The Real Deal: Family Photographs
Today I tried to get some sibling photographs of my 12 year old son and my 3 week old daughter. Which was impossible with my daughter crying and screaming, which is her norm it seems, unless she is either in my arms or attached to my boobs. Pair that with my goofy tween boy, well it makes for quite the opposite of the perfect family photographs you will find all over Pinterest. They make me laugh when I look at them though, and it's just honest to goodness... the real deal.
I instructed, "Please kiss her gently on the cheek." Instead he gave her a big, mushy kiss,because, " mom, she is just too cute."
As I placed Clara on William's chest to position her, she let out an enormous fart, and pooped, William's expression says it all.
Just as I had her face positioned towards the camera, she moved it and tried to start nursing from her brother, his reaction just the second after this shot was hilarious. He cried out, " No! Clara, only mommy has milk, You can't do that to me. I am your brother!"
So, we decided to take a break and try this again some other time. Until then, these may be imperfect, but I love the two people in them, and the memory of trying to get the dreamy, perfect sibling shots. Sigh.
Clara's Birth Story
Saturday, July 2, 37 weeks pregnant I woke up early as usual, after not sleeping well as usual during my pregnancy. I climbed out of bed, waddled to the bathroom to pee, and then headed downstairs to make some pregnancy tea and rock in my recliner. Once I was cozy enough, Clara started moving around gently, and I felt some light pressure waves (contractions), and didn’t think much of it, because for about 3 weeks I had been having more and more regular pressure waves, Braxton Hicks, some spotting and discharge, so I used my Hypnobabies techniques relaxed through it. Then I picked up the storybook I read every day to Clara since I was 14 weeks pregnant, Dr. Seuss, “Oh Baby, All the Places You’ll Go.” I bought it at Toys R Us the day we found out we were having a little girl, along with a really sweet going home outfit, and the pink teddy bear her big brother picked out for her as a gift. I read the story to her, as I have every day, and she moved around in my belly as she typically does when I read the story to her.
Afterwards I sat rocking in my recliner, thinking about her. I felt her kicks and movements, and rubbed my hands over her. I cried a little. I had been feeling very emotional those last few weeks. My body was in constant pain, I was exhausted from not sleeping well, and facing a choice I hated to make, but knew that it felt like the right thing to do deep down in my gut. I thought about all the years I had wanted to have a natural birth. I remembered when I was about 11, watching 20/20 with Barbra Walters; she was doing a news piece about natural water births. I saw this couple on the TV screen, the mother sitting in the beige tub, the room was dimly lit, and they were being interviewed, and the mother gave birth in the tub. I thought it was beautiful, and remember wondering how the baby could be born in water and not drown, and there was Barbra Walters asking that very question.
I knew I wanted to have my babies like that someday. I wanted to have my future husband with me, at my side, I wanted to be relaxed in the water, and experience the love I saw that evening on 20/20. I learned that day that birth did not have to be scary, over the top painful, something that a woman couldn’t do without the help of doctors. I learned a woman can birth her baby in a loving and beautiful way. I was deeply touched. Fast forward many years later, when I was 21, having my first child, he was breech, and I needed a cesarean. I was sad. I didn’t have the natural experience, but I also didn’t have the loving, enthusiastic husband, I didn’t have a personable doctor, and that whole experience is another story, but to say the least, it couldn’t be further from how I pictured birth to be. I had my beautiful baby boy, and moved on from the experience, enjoying him and loving him, but knowing if I ever had more children, which I had hoped to, that they would hopefully be natural and as far away from a hospital as possible.
Fast forward many years again to current time, I am 33, sitting downstairs in my recliner, silently crying to myself in my quiet home, my loving, sweet husband asleep upstairs. I am crying because all these years later my body has been fighting illness, and it was taking its toll on me during this pregnancy with Clara. I was at my wits end. No amount of affirmations, meditations, or positive imagery could help. I watched one beautiful birthing video after another over the 9 months of pregnancy. I read every positive thing I could find about natural birth, sacred and empowering stories of women giving birth just the way God designed us to do. My mind, heart, and soul were flooded with the knowledge and wisdom that I could have the natural birth I so wanted to experience.
