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Friday, January 7, 2011

Isaac's Birth Story, Part 1: Pain

Childbirth is painful, no matter how you slice it.  Natural birth is painful; recovering from anesthesia and episiotomies is painful; C-sections are painful.  There's no way to really escape the pain of bringing a life into the world.  Then after the fact, breastfeeding is painful.  I know it's natural, and I believe in it heart and soul.  But man, the first two weeks is rough.  So after I finished this play-by-play post of Isaac's birth, I realized that pain was the theme.  I'm going to write a second part that focuses on the better aspects, but for now...

1/3/11 3:00AM
After just 4 hours of sleep, I woke up to go pee and couldn't go back to sleep with all of the excitement of the day, so I decided to stay awake.  I knew that I'd be paying for it later.

1/3/11 8:00AM
With no breakfast or anything to drink, I served the boys theirs.  We took them to stay with their aunt and uncle and cousins for the night (they live about 45 minutes away).  We unforgivably forgot Samuel's pillow-pet and comforter, so we had to go back home to take it to my mother-in-law's house so she could give it to them later.  Problem solved.  :)

1/3/11 10:30AM
I went through admissions, and they had me wheeled upstairs by an older lady, a volunteer, for whom I felt guilty for having to wheel me since she was old enough to be my grandmother.  (It's a silly hospital rule.)  They then did all my blood work and prepped me for surgery.  My OB had already talked to my anesthesiologist about my fears and concerns of having another spinal, so the anesthesiologist had already pulled my file and looked at the dosage the last guy used and came up with a good plan for me.  He sat and talked with me and Michael for 15-20 minutes, making sure we felt completely comfortable.  I did.  It was great.  I was truly grateful for him and my OB for working all of that out.

1/3/11 12:30PM
They wheeled me on my bed into the operating room.  I started getting pretty nervous at this point, so nervous that I was shaking and clattering my teeth unavoidably.  The coldness of the OR didn't help, either.  He did my spinal (which is quite uncomfortable but not really as bad as people make it out to be), laid me back, gently put towels over my outstretched arms with tape loosely applied over it so I didn't grab anything, put an oxygen mask on my face, and put the drape between me and my belly.  It's a very out-of-control feeling.  I asked if I could have my right arm for a minute to adjust my mask.  He granted me permission, and I kept my arm out the whole time with the promise that he could tie it back down if I was irresponsible with it.  The spinal was really good.  It didn't numb too much or too little.  I was very pleasantly surprised with it.  It was still uncomfortable because it's such a weird sensation to be numb and not be able to move your legs and yet still feel tugging, but it wasn't unbearable at all.  I really can't believe that I almost didn't have another kid for that whole reason.  You have to really be in control of your mind during it all, though or fear will grip you, and it's hard to turn away once you're there.

1/3/11 1:05PM
My sweet baby Isaac came into the world.  Michael was snapping pictures like a sports photographer, giving me a play by play of what was happening.  Then I finally saw my baby, and I was instantly in love.  I knew he was a biggun' when I saw his little rolls, and I was proven correct when they weighed him in at 10 pounds and 3 ounces and 20.5 inches.  I felt very vindicated at that moment (too bad he wasn't 55 pounds, though...).  I absolutely loved having him there by my face, being able to calm him with just my voice and the touch of my cheek. It was a very special moment, something I wasn't able to have with the first two.

1/3/11 2:00PM or so
I don't remember what time exactly, but they wheeled both me and the baby into the recovery room together, something they didn't used to do.  And since his glucose level was low, they gave him some glucose water and a tiny bit of formula.  It wasn't ideal, but I dropped the ball on hand-expressing some of my colostrum at home, so we had to do what was best for him.  He was difficult to begin nursing.  The nurse had to help me a lot because he was so sleepy and didn't want to latch, and I was still very numb and not able to maneuver very well.  He eventually did nurse, but I still decided to pump when I got into my room because he was being a bit lazy.

1/3/11 3:00PM or so
I don't remember what time exactly we got to my room, but oh boy, that's when the fun started.  I was in SO much pain.  Two different nurses told me that post-partum uterine contractions are worse with each subsequent baby since the uterus has a harder time contracting and getting back down to size (as evidenced by my still-huge belly).  Wow, those contractions were somethin' else!  They just took my breath away.  He was a great nurser, though, which was encouraging.  Michael was snapping away, so to the right is me having one of said awful contractions.  Lovely.

