to the doctor to let him know and if he needed to he would be on his way.

My mom came because mother’s just worry too much. And we had to wait on the doctor. I couldn’t tell you what we were talking about but I just looked up at her and said my water broke. Her first comment was “Are you sure you didn’t pee your pants?” I laughed then and I still laugh now. I wasn’t able to call Jason because once I told the nurses my water broke all hell broke loose. So I text messaged Jason that my water broke. That’s not something that you want to text by the way, and he followed it with a phone call. I wouldn’t let him drive so I called his parents and I wouldn’t talk to his dad because I didn’t want anybody to be upset or rush or anything like that. So I told his mom to calmly go pick up Jason and we worked out arrangements for Jager (our dog) and that everything was okay.

The plan was to make it to Roanoke Memorial and stop labor. That didn’t happen. By the time we got there it was too late to stop it. We were prepped and I was taken in for an emergency cesarean. At 11:13PM Parker Lewis cried out. At 11:15 p.m. Jacoby Lee cried out as well. I didn’t get to see Jacoby but I was able to kiss Parker on his way out of the room. It wasn’t until the next day that I was actually able to see them both up close and touch them.

The next day everything was put into perspective. I received a call that Jacoby needed to be intubated. He was tired and wasn’t strong enough to breathe on his own. I finally was able to go see them and they were so small. Granted, they were big for 27 weekers, Parker was 2lbs 13oz and Jacoby was 3lbs 2oz, but still so tiny. It’s amazing that they were still able to function. We were informed that we may be qualified for the Ronald McDonald house, since we were an hour away from home. Which meant that Daddy would go back to work and I would stay. Here our new family was, and we were going to have to be separated for who knows how long. We had to take a class on how to handle and take care of our preemies. It was all so overwhelming at first. But with the right nurses, we started feeling like we could handle it. They showed us, comforted us, and became our friends. They took care of our boys, but they also took care of us.

Jacoby was able to come off the ventilator in less then 24 hours but any intubation causes damage to the lungs. He struggled with coming off his CPAP and ended up coming home on oxygen. Parker was able to come off his CPAP quickly only to go back on a few days later. He did this twice and the third time was able to stay off it. He developed an infection in his belly but with some antibiotics and stopping his food we were able to clear it up easily. They both had PDA’s (an artery in the heart that closes closer to 40 weeks) but with the proper medicines they closed on their own, not needing surgery.

 We were finally able to come home July 31, 2012, one day shy of 2 months in the hospital. Both boys came home on heart monitors and Jacoby came home on oxygen. I won’t lie, I won’t sugar coat it. It was hard. My mom stayed with me during the day for the first week and my mother-in-law stayed the second week. After that, I was on my own until after my husband or my mom got off from work. I breastfed at first, but I had to also had to supplement because they needed more calories.  It seemed like all I got done was feeding and changing diapers. So I would pump before time for them to eat and I just mixed it in with the formula. It made life a little easier but pumping for a year was hard. I kept with it though, I knew they needed the breast milk. In September, they both had to have hernia’s repaired. After that, they both were able to get rid of the heart monitors and Jacoby came off his oxygen! I finally didn’t have babies on a leash!

They have come a long way, and they have hit their milestones pretty close to when they should have. We had a developmental doctor’s appointment a couple weeks ago, and they said they were all caught up and advanced in some areas! It felt so good to hear something so positive!

It was a long 2 months but I actually enjoyed the experience. I knew when I went into labor that they were going to be fine. Call it mother’s intuition, but I just knew. I’m so glad for the experience because I wouldn’t know all the things that I know now without the in NICU.

Stacy's Twin Story

I’m so thankful for these two and I love them dearly. It is hard to believe but today is there due date. They should have been a year old, but they are almost 15 months! They are our miracle babies! We love our Parker Lewis and Jacoby Lee!

Stacy's 27 week Twins Story

Stacys Twin Story 2

*The first picture is Parker playing with bubbles. The second picture is Jacoby and the third picture is the first time I was able  to hold both of them. They were seven days old. Jacoby is on the left and Parker is on the right.