Yet, I had begun to doubt my body over the last month, doubt that it could handle it, doubt that I had the energy to go through it, and I was so chained to the pain I had been feeling. The pregnancy wasn’t a picnic from the get go. Over the last couple of months I had really lost my reserves. I felt like my body just couldn’t take anymore. I cried all the time, fought off anxiety about the conflict I faced in my mind, the thoughts that I had at the forefront of my mind telling me I would need a cesarean, that I needed to change my birth plans, that I needed to let go of my idealistic birth plan, and find an OB. My heart was broken, just utterly broken. Sitting here typing this, two weeks postpartum, my heart still breaks, tears flood my eyes.
I have always been opposed to cesareans unless they are truly medically necessary. It is a major surgery. I have been through one, and I just don’t think it is the best option for birth, unless it is needed. I have always felt that way. Not that I have ever judged or looked poorly on any woman for choosing one, because we all have our own paths, we all need to have our own experiences, and all birth matters, no matter what way a woman has her baby. I truly believe that too. But here I was conflicted about my moral beliefs about surgical birth vs. natural birth, and wondering if my state of health and the state of my body, my state of emotions, if this was something medically necessary for me. I fought the back and forth, the pros and cons, the fears, the pain in my body, and after about an hour, I got up out of my recliner, and went back upstairs to my sleeping husband. I crawled back into bed. I was stressed, exhausted. I felt Clara moving, felt more pressure waves, and tried to think about what I wanted to do on this beautiful summer Saturday.
I couldn’t walk very well on my own, most of the time I needed help from my husband to get around, mostly I was in bed or the recliner at home for the last couple months. My feet were swollen, and driving wasn’t really an option for me anymore, and even being a passenger, well that too made me cringe. I cramped and swelled even more in the car. I knew there wasn’t much to do as far as getting out enjoying the day, so I thought about getting things ready for Clara. I thought this weekend I would practice my Hypnobaby tracks I had just bought to help my mind prepare for a planned cesarean coming up July 14th.
Jack woke up, put his hand on my back, and said, “Good morning, how are my girls?” We talked about some things we had on our to- do list, like packing the hospital bag, I wanted to get a pregnancy progression photo in for my 37th week, because I hadn’t done any in about 5 weeks. I was too tired most of the time and too achy to really get motivated lately, but today I was going to get one in. Then Jack asked how I was feeling, and like every day before for the last month I swelled up with tears and anxiety. We talked though my birthing options again for the hundredth time or more. He was patient with me. He knew how much I wanted to just go forward with my natural birth plan, with my wonderful midwives and doula, to go to the birth center, to do everything as I had been practicing, been lovingly working on creating, but he also saw the woman he loves in terrible pain, day after day, and he was concerned.
We had met with the OB my midwives referred us to just a few days prior. We discussed how kind she is, discussed the now planned cesarean for the 14th of July. I was crying that Clara wouldn’t even get to pick her birthday. I believe so much that babies come when they come, that they choose their day, not doctors. Everything seemed to feel heavy and overwhelming. After talking for an hour or so, we decided to get dressed and get out of the house for a bit. Jack took me to a nearby restaurant.
I tried to not think or talk about the only thing I could think about, so Jack did most of the talking, as usual anyways, about our regular day to day stuff. We talked about his job, William, how excited we are for Clara, we talked about things we needed to get from the store, and he asked me to make a list, and suggested I just ride in a wheelchair or one of those mobilized carts at the store, so I could at least get out and shop with him. I hated the thought of not being able to walk without help after only a few moments on my feet, I hated the thought of being pushed around in a wheelchair so I could just get out doing normal day to day stuff, like grocery shopping. I told him I would just wait at home for him, and I wasn’t willing to drive around in one of those mobile carts for seniors and disabled. I felt frustrated, I wasn’t disabled or old. Yes, I fight with a lot of pain from my illnesses, and I was 9 months pregnant, but I was frustrated, stubborn, and prideful.
We changed the subject, our food came, and we ate, he held my hand across the table. We joked with the waitress about me barely fitting between the booth and the table, and that Clara would need to come out soon. We joked that I could have her any moment. I was feeling little pressure waves on and off the whole time, but still not thinking much about it, because I wasn’t due till the 18th, and the surgery was planned for the 14th, surely I wasn’t in my birthing time (labor)…yet, so I thought. We finished our meal, and like clockwork I needed to pee. Jack asked if I wanted help walking to the bathroom, and I was stubborn as usual and said no, it wasn’t too far from the table.
