August 1, 2013

Norah's Birth Story

On Monday, July 22, 2013 while the world awaited the news of a prince's arrival in London, Jake and I walked into a hospital for repeat a c-section I scheduled 3 months ago.
After signing the appropriate paperwork we stood awkwardly in the dingy lit labor and delivery reception area until it was time to go to the basement, where babies are currently being born. We joked with each other as a nurse, tired from the length of her shift she was finishing, administered an iv so painful I declared it more so than the spinal block I received a half hour later.
As I walked into the operating room (which is a strange thing to do) doctors and nurses alike discussed the impending delivery of the prince half a world away, while I tried to avert my gaze from anything that remotely  resembled the surgery I was about to have. 

One spinal block and some other things later, in walked Jake, talking about our honeymoon. You see, you need a distraction from the surgery that's happening right below your nose. Last time, I found storytelling to be a welcome one. As I demanded my nervous husband to make up stories on the spot with Gwen, this time he had plenty of warning and came prepared with a pocketful of romantic memories that worked like a charm.

With this baby I did my research and educated myself on breastfeeding as best I could. To say we were hyper vigilant about breastfeeding for this second baby would be an understatement. We were determined not to go through what we went through with Gwen again. For the past month our plan of depending on a lactation consultant morphed into a more DIY approach as I discovered a lack of hire-able help in our area that was followed by a realization that there's a big book of answers to breastfeeding available at the library. The one thing I read and knew needed to be different this c-section was the first 30 minutes.

With Gwen we didn't have a first 30 minutes. What we had was a glimpse, a shocked mom being handled a tightly swaddled and washed baby who was promptly whisked away to a nursery. She was brought down to me 45 minutes later where we made a sorry attempt at skin-to-skin contact.

This time? Norah was laid on my chest and spent the remainder of my surgery taking her first deep breaths of life nuzzled against my skin. This was something we had to fight hard to make happen. It was a heated argument between a strong-willed nurse, us and our doctor who eventually had to play a heavy fisted role to ensure our wishes became a reality. 

This was just the beginning of a wonderful birthing experience. Instead of sitting in an operating room alone while my husband and the baby were on a different floor, I got to be a part of my baby's first moments of life as she cried and did exactly what the books said she would do, she nursed. 

Luckily this time around I was greeted with an amazing postpartum nurse who I firmly believe is the cause of a my speedy recovery this go around. She was on top of my pain medicine, got me up and moving the day of the surgery and was so amazingly helpful I asked her every stupid question I could think of without hesitation. She helped with nursing, got us a lactation consultant when we asked and absolutely made this hospital experience one to be remembered. To make things better, our night-time postpartum nurse was equally amazing. 

Family popped in and out in those two days, coming by to meet our new little babe. Gwyneth spent some time meeting her little sister and being doted on by family until we left the hospital two days later. This was not a moment too soon as the amazing nursing team we were initially assigned with was replaced with a terrible one that made the morning we left miserable.
The second time around was such a completely different experience. We went into the entire thing prepared, knowing what to expect and we weren't afraid to ask for what we wanted. Because of this we were able to make the birthing experience, even if it was a c-section, into a memorable one that will remain a fond memory in our hearts forever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such a sweet story. However, the first 30 minutes of no skin to skin contact was probably not the reason for the first failure. Of all 5 of my children, the last 2 were C-sections and they were my best nursers, well into their second year of life. Glory be to God for such blessings.