Ethan’s Birth Story

family of four

Disclaimer: Some photos in this post are graphic… If you are not comfortable with images of labor and delivery, this post may not be for you… 


Most birth stories start with a mother recounting the moment she went into labor. What was she doing? Who was present? How did the sights, sounds, and physical sensations make her feel?

Ethan’s birth story is different. There was no “my water just broke” moment. Instead, we went to bed on January 3rd, woke up at 4am on January 4th, drove to the hospital, and our son was delivered via a scheduled cesarean at 8:46am.

Everything was planned out perfectly, so a lot of my emotions and recollections of the delivery are a bit surreal.

When our first son was born, I had an 18 hour labor to mentally and physically center my mind on the fact that I was having a baby. With Ethan, the whole delivery from start to finish was only 2 hours and 45 minutes. And I didn’t feel any pain (until after that is).

This post could easily turn into a million different ramblings on the implications of having a cesarean vs. a vaginal birth, hospital vs. midwife (which I’ve already talked about before), or even about the pro’s and con’s of trying for a VBAC. But I don’t want to do any of that. I simply want to recount what the experience was like, so that in the future I can look back and remember authentically what transpired.

Ethan’s Birth Story

January 4th, 2018: 4:00 am

My alarm clock goes off and I hit the snooze button until 4:15am. You’d think I’d jump out of bed and quickly get dressed in anticipation of the delivery to come, but instead I crave sleep.

The whole night before I tossed and turned in bed until finally nodding off around 1am. I may not have the exhaustion of labor, but I am definitely tired from the sleepless night.

4:30 am

I’ve laid in bed an additional 15 minutes {trying} to wake up by endlessly scrolling through my social media feeds. David has already been awake for 30 minutes and decides to pull the plug on my procrastination. He urges me out of bed and then heads downstairs to get our hospital bag and other overnight essentials ready.

I hop in the shower and spend 15 minutes letting the water run over me. I know what’s to come recovery wise, so I take a few extra minutes to savor being able to stand and wash my hair on my own. (After my emergency cesarean with Ezra, I wasn’t able to shower by myself for almost two weeks).

5:00 am

My mother-in-law has graciously offered to help us out with watching Ezra, so we knock on the guest bedroom door to let her know we are leaving. She gives us well wishes and comfort (she had three cesareans with her children) and her words truly do bring me peace.

The car ride to the hospital is about 45 minutes, which gives me plenty of time to try and process what’s about to happen. But all I can think about is Ezra. And sleep.

I worry about whether or not he’ll adjust to having a baby brother, if the choice to expand our family was a selfish one, and how on Earth will we survive the sleepless nights with a toddler full of energy?

Of course these are fruitless fears. People have multiple children everyday and there is always plenty of love and coffee to go around.

5:50 am

Before Ethan delivery

After parking we head to the OB Emergency room to check in. It’s quiet in the lobby and I can hear the hum of a fresh flower vending machine and the drone of infomercials on a mounted T.V. in the waiting area. It’s a far cry from the warm and cozy birth center we used with Ezra, but there was something calming and peaceful about it nonetheless.

While we are waiting to be taken to get prepped for surgery, I can’t help but laugh at the programming on the T.V. It’s an ad for this strange piece of exercise equipment where the person does squats on top of what looks like a pogo stick. My husband makes a joke about it being called “the butt plunger” (so gross!) and the laughter helps ease my nerves about having a cesarean.

(you can watch the infomercial yourself here)

I mean, really? That’s my memory from right before surgery!?

6:15 am

We’re lead to the recovery room where a nurse gives me a bag to put my clothes in and a gown to change into. Afterwards a second nurse comes in to set up my I.V. and draw blood. David isn’t able to sit with me through this part, because he has to fill out paperwork and get wristbands which correspond with mine.

For a brief moment, I feel an overwhelming sense of panic because the nurse setting up the I.V. doesn’t hit a vein. Instead she hits a valve (super painful!) and has to start all over again. The first thought that flashes through my mind is: oh God, not again. Please let me be in the hands of professionals who will know how to take care of me.

My last birth experience ended with a midwife who failed to get an I.V. in me twice causing my hand to bubble up to scary proportions. When we got to the hospital, the nurses in the E.R. ended up taking out the I.V. and redoing it because it wasn’t done properly.

But my fears are soon put at ease when the nurse informs me she is in training. Quickly, another seasoned nurse comes and helps her get the I.V. started the right way and I breathe a sigh of relief.

David rejoins me and snaps a “pre-surgery” picture before we head to the O.R.

before going to the OR

7:00 am

My arm feels really cold from the quick drip of I.V. fluids. The nurse told me I needed three bags in me before heading to surgery to prevent dehydration and spinal headaches from the anesthesia, so she had the valve practically open to let all the fluids pass through.

7:30 am

The anesthesiologist visits and has me sign papers about warnings and risks of doing spinal anesthesia. She can see I’m scared about all of the information + I tell her I’m dreading the needle she’ll use to numb me, but she does a great job of easing my fears. She tells me the I.V. actually hurts worse (she was right) and that she’ll be talking to me the whole time to make sure everything goes well.