A few steps away from the table I felt my underwear and pants soaking through with warm fluid. I thought I was peeing myself. I didn’t think it was my water breaking; it didn’t even cross my mind. I tried to hurry into the bathroom, thinking to myself, “What the heck? I knew I had to pee, but I didn’t think I had to go badly enough that I couldn’t make it to the bathroom!” I was embarrassed and freaked out that I had lost control of my bladder and peed myself. I sat down on the toilet, and then I actually peed, and I thought for a moment that couldn’t be right, how I could still have so much urine, and then I stopped peeing. I looked at my underwear and pants totally wet through.
I stood up, pulling up my pants, wondering how I would tell my husband that I peed my pants, and needed to go home. Then, more fluid, lots more fluid! It hit me, and in an instant my heart raced, it felt like it skipped a beat, I laughed, and smiled, and tears came to the corners of my eyes. This was my water breaking! We were going to have our little girl today! I was going to walk out to my unsuspecting husband sitting at the booth, waiting for me, thinking about who knows what, and I was going to go tell him my water broke.
I was overjoyed instantly. I washed my hands quickly, waddled out of the bathroom as fast as I could, adrenaline pumping, butterflies in my stomach. I leaned down towards his ear and said, “We have to go.” He replied, “Yeah, I know, I have the check, we can leave now.” I said, “No, I mean, we need to go home, my water just broke, our little girl is on her way.” He bolted up out of the booth, and said, “Really?! Ok, let’s go, we need to hurry, what do we do? Do I take you to the hospital?” I said, “Well, let’s check out first,” smiling, my hands shaking a bit from the excitement, joy, and adrenaline.
He got up to the cash register, me waddling many steps behind, as I caught up, I heard the waitress ask how the meal was, and he responded, “ Great, but we really have to go, her water just broke.” The waitress looked confused for a second, looked up, and saw me, and immediately became flustered. Her face got red, and she smiled, and hurried through charging our card, and said, “oh my gosh, your water broke! You are going to have a baby! This is like the kind of thing you hear about in movies, a woman’s water breaking in public, at a restaurant.” She was as flustered as Jack. I stood there with my hand on my belly, and could not stop smiling, water dripping down my legs, and although excited, I started to feel a calm come over me for a moment. It was surreal. I looked at my husband, I looked at the waitress, and it seemed like it was slow motion. I took a breath, and Jack turned towards me, his hand on my back, and we walked to the car. * We now joke about our little diva’s Hollywood experience, with my water breaking at a restaurant. It’s true, I have never heard of that happening to anyone, other than in the movies. So we think it is funny and sweet.*
I called my doula first, then the on call number for my OB’s office. We got home, and I told Jack I needed a shower. I just needed a moment. I got into the shower, still leaking amniotic fluid, I felt calm, I put my hands on my belly, I whispered to Clara that this was her day, and I was so excited to meet her and hold her. A couple tears came to the corners of my eyes. I could hear Jack in the bedroom asking me what he should do, what he should pack. He was feeling a little frantic. I told him to take a deep breath that we still had a little time, and the doctor was expecting us at the hospital. He decided to shave, so he could kiss Clara without poking her soft baby skin with his stubbly facial hair. I got out of the shower, and started thinking about all the things I wanted to do. I wasn’t ready yet! The calm feeling I had was gone, and now I felt rushed and a swirl of emotions.
I had laundry to do, I needed to do my progression photo, I needed to listen to my cesarean Hypnobaby tracks, and I needed to call my little boy. My son was with his dad that weekend, and he also had two showings of children’s play he was in that day. The evening before, Jack and I, my dad and his wife watched the Friday evening play he was in. I was swollen up, having pressure waves, and people asked me how far along I was and commented that it looked like the baby would come any moment. I smiled and agreed with the strangers that seemed excited for me, and also laughed at the look of concern of some people’s faces when they see a woman that far along, and probably wonder if her water is going to break and baby is going to be born right there and then. I know other women that have been pregnant know what I mean, you know the look. Some people smile, some ask, and some just look at you almost in fear that you are going to just lay down right there and give birth. It cracks me up every time.
