My husband was back after handing Kestan off to Nana in the lobby. I stared into his eyes and said, “Bubs, I can’t believe this.” He whispered back, “Everything will be ok.”
There was lots of commotion, including getting an epidural that quickly took the pain away. They counted to three and hoisted me with a sheet onto another bed and wheeled me to the operating room. Someone put a surgical cap on my head and I remember thinking that it was crooked and half my hair was sticking out on one side. I felt exposed. I felt scared. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
I was ready for surgery. Chris came in and looked at me. He got close to my ear and said with total confidence, “You came into the world this same way and look how wonderful you turned out.”
In that moment I felt peace come over me. I had survived being breech, with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck, which resulted in an emergency c-section for my mom. I survived. I was ok. I was healthy. My mom healed beautifully. We can do this.
Chris was to my left, the nurse was to my right. Both were holding my hands and I was tightly squeezing back. Then I took some breaths. I relaxed into that moment. My mantra now changed to, “Accept, accept, accept…” I remembered how Eckhart Tolle says we have three choices in any situation: enthusiasm, excitement or acceptance. In that moment I knew that I couldn’t resist anymore. My body was forced to completely surrender. Now, my mind and spirit were ready to make peace and let go – to accept that this is the way my baby was going to enter the world and to trust that everything is going to be ok.
Ashton Quinn took his first breath. It seemed like it took a few minutes as they had to make sure he didn’t take in any meconium. Finally, I could hear him. I still couldn’t see my angel. I had to accept that his umbilical cord was cut before it stopped pulsing. I had to accept that my husband would not be the one cutting the cord. I had to accept that Ashton wasn’t handed directly to my chest.
“Accept, accept, accept…”
Finally, someone held him up so I could see him. Major relief and a flood of tears – I quickly scanned to make sure he had all of his fingers and toes. He was beautiful. So gentle and so sweet looking. He seemed to say, “I’m ok mom. I’ll be in your arms soon.”
They kept Ashton in the room with us and Chris stayed there, holding his hand, until it was time to return to our room. It took about 20 minutes for them to stitch me back up.
Ashton was in my arms and nursing like a champ. This baby loves milk and I haven’t had to correct his latch even once! In fact, the nurses and doctor were shocked that Ashton surpassed his birth weight before leaving the hospital.
I was in recovery for the next 2 hours and everything is a little vague at this point. I think I was still in shock at how fast the morning went. My water broke at 4:45 and just over two hours later I had abdominal surgery and was nursing the child that grew inside me for 9 plus months. Very, very surreal.
Kestan met his baby brother for the first time. He was a little unsure at first, but quickly warmed up to him with lots of hugs and kisses. He was especially excited that baby brother brought him “Woody” from Toy Story. Nana, Baba, Uncle Jeff and Aunt Lindsay came in soon after to meet baby Ashton.
Kestan was intimidated by the hospital bed at first. Then my sensitive one came into my arms and I know he just wanted to make sure I was ok.
I spent the next three days resting, crying, and falling in love… At one point my phone battery died, Chris left to be with Kestan and the CD player didn’t work – and these were all great gifts! For a good part of two days Ashton and I rested quietly together, other than the occasional nurse check-ups. It offered us wonderful quality time to bond and recover from what felt like a traumatizing beginning.
Ashton is a very calm and peaceful baby. I look into his eyes and see an old soul. He’s only 10 days old and has already taught me a great lesson in letting go. He’s living so presently – sleeping, eating, observing, and truly being at peace. That’s it and that’s all that really matters.
I found this quote that I had written a few times in my journal before the birth:
“Birth requires a knowing from the inside, a knowing that you are powerful, and that you are love. Your voice inside will guide you, and show you that you have the power to bring a new life into this world with love.” (I’m not sure where I found this.)
So even though I didn’t get to experience the natural birth I so wanted, and the fact that my birth was almost the total opposite of “natural,” this quote reminds me that I still listened to my voice within. Had I not honored my intuition at the very beginning of labor, this child could have been born in my bathroom or on the highway and who knows if we would have had complications. I listened to my inner voice, “Trust, healthy baby, accept…” and it resulted in being fully present for my cesarean birth.
It’s hard to not ask questions like, “Was he breech the entire time but we had his position wrong? Had we known could the outcome have been different? Could he have been born safely breech and I could have avoided the dreaded c-section? Has our birth become just another c-section statistic? Do these pain meds go through my breast milk and effect my baby in anyway? Will I be able to have a VBAC if I choose to have more children? Why didn’t I get to experience the natural birth I felt ready for? Why did this have to happen after such an easy pregnancy?” I know I need time to grieve that my ideal birth didn’t happen. I know that I have to let go of these “why” and “would-if” questions to truly accept the outcome and move on. And I know that I have so much to celebrate and be grateful for.
I still have some healing to do – both physically and emotionally. But one thing is for certain – I brought this beautiful being into the world with a whole lotta love. And I have such an appreciation for LIFE!
I came home to a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my mother-in-law, a bed made especially for me on our couch from my husband, and a veggie lasagna meal and apple crisp from my mom and sister. It was a beautiful homecoming and has been a perfect resting spot.
We are healing. We are healthy. And we are oh so very happy.
Your Personal Reflection: Do you have a birth story you’d like to share? What have you learned from giving birth? What, in you, is ready to be born? Are you ready to accept the past and be at peace with the present moment?
*Special thanks to my family and friends for all of your love and support. Thanks to my doula, Ashley, for making sure Chris had his camera in surgery! Thanks to my midwife, Jeane, and my nurse, Becky, for taking such great care of me. And thanks to those of you who visit my space here. I appreciate you all so very much. xoxo
*Most of these photos were taken by my husband, Chris.
Thank you, bubs, for EVERY thing. I love you.