// Linden Atlas - The Birth Story

I was pretty positive that I wouldn't share Linden's birth story on the blog... I'm not sure why since I really enjoy reading those types of posts myself. I guess part of me was really heartbroken that his birth didn't go even remotely as planned, and I've sort of been mourning that experience for the past six weeks. The thought of writing about it made me feel guilty and ashamed because I was letting the little details cloud my memory of such an incredible experience. Don't get me wrong, he's here and I'm over the moon! He was born healthy and I got through it (fairly) unscathed... I'll consider that a huge success. I think I was just overwhelmed with everything. But for the sake of memory, and sharing my experience, I figured I'd write up a little something. (And of course a little something turns into a long something haha)

After being admitted to the hospital on five separate occasions in the five weeks that lead up to Linden's birth, I was terrified what the actual labor and delivery process might be like. Starting at around 34 weeks Linden's heart was going a little crazy. At my first hospital admission his heart was racing at lightning speed. Then just a week later when I was having regular contractions, his heart rate would drop considerably. Between his variables and my (mild) pre-eclampsia, my "totally easy" pregnancy turned into quite the adventure. Despite twice weekly non-stress tests, weekly admission to the hospital, and even a Pitocin-induced contraction challenge test, I was still loving being pregnant. I was sore and large, but I loved every minute of it. My doctor had expressed her concerns to me about Linden's heart and after a lot of consideration we agreed to start induction as soon as I hit 39 weeks. I was scheduled to be admitted to the hospital at 10pm on Tuesday, July 22nd and the Pitocin drip would begin at midnight. I was both elated and terrified.
Tuesday the 22nd rolled around and we went about our business as usual. I made sure to eat a delicious "last meal" and I even managed to sneak in a quick cat nap before heading out. At 9pm we left our house with our bags in tow and checked into the hospital. Apparently everyone was having a baby that night because we had to wait for a full half hour for a bed to open up before we could be admitted. After getting settled in I waited for my nurse to make her rounds and I psyched myself up for that awful Pitocin IV (seriously... the IV in the hand is the worst!). Finally at 12:30am my nurse came in to start the drip. She let me get up and move around a bit, go to the restroom, and then settle in bed to begin. As soon as I sat back down in the bed I felt a strange gush of water... like I had peed myself. Y'all, I thought I peed myself! I was so embarrassed haha! I looked around with a strange face and contemplated what just happened, and then I finally mentioned it to her and made sure to say "But I really don't think I peed myself... I mean, I just went to the bathroom"... Lo and behold my water broke on it's own! Seriously thirty seconds before the IV was to be inserted. (If my water had broken on it's own at home, I probably would've just assumed I peed myself. Seriously. That sort of comes with the territory of being 9 months pregnant haha It wasn't some crazy cinematic thing like you see on TV) Anyway, the IV was started and we were left to settle in for a long night of Friends reruns. 

After about 30 minutes my contractions (which I could barely feel in the beginning) were terrible. The pain escalated so quickly and I could barely stand it. Since my water had already broken on it's own, I was free to request an epidural at any point. (Shoutout to all of you moms who do it the natural way, but that was *not* for me! Holy moly!) I buzzed my nurse and told her I was ready knowing it'd be a full half hour before the anesthesiologist could make it up there anyway. At around 2am the anesthesiologist showed up and inserted my epidural. It wasn't the most painful thing in the world, but it sure as heck didn't feel good either. In fact, I cried like a baby. And had snot dripping down my face. Not my finest hour... BUT! Sweet relief was there! Almost instantly my lower body tingled and went numb. So numb that I couldn't even lift my feet to move the cover haha Luckily I was able to catch a little bit of shut eye before the real show began. Or so I thought... 

