Cullen's Birth Story
PART ONE: THE DECISION
While I was pregnant with Cullen, I had one continuous prayer: "Lord, please prevent what happened last time from happening this time." Long story short, with Beckley I was induced 7 days past due date, ended up hemorrhaging, came very close to an emergency hysterectomy (thankfully avoided it), got 48 internal stitches, and then walked through a looooong 10 month recovery journey. If you would like to read more about this, you can do so in these past blog posts:
Needless to say, I was desperate to not have the same thing happen again.
The end of my second trimester I started experiencing Braxton Hicks. They were fairly regular, but not painful, and continued all the way until my due date. This was very consistent with my pregnancy with Beckley, so I didn't think anything of it. Though part of me did hope that *maybe* all of those Braxtons and having gone through birth before would help my body progress along naturally when the time came...
My due date came and went, and though I wasn't panicking or stressed, I was determined to not have a repeat of my birth with Beckley. I was due on a Saturday, and the following Sunday I lost my mucous plug, something that never happened with Beckley. I was THRILLED--a sign that things were moving along on their own! I was checked the next day and I'd dilated to 1cm. I was practically doing happy dances, I was so encouraged.
That Wednesday I was checked again and my body hadn't progressed at all. I wasn't concerned, but slightly discouraged. I'd hoped to have made some more progress, but I wasn't worried, nor was my provider. However, we did an ultrasound to confirm baby boy was completely fine.
On the ultrasound we discovered 2 things:
- Baby boy was measuring quite large (estimated 9lb 9oz)
- I had a concerning amount of excess fluid in my placenta
It was then that we went back to our provider to talk about our options. After talking about all of our concerns, options, risks, I opted for a voluntary c-section.
Leading up to this decision, Jackson and I were growing anxious. We didn't know what the right choice was, didn't want to choose the wrong one, and desperately didn't want to end up in the same position as last time. The moment we made the decision to do a c-section instead of an inducement, we felt immediate peace. We'd been praying God would help us make the right decision, and He did.
We were told we'd either do the c-section that afternoon (our appt had started at 10am), or the next day. We went home and started preparing our things.
At 1:27 we got the call: we were to be at the hospital at 2pm. It was happening.
PART TWO: THE C-SECTION
I immediately called Jackson (who'd driven to our local Dollar General for some dog food) and gave him the news. We grabbed our bags, packed everything for Beckley, made arrangements for the dogs, dropped Beckley off with my parents, said a prayer (or two), and headed to the hospital. When we arrived we were checked into a recovery room, given a breakdown of how everything would happen, asked any questions we had, and then waited until it was our time.
We ended up having the same Doctor who'd delivered Beckley, and I was thrilled. She was absolutely amazing with Beckley, and I'd been hoping she'd be the Doctor on call whenever we had Cullen. I cannot tell you how much peace it brought me knowing she'd be the one delivering him!
I will say this...I was wayyyy more nervous for the c-section than I was for my previous inducement. I had complete peace about our decision and knew it was the right call, but there is still something about knowing you're about to be cut into while you're AWAKE that is unnerving. Birth is wild no matter how you spin it. As I was being wheeled into the O.R. it was taking everything in me not to freak out. When I say I was cracking the weirdest jokes as a coping mechanism, I mean the weirdest. (Quick example: a nurse asked if I had any dietary restrictions and I told her "I prefer Italian". Yep, weird. 🤦♀️ )
When I was younger and would find out someone had a c-section, they would always be quick to say something like "don't worry, you don't feel anything!" I don't know if c-sections have changed or if they were lying for my benefit...but you definitely don't feel nothing. It isn't painful, per se. But it is quite uncomfortable. Instead of feeling the sting or burn of being cut, you feel intense pressure and soreness. So not painful, but uncomfortable.
It's also amazing how quickly your baby is delivered! Within 10 minutes of them beginning you have a baby--it's wild! What isn't as quick is sewing you back up. You spend a lot more time on the table being stitched back together than you do having the actual baby. The whole experience is bizarre, a bit frightening, and amazing.
Our son, Cullen, was born on November 16. He was 9lb 10oz, and 22inches long.
PART THREE: THE RECOVERY
Keep in mind that my recovery from Beckley's birth was, to put it bluntly, an absolute train wreck. Though I wasn't in nearly as much pain with Beckley's birth, there was a lot more wrong. This time around my immediate recovery was much more painful, but also monumentally faster and easier. Instead of 10 months of recovery, I am now 8 weeks pp and I have been fully recovered for a couple weeks already.
Let's briefly talk about the pain afterwards...the first 3 days are the worst. Standing up the first time afterwards is nerve wracking to say the least, but the more often you get up and move around (slowly and carefully) the better. Each day I felt tangible progress and healing, which I was thankful for. It gave me something to gauge my recovery by, whereas last time I didn't feel any pain, which gave me nothing to gauge my recovery by (this was so frustrating).
After those first few days of intense soreness, it's just gradually healing. The scariest part for me recovery-wise was actually looking at my incision site. In my mind it was tons of gruesome stitches. I kept the tape on my site for a full week after leaving the hospital, and they only came off at my 1-week appointment with my Doctor to see how my site was healing. That night I finally worked up the courage to look at my site in the mirror, and it was shockingly anticlimactic. It's a 5 inch purple line...that's it. Nothing gruesome, nothing scary...just a line. Modern medicine is WILD.
PART FOUR: FINAL THOUGHTS
I am so glad that we opted to do a c-section this time. Though I loved giving birth vaginally last time, there was a lot of fear surrounding doing that again this time. I desperately wanted a straight-forward birth and recovery, sans surprises, and that's exactly what we got. I am so abundantly thankful.
Birth is crazy, no matter which way you swing it. But in the end it's always worth it. These little babies are the greatest blessing, and we loved our sweet Cullen so much. ❤️
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