Now that almost two months have gone by, I’ve finally adjusted to life with a baby enough to share our birth story. Enjoy!
VICTORIA ELIZABETH BLACKWELL
Born February 22, 2019 at 9:26 pm
5lbs 4oz | 18 inches
I had a cervix check on Monday, February 18th and found out that I was 3 cm dilated. I was excited because I was 38 weeks, which is considered full term so it was ok for Victoria to come at any time. But my OB told me I could remain that way for weeks without any action, so I didn’t feel the need to slow myself down. In fact, I had an interview later that week and even wore heels!
Friday, February 22nd was pretty eventful, to say the least. Since Victoria was still in a breech position, Marcus and I went to the hospital at 7:30 am to let the doctors try one final time to turn her into a head-down position to allow for a vaginal birth. They tried it the week prior, but it was unsuccessful for various reasons.
This time, I got checked in and moved to the back pretty quickly. A nurse came to ask a bunch of health questions and set up my IV. The difference this time was I wanted to forgo the epidural and requested a uterine relaxant instead. The doctor who would perform the ECV procedure came in, concerned because without the epidural in place, they would have to put me under full anesthesia for an emergency c-section if something went wrong — i.e. fetal distress, drop in heart rate, or if they ruptured my water in the process of trying to turn the baby. She mentioned that the morbidity rate for both Victoria and me would increase significantly under full anesthesia. We immediately agreed that it wasn’t worth risking either of our lives to turn her around, so we decided to schedule the c-section for March 1st (the following Friday).
It was disappointing to see my birth plan slowly unravel. I started thinking about all the ways I had been preparing for natural labor, like creating a labor playlist on Spotify, buying a comfy hospital gown (which I forgot at home), and making a list of positive affirmations about how my body was made to birth a child — then I realized none of that would likely be needed. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve always dreamed of becoming a mom and the beauty of natural labor and birth, so I really had to reset my mind for this new experience I was about to embark upon.
I was still working from home at this point, so we went to grab breakfast from Chick-Fil-A, then returned home around 10:30 am. I enjoyed my chicken biscuit and OJ, sent some emails and started to clean up.
My mom called to say that she was on her way because something was telling her to come over. She arrived at around 1:00 pm. I was unloading the dishwasher and felt water trickle down my leg. I paused and went to the bathroom to make sure I didn’t pee myself.
“How would I know if my water broke,” I asked my mom.
“You will know,” she replied, “but maybe put on some undies that would make it obvious if it did break.”
When I walked to my room, there was no mistaking it. Lots of water gushed to the floor like the women in the movies and I called my mom and Marcus into the room. My mom looked down and confirmed my water had broken and went into power drive trying to get us out of the house. Mind you, I only live five minutes from Emory Midtown and I knew I had time. I was trying to curl my hair, but they didn’t let me so I just threw my flat iron and toiletries in my already-packed hospital bag and we were off!
Around 1:30 pm, we arrived at Emory, filled out some papers, and I was on my way back to the triage room within 30 minutes. I received my second IV for the day, then the doctor came in to do an ultrasound just in case Victoria had flipped on her own. Of course, she did not, so the anesthesiologist came and explained that I would be getting an epidural in preparation for a c-section (surprise, surprise). He wanted to know the last time I had anything to eat so I told him about my very delicious Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuit. He said I would have to wait SIX HOURS before they could start the anesthesia and bring Victoria into the world because my stomach needed to be empty.
I got up to curl my hair since birth pictures are forever and I didn’t want to look crazy years later when showing Victoria pictures from when she was born.
While waiting the six hours, more family showed up. I was only supposed to have two support people in the waiting room with me, but it seems like every time the nurse came in, there was a new person in the room until it reached six people (Marcus, mom, dad, brother, sis-in-law, and BFF Jas). I was afraid they would say something, but nothing serious was happening…we were just waiting.
There were a few emergency c-sections they needed to complete, so they didn’t get to me until around 8:45 pm. A nurse brought the clothing covers for Marcus and we were on our way to the operating room.
Marcus wasn’t allowed to enter the room during the epidural and the first half of the surgery for safety reasons. The pinch of the epidural needle was better than I thought it would be and I felt warm numbness from my chest down within minutes. The nurses helped me lift my legs on the table, tested me to make sure I didn’t feel anything, hooked me up to a heart rate monitor and raised the sheet so that I wouldn’t see the surgery. Then the doctors began and they went to get Marcus. I was super nervous the whole time but felt a lot better once Marcus was sitting next to me, comforting and encouraging me. After a few moments of pressure, pushing and pulling, they asked Marcus to stand up so he could watch as they lifted Victoria out of my belly. She cried out immediately, which made me cry tears of joy.
They quickly took her to the table to weigh and measure her, wipe her down, get footprints and administer Vitamin K and Hep B shots. Marcus was there supervising the whole time.
The nurses finally placed teeny Tori on my chest. Seeing her for the first time was unreal. I couldn’t believe that after almost ten months, I was looking at her. She was so small and so beautiful, and from that moment, my life was forever changed.
I didn’t get the picture perfect natural birth that I had planned for, but that’s ok. If you want to make God laugh, make plans. Honestly, the c-section was completely worth it once I looked into her big, round eyes. I’m a good candidate for vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC), so I will pray for that next time around. I’m grateful to God for the ability to bear children with the man I love and we are so blessed to have little Victoria to kick off our growing family.
Since coming home, we are absolutely in love, and finally getting into a rhythm with nursing and sleeping. We’ve had lots of visitors from near and far. Victoria is growing and changing so quickly and looks nothing like she did at birth. We’re appreciative of all the love and support we’ve received in the form of calls, texts, FaceTime, gifts, cards, dinner, presence, and prayers. She’s perfect and we couldn’t be happier as parents.