Not too long after my epidural I heard my "alarm" go off at the nurse's station. For the next couple of hours 2 nurses came in every 5-10 minutes to sort of roll me from one side to the other. Apparently Linden's heart wasn't doing so well. Despite "passing" the contraction challenge test a week prior, his decelerations were worrisome. By 4am my Mom and Nana were at the hospital, sitting in our dark room with us. The nurses came and went each time my alarm would sound, and eventually a midwife came in to talk to me about what was happening, telling me that a c-section might be in order. My doctor came by as soon as she got to the hospital sometime after 6:30am and said a c-section would be the only safe way to bring him into the world. I held it together long enough for the medical staff to leave the room, but as soon as the door shut behind them I broke out into tears. I had known all along that a c-section might happen. I had known for weeks that his heart wasn't really tolerating the contractions so it was a possibility. But I was scared. SO scared. I didn't know what to expect and I was terrified of being cut open on a table. Not only that but I was so scared that the contractions were actually hurting Linden in some way, like cutting off his oxygen supply or worse. It wasn't the birth that I had envisioned. Still, I made sure to write down my wishes on our birth plan should a caesarian take place. Within just a minute or two they had the OR ready, and Mike was suited up in his scrubs. They wheeled me in and started surgery at 7am exactly.

I don't really remember a whole lot about the actual surgery. I was awake the whole time, but the drugs were pretty strong. I had a really really wonderful anesthesiologist that talked me through the entire process. She was so kind and that honestly made a world of difference for me. I felt slight pressure, but nothing was ever uncomfortable or painful. The minutes blurred together, and in no time I heard Linden cry for the very first time. I couldn't see him, but his cries alone sent me into emotional overdrive. I started bawling like a baby right there on the table. They lifted him up and started to clean him off. Mike was able to take his phone and snap some photos, but it was difficult because his glasses were so fogged up from crying! Seeing this made me cry even more haha! After that I can't really recall much of the next half hour. They let Mike take Linden back to our room so our family could see him, but I never even saw them leave. I was in and out of sleep since the pain medication was so heavy. The anesthesiologist kept having to wake me up to remind me to breathe deeply. They pulled me off the table and rolled me out of the OR at 8am on the dot... One hour from start to finish.



I got back to the room and everything was still so hazy. I remember holding him for the first time and being so incredibly awestruck by how precious he was. I wish I could remember more from those first few hours but everything is a blur. (That's really what prompted me to finally write all of this down... I'm so afraid I'll forget!) My parents stayed for a few hours and then left to let us rest for a while. We stayed in our L&D room for most of the day until we could be transferred to the Mother/Baby Unit. Mike's parents and Toby came in to meet Linden and everything felt wonderful.

I had envisioned this certain kind of birth experience and it wasn't anything like that. I was okay with the c-section (though the recovery was excruciating!) and above all I'm just glad he's here, safe and sound. Part of me is still mourning the birth experience we didn't have... like Mike cutting the cord, immediate skin to skin contact, etc. Things that really aren't that huge in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes I'll still catch myself crying that I wasn't the first person to hold my baby... or the second. Or the third. It's silly to stress over because I've certainly made up for the "lost time" since then, but when you're in a heightened emotional state, all rationality goes out the window haha. There wasn't a single thing on our (extremely lax) birth plan that went according plan... but that's sort of how life is I guess. Even with the stress, surprises, and slight speed bumps, I get to be the mom to one of the sweetest little guys around.



Part of me finds it hard to believe it's already been over six weeks since this experience, while the other part of me feels like it was so long ago. Now that I have my first birth experience out of the way, I think I'll feel a lot more calm the next time around. I definitely hope we have more children in the future... no matter how they come into the world. I was never aware of how emotional a c-section could be, but I feel very lucky that we were surrounded by so many wonderful nurses, and my amazing doctor, because they made the whole thing so easy. I'd do his birth ten times over if it meant bringing the same sweet little person into the world. It may not have been my ideal, but it was perfect. I know so many women feel cheated when they have a c-section, and honestly, that's how I felt, too. I felt like my body was failing me, like when I got my preeclampsia diagnosis and when my body couldn't keep Linden stable. But now I see the good that has come from it and I can't really be mad, ya know? I asked a lot of my body during those nine months... I'd say I came out victorious. It was worth absolutely every second.

