Graham’s Birth Story

Since we’re going to be adding to our family soon, I thought it would be fun to share Graham’s birth story. Plus, I always love reading about other experiences so I thought some of you might enjoy it as well! I wrote this “letter” to Graham about a week after he was born and I’m so glad I did because there were parts (even just two years later) that I had forgotten! Anything I’ve added for context is in brackets {}. If you’d like to know more about my pregnancy so far check out this post about my first trimester, this one about my second trimester, and this fun one about how we learned the gender of baby #2!

Disclaimer: This is nowhere near as graphic as what I’ve read on other people’s birth stories, BUT if you don’t usually read these types of stories (particularly if you’re male… and you know me personally… and your name is Randy or William or David or Matt or Andrew or Stan…) … you’ve been warned. It’s a birth story, y’all.

Sweet Boy,

10. Days. Late.

We knew most first babies are born after they’re “due”, but we both expected to have you come on your own. We even had our hospital bags packed almost 7 weeks before you arrived! When we went to our final doctor appointment on Friday, February 27th we knew things probably wouldn’t be happening that way but we still hoped through the weekend that you would do something to start the process on your own.

Monday, March 2nd rolled around and still nothing. Daddy took off work and I didn’t go in because this was the day we would induce. Just in case it would be possible to have our doctor deliver you {as opposed to another doctor at the practice}, we called the office a couple times to see if we could push the induction back to Tuesday, but no such luck. At around 2:30 in the afternoon we left the house to take Lexi to Noni’s and called the hospital at 4:00 to make sure they had room for us. When we knew they did, we headed to have one last dinner at Olive Garden before I wouldn’t be able to eat for a long time.

After dinner, Daddy drove us to the hospital. We parked in the garage, grabbed the bag we would need for the delivery room, and headed inside. After checking in at the front desk, a nurse named Cassandra came out to take us to our room. Daddy’s OCD kicked in and he was disappointed that the room was oriented opposite to the one we had toured a few months before… He managed to move past that.

A C-Section Birth Story

We took some pictures, I got changed, and we started the process of admission. The nurse had to hook me up to some IVs so I could get fluids, antibiotics, and Pitocin to jump start my contractions. After four very painful attempts (one on the outside of my wrist that felt like it hit the bone) and a room full of nurses we finally struck gold and got one to work in my right hand. Later we would find out that I needed another IV just in case I needed to receive a blood transfusion, but the nurse who did that one was much better and got it on the first try.

Once we were settled, the nurse checked me to see if I needed a special medicine to make room for you to come out {to make me dilate}. I didn’t because my body was already doing that on its own {I was about 4 cm}, so Daddy and I got to chill in the room for a while as the Pitocin kicked in. It really wasn’t too bad for the first several hours and I didn’t take any pain medication, but around 1:00 in the morning I. Needed. Drugs.

Very quickly after asking for them, the drugs arrived. It was actually very painful to have the epidural placed in my back, which I wasn’t expecting. I was quite nervous because I was shaking and having trouble sitting still, which didn’t help things. The anesthesiologist kept asking me if the pain I was feeling was in the center of my back and it wasn’t, it was off to the right side. This scared me, but he finally got everything placed and my pain was going away. I could rest for a while.

After resting for a few hours the nurse checked me and I was ready to have my water broken – a very strange experience like having a warm water balloon pop between your legs. In the amniotic fluid that came out of my belly was meconium – your first poop. This is common in babies who come late, but we were worried about it because if you breathed it in you could have trouble breathing and need special assistance. The doctor told us it was alright and that they would have the people ready to assist you and they would keep you from crying right when you were born so you wouldn’t breathe it in then.

Once they broke my water, things moved quickly. I was ready to start some practice pushes within about an hour and a half. They went well, but you weren’t quite ready yet so the doctor had me “labor down” – a fancy term for waiting longer for the contractions to do the work.

More pushing about an hour and a half later, but still no movement from you. All in all, I would push for a total of close to three hours and you never budged. The doctor, nurse, and Daddy all encouraged me as I was trying to get you out, but you weren’t moving. {We would later find out the medical term for this is “arrest of descent” and it’s likely that my body just wasn’t designed to push out a baby Graham’s size.} On top of all that, you were starting to show signs of distress – particularly with a heart rate that slowed significantly during pushes.

We had a decision to make quickly: allow the doctor to use a vacuum to help pull you out or do a c-section. I was very scared of what could happen to you if we used the vacuum, and I cried a lot as Daddy and I talked about what to do. We decided a c-section was the best choice for us and almost as soon as we decided this there was a flurry of activity in the room.

The person I remember the most was a nurse anesthetist named Sean who said he would be my “bartender”. He was much more than that, though. He walked us through what to expect during the procedure from start to finish, he talked to me to make sure I was doing alright, and he kept me updated on what was going on on the other side of the curtain while they were doing the surgery.