Anyways, here I was standing in my bathroom, amniotic fluid still coming down my legs. I had my towel wrapped around me. I dried off, put on my Due in July tank top. I told Jack I wanted to get one last picture of my belly before we left for the hospital. We packed the bag. It was frantic when I realized my batteries were not charged, then of all days, I couldn’t find my SD card for my camera, which is very unlike me to not have my photo gear all together, so I panicked at the thought of not having photos. I found them about 10 minutes later. I went to sit on my bed, having another pressure wave, and as I looked down at the ground I saw my dog. My sweet little dog, looking up at me, and he seemed nervous and confused. I looked up at Jack and said, “Oh my God, the dog, poor Frankie, he isn’t in the birth plan! I never considered what to do with him in the birth plan. I just assumed we would be home, and then go to the birth center, and then come home, now we are going to the hospital, and I am having surgery, and I don’t know what to do with the dog.” I started tearing up again thinking about how unprepared I felt and how upset I was at the birth not going how I had dreamed it would go. I tried to keep a grip on my tears, and Jack responded with, “Well, we can put him in William’s room for now.”
“Put the dog in William’s room! We can’t do that! We will be there for 3 days; the dog can’t stay in William’s room. We need to see if he can stay with my grandparents for a few nights. Poor Frankie!” I was upset and felt like I was no longer focused at all, I felt like I was out of control, and my mind and heart was not ready for surgery, for accepting this new birthing path. I wanted to just go to the birth center. I wanted to be with my midwives. I wanted to be far away from the hospital, but I couldn’t shut down the persistent voice in my gut telling me I still needed the cesarean. I tried to shove down the emotions spilling over, and called my dad. He was able to come over and pick up Frankie, our dog.
When he and his wife got to my house, I was upstairs, holding a towel between my legs. I had leaked through a super maxi pad, and underwear. Amniotic fluid just kept coming. I was trying to get my shorts on. I had my pregnancy tank top on, the bags were ready. I had my gentle cesarean birth plan I had drafted well in advance, if for some reason the birth center plan went astray and I needed a transfer to the hospital. I printed it up quickly, put on another maxi pad, put on my shorts, and went downstairs to meet my dad and his wife sitting on the couch and recliner. I sat down on the couch for a minute with them. Jack loaded the car, and like that were all leaving the house.
My son finally returned my call as we pulled out of the driveway, and I told him his little sister was on her way. That he would get to meet her by the evening after his last show. He was very excited. I hung up with him, and tried to listen to a Hypnobabies track to relax, but I couldn’t. I closed my eyes, my mind raced. Then I realized I forgot the photo, the last progression photo, and my heart sank. I opened my eyes, and we were getting ready to pull up to the hospital. I quietly mentioned it to Jack, and he told me not to worry.
He pulled up to the entrance of the ER, not sure which wing we were supposed to go to. We had planned a tour for Sunday, yeah, the next day we were supposed to tour the hospital with our doula, to see the maternity wing, the OR, but here it was Saturday, and Clara was coming. Jack came out of the hospital with a man named Jerry, a security guard; he was pushing a blue wheelchair. I wanted to walk, but my feet were swollen and they hurt, and I didn’t feel like being stubborn to this nice older man that wanted to push a momma in a wheelchair, escorting her to maternity, and my husband just wanted to get us upstairs, so I got in the wheelchair, and Jerry took me upstairs while Jack parked the car. Jerry talked to me about his grandchildren, and that this was a nice highlight in his day to escort me up to maternity, he wished us well, and said to Jack to take care of his girls.
Our doula, Chelsea, also made it there as we were checking in. We all talked for a moment, as I looked at the paperwork, writing my name, but not really focused on everything else on the form. Then, a nurse opened the doors and we were off to a room to start the process of having Clara. I switched over into a gown, had to pee in a cup, and realized I still hadn’t got my last belly shot. So my doula got a photo of my hand on top of my belly as I sat in the bed. My belly strapped with the electronic fetal monitoring. The nurse, Jeannie, was very kind. We all really liked her. She was so personable, spiritual, sweet, experienced, and honoring of my wishes when I handed over the birth plan for a gentle cesarean. I didn’t know what to expect at first. I wasn’t treated kindly with my first born at this hospital 12 years ago. She quickly eased my mind though, and never made me feel like I was an inconvenience to her. She chatted with us about all kinds of things, we talked about how Jack and I met, we talked about angels, we talked about death of Jack’s dad, and his brother that is currently fighting/ dying from ALS. We talked about life, and it was really nice to not feel like a number on a bed at a hospital. She really felt like talking with a friend. She also toured my doula and I around the maternity wing, so I could see where the OR was, recovery, and where our room for the hospital stay would be.