1/4/11 12:00AM
That night was rough.  Thank God Michael was with me.  Not only was I high on morphine with people coming in the room every five minutes for God knows what, but I was trying to nurse this sleepy newborn while in extreme pain with tubes and hospital bracelets everywhere while I could not get comfortable in any position due to my incision. It was much worse than I remember it with Levi, but part of that is because I had my tubes tied, too.  I know all of my natural-birth sisters are shaking their heads, saying, "I told you so," about natural birth being better, but what do you do?  I don't think I had a choice, really.  (Maybe I'll write a post defending my stance one day.)

The nursing was still going good and my wonderful friend Megan stayed that night with me to relieve Michael to take care of the boys, but early that morning is when the pain really set in.  I started to wonder if he was tongue-tied like Levi was.  Every nurse and the one semi-lousy lactation consultant that came in said that his latch was great and not to worry, and one of the pediatricians said that it didn't look like he was tongue-tied.  So where was I going wrong?  That's why so many people quit breastfeeding so early on.  This first two weeks is hell trying to diagnosis every little thing, wondering how much pain is normal.  Well, they discharged me by about 1PM that day, and when I got home the pain was so great that I was wailing every time I nursed him.  I had my own favorite lactation consultant come out to the house that night for a consultation, and she said that he did look he had a posterior tongue-tie.  So she recommended me to an ENT in Dallas that specializes in hard to spot tongue-ties. I just kept telling myself that I had to make it through the night.  More sobbing ensued, and we decided that I would pump all night and Michael would syringe-feed him.  Isaac wouldn't latch anyway because of the pain he was in, so it worked out.  To say that I was having baby blues was an understatement.  I was having quite a rough time, and my swollen eyes proved it the next morning.

...To Be Continued...


  1. "I know all of my natural-birth sisters are shaking their heads, saying, "I told you so," about natural birth being better, but what do you do? I don't think I had a choice, really. (Maybe I'll write a post defending my stance one day.)"

    I hope you NEVER think that anyone would feel this way about you and the way your body brings life into the world. Carrying a baby and delivering it, no matter how, is a miracle every time.

    Romans 8:28 says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

    I'm sure your c-sections and the experiences surrounding them are part of God's plan so, please, don't ever let someone's judgmental attitude toward different types of birth get you down.

    Praise the Lord for sweet Isaac! Congratulations to you and Michael and the boys. Let me know if I can help in any way!

  2. I've had a c-section, a vbac with an epidural and a natural birth. Yes, natural was my favorite but they were ALL miraculous!

    I enjoyed this whole post but the pictures are fantastic!! Can't wait for part 2:)

  3. Oh sweet Annie, I am sorry you are having a rough time! This too will end ...just remember you are a rockstar! :)

  4. What a perfectly realistic birth story. I am terrified with this baby coming about breastfeeding, I failed last time and I want so badly to be successful this time.

  5. What would have been the alternative? Try to have a ten pound baby naturally and give yourself a stage 4 tear?? These boys came into the world exactly as was meant to be. You did all the right things by creating a birth plan and empowering yourself and when you sought help when you suspected a tongue tie. I'm proud of you! :-)

  6. Hi, I'm Lori from; I commented on your last post there. Anyway, I had two c-sections, too, and my teeth were chattering, also. That's neat that they didn't tie down your arm.

    I love your sons' names; are you a Christian? My girls are named after women in the bible.

    Anyway, I hope things are going well. Best of luck!

  7. After having two (large) babies by c-section I don't think there is a doctor or hospital in this country that would have agreed to a vbac, it would have been way to risky to have your uterus repture. God gave us brains and medicine that has evolved so that women no longer die giving birth naturally.
    I find any woman who manages to breast feed truly amazing, I didn't last through the weekend after each of my girls were born on Thursday. And do you think I let it bother me, absolutely not, because I did what was best for us at the time and they have turned out just fine.

  8. Y'all are wonderful. :) I guess I don't have to defend myself to guys, but still there are others that I do. I have heard more than once that people have "heard stories" of people delivering 11 lb babys VBAC and they were "just my size". I definitely don't feel any guilt over the way in which my children were brought into the world, though, because I know that for us, without the medical technology of a C-section, Samuel and I wouldn't be alive (and Levi and Isaac never would have followed). So when the doctor (whom I trusted greatly) came in and told me that a C-section was inevitable with Samuel, we just said, "It is what it is."

    And Lori, yes, I'm a Christian. :) We favor Old Testament names, if you couldn't tell.


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