Daddy was instructed to put on scrubs and they wheeled me down the hallway to the operating room. I was moved to an operating table and they made sure I was very numb. They started the operation before Daddy was even in the room, but he got to join me soon. He sat near my head and talked to me. It was good to have the distraction because some of the things the nurses and doctors were saying would make me nervous. They were just having conversations about their lives, but I would hear “Oh no!” and think something was wrong with you! I remember the conversation that stood out to me the most was about their dogs.

While they were doing the surgery I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest – it was very difficult to breathe. Sean assured me this was normal and due to the anesthesia, but it was a scary feeling. I also had horrible pain in my neck and the tops of my shoulders, but Sean said this was normal too.

Before we knew it we heard a cry and my heart felt like it was going to stop. You want to be excited to hear your baby’s first cry, but because of the meconium I was terrified {they told us beforehand that they would do everything they could to keep Graham from crying so he wouldn’t breathe in any meconium, so I actually didn’t want to hear him cry right away}. The nurses took you right over to a special warming bed to be checked out and you were just fine. Daddy was allowed to go take pictures!

A C-Section Birth Story

A C-Section Birth Story

When he came back to show me the pictures he took of you I was SO excited to see them! You were perfect and the best news was that your breathing was fine. Daddy got to hold you and then they brought you over to me. It was a little difficult to hold you while I was on the operating table, so a nurse had to help, but we made it work. While the doctors stitched me up, you and Daddy went to the NICU to hang out until you could see me again {there was nothing wrong at all, that was just the only place with available space for both Jon and Graham to hang out while they waited for me}.

After I had been in the recovery room for a few minutes, Daddy came in and I finally got to hold you all on my own! It was such a special moment and both Daddy and I cried. I started to feed you almost right away (it took a little maneuvering since I had never done it before) and we spent some nice quiet time together as a family. One part of the recovery room was not so fun: the boxing match that the nurse had with my belly {fundal “massage”… not like any massage I had ever heard of}. Because you were born via c-section, all of the stuff inside me that kept you warm and safe and fed had to come out and that happened when the nurse pushed very hard on my belly. It hurt worse than anything I had felt up to that point. The nurse thought I was mad at her because I was apparently saying some bad words, but it was just because the pain was so bad. I don’t remember much about what I was saying or doing – all I remember is the pain.

A C-Section Birth Story

We were wheeled to our hospital room and were so excited to show you off to family. I was also excited to get some food because it had been more than 24 hours since I ate, but that would have to wait because I had to be able to hold down liquids and solids like crackers first (no problem, y’all, bring on the real food!). Turns out it wasn’t such a huge loss that I couldn’t eat real food yet, because at this point the cafeteria would have been the only option and Daddy said that food was naaaasty {he got chicken tenders and fries the night before while I was in labor and said they were the worst he had ever had… I’m pretty sure he wasn’t just saying that to make me feel better about not being allowed to eat}.

Papa held you first, then he handed you to Noni. After they left, Aunt Jamie and Cousin K came in to see you. She didn’t quite know what to think of you, but Aunt Jamie fell in love. When they left, your Great Grandma and Great Aunt Debbie came in. After that we were alone as a family to hang out and get to know each other.

A C-Section Birth Story

A C-Section Birth Story

The rest of the days in the hospital included some more visits from friends and family. Several people stopped by with gifts and snuggles for you. Mommy had a difficult time recovering because the pain was so bad, but the pain medications did help a lot. When it was about to be time for my next dose I knew it!

I had lots of pain breastfeeding and didn’t know what to do. Our nurse helped a little and so did the lactation consultant, but what it really came down to was just getting used to having you eat!

On Thursday the doctor who delivered you {not my doctor, but another doctor in the practice who I came to really appreciate after all we had gone through together earlier in the week!} came by to check on me and immediately said “So… we’re going home tomorrow” in a tone like she could tell I wasn’t well enough to go home that same day. Sure enough, Friday we were ready! It took a long time to get discharged from the hospital and you gave us a bit of concern because you hadn’t pooped in a while. You’ve since made up for lost time on this front.

The first few weeks home…

… were a rollercoaster. I was sad a lot in the beginning, mostly because of hormones and sleep deprivation, but also because I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and I wanted so badly to be a good mommy to you. I got wrapped up in what I felt like I was doing wrong instead of trying to live in the moment.

There have been far more happy times than sad times, though. We have LOVED watching you change and become a little person. You’re still so floppy and cuddly and I love this stage so much, but I also can’t wait until you smile and giggle and get excited to see us when we walk into a room. You are such a joy.



I hope you enjoyed reading Graham’s birth story! I’ll be sure to share Foster’s once he’s made his grand entrance.

A C-Section Birth Story

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