When she left the room, my doula dimmed the lights, and I tried to play some Hypnobaby tracks to relax, but there was a lot of in and out by nurses, the anesthesiologist, the doctor, so I kinda gave up on that. Besides I didn’t really feel like I could get in the headspace for meditating at the time. Soon after, to my surprise, one of the midwives, Sarah, from the birth center showed up at the hospital. She stayed with me all the way through until after surgery when I was in recovery. She advocated for a couple things that wasn’t normal procedure for the hospital, like a vaginal swab to get my bacteria for Clara, since she wouldn’t be going through the birth canal where she would otherwise receive beneficial bacteria from me. I was so glad she was there. I missed my other two midwives, Kellie, and Beth. Beth, especially, because I saw her the most throughout my pregnancy, but I love and appreciate them all, and I was just so thankful and happy to see Sarah. My husband was there, my doula and friend, Chelsea, and my midwife, Sarah. Three people that knew my wishes and knew the turmoil I have been going through to even end up sitting on that hospital bed, they knew, and they were supportive to me, and loving, and it took just enough of the edge off my turmoil about accepting surgery as Clara’s birth. I probably would have had a meltdown if I didn’t have these loving people there to support me.
My son made it to see me just before I was prepped for surgery. I was so glad to see his face, to hug and kiss him before surgery. He was so excited to meet his baby sister. He asked me if I would be okay during surgery, and if I could die. I told him that God was watching over Clara and me, and that everything was going to go great, and not to worry. I told him he could pray for Clara and for me.
I was torn about my choice up until the very last moment, even being wheeled down the hallway to the OR. I wanted to jump off the table and just leave for the birth center, but I knew my choice was made, and I knew deep down, that this was something my gut was certain of being the right choice for my body. I closed my eyes, said a quick prayer, and the doors to the OR opened up. It was bright and cold, a hustle and bustle about with everyone in there. They transferred me from the bed to the table and explained how to sit for the spinal. My body was sore, achy, my feet were cramped, and I was having a pressure wave. I wanted to feel that last pressure wave, the last movement of Clara in my belly. My eyes teared up, as they are now sitting here and writing this.
I hunched over the pillow they gave me, a woman stood in front of me, my chin tucked down, and she pressed back against my body to help me stay stable on the edge of the table. Then, Kim, the anesthesiologist, started the spinal. It was cold, it stung, and then I felt the needle moving around side to side, as she talked me through what I should feel and not feel. Tingles ran down one side, then the next, it hurt, and I remembered to just breathe. I was holding my breath, and I exhaled, and I closed my eyes. Then I started feeling the numbness setting it. It was so fast. Barely enough time to get me to lie down and get my legs out on the table. Then, just like that the blue drape was being put up. Kim was talking to me and asking me how I felt. She was really friendly and cheery. I asked when my husband would be in to join us, and in a moment he was there.
I looked over at him. The surgery had started. I felt some tugging and moving around. I began crying. I looked at Jack, and I told him the story of when we first talked about Clara 9 years ago. We were up in the mountains dreaming of a cabin, being married, and our little girl, Clara, we knew her name even back then, and I laid there numb, picturing her and us in the mountains, with a cabin, and I remembered how it felt falling in love with Jack, and I cried more. I thought of my little boy, performing on stage at his play earlier that evening, while I laid there, ready to birth his little sister, and I thought of him meeting her for the first time.
Then, I thought of Clara. I went deep down inside myself, to her, and I told her everything was going to be ok. I told her that today is her birthday, and that we are all so excited to meet her and love her, and that the doctors were doing their very best to help her into the world. I told her to not be scared. Then, my OB said it would be a little bit longer, because I had really bad scarring from my previous cesarean. She explained how my uterus was adhered to the scar tissue, and that she needed to be very careful and take her time. She told me it was a good thing I did come in for the cesarean, and that she was thankful that it wasn’t in an emergency situation, because it could have been very bad had I ended up needing an emergency C-section. Jack whispered to me, “see honey, it was good you listened to your instincts. This could have gone very badly, if you ended up here in an emergency. It’s good she has time to take care of you and Clara, and that you chose this option. I am so glad you trusted your gut. I would not want anything bad to happen to my girls.” He looked so loving and so relieved looking at me.
