“With that first, beautiful scream, my heart burst with joy and tears burst from my eyes, leaking pure joy and love outside for all to see. Time proceeded slowly as I turned to my husband and said, ‘That’s our boy! That’s OUR baby boy!'”
A C-section was what I dreaded more than anything else leading up to the birth of my son. I tormented myself with that worse case scenario each day and it played out in my nightmares each night. I had seen so many strong, beautiful women in my life destroyed by them. They still carry the scars and dark clouds of trauma that weigh heavy on their hearts years afterwards. Even though I didn’t get the birth that I envisioned and carefully planned, my son’s birth was perfect and here’s why:
- My God: There are few times in my life where I have felt so close to heaven that it seemed I was actually there. To feel the love of our Lord and the love of our Savior to such a depth that it feels almost as if you are standing in their presence. I felt that love on my wedding day when the Lord seemed to smile His approval down on us, but never have I felt it as strong as when my son entered this world.
- My Husband: There is no one on this earth who knows me like my husband does. When everything was falling apart and I began to feel that all was lost, that I would never get to see or hold my son, my husband found a way to pull me back to him and to God.
- My Life: I honestly didn’t think I would live at one point and if I had been born in any other age, I feel certain that I would have died trying to give birth to my son. I’m grateful to be alive and just living through the birth of my son makes it perfect.
- My Mental Health: Not only did I live, but through the courage that I found and the joy that I experienced, I did not suffer from postpartum depression. I felt like I was walking in the clouds for months. I have struggled with anxiety and depression throughout my life. It was HUGE to me that I didn’t have to struggle with this after the birth of my son.
- My Health: I believe that having a positive attitude can positively affect your health. The joy that I felt at my son’s birth helped my health and my recovery from surgery.
- My Son Lived: a blessing for which I am eternally grateful. Honestly, we both could have easily died if this wasn’t a C-section. It is a gift from God that we were born in this modern age.
- My Son was Born Healthy: If I had tried to birth him naturally and he didn’t fit out, retrieving him could have caused damage to his brain or body that could have permanently affected his life.
- It was Beautiful: Regardless of how your baby is born, bringing life into this world is beautiful and a privilege. My C-section was my most miraculous moment. Everything else, all of the anxiety, all of the pain melted away completely the moment my son was born.
I know this all probably sounds a little too good to be true. Trust me, the events leading up to my son’s perfect c-section birth were anything but perfect. Continue reading to get my whole birth story or check out my other articles about c-section recovery and what to pack in your c-section birth bag.
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Ultrasounds Aren’t Always Fun
As I mentioned earlier, I have struggled with anxiety and depression throughout my life. While I was pregnant with my son, I had some anxiety that increased the closer I came to my due date. This felt pretty natural until my 36 week ultrasound.
After my 36-week ultrasound, my doctor told me that my son was measuring very big and if he didn’t come soon, they might have to get him out via C-section. It felt like I was living my nightmares. I tried absolutely everything that I could to get that little boy to out “naturally.” Even the not so fun stuff… let’s just say that I don’t recommend overdoing it on spicy food.
As hard as I tried, it didn’t work. I went to my 39-week ultrasound feeling very low, but still holding onto hope that I could get my natural birth plan. My husband and I talked before going and decided that (since we had heard that ultrasounds have a natural error range of up to 3 lbs), I would fight for a medical induction with a natural birth for a baby measuring up to 11 lbs.
Well, the first thing they measured was my son’s head and there was literally no measurement for it. It was-quite literally-off the charts. His belly girth was the same. Bigger than any of the measurements in their system. They finally got a baseline from his leg length. He was measuring between 11 and 12lbs. With only one usable measurement, they couldn’t get an accurate read. The ultrasound tech actually told me to put my labor bag in my car and be ready to go, because the doctor might tell me to go straight to the hospital.
The last bit of hope I had for a natural birth lay shattered on that ultrasound room floor.
It felt like my whole carefully planned birth was being robbed from me and all I could do was sit on the sidelines and watch them burn my birth plan to the ground. But, out of the ashes of my old birth plan, I rose to the challenge of loving the opportunity I had to even survive my birth. 100 years ago, I probably would not have had this privilege.
My doctor didn’t rush me in. He was serious but kind. He scheduled me for an early morning surgery that Saturday (two days later). I put on my brave face, wrote a new birth plan, packed my big girl panties (you know, Depends), and prepared myself for my own worst case scenario.
Preparing for Surgery
It sounds nice to be able to schedule out when your baby will make their debut into this world, but mostly I was just panicking and trying to feel 100% ready for my baby (impossible!) without overworking myself. The night before I didn’t sleep a wink. I just lay there staring lasers at my snoring husband and wondering how on earth he could sleep.
I was up and moving before my 4am alarm, and we got to the hospital early and had to sit in the waiting room and try to not yell at the clock to move faster. When they FINALLY took us back (we really only had to wait like, 15 minutes, it just felt like an eternity), there was a lot of little things to do to prepare me for surgery.