I know my labor and delivery experience may not be unique from anyone else's, but I'm glad I took the time to sit down and write it out. Even if just for my own sake. I'd like to be able to remember enough of it to tell Linden about it when he's older. That's good enough for me. Thanks for letting me share. xo

27 comments:

  1. I love his name! :) He's so cute!

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  2. No matter how the baby is born, I find birth stories beautiful and encouraging, so thank you for sharing. My comment may end up being a bit long....

    My son was born on June 29th via c-section. I had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy, and though it was well control by diet, my midwives didn't want me to go too far past my due date (June 24). My due date came and went and three days after my due date we scheduled an induction for the 29th in the evening. This was not what I wanted but I was also insanely tired of being pregnant and just wanted to meet my son already! Well June 29th came around and at 1am my water broke on it's own!! 15 minutes after my water broke my contractions were horrid and I could barely walk so we headed into the hospital. I got pain meds the second they would give them to me but held off on the epidural until the afternoon. Right after my epidural set in it was time to push. Before I knew it, three hours had gone by and my son had not moved as far as he should have. They gave the options of continuing to push for an undetermined amount of time or have a c-seciotn now. After having a few minutes to talk and pray about it, my husband and I decided on a c-section because I was so tired and we knew it would be best for both me and the baby. I really am glad that we made that decision but like you, I am still mourning that loss of actually giving birth to my son. Within about 5 minutes of starting the surgery my son was out and my husband was able to cut the cord and take a ton of pictures, one of the nurses even took photos of him cutting the cord for me! And as soon as he was cleaned off and checked (and a diaper was on him because he came out peeing, no joke!) they were able to put him on me for skin to skin while they finished the surgery. Everything went well but I agree with me, recovering was the worst thing in the world. At about 11 weeks I still have occasional pain and although I'm allowed to exercise I can't do it everyday or else my incision hurts. Like I said, I am still mourning that loss of giving birth to my son on my own. Part of me just feels like I didn't actually give birth. But I am so thankful that I had the c-section, otherwise I could have broken my pelvic bone, torn horribly, or my son could have gone under stress. I tried my best to give an abridged version but I know that was still a long story. You can read the whole birth story on my blog if you're interested: http://littlecityadventures.blogspot.com/2014/07/williams-birth-story.html#.VBbfNEuAZg0
    I'm also considering writing a c-section recovery post...
    Anyway...we need to remember that it's OK that we had c-sections. We did what was best for our boys. And really, that's all that matters in the end, right?! I'm going to have a c-section next time, I'm already preparing myself for that even though that's way far away, because my midwife said that the way he got stuck would make a VBAC next time highly unlikely and I don't want to put my body or future baby under unnecessary stress. Thank you so much for sharing Linden's birth story, he's beautiful. It helps to know that there are other mamas out there who have experienced the same things as me and feel the same way about them <3

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  3. Oh, Kaelah. I don't normally read birth stories because, if I'm honest, the whole thought of giving birth freaks the hell out of me but this made me cry (in a good way). I'm sorry things didn't go the way you planned but, like you say, you got a gorgeous little dude out of it and that's worth it. Also, even though your birth wasn't at all how you wanted it, your story was actually reassuring for me so thank you for sharing.

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  4. I think all moms feel that guilt and sadness when the birth doesn't go exactly as planned, but it definitely fades over time. In the end, all that matters is that you have a healthy, beautiful little boy.

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  5. My son was a planned c-section. He had been in the breech position for, as far as we could tell, the entire pregnancy and wasn't budging. Three days before my appointment though, my water broke. We went to the hospital, and there ended up being one emergency after another that took priority over me (which I completely understand and am not complaining about). I ended up having to wait close to a few hours before the c-section could be done, so I just got to experience the joys of labor while waiting. Everyone who had known about my scheduled c-section commented that at least I wouldn't have to deal with contractions. So much for that!

    A few weeks after, I watched a video of a c-section and felt like I was going to throw up. I'm glad I hadn't watched it beforehand!!!! Yikes.