A Midwife-Assisted Cesarean for Breech Rainbow Twins Complete with Skin to Skin

A Midwife-Assisted Cesarean for Breech Rainbow Twins Complete with Skin to Skin

After a year of trying to conceive without success I saw a doctor and was diagnosed with PCOS. A year later I conceived with our first round of fertility injections and IUI. We were beyond excited…we ordered a crib the same day I got the call about my blood test! Sadly, I miscarried at 6 weeks. But our little one will never be forgotten and even has a name in our hearts even though we will never know the sex of the baby.

Two more rounds of injections and IUI brought us the delight of another pregnancy. This time it was twins! It was both a surprise and a wish come true. We had talked about how we would love to have twins if it were to happen. I had a rather uneventful pregnancy; no morning sickness or other early symptoms. In fact, the only discomforts were Braxton Hicks that started in my second trimester and lots of round ligament pain in my 3rd trimester.

We planned on an un-medicated natural birth in a hospital with a midwife, using the Bradley method. As time drew near it became apparent that my girls were still BOTH breech as they had been the entire pregnancy. I tried inversion techniques from SpinningBabies.com and saw a chiropractor for the Webster technique but nothing seemed to help. We scheduled a cesarean section. I was saddened to not be able to birth them naturally but decided there must be a reason and trusted God to keep us safe.

I couldn’t have asked for a better scenario. Our midwife accompanied us to the operating room and held my hand until my husband could be there. I was so grateful for her presence; she must have sensed my fear. She had gotten prior permission to let us do skin-to-skin in the operating room. Skin-to-skin was very important to me and seemed to ease the disappointment of not getting a natural birth. It’s one small thing I could do for my babies since it seemed so much was no longer an option.

I planned on nursing but couldn’t seem to get established so I decided to pump. Pumping was a constant struggle for me to maintain supply and I seemed to always have a blocked duct, but I persevered for 9 months.

In looking back, there are things I would change if I got to do it over again, but I realize that we did the best we could with where we were and the knowledge we had. I’m at peace with that.

Kristina's fraternal twin girls photo 1 Kristina's fraternal twin girls photo 2

Kristinas' fraternal twin girls photo 3

An Empowering and Healing Cesarean Section

An Empowering and Healing Cesarean Section

My first pregnancy was one that was mostly good, but the bad was very bad.  I had extremely bad swelling.  So bad I thought my skin would split open by the end of my workday.  And the carpal tunnel was sheer misery.  At eight months pregnant, the beginning of October 2008, I had cortisone shots in my hands to make the pain more bearable.  By the beginning of that November, the pain was starting to come back.  Baby’s due date was November 17th, but I begged for an induction.  My OB and I scheduled it for November 10th.  I was already partially dilated and mostly effaced, so I was a good candidate for an induction.

However, it actually was a textbook cascade of interventions that led to the inevitable end result, a c-section.  I was hooked up to a Pitocin drip to begin.  I had my water broken for me three hours later.  I had an epidural (after the Nubain’s luster wore off) three or four hours after my waters were broken.  About five hours after that, I pushed a posterior baby for three hours without being able to fully feel my legs or get off the bed or work at trying to shift the baby’s position by switching my position. They then told me I had one more hour to progress or I’d have a c-section. Needless to say, the baby didn’t budge, and after the fourth hour of pushing, I was wheeled into the operating room and my baby was cut out of me.  Finn Steven was beautiful and healthy and everything I had hoped for.  All the same, I felt like a failure.  I felt like I couldn’t even give birth properly and my body had failed me.  The best thing about the situation is that my son was born and he was amazing.  I didn’t get to touch or hold him until about three hours after he was born, while I was in recovery, and we had a rocky first few days (which I chalk up to being first-time parents), but we did manage to bond while in the hospital.  Right away I knew I loved him with a ferocious intensity and that I would die for him.  We established an amazing breastfeeding relationship, and he self-weaned at 15 months.

There are many things I would have done differently in Finn’s birthing process, in hindsight, but it actually set the stage for my second pregnancy.  See, my second pregnancy also resulted in a c-section, but it’s THAT c-section that healed any lingering hurt or doubts that I had from the first one.