After getting my body, mouth and even nostrils as sterile as possible, I donned my hospital gown, my fashionable papery blue hat and set off for the most painful part of the whole procedure: getting my blood drawn.
I have deeply set, small, rolling veins (which basically just means my veins are difficult to stick). So the nurse had to wiggle the needle around in my arm a little bit to find the vein. Which is exactly as fun as it sounds!
After my blood draw, I had the epidural placed and was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t hurt at all. The anesthesiologist made sure that the medicine was flowing to both sides and I laid back and looked at the clock for the first time since the waiting room. Somehow two hours had gone by in the blink of an eye and my surgery was less than half an hour away!
I nervously looked from the clock to my approaching doctor and then to the nurses and anesthesiologist that were suddenly buzzing around me looking concerned. I heard someone say, “she’s tachycardic.” Someone else, “her heart rate is over 160 bpm.”
They finally saw me looking at them concerned, and my nurse who had been with me since the beginning said, “Brittany, we’re concerned about your heart rate, we’re worried it’s a reaction to the medication, but when we tested your blood, there was no reaction. What’s going on with you right now? How are you feeling?”
My first thought was something along the lines of “Shouldn’t you be telling me what’s going on?” My brain quickly bounced around every worse case scenario… Will I have to be put under? I’ll miss my baby being born!
Will I wake up from the sedation or will I be one of the very rare people who don’t? Will I ever get to meet my baby? Finally, after quickly bouncing around anxiety land, it clicked. I have anxiety. My heart is racing because I’m afraid.
I told the nurse in one of the smallest and most fearful whispers of my life, “It’s my fault. It started right after I looked at the clock.” It wasn’t the medication. They had carefully and slowly administered the medication. Testing out that it was perfectly placed and both sides were working for 15 minutes before letting me carefully lie down again.
“Calm down” they each echoed. “Brittany, you just need to calm down.” If you have ever experienced anxiety, I don’t have to explain to you that half a dozen doctors and nurses telling you to calm down just before going into a surgery that, at this point, you’re thinking you are surely going to die in would probably be the least helpful thing.
I’m sure my eyes were screaming just as loudly as the monitors were beeping, just as intensely as my heart was racing to beat out as fast and hard as it could before giving up the race (or so I thought).
I thought I was prepared. I had packed and repacked my hospital bag. I had typed and retyped my birth plan. I had planned out everything! Well, you can’t plan out everything, but you can pray your way through anything and that’s exactly what we did!
My husband saw my screaming eyes and knew what was going on. He’d seen it a hundred times. I was having an anxiety attack and he knew he needed to talk me down. He had me close my eyes, he held my hand tight, put his face close to mine, blocking out the anxious doctors and nurses, and it was just him, me, and God in that moment.
I can’t tell you for sure if it was the power of the priesthood, my husband’s calming voice, or both working perfectly together, but I can tell you that it worked. It worked and my heart rate returned to normal as soon as the short, pure-hearted prayer ended.
They finished preparing me for surgery and I was, physically, ready to be wheeled away. I wasn’t ready to be separated from my husband, but I prayed my heart out as they prepped me in the O.R. and we were reunited in just a few minutes. My husband later told me that he lost it as they wheeled me away and was pleading for my life at the same time that I was pleading for my own life, or at least to be able to hold my healthy son for a few minutes.
These prayers strengthened me, body and soul. Though my body trembled from the freezing cold that I lay open and exposed to, my heart felt strong and steady. I was overjoyed when my husband joined me and couldn’t help but smile and feel happy butterflies as I awaited the arrival of my baby. I was finally going to meet the little boy I’d been dreaming of, thinking of, and planning for long before I ever became pregnant.
My Miracle Moment
My doctor joined us and set to work making his small incision and pushing my ginormous baby through. It actually took two doctors to push my chunky, future football player through the small hole and I could feel their careful, strong pressure. I felt the pressure let up and my doctor said “It’s a boy!”
I’m pretty sure time stopped as I waited, holding my breath until I heard that first scream that would mean that my son, too, was breathing and alive outside of me. With that first, beautiful scream, my heart burst with joy and tears burst from my eyes, leaking pure joy and love outside for all to see. Time proceeded slowly as I turned to my husband and said, “That’s our boy! That’s OUR baby boy!”
The love and joy that we both felt cannot be fully expressed in writing. But, to me, this was the most miraculous moment of my life. To go from thoughts of sure death to being able to feel heaven all around us as new life was placed into my husband’s arms and on my chest.
I wrote in my “mommy-son” journal: “The first thing that I did when they brought you over to me was kiss your chubby cheeks! Then, they let me hold you for the first time! They laid you on my chest and I wrapped my arms around you and instantly… I fell in love <3”
My prayer is that you will find the beauty in your own c-section. Don’t let the trauma rob you of your own miracle moment. Don’t look back with sadness! Find the courage to look back with love and joy. Let go of the pain. Live in the love.