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  6. Love your birth story, thank you for sharing it with us (and trust me, you'll never regret writing it down, it's crazy how many things you forget no matter how hard you tell yourself you're not going to!)

    I hope you haven't (and won't) run into too many crazies out there who try to detract from your birth story because you had an emergency cesaran. Birth is birth. And I think we should all just be thankful we live in our modern times with such great medical care and intervention. I think it's wonderful that so many women are choosing home births and unmedicated births, mostly because I'm so glad so many women are CHOOSING for themselves, but let's also be thankful that when our choices are taken out of our hands, we can rest a little easier knowing our babies stand a better chance of surviving (and thriving) with such excellent medical care.

    {sorry for the rant}

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  7. This story really touched me... I'm due in 9 weeks and I couldn't be more terrified than I am right now. I'm scared that everything will not turn out as I am envisioning it. That something will happen or the entire process will be just too painful for me. I'm equally excited about getting to see my little man and hold him for the first time. So your post has given me hope that even if things don't turn out exactly right it will be okay. Thank you for sharing this I really needed to hear it!

    -Lara @ Methodical Living
    http://methodicalliving.blogspot.com

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  8. I am so impressed with you putting your story up! I've told a lot of people my story IRL and a couple of people I know online, but I just don't have it in me to put it out there for public consumption/response. It wasn't a BAD experience, just... not the best experience ever. I hate that Linden's little heartbeat didn't like your contractions but I'm so glad everyone came through healthy and okay (well, ish - I know C-section recovery is NO JOKE).

    Do you have an OB who is pro-VBAC or anti? I don't even know if you would know this and it is such a weird question, I apologize. My OB is very much against VBACs, which is odd because she's pretty holistic/hippie-friendly in every other way. I wonder how common it is to have OBs who are anti-VBAC just flat-out like that.

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  9. I can definitely appreciate that hesitancy on talking about the birth, because I too ended up in a emergency c-section after "planning" for an all natural birth ... It's a challenge and creates all new challenges due to the re-route of events. But my son is now 2 and a half, healthy and while it was bittersweet to think of the birth for a while I look at this amazing, crazy, beautiful, strong, healthy, and happy boy and think I would go through it all and worse over again to have him. We all come to this place of acceptance and pride in our journey to motherhood in very different and unique ways, I hope you are met with love and support! Congrats Mama!
    -Siobhan

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  10. Thank you for sharing his and your birth story! I'm pregnant right now and even though I have every intention of giving birth med free at a birth center with a midwife, I am still trying to prepare myself for a hospital birth or a c-section. It's scary/weird/counterintuitive to prepare myself for such a thing, but I really don't know what will happen when the birth comes! So it's really helpful to read stories like yours that still have a positive outcome. Regardless of how it happened, you had a beautiful squishy baby!

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  11. Thank you for sharing. I can completely understand you taking your time to. My daughter was born in February and my birth experience was very different to the one I expected and, to be honest, it's only now I really feel like discussing it. I was induced at 13 days over due and had 16 hours of labour resulting in a C-section. I stupidly wanted a natural birth without pain relief and managed 10 hours before I gave into an epidural. It then took them two hours to actually get a free anaesthetist to give me the epidural and once I had it, even though it didn't work properly down my right hand side, it was the best decision I made. Next time I want it straight away! Unfortunately, I also had to have a spinal block for my C-section because the epidural didn't work properly. BUT my daughter was worth every bit of pain. I got a shock at how long it took to recover from my c-section. I hope you are recovering well and thank you again for sharing your story. xx

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  12. You are the sweetest !! Most of us .... delivery never goes as we envision it or plan it !! LOL Good job Mommy !! You all make such a precious family !! Linden was sent to a home filled with love which is the most and only important part oxoxox

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  13. Awhhh congrats! So, so sweet.


    xo
    http://www.iolablog.com/

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  14. I loved reading this Kaelah. Even though you texted me and told me it ended up being a c-section, I never knew the whole story. Essley's birth was so different than I planned and so much harder than I'd ever anticipated so I can relate in that way. And I'm glad I typed out and shared our story as well, even though I wasn't sure I would. Linden is so beautiful and I'm so glad that everything turned out so well despite the challenges. xoxo

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  15. I think I should have read this at home, I'm now sat in work crying haha. It sounds like you did amazingly well in what must have been a pretty terrifying time. You guys have made the cutest baby so I'm really glad you want more. Hope you're recovering well and are feeling yourself again. The female body is just amazing. xx

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  16. Things never go to plan, but he is happy and healthy and you're a fab mum!