I don’t know if the scarring would have caused complications with my uterus had I gone the natural birth route. Maybe I would have been okay, but maybe not, and from the sounds of it, I am glad that I trusted my gut. Not only did my body not feel strong or well enough to go through natural birth, but hearing about how badly my uterus was attached the scar tissue from the previous C-section with my son, it confirmed my gut feelings that I made the right choice, even if it broke my heart. I was so thankful laying there, knowing my OB was taking good care of me, doing her best to take care of my body, and take her time to do things well, and to take care of Clara. She is an awesome doctor. She honored my wishes for dropping the drape, for skin to skin on the OR table with Clara, and more. I can’t say enough good things about her, the time she gave me, her opening up to me about her own birthing stories and her beliefs in trusting that mothers know what they need, that mothers have instincts that need to be heard out. She is a doctor that needs to be supported in her efforts to create positive changes for birthing women, and for gentle C-sections. I felt very blessed by my midwives, for all their guidance and support during my pregnancy, for referring me to a fantastic OB, and in that moment of gratitude, I heard the OB tell me Clara was coming, and she instructed for the drape to drop.
The blue drape came down, and at first I couldn’t see anything, and then, her head, and as Jack lifted my head more for me, I saw her, my baby girl. She was making her way out of my womb, her head wiggling out, and my OB gently helping her, guiding her out. Then after a couple moments or so, she was out and lifted up for me to see. She was amazing! This tiny baby covered in the mess and beauty of birth, the blood, water, vernix, and she was just absolutely beautiful to me. The whole moment, her cries, the goop, the doctor holding her up, and the light shining down over her, it was a moment I will never forget, that miracle of life, that precious and fast moment of seeing my child lifted up for me to see, birthed and beautiful. My heart and soul just felt so flooded with love, and I cried, and I told her I loved her, and that she would be okay. I told her happy birthday. I wanted to kiss my husband, but his face was behind a mask, and Clara was taken over the warmer to be looked over. I understood. I waited there, looking at my husband, and telling him to go get pictures of her, be with her, and talk to her.
Then the nurses brought her over to me, and placed her on my chest. This tiny, wiggling little life clinging to me, inching her way up my chest, pushing her little face into my throat under my chin, trying to get as close to me as she could. I talked to her. I told her how amazing she is, how brave and strong she is, how beautiful, and said I love you over and over. This was so different from my first experience with my son. I wish so badly my C-section experience with him could have been so positive and so filled with love right away. But times were different then. I cherished these moments, knowing how good it was to get this time. Knowing how things were in the past, and I absolutely cherished every second I got in that OR, seeing her be born and holding her right away, with my husband at our side.
It took a little longer to get me stitched up, I didn’t mind, I got that time with my daughter, and my OB was taking good care to make sure everything was looking good from the previous scarring and surgery, and doing her best for me. Then it was time to get me moved over to the bed, Clara and Jack went over to recovery outside the OR doors. My bed was wheeled into recovery, and I watched as Clara was examined again, and her footprints were done. I looked at my husband, now a father, and though I was numb, and on pain meds, I know the oxytocin was still flowing, and I was just so in love. Then I was able to hold and nurse my sweet angel. She went right for it, like a little champ, already knowing what she needed to do. I looked down at her, and watched her as she nursed; staring at her, soaking up every detail of her little face, and holding her hand.
Jack took turns with my doula and midwife, so they could come back to see me and meet Clara. William came in as soon as his show was over and he held his baby sister for the first time. He sang Happy Birthday to her. He talked sweetly to her, and told me how happy he is to be a big brother. It was so moving to see my twelve year old, holding his little sister, to see both of my children together, just the three of us sitting there together in our own special little moment.
William had to leave to go back with his dad, so my midwife came back in the recovery area, and took the time to show me my placenta. I am so grateful she did. It was incredible. Huge and heart shaped. It was lovely, and I felt gratitude then too, looking at it, knowing how it nourished my baby, and I felt appreciation for my body, and for God’s design. When you see a placenta, in person for the first time, you just can’t help but to think of how detailed and artistic it looks and knowing it is certainly the work of the ultimate Creator. At least for me, that is how I felt. She packed it back up to take home and encapsulate for me. I wished I had asked for a photo of it before she left, but she did make a pretty print of it for me.
