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My Birth Story / Esme Rae

This is definitely a different birth story than I imagined myself writing! Let me just preface this by saying, I am so grateful that everything went smoothly and my baby girl is safe and healthy.

As many of you know from following me, a few weeks leading up to my due date I found out that my baby was lying transverse. Transverse means that the baby was lying sideways as opposed to head down which is what most babies by 32 weeks position themselves in. My baby was in the 3% of babies that do not go head down by 36 weeks. Once I hit 36 weeks I decided to take some action, I did moxibustion with my acupuncturist, I was on my hands and knees every day trying to give the baby space to flip, I was swimming laps in the pool, taking baths and placing an ice pack at the top of my belly so that her head would want to flip down where it was warmer. We played music down below so she would try to turn towards the music. I’m not sure what it was, pretty sure it was the moxibustion but baby girl turned head down at 37 weeks. We were so happy! I left the Dr. office that day in the best mood knowing that she was getting ready. The Dr did tell me to buy a medicine ball and lightly bounce to get her head deeper into my pelvis. I did it religiously. Two nights later I felt an insane shift in my belly, I was so uncomfortable and in so much pain it felt like she was for sure moving but it was WAY too tight for her to do a full turn. I was crying because I just felt it, I knew she was moving back and I also was just so uncomfortable. The next day I went to the Dr. to find out if she did in fact flip and if I should I do moxibustion again. She went fully breech. Head up in my ribs.

At this point, I just accepted the fact that my baby was super active and loved moving around. The dr continuously told me she looked great, her heartbeat looked great and that was all I chose to focus on. My dr told me about a few different options of what can be done (delivery wise) when a baby is breech but that I would come in for a final check up next week once I hit 38 weeks and we’ll decide on what I want to do. A few days before my final check up, my sister in law went into labor and I saw my dr at the hospital when we went to visit. She felt my belly and knew right away where her head was, it was still up. We discussed in the waiting room that I was going to go in to the hospital on the 18th of June for an ECV (external cephalic version) where they manually flip the baby by putting pressure on your belly and once she turned head down they would induce me so I can give birth vaginally like I did with Ruby.

I left thinking wow, this is my last week before I meet my baby girl. I am not used to the idea of KNOWING when I would actually have the baby. It was cool but also weird. I also assumed that if a baby is breech the chances of me going into labor were pretty slim since her head wasn’t pushing on my cervix to make it dilate.

Three days later, I’m at home on Saturday watching Grey’s Anatomy and relaxing. My mom’s 60th birthday party was Saturday night and it was time to start getting ready. My parents planned this party for a while and even though I felt huge and swollen I was actually really excited to get out and get my mind off of everything. I put on a really pretty purple Ulla Johnson floral dress, a pair of white beaded Bauble bar earrings and my studded diamond Rene Caovilla flat sandals. It was the first time I actually put some make up on during this pregnancy. I went all out, eyeliner, mascara the whole thing. I’m sitting and waiting for Brandon to finish getting ready and I felt something weird. It was like a tightening in my chest and my belly at the same time but no pain. It was certainly different than a contraction I felt when I went into labor with Ruby but I knew I felt something. It went away and we were getting ready to call a car and I felt it again. It almost felt like the wind was knocked out of me for a second! I called my dr’s emergency line and I told her what I was feeling and how it was more so near my chest which was weird. I thought maybe Braxton Hicks or maybe the baby was just pushing up at my lungs. My dr told me that it sounded like contractions to her and that because of babies positioning it’s important I go to the hospital to get checked just in case.

Brandon and I got into an Uber, I didn’t even bring my hospital bag because I honestly did not think this was labor. We got to labor and delivery,p signed in and went into a room. I texted my mom to let her know what was happening but that it definitely wasn’t labor and to please just enjoy her party and I’ll keep her updated. They hooked me up to a monitor to track my contractions which kept coming and going. I wasn’t really feeling a  pain with them so I still just assumed they were Braxton hicks. They came in and did an EKG to rule out any heart/chest problems since I kept complaining of that. Then they checked baby and she was breech. They also checked to see if I was dilated. I wasn’t dilated but my cervix was “very soft.” I honestly had no clue what that meant but not dilated to me was not labor. I told my mom and said I was just going to head home from here. The nurses came back in and told me they called my dr and that she wanted to come in and check me. Brandon and I were confused, we didn’t understand why she wanted to come in if I wasn’t dilating. She got to the room and looked at the monitor and said ok, so these are definitely contractions – sometimes when the baby isn’t in the ideal position, contractions can feel different which is probably why I was feeling them up near my chest. She then went to check if I was dilated and told me that I was now (it was literally 20 minutes since they last checked me).