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  17. Just beautiful. I relate so much, it's quite like my own birth story. Thanks for sharing this, I'm sure you'll be so happy to have it documented down the road.
    xo
    Johanna

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  18. My first daughter was born via emergency c-section because they lost her heart beat (the cord was wrapped around her neck), since it was an emergency c-section I was put under I didn't get to hold her right away. I didn't have a birth plan but I wanted a c-section from the beginning, I had no desire to push a child out. My second daughter was born via scheduled c-section (I had the option for a vaginal birth but gladly declined) I was able to see her face for a couple of seconds and my husband got to cut the cord but she was having trouble with rapid breathing and a few hours later I was able to see her again for two minutes before they transferred her to NICU at another hospital across town. I resented the fact that my husband and family could go see her but I couldn't until the next day when I forced my doctor to release me.

    I actually recovered easily from both c-sections but I seem to be the exception to the rule on that.

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  19. Thank you for sharing your story! I'm glad you're trying to not beat yourself up about it because frankly, the last 6 or so women I know who have recently given birth had it happen in a TOTALLY different way than they expected and/or wanted. One of my best friends ended up giving birth naturally even though she was hoping for a c-section, and another best friend had it happen the exact opposite way! haha. It goes to show that no pregnancy or birth is ever truly perfect but each and every single one is absolutely worth it. :) Congrats again!!

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  20. What an amazing story! I'm sure my mom felt the same way. I ended up being 3lbs and they put me in a machine right away. I'm sure it's crazy emotional right after birth. Look at you now, lots of bonding baby time! xoxo

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  21. Again, you're awesome!!!!!

    I think this falls under the same thing as breastfeeding, no ones going to grow up caring how they were born! Your baby is here and loved and that's what matters. I definitely mourned the loss of a "normal" birth experience, it's tough and weird and unexpected. I always (very jokingly) say that I earned a cute baby.

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  22. It is a unique story. It's special and it's important and it's wonderful, and I'm glad you wrote it. (Heaven knows I'm 13 months in and I still have mine on the back-burner. Time. Is not on my side.... ) I'm sorry that you have some residual sads for how some of this went down, but I love (so very much) how positive, accepting and excited you are about your birth story.

    I love birth stories. I love your birth story. You and Linden share something so amazing here, and, again, I'm so glad you wrote it down. And shared it. I feel pretty blessed to have been allowed to read this. :)

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  23. Aw he's so lovely. And I can just imagine that you're the best parents ever!! Thanks for sharing. Having followed your blog for a really long time, it's so nice to share your little family's journey.

    Jenny | sunny sweet pea xx

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  24. Awww sweetie, I feel for ya....had a c section with my last baby, sooo excited to finally try breast feeding (I have 3 girls)....and it was a nightmare! Had never wanted to breast feed before, but I thought...last one, Ill give it a try...just very disappointing! I recently found your blog...and loving it!! Cherish that baby, he'll grow so fast!

    Cookie Farley

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  25. Oh, and they wisked her away and I didn't get to see her till next morning...had a hard time with that, crying, all I kept thinking was...."she wont know her mommy!!"

    Cookie Farley

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  26. i didn't even finish reading this yet (going back up after i post this comment) but i just HAD to tell you - THE IV IN THE HAND!!!!! omgoshhhh. i had an induction also that ended in a c-section - it was hard, rough, long, tiring. but that IV! THE WORST.

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  27. thank you for sharing, I'm planning a natural birth with the full knowledge it could go anyway. xxx

    Barny x

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HEY! Thanks for dropping by. xo KB