I am still dealing with my own feelings about how the birth went. I am still working to release my feelings about not having a natural birth at the birth center. I am filled with love and gratitude for how positive my surgery was, and for the experience I did have under those circumstances, for being in good hands, and for the people that supported me, but I also feel like I am grieving the loss of not having the birth I so deeply believed in. I know I did what was best for my body at the time. I don’t feel much like explaining it more in depth. It’s complicated. It’s a joy to have experienced what I did, and a loss at the same time.
I couldn’t be more thankful for my midwives at New Beginnings. I first met Beth. She toured Jack and I around the birth center on a cold Nov. evening. I was a few weeks pregnant, already sick as a dog with HG. She was super friendly, chatted about her experiences as a midwife, talked about things I was wanting for my pregnancy and birth, how I saw things going, and was supportive and loving. I knew it was the right place to be. Soon after, I met Kellie, Tracey, and Sarah. Everyone there is passionate about what they do, truly supportive, and a source of wisdom that is only gained by people that have experience and love for what they do. These women have a special place in my heart, and someday when Clara is older I will suggest to her, the importance of midwives and natural birth, and being supported in her choices during pregnancy and birth, even if the path changes.
I am thankful to my OB, Dr. Kasper. She took me under her wing during my 37th week of pregnancy, days prior to Clara being born, little did we know that in our consult. She gave my husband and I time. It wasn’t just good bedside manner, she was a person talking with other people, not just patients. When we first met her, we ended up waiting over an hour for our appointment because she got called into a cesarean at the hospital next door. We didn’t mind waiting a bit. When she came back to the office, she had us and other patients, but she gave us time. She talked with us, not only about options, but about how my pregnancy was, my emotional state, she shared her own birth stories with us, and then left the room to give us time to talk, and came back to talk more with us. And I can only say I believe everything worked out just in time, by the grace of God. We met her, and about a week later she happened to be the on call doctor at the hospital the day Clara was born. It just worked out, and I am so glad she was the one there to do my surgery. Some people just come into your life for a short while, but they forever will be a part of your story, that is Dr. Kasper, as a chapter in my story, and in Clara’s story.
We had wonderful nurses at the hospital. Kind and caring, and also taking their time to visit with us, treat us like people. One of which spent an hour, at 2 in the morning, chatting with us about life, about God, and about coincidences. I am thankful for all of them too.
This hospital experience was a night and day comparison to how my first birth went, and how I was treated back then. It’s great to see things change in a positive way. It also makes it unique in a way that I know what poor treatment is like, and appreciate the positive changes all the more.
I will post more later with hospital photos taken over the 3 day stay, and will soon have the first couple of weeks photos ready too.
Thank you so much for taking time to read this. I love being able to share my birth story and photos. Birth is truly a sacred, beautiful, and miraculous moment.
If you would like to see my Gentle Cesarean birth plan I brought to the hospital to use as a reference for yourself or someone you know that may be facing a cesarean birth, click here.
The first couple of weeks at home: http://www.allisonattitude.com/blog/weeks-1-and-2-life-with-clara
Fresh 48: The Hospital Stay:http://www.allisonattitude.com/blog/fresh-48
To read all articles relating to this pregnancy: http://www.allisonattitude.com/blog/category/pregnancy
First Trimester Recap: http://www.allisonattitude.com/blog/first-trimester-a-recap
Exhaustion, Letting Go, and Acceptance: http://www.allisonattitude.com/blog/exhaustion-letting-go-and-acceptance
Follow our other website too:
A Gentle Cesarean Birth Plan
To our birth team: We trust in your expertise and in your sensitivity to our individual needs and wishes. We intended to have a natural birth at a birth center, however things took a turn in decision making at 37w pregnant, and it was not taken lightly to come to the this path for a cesarean birth. Thank you in advance for your support and encouragement during our daughter’s (Clara) birth. My husband (Jack Allison) and I understand that birth can go differently than planned and that decisions may need to be made during the process. We intend to work with everyone present to make good decisions if need arises. In case a decision about a medical procedure may be made if I am unconscious, I grant authority for making that decision to my husband. The concept of fully informed consent is important to us.
Thank you and sincerely,
Jessica and Jack Allison
To read about Clara's birth story: http://www.allisonattitude.com/blog/claras-birth-story