My second son was my third pregnancy.  (The second pregnancy was a blighted ovum which resulted in a sudden and bloody trip to the emergency room and the performance of a d&c.)  Because of this, I had my first ultrasound at seven weeks to determine if there was actually a baby in there, and, to my absolute relief, there was!  The second ultrasound was done at 12 weeks when we couldn’t find a heartbeat by doppler, and in the five short weeks between the first and the second ultrasound, the bean had grown into a baby, with a cute nose and brow and chin and belly all seen in profile.  The third ultrasound gave us the reveal, another boy!  Finn was crushed, as he had his heart set on a little sister.  It also showed that I had placenta previa.  I had been contemplating a VBAC, switching from my regular OB who did not perform them at all to someone who would, but with that diagnosis, it became obvious that I had to come to terms with having another c-section.  I had two more ultrasounds for the duration of my prenatal care.  We would always check on the baby and then the placement of the placenta.  The ultrasound at 34 weeks had shown that the placenta previa was no longer complete, and for a short moment, I again thought about trying to pursue a VBAC route.

But at 34 weeks, 5 days, I started bleeding.  It was September 20th, 2012, my husband Erik’s birthday.  I was finishing up my shift at work, second shift, and we were going to have a great relaxing family weekend with good food and ice cream cake, a calm downtime before the storm, with four weeks left before baby‘s arrival.  We had scheduled the c-section for October 23rd, due date of October 27th!

I had been feeling the baby do a hearty move, and then there was a weird pressure down low, but hey, baby was a tumbler, so I didn’t think anything of it.  Right there at the very end of my shift, 9pm on the dot for once, I felt like I had peed a little, so I toddled off to the bathroom to use the facilities and check it out.  I didn’t expect to see blood, but there it was.

Since I couldn’t get ahold of my husband (I’d forgotten it was game night) I waddled to my car and drove myself home.  By this time it was 9:30pm.  I’m surprised I didn’t get into an accident, since halfway to home I realized I hadn’t felt the baby move in a while and kind of drove pretty reckless.  When I got home, I freaked out on my husband a bit, I’ll admit, and then I told him and Finn to get ready to leave because we were heading to the hospital.  Even though the placenta previa had been cleared, I was still pre-term with bleeding and cramping and I didn’t want to risk anything.

We got some stuff together and hopped in the car (where I started to feel the baby move again, thank goodness), and once at the hospital I got admitted right away.  I even got a posh labor and delivery room for observation instead of one of the triage rooms in the old part of the Birthing Center (my local hospital had just built a whole new and amazing wing just for birthing).  By this time it was 10pm, so Erik and I talked it over, and we got ahold of our friends, who took Finn overnight.  We didn’t want to chance anything if this baby was going to be born, and I wanted Erik with me.  Before Finn left, he cried that he didn’t want to leave because I had an ouchie and he wanted to take care of me, and oh, how he made me cry.

When Finn was gone, Erik and I could relax a bit and wait it out.  I was still bleeding a bit, and it became obvious that my cramps were actually contractions.  Baby kept squirming away from the fetal monitor, so my nurse left it off for a while.  As long as I felt him moving, that’s all we cared about.

I had an ultrasound (the sixth one of this pregnancy) to help assess the situation, and then the doctor who was on that night (an absolutely wonderful woman) came in and checked my cervix, which was 3cm dilated, to my surprise.  Considering I was having contractions, 3cm dilated, and still bleeding it was a foregone conclusion that Erik and I were going to become parents again that night, no waiting, no trying to stop the process.  Since my OB was on vacation (doing Oktoberfest in Germany of all things!), the doctor who was already there was to be the one to perform the surgery/delivery.

So I was prepped for the operating room, and the whole time Erik and I managed to crack jokes and try to make light of something that was actually pretty serious.  Because baby was early, we hadn’t even started on some of the things we had wanted to accomplish before baby’s arrival.  We had also counted on four more weeks of my regular pay (my husband is the stay-at-home parent), and we really were not ready!  The nurses and PCAs thought we were hilarious, and when I was rolled into the operating room everyone was amazed at my sense of calmness threaded with levity.  It’s not that I was blasé and not taking things seriously, but it was more like I was fatalistic.  We were there, and it was happening.

The only time I panicked was when the spinal block kicked in.  Erik wasn’t in the operating room with me yet. I couldn’t move my legs, it felt like I was falling through my butt, and all I wanted to do was shift my weight and I couldn’t.  I had to stop thinking and just breathe, otherwise I would have full-on freaked out, and if that had happened they would have put me under.  Putting me under would have meant I wouldn’t have seen my baby right away, and that was something I couldn’t bear.  Once again I was complimented on my poise. When Erik joined me, I clung to him as my lifeline.

