This week's Delmarva Community Birth Story comes to us from a Thrive client who experienced a big change of plans in her last weeks of pregnancy. Catie is a nurse at Atlantic General Hospital and lives in Berlin with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.
If you would have asked me how I would have pictured Elliott's birth it would have involved me birthing however I felt most comfortable. Maybe I would have labored in a birthing tub, or in my own home. I would have had my husband, doula, and midwife there to support me. Elliott might have come quickly or it could've taken hours--maybe even days until she would decide to be born. This is why my husband and I decided to make the change from a standard OBGYN practice to Special Beginnings, a birthing center in Annapolis. I knew that if we chose to birth there my birth plan would be encouraged and followed. On our first visit at 35 weeks pregnant my belly was palpated for the first time, where we learned that our little Elliott was head up. Of course we were given options to try things to make her turn but in the end we decided it was best to leave her where she was and schedule a cesarean section. The funny thing is I realized my daughter taught me to give up control even before she was born. She was going to come out however she was supposed to--and that would be her story.
We traveled to Annapolis the night before my scheduled surgery and enjoyed dinner with our parents. The waiter even brought dessert out with a yellow candle in it, Elloitt's first piece of birthday cake. We decided to not find out if Elliott was a boy or girl and I remember the night before she was born not wanting to let go of that element of surprise still. Of course I wanted to meet our baby but I enjoyed our time of it just being me and her growing in my belly.
Of course I was awake all night in our hotel room anxiously waiting for my alarm to go off. I remember having a hard time showering that morning with my swollen belly. Everything felt like a workout at that point. It was finally time to head to the hospital where we met our family and our doula, Maria. I remember Maria telling me that I seemed very calm. I didn't feel sacred or worried about the surgery. I felt at peace knowing I was going to meet my baby. I remember feeling very chatty when they were starting my IV and getting me ready. At 1pm exactly we gave hugs to my mom and Maria and Logan and I walked into the operating room.
The anesthesiologist and Logan helped me onto the table where they gave me a spinal and started to hook me up to monitors. I could tell Logan was starting to get a little nervous at this point. My midwife from Special Beginnings came in and gave Logan a chair to sit right next to me as she held my hand. The surgery began and we were listening to the Alabama Shakes on Pandora. Before I knew it they told Logan to get his camera ready--Elliott was about to be born! Elliott came out butt first, my little breech baby, and the surgeon held her up for Logan to announce to the room if she was a girl or boy. "It's a girl! Wait, it's a girl, right?!" Logan said, and the entire operation room started to laugh. I remember asking if she had hair and when they showed me her she had the kinkiest curly dark hair. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid my eyes on. Elliott was checked out for a minute in the room next to us where Logan was able to trim her umbilical cord and then she was immediately placed on my chest while they finished up surgery. Elliott screamed until she latched on to eat, where she stayed for three hours.
We didn't tell our family that Elliott was a girl until I was out of recovery. It was so nice to have that time with just the three of us. Our entire family screamed with excitement when they found out Elliott was a little girl. She was so loved even before they met her, and she always will be.
Look back, my birth went exactly opposite as planned, but it was such a sweet reminder of how life goes. Our cesarean was beautiful because it brought our baby into our arms. This is exactly how Elliott wanted her story to be told, and it will be my favorite to read to her every year.