After writing about the birth of my daughter, it only seems natural to blog about my son’s birth too. I realized I haven’t journaled or written anything on this subject and he is already two, so it is way overdue! The birth of my first child was somewhat traumatic, veered drastically from the original plan, and lasted three (yes, three) long days. I was admitted to the hospital on a Tuesday at noon and gave birth via c-section at noon on Friday. I had always said to myself that if I ever had a second child (and I was convinced I wouldn’t because I felt that birth was so rough), that I would definitely try for a vaginal birth.
So when I found out I was pregnant with Baby #2, I scouted out the most VBAC friendly doctor I could find in Orange County and followed all the doc’s instructions to make a natural birth possible. I had to manually track my calories on an app to keep baby’s birth weight down (which I am not sure I buy it that these two things are that correlated), exercised regularly, and read everything I could get my hands on to prepare. I would picture his birth in my head, visualizing the baby being placed on my chest – something I felt I had missed out on with Baby #1. I tried to focus on positive thoughts, but I couldn’t help but be alarmed every time someone told me a story of a VBAC gone wrong. As my due date approached, I started feeling a bit uneasy about trying for a vaginal birth. My fear was that I would labor again with no progress and the same thing would happen that did with my daughter. That would also mean more time away from my child at home. I decided to go with what I knew. I asked the doctor to instead schedule a c-section and instantly felt relief that I was making the best decision for myself.
We picked the date and lined childcare up for our little girl. My c-section was scheduled for a Friday, so I planned out something special for us to do each of the four weekdays prior. On Monday, she and I went to the library and did a nature walk. We explored the grounds hand-in-hand, discovering different plants and animals along the way. I was excited about the next 3 days we would spend together – our last few memories of it being just the two of us. What I didn’t know is that Baby #2 had a different plan in mind. That night as I went to lie down for bed, I felt a small gush. No. Way. I prayed it was not my water breaking. I had been up since 4am with insomnia and all I wanted to do was sleep! We had no one to watch my daughter with such short notice. I was in my 38th week and did not expect this at all! My daughter had arrived 12 days late so I thought for sure Baby #2 would stay put at least until my scheduled c-section.
Our sweet neighbor came over to stay with our sleeping little one and off to the hospital we went. They checked me and yep, my water had for sure broken. And the kicker was that I was dilated to zero. In my head, that confirmed my c-section right there. I really feel that I would not have progressed according to the stringent VBAC standards, but one never knows. We waited until an Operating Room became available and down we went. The scene felt so incredibly peaceful and calm. The mood was so casual, and it was nice having the doctors talk us through everything this time. With my daughter’s birth, things had been a little more tense, since the decision to go to surgery happened very fast.
My sweet little guy came into the world at 2:30am. The anesthesiologist had offered to hold a mirror so I could watch his birth and, at first, I had declined. But at the last minute I decided that I wanted to see him at the same time as everyone else! It was a beautiful moment seeing those first breaths and hearing those first cries. A few minutes later, my husband brought him to me and put him to my cheek – I was in LOVE. I felt all of the amazing endorphins that you are supposed to and I bonded with him right away in recovery. He nursed so well and I didn’t want to let him go.
They told us my son had some jaundice, just like my daughter had. But the hospital set up a little station in my room so he could be treated under the lights right next to my bed. My daughter had been in the NICU for 3 days and I was only allowed to see her every 3 hours for nursing sessions. It had been so hard having her far away from me. Having my little guy so close made all the difference.
Also, recovery from this surgery was exponentially easier than with my first baby – I imagine because my uterus was not tired and sore from laboring this time. A few days later, I felt completely fine like I had not had surgery…it was unbelievable! This also made it easier at home, keeping up with an active toddler plus caring for a newborn while recovering.
Although I did not get my VBAC or my baby placed on my chest like I had envisioned, I still felt my son’s birth was redemptive in so many ways. Everything just felt easy and right this time.
And if you read my other birth story, you’ll know I saw God’s redeeming hand in that one as well. He sometimes allows us to go through trials that may grow us and increase our dependence on Him. I know I grew so much in the past few years – in humility, faith, and strength – it made me see my limits were much greater than I ever thought possible. There was also a special date correlation with her birthday in that story that made me see God had it all planned out.
And with my little guy’s birth, I felt God saying, ‘Here you go, I know everything was hard the first time. Here is a special gift – now go enjoy it.’