Menu

I had an unexpected C-section and these pictures tell my story

One mama tells us how she coped when her birth didn’t go as planned.

I had an unexpected C-section and these pictures tell my story
Photography by Laura Vladimirova, of www.Naturalbirthbebe.com; who also served as Terri and Michael's birth doula.

I have PCOS, so getting pregnant wasn't easy. After three years, countless fertility treatments, four miscarriages and one round of IVF, my husband Michael and I learned that a healthy male embryo was sprouting inside of me. I was anxious and worried and scared. But I was also overjoyed and hopeful.

Once I hit the 24-week mark (a point that I had yet to reach with my other pregnancies), I tried to set my mind free from all the worries and had a renewed sense of determination. I wanted to welcome my son into this world with a drug-free vaginal birth.

But I had gestational diabetes. So my doctor scheduled an induction at 39 weeks, right before Memorial Day. The morning of my induction started like any other day, except when I used the bathroom, I felt a huge gush. My water broke, and for once, I thought, my body was cooperating with me and I may avoid induction.

Our doula Laura advised me to get active to help my body get into active labor. For the next several hours, I bounced on my ball, walked around and did nipple stimulation. As the contractions came on, they were only about eight minutes apart. I began doubting myself and decided it was time to go for my induction appointment at 5pm.

After we made a pit stop at Shake Shack for my last meal as a mom-to-be, we arrived at the hospital. I checked in, met with the on-call doctor, reviewed my birth plan and was in a gown within 20 minutes. At that point, I was one centimeter dilated. About an hour in, the nurse hooked me up to four different IVs, the last one being Pitocin. It was like an IV web, and I was Spiderwoman.

I've heard so many horrors stories about Pitocin, so I expected the reaction to be immediate. But it took two hours to take full effect. I was able to watch the new Game of Thrones episode before the pain began to steal my focus. It's when the doctors turned the Pitocin up to a level eight that the pain kicked in.

These new contractions were fast and intense. By hour three, we needed help to manage the pain. Laura arrived at 2 am, and her soothing voice and magic hands went to work right away. She, Michael and I became a well-oiled machine. For the first hour, we talked, cracked jokes and tried not acknowledge the fact that another contraction was on its way. The contractions were now 1-2 minutes apart.

The pain became unbearable, cutting me off mid-sentence and turning me into a howling banshee. Before I could catch my breath, I had to jump back into counting down through the contractions. We moved from leaning on a chair, to squatting on a ball, to laying down. A few hours later, I begged to be examined because in my heart I knew (or at least I prayed) that I had made some significant progress. I was only four centimeters dilated.

My heart sank. I felt defeated. I knew I could push through, but mentally I was nearing a breaking point and needed to get some rest. So I opted for an epidural, if only so I can sleep. Once I got it, around 6 am, everything changed. I wondered to myself, “why did I want an epidural-free birth?" and after 15 minutes, I was finally able to sleep.

After about 2 and half hours, my doctor came in with a slew of others and told me that my baby wasn't doing great. Once you hear those words, nothing else in the world matters. She explained that his heart rate was dropping and recommended a C-section. I tried not to panic, but Laura could tell that I was very overwhelmed and needed a minute to evaluate what was going on. She asked that Michael and I had some alone time to discuss our options.

As my doctor went over the consent form and proceedings, I saw my dreams of having a vaginal birth vanish, but all I could think of was my unborn son. I gave my approval for the operation and signed the paperwork. The doors swung open and a slew of people came in. It was like a TV show.

I was rolled down the hallway and into the OR, strapped down to a table. My anesthesiologist was very good looking, "McDreamy" good looking—a welcome distraction while I waited for Michael to arrive. Once the anesthesia kicked in, he asked what Pandora station we wanted to listen to. We chose the smooth sounds of Maxwell. My doctor then began the procedure. I felt some pressure and tugging, but within minutes, I heard his cry.

Three years of pain, stress, sadness and anger were all out-weighed by this sweet, sweet sound. Michael and I burst into tears. Minutes later, Michael brought him over to my face. I was in love and so relaxed that I fell asleep with his face still pressed up against mine. I awoke in recovery to Laura, Michael and Miko, my son. Life couldn't have been any sweeter.

In This Article

    An expectant mama's to-do list can feel endless… but here's the good news: A lot of those tasks are actually really exciting. Planning your baby registry is especially thrilling: You get a say in what gifts friends and family members will buy for your new addition!

    But it can also feel a bit overwhelming to make sense of all the gear on the market. That's why we suggest mentally dividing your registry into two categories: items you need to prepare for your baby's arrival and items that sure would be nice to have.

