Please give a brief description of yourself, and what number baby/birth you’re sharing with us.
I’m Heather, a doula and midwifery student, 32 years old with two children, and the birth I’m sharing is my second child, my daughter.
What was your due date, and what was your baby’s birth date?
My due date was May 5, 2008 and her birthday was May 1, 2008.
What was your baby’s name, weight and length?
Her name is Ruby, she was 7lbs. 5oz. and 21 inches long
Please give a brief synopsis of your birth.
This birth was a scheduled c-section. With my OB, we chose the date based on the fact that it was after 39 weeks, but still before my due date. The surgery was scheduled for 1:30pm and we were supposed to arrive at the hospital by noon. My doctor told me that I could eat breakfast as long as it was eight hours before the surgery, so my husband got up at 4:30am and brought me McDonalds. It was kind of a joke between us, because McDonalds breakfast was the only thing I was able to keep down for the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy, so we figured Ruby must like it. My doctor came in and we had fun taking goofy pictures while the nurses were prepping me for surgery. She brought in the resident who was going to assist her to meet us, and she asked my husband what he did for a living, to which he replied (as a joke), “I’m a medical malpractice attorney.” You should have seen the look on her face.
The surgery went great. My doctor even told me that I had amazing abs as she was cutting me open, which is something any woman would love to hear! I told her that I wanted to see what my insides looked like, so she let my husband video tape as my daughter was born.
The nurses wrapped her up and brought her over to me immediately, and my husband held her next to my face as they were sewing me up. Once they were done, she rode on my chest, skin-to-skin, back to the recovery room where she latched right on and started breastfeeding. I loved every second of this birth!
What did you do to prepare for your labor and birth? Did it help?
I worked out every day, and I think it really paid off. With my son, I gained 70 lbs and felt AWFUL at the end of my pregnancy. With my daughter, I felt like I could have gone on being pregnant forever. I also think it really helped my recovery, which was very easy.
What did you like about your birth experience, if anything?
I loved it. My OB was fantastic, took the time to discuss every little thing with me, and we had great rapport. The atmosphere in the OR was so fun and joyful, no one was worried about anything (my first c-section was an emergency and the atmosphere was very different).
What did you not like about your birth experience, if anything?
I wouldn’t change a thing.
What surprised you about your contractions/labor?
The only contractions I had were a few Braxton hicks that I got if I worked out hard.
In reflection, would you do anything differently, either before the birth, during or after?
What do you remember the most about your birth?
When the doctor held my daughter up over the barrier to show her to me.
How was your birth experience different from what you imagined it to be?
The atmosphere was different than I’d expected. The only thing I had to go on from previous experience was the emergency c-section where everything was tense and the peds team was in the room in addition to the regular OR staff, and I was expecting it to be the same. This time we were all laughing and joking and having a great time.
What were your immediate emotions about yourself and or your birth experience after the birth?
Overwhelmed by the love I felt, excitement about how easily she’d latched on to breastfeed (my son took WAAAAYYY longer to figure it out).
How would you describe your recovery?
Not bad at all. The nurses had me up and walking later that day, and I felt weak but no pain because they were all over making sure I took my pain meds on time. The worst thing about it was the first bowel movement, which didn’t come until after I got home from the hospital. Read about the side effects of pain meds to know why! I felt especially great because I was back to my pre-pregnant weight by the time I left the hospital. After two weeks I was back in the gym and pretty much felt back to normal. I started running again between 3 and 4 weeks postpartum.
How has your perspective of your birth experience changed in the last 4 years since the first week of having Ruby?
Not at all, really. I was happy with it then and I’m still happy with it today.
Did you learn anything about yourself through this experience?
That I have great abs? Haha, just kidding! I guess that I have enough love for two children. I never imagined I could love anyone as much as I love my son, and it was actually something I was worried about going into it. But as soon as my doctor held her up for me to see, I knew it was possible!
If you could recommend a certain type of childbirth experience, based on your own experiences, what would you recommend to other women and why?
I would recommend that a woman have any kind of birth experience that she wants, if possible, and if her plans don’t work out exactly the way she was expecting, to be open to making the best of the situation that she ends up with! I’ve seen a whole bunch of births, and I know that I was very lucky with this one — it seems they rarely go exactly as planned. I know some people hate to hear it, but the birth is really only a minuscule part of a (hopefully) long and happy parenting relationship.