We also bond a little while waiting for my OB to come in – she has a son around Ezra’s age born via emergency cesarean too – which also helps take my mind off of everything.

7:45 am

My doctor comes in to check on me. She gives me a quick rundown of how the surgery will go. We even discuss options for whether or not I want to see the baby come out (she assured me I wouldn’t see any of my insides, just the baby). I start to get a little excited for the first time as I picture seeing our baby boy after such a long wait.

8:05 am

The O.R. is prepped and the nurses walk me over to get situated. David stays behind to change into scrubs. He’s not allowed to be present for the spinal which causes me to freak out a little. I’m quiet and reserved still, but now I can’t stop my body from visably shaking.

Once I’m on the operating table, they have a tall, slightly built male nurse come in. He informs me that he’s my “hug” for the spinal. All I can do is muster a nervous chuckle, because I seriously doubt a hug will distract me from the long needle going into my back.

But he ends up being one of the best parts of the procedure. I sit on the edge of the operating table, while he stands in front of me and tells me to relax. He has me hug him, while pushing down on my shoulders to help keep me in the proper position. The whole time he tells me to breath in and out, which is immensely helpful because with all the adrenaline I was unknowingly holding my breath.

And the anesthesiologist was right. The I.V. hurt way worse than the spinal.

As soon as it is over and I’m going numb, the male nurse wishes me luck and leaves the room. His only job was to keep me calm and he did so wonderfully. The whole situation is one of several “ah-ha” moments I’ve had during this pregnancy. I now realize hospitals are not as bad as some in the natural birthing community would make them out to be. At least, not our hospital. (But that’s another topic for another day.)

8:15 am

I’m laid back on the operating table, with oxygen and an alcohol swab placed on my nose (to prevent nausea) and David comes in to sit next to me. We smile at each other as we brace ourselves for surgery.

For some reason I thought there would be a heavy seriousness to the whole ordeal, but instead the nurse turns on the radio and my doctor and her assistant immediately start to operate. The anesthesiologist asks me questions about whether or not Ezra is excited to be a big brother, a tech quietly hums along to the Taylor Swift song playing in the background, and my doctors are literally talking about the weather and traffic.

8:40 am

Our son is close to being born, and the anesthesiologist asks if we would like to see. Originally we decided no, but I’m glad she asked us again because David and I both really want to see our baby come into this world after all.

She quickly drops the cover over my chest to reveal a large see through plastic barrier. I can only see the top part of my belly, no blood or guts or anything, and within a few short minutes (it felt like seconds) they pull Ethan’s head and arms out.

Half inside of me still, he immediately starts crying. In fact, he is crying so loud and strong the doctors take a quick pause to suction him before finishing the delivery.

8:46am

Ethan delivery

Ethan is officially born. They place him on the top portion of my belly and hold him up so I can see and touch him through the plastic.

Even as I write this, I can’t stop crying.

It was such a healing moment from the birth experience I had with Ezra – he never cried and was rushed to NICU before I could see/hold him. Our baby boy was there, practically in my arms, healthy and full of life. It is seriously one of the happiest days of my life.

8:50am

The doctor waits a full minute before cutting the umbilical cord and then hands Ethan to a nurse standing by ready to clean him up and take vitals. She immediately laughs saying “feels like an 8lb 10oz baby!”

“No way!” David exclaims then he and I start making bets on how big we think he is. I say confidently “8lbs 3oz.” David (being the smart aleck he is) states he will be “8lbs 2oz.”

After a few moments, the nurse proudly states “nine pounds!” David looks at the scale in disbelief then quickly jumps up to take a picture, while our doctor laughingly cries out “are you sure?!”

Ethans weight


At 39 weeks, we were anticipating a smaller baby – around 7lbs, maybe a low 8lbs. Hearing we had a 9 pounder was shocking. What if I had waited until my due date? Or what if he was 10 days late like his older brother? I could have potentially had a 10+ pound baby to push out!

By 9:05am the doctor had me stitched up and ready to go to recovery. The nurse placed my baby on my chest and as soon as we got settled in our room I started breastfeeding.

I know a cesarean birth doesn’t sound as romantic as a vaginal birth. But it’s birth nonetheless. And that in and of itself makes it beautiful.

I will forever be grateful to my doctor for helping me through the whole process. So far, my recovery has been easier than the first time around and because of her guidance I have a healthy baby boy, with no complications, growing in my life. ❤

 

 

 

12 thoughts on “Ethan’s Birth Story

  1. Aww, a beautiful birth story, Kristen!! I’m glad you had a healing experience to follow your traumatic one. 💕
    What is it with nurses and IVs now?! I had two blown veins while at the hospital this time! It hurts so much, good grief!! 😭

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder if they botched the IV on purpose so they could tell you truthfully that it was the worst part? Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ll never truly be a legit member of the “mom club” but I value opportunities to understand. Seeing your baby being born must be so, so surreal. Also, you are just the cutest! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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