The cutting began soon after.  The baby’s delivery went surprisingly fast.  Someone had to practically sit on my upper abdomen to push the little one out.  He didn’t cry right away, and I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time…  But with a little prompting, his little voice started protesting against the world, and what a beautiful sound.  Nearly 35 weeks and his cry was amazing and strong.  Which of course made me cry.  Hard.  Hard enough to vomit.  Do you know how ridiculous it feels to vomit while laying with numbed legs, arms spread, on a table while also cut open?

But Archer Rhodes was born at 2:59am, and he was beautiful.  5 lbs, 14oz, and 18” of beautiful.  He was cleaned up and assessed in my line of sight (which didn’t happen with Finn’s birth), and I could see him, his precious little face, his tiny body, so pink and healthy.  I gripped Erik’s hand so hard.

I didn’t see Archer again until 12 hours later, and I didn’t get to hold him until that night.  I began my relationship with the hospital-provided breast pump right away, and as soon as I got the all-clear from the NICU nurses, I put Archer to breast.  He fed like a champ, even though he was so small that he had to take frequent rests and I had to pump the surplus to relieve engorgement.  I held him as much as I could, stayed with him as long as I could, and kissed him at every opportunity.

Even with the separation and hurdles that we had to jump, we have bonded beautifully.  I think part of our success is that I was completely at peace with his birth.  After the surgery was over, I learned that his umbilical cord was only 38″.  (A normal cord is 60″+.)  Even if I had managed to attempt a VBAC (or hadn’t had a c-section with Finn in the first place), his cord would have made it impossible to birth him vaginally without extreme risk to himself and to me.  Also, I had started to have placental abruption (a product of his short cord and his tumbling).  To deliver him, the doctor had to cut through the placenta, proving that it was still actually very low and would have made a VBAC risky.  So many things added up, before and after, to make Archer’s c-section birth a healing experience rather than the disappointing and resentful one that Finn’s was.  I am grateful to the birthing team in that operating room for not letting me or my husband know just how critical every moment was and how badly the situation could have gone.  Everyone was calm and supportive and efficient.

Archer was in the NICU for six hard days, but he is six months old now and beautiful and amazing and sassy.  He is proof that c-sections CAN be empowering.  He is proof that not all c-sections have to be a sign of failure.  In the end he chose his entrance, he chose his time, and we were very, very lucky.  I’d call that a win.

healing c-section

healing c-section

“There was no fear” {Preemie Cesarean Birth}

“There was no fear” {Preemie Cesarean Birth}

“I wanted to share my story because I thought it would help make an impact on your fans and hit home your message of “birth without fear.”” – Megan, His Middle Name

I had an extremely difficult pregnancy due to a fibroid tumor, but still managed to find the beauty in all of it. With every episode of bleeding and each hospital stay, I never let it take away the miracle I was experiencing – my growing belly, my new found curves, the flutters I felt in my belly as my baby danced and swirled inside of me. I continued to feel blessed and thankful, even though my OBGYN told me I could not have a water birth, as I originally had hoped and planned for.

I only carried my son for six months – as he came three months early due to a placental abruption that almost took my life and the life of my two pound son. The amount of blood loss was immeasurable, and I couldn’t even be awake to welcome my son into the world during my emergency c-section. I had to be cut vertically from my pubic bone to my navel and be placed under anesthesia, but even then, waiting on the operating table as the doctors prepped me for surgery – there was no fear. Just wonder. Wonder and love. I woke to a flat and stapled belly and a transfusion line in my arm. But one of the doctors that delivered my son that night in October managed to snap a photo of him and made sure it was by my bedside when I awoke. It was the first thing I saw when I came to. My husband was there as well, being the rock (as always) and a witness to it all.

[My son right after he came out of the womb.]

permmie cesarean birth

[Holding my son’s preemie diaper the day after I gave birth.]

premmie birth first diaper

[Kissing my son for the first time.]

premmie baby first kiss

[Breastfeeding my son in the NICU.]

breastfeeding in nicu

Over the next two and half months, our son fought for his life in the NICU. He became an inspiration to me, my husband, our family, dear friends and the doctors and nurses that cared for him. After my son was home healthy, I started a website/blog/Facebook page (‘His Middle Name’) to share my experience with the hopes of reaching others. His Middle Name offers support to preemie parents and women who have experienced pregnancy complications.

