Thursday, May 29, 2014

Caroline's Birth Story

I have been meaning to write Caroline's birth story for several weeks now, but every time I try to put the experience into words, I fail. So this time, I am  going to use someone else's words. So, with apologies to Kelle Hampton, here is goes...

Birth Stories. It is a common thread that runs through the tapestry of motherhood--all kinds of mamas, hundreds of thousands of unique and beautiful children, miles of earth that separate us, cultures and beliefs and families that identify us--but each of our children has a story of how they were welcomed.

This is Caroline Hope Eckert's.

The day after Easter, at 6pm, Matt and I arrived at the hospital for my scheduled induction.  I really wanted to NOT be induced, I wanted Caroline to come when SHE was ready, but the third trimester brought with it a gestational diabetes diagnosis, followed by 4-6 doctors appointments per week, a few high risk hospital admissions, and a decision to bring our baby into the world a little earlier than expected.  

Along with wanting to go into labor on our own time line, I also really, really wanted to have a natural birth. And by that I mean a vaginal birth with lots of drugs in a sterile and impersonal hospital setting with a slew of medical personnel on hand.   As it turned out, this too was a pipe dream. I could go into a LOT of detail about Terbutaline, Pitocin, Cervidil, Foley bulbs, and other means of inducing labor, but to make a long story short, NONE OF THEM WORKED.  We tried everything but smoking her out. The baby friend was clearly stubborn.  No idea where she gets that from.  And FYI, it's a good thing there weren't many others on the floor that night, because I let my rage be known...loudly.

I don’t believe in suffering silently.
And here's another fun tidbit.  THE EPIDURAL DIDN'T WORK EITHER.  I am serious. The spinal block that I requested literally the minute I checked into the hospital blocked NOTHING.  After 19 hours of excruciatingly painful labor ( There isn’t a damn thing on the planet that I want to do for 19 hours, especially not something that requires pushing a melon out of a hole the size of a cherry.), Caroline's heart rate began to slow down and it was decided that a Cesarean section was necessary, ASAP.  With basically nothing more than a local anesthetic, because I was lucky enough to be one of the one in a thousand people who cannot "metabolize" glucocorticoids.  

My anesthesiologist cheerfully told me that even though I was "missing out" on experiencing the vaginal birth process, I was fortunate enough to get the chance to be tough by having abdominal surgery with meds that didnt work. Hey, Silver Linings!   

Also, he breezily mentioned, I might have a tender stomach after the operation.  As it turned out, he underestimated that a bit as well.  A tender stomach is what you feel after you eat one too many burritos.... horrendous pain is what you feel after a knife slices through your midsection to pry a child from your loins.    Not cool, dude. not cool at all.  

 Small rant: I don't really understand why people get so upset by C-sections.  I don't think that the bond of mother and child is solely dependent on which body part the baby exited from.  A few minutes after the surgery commenced, they placed my beautiful daughter on my chest, and I couldn't have been more filled with love and absolute awe. I was in love the instant I heard her cry. Nature does what nature needs to do, and if a Cesarean surgery was what ended up happening in your case, then be thankful for the miracle of a happy and healthy baby. 

Her first breath took ours away.....

The rest of the day/week is sort of a Vicodin-fueled blur, but I can tell you that from then on, things went a little more as planned.  We did some skin to skin, and I was able to nurse her right away (she had a really strong latch!). My parents stopped in for a few minutes so Hannah could meet her new sister, and Matt's parents were fabulous, coming every day and bringing us all kinds of treats and helping a great deal.  We also had several other friends and family visit, including my cousin Rachel who took some amazing and priceless pictures for us that I will treasure forever.

 She was worth it all. The shots, the glucose tests, the IV hydration and BPP's and hospital stays, and difficult all faded to black when I got to hold my sweet girl.  She is our rainbow girl, our dream come true.  

She is a dream baby. She has literally never cried for no reason, ever. I’ve never been around a baby with such a sweet disposition. She is a happy, friendly, agreeable little gal and I hope as she grows older she keeps those traits. She also has some crazy red hair.

The best thing about birth stories?

They are just the beginning. There is more to be written for our family, for our love, and for the life of our precious Caroline.

It's as if she's always been here.  

Jeremiah 1.5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. 


marie said...

So so so so so sweet!!!!! I am so glad Hanna has adapted so well at being a great big sister! Your girls are so darling, Erin! Enjoy it !

Alaina Falk said...

What a beautiful story! We are so happy for you! She is just gorgeous!

Lou Ann said...

Beautiful story and as you said Erin,just the beginning. Happy days to you all!!!