    Here at Motherly, our editors have dozens of kids and years of parenting experience among us, so we know our way around the essentials. We also know how mama-friendly the registry-building experience is with Target, especially thanks to their recently upgraded registry and introduction of Year of Benefits. Just by creating your baby registry with Target, you'll snag a kit with $120 in discounts and samples. The savings keep coming: You'll also get two 15% off coupons to buy unpurchased items from your registry for up to a year after your baby's expected arrival. Change your mind about anything? The Year of Benefits allows for returns or exchanges for a full year. And as of August 2020, those who also sign up for Target Circle when creating a baby registry will also get the retailer's Year of Exclusive Deals, which includes ongoing discounts on baby essentials for a full year.

    Here are 10 items we agree deserve a spot in the "need" category on your registry, mama.


    A crib to grow with your baby

    Delta Children Farmhouse 6-in-1 Convertible Crib

    First-time mamas are likely creating nursery spaces for the first time, and that can get expensive. Adding a quality crib to Target registry gives friends and family members the option to join forces to make a large purchase through group gifting.

    $269.99

    A safe + convenient car seat

    Safety 1st OnBoard 35 LT Infant Car Seat

    The list of non-negotiable baby essentials is pretty short, but it definitely includes a car seat. In fact, most hospitals will not allow you to leave after delivery until a car seat check is performed. We recommend an infant seat, which can easily snap into a base in your car.

    $99.99

    A traveling nursery station

    Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

    It's hard to beat a good playard when it comes to longevity. This item can be baby's sleeping place when they're sharing a room with you for the first months. Down the line, it can function as a roving diaper change station. And when you travel, it makes a great safe space for your little one to sleep and play.

    $99.99

    A swing for some backup help

    4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

    A dependable swing can be a real lifesaver for new parents when they need their hands free (or just a minute to themselves). Because many babies are opinionated about these things, we appreciate that the mamaRoo has multiple modes of motion and soothing sounds.

    $219.99

    An easy-to-clean high chair

    Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

    Our best registry advice? Think ahead. It really won't be long before your child is ready for those first bites of solid food, at which point you'll need a high chair. We like one that transitions to a booster seat atop an existing dining room chair.

    $99.99

    A diaper bag to share

    Eddie Bauer Backpack - Gray/Tan

    When you're a mom, you're usually toting diapers, wipes, clothing changes, bottles, snacks, toys and more. You need a great bag to stash it all, and if you're anything like us, you'll choose a backpack style for comfort and functionality. Bonus: This gender neutral option can easily be passed off to your partner.

    $64.99

    A hygienic spot for all those diaper changes

    Munchkin Secure Grip Waterproof Diaper Changing Pad 16X31"

    We can confidently predict there will be a lot of diaper changes in your future. Do yourself a favor by registering for two comfortable, wipeable changing pads: one to keep in the nursery and another to stash elsewhere in your house.

    $29.99

    A way to keep an eye on your baby at night

    Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-8

    Feeling peace of mind while your baby sleeps in another room truly is priceless.That's why we advocate for a quality video monitor that will allow you to keep tabs on your snoozing sweetheart.

    $165.99

    A comfortable carrier to free up your hands

    Petunia Pickle Bottom for Moby Wrap Baby Carrier, Strolling in Salvador

    A wrap carrier may be about as low-tech as baby items come, but trust us, this product stands the test of time. Great for use around the house or while running errands, this is one item you'll appreciate so much.

    $39.99

    A full set of bottles + cleaning supplies

    Dr. Brown's Options+ Complete Baby Bottle Gift Set

    Whether you plan to work in an office or stay at home, breastfeed or formula feed, bottles are a valuable tool. To make your life as simple as possible, it's nice to have an easy-to-clean set that is designed to work through the first year.

    $39.99

    Target's baby registry is easy to create from the comfort of your own home. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with the Year of Benefits featuring exclusive deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

    This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


    Our Partners

    10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

    You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

    Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

    As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

    Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

    Keep reading Show less
    Life

    29 last-minute family Halloween costumes you can pull together NOW

    If your little one is going as a lion, coordinating is as easy as breaking out the khaki!

    Here's how Halloween unfolds in most households I know: Mom spends weeks—even months—planning the perfect costumes for little ones. Then Halloween creeps up and they realize they need an outfit to coordinate with the kids' get-ups. What's a mom to do?!

    Thankfully, there's no need for fear or pressure: There are so many ideas for parents that are easy to make and still super clever.

    Keep reading Show less
    Life