Since my son’s birth, I have had to have a hysterectomy, as my battered uterus was damaged beyond repair after the birth of my son. For me, the dream of carrying more children has ended. But through vulnerability and adversity, comes strength and grace. I have that to give to my son in abundance.

I Am Strong {Cesarean Birth and Attempted VBAC}

I Am Strong {Cesarean Birth and Attempted VBAC}

I am strong because I went into my first birth with no plan and ended up laboring and pushing naturally…

I am strong because my baby was posterior and I had horrible back labor…

I am strong because I pushed for three hours and she when she wouldn’t descend I ended up in the OR with my first cesarean…

Emma

I am blessed because I delivered a 6 lbs 12 oz baby girl named Emma…

I am strong because she wouldn’t wake up to latch and got jaundice…

I am strong because I pumped colostrum and feed it to her using an SNS system…

Emma

I am strong because she literally ripped the skin off of my nipples when she would latch, but she wouldn’t suck unless she got instant gratification (the SNS system)…

I am strong because she finally latched and started sucking with a nipple shield that lasted for 13 weeks…

I am strong because I was determined to nurse this little one and it didn’t matter what it took…

I am strong because I weaned her from the shield on my own over a couple of weeks and she was able to finally nurse without any speed bumps at 3 months…

I am blessed because I went on to nurse her for 14 months…

I am strong because I wanted a VBAC so bad with my second and all of the preparation for it was part of my recovery from the first section…

I am strong because I stood up to my OB and told him that I was going to VBAC no matter what he thought and I was going to do it naturally, even when he repeatedly said, “When you get your epidural…”

I am strong because my waters partially broke and when I went to the hospital they couldn’t determine that it had, but I knew it had…

I am strong because the doctor on call sent me for an ultrasound and my water level was low (hence the partial rupture 8 hours prior) and she tried to scare me by saying my baby was posterior again and ending up with a cesarean after a trial of labor would be very risky and that my pelvis was narrow…

I am strong because I refused pitocin when they broke the rest of my waters to get my contractions started…

I am blessed because the doctor that came on when I was finally admitted, after 8 hours in triage, was on my side, she said “We will do whatever you are comfortable doing today.”  She was my angel that day…

I am strong because I labored with back labor naturally for 6 hours and tried every attempt to rotate my baby and she wouldn’t flip…

I am blessed because I had a team of 4 strong women and my strong husband helping me that day…

I am strong because I pushed naturally for 3 hours and she wouldn’t budge past a +2 station…

I am strong because I went ahead at that point and got an epidural to rest for two hours and then I pushed for another hour only to see her head start to budge and then go back after every contraction…

I am blessed because my new OB was there helping me push the whole time with the epidural, because I didn’t know how…

I am strong because my last attempt at a successful VBAC was allowing the use of the vacuum…

I am strong because it didn’t help and I ended up back in the OR for a CBAC…

Haddie

I am strong because I asked to have my baby placed on my chest in the OR only to be shot down that it wasn’t allowed by the head of the OR (my doc said it was okay, but it wasn’t her choice)…

I am strong because I told them that nothing would change unless people like me demanded things…

I am blessed because I delivered another 6 lbs 12 oz (same weight as her sister) baby girl named Haddie…

I am strong because I did everything in my power to have a VBAC and I accepted that it failed…

I am blessed because Haddie latched immediately in the recovery room and hasn’t stopped nursing since…

Haddie Nursing

I am strong because when I was wheeled into my hospital room from the recovery room to see Emma meet her sister for the first time, I hemorrhaged and saw my life flash before me…

Emma and Haddie

I am blessed that I am still here to be the mommy of these sweet girls…

I am strong because I missed everyone meeting my sweet Haddie for the first time…

I am strong because even though I am mourning another loss, I don’t let it consume me…

I am strong because I am seeking assistance to work through this grief…

I am strong because I won’t accept that my body has to deliver my babies through surgery; I am already researching a VBA2C…

I am strong because I am going back to school this fall to get my IBCLC certification and then eventually a doula certification, to help women that have gone through the same thing I have or to help prevent it…

I am blessed to have Birth Without Fear to share my story…

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