Right after that, she looked at us and said ok guys, we’re going to meet your baby tonight. Brandon and I were in complete shock. I said what?! what do you mean? My dr then proceeded to tell me that because she is breech and I’m in labor we would have to do a c section and now. I started to cry. I’m not sure if I cried because she told me I’d have to have a c section or if I was crying because I knew she was coming tonight but maybe it was a combination of both. I was scared, excited, confused and nervous. Immediately after she told me that, they started hooking me up to IV’s and taking blood and everything just started happening really quickly. I called my mom and said I was going to have the baby. They walked me into an operating room and I honestly started panicking. My thoughts the entire time, holy shit – I’m in grey’s anatomy. I’m going to have surgery, Dr. Burke and Dr. Shephard, who is going to scrub in? Will I live through this? Everyone was in scrubs with masks, I met the anesthesiologist who explained to me what was about to happen. My dr sent brandon out of the room and told me to sit on the operating table and curve my back with a c and hold on to her. They started numbing my back and told me I was getting a spinal tap to numb my entire bottom half of my body. I was having contractions but trying so hard not to move. I have always been most terrified of epidurals but from my experience of getting one and getting a spinal tap as well,  they really aren’t bad – they’re not good but certainly manageable. After 10 minutes of this, they told me my legs will start to feel hot heavy and numb and they were going to lay me down on the table.

I layed back on this metal table and a curtain was hung up in front of my face so I couldn’t see what was happening to me below. A woman kept taking a cold ice cube and putting it on different parts of my chest and belly and asking me where I felt cold and where I didn’t feel coldness. All of a sudden my body started convulsing – I was shaking uncontrollably. They told me that it was a normal side effect of a spinal tap but I literally could not stop shaking. Finally, Brandon came in all scrubbed up with a hair net on it and everything. They put a chair next to my head and he sat and held my hand. I then told my dr she could start (as if I was in control here haha) and she told me she had already started a while ago. I couldn’t feel anything happening. Then I started feeling random pressure all over my stomach and them moving things around. It was making me incredibly nauseous (and I never get nauseous) I kept feeling like I was going to throw up. They put a pan by head and told me to turn to the side if I was going to throw up. I felt like I had severe food poisoning that’s how nauseous I was. They kept pushing and touching my belly and it felt SO weird and awful. Not painful just an awful feeling. Then they told me I’m about to feel a ton of pressure and all of a sudden I’m gagging into a pan as they pull out my baby. I hear crying and gargling and my entire heart dropped. My baby was out, she was out of my body and here at 10:05 pm. How the hell did this just happen!!! They immediately take her to a table and suck out any fluids from her mouth and nose, wrap her in a blanket and hand her to Brandon sitting next to me. I kept looking at her and crying, I was just so happy she was out and looked absolutely perfect but I was so physically ill that I couldn’t take in the moment the way I dreamt I would. Brandon didn’t let go of my hand and had the baby in the other. They had to sew everything up and I just kept feeling pushing and pressure and just overall sick. Finally, FIIIINNALLY they told me I was finished. They took the curtain down, inserted anti nausea medication into my IV and handed me my baby. It was the most incredible feeling in the world. The second I took her she latched right onto my nipple and started feeding. It was an immediate bond. They brought us into a recovery room with Brandon.

My mom came running in hysterically crying! She told me she got to the hospital and they told her that I was already in the operating room and that she couldn’t come in and see me. She was a mess, she couldn’t handle not being with me during a surgery and during the birth. Brandon told them all earlier that the baby was here and out and perfect but the after process of sewing took so long that my mom was freaking out that something was going wrong because of how long we were in there. Nancy and Mitchell, my dad, my sisters were all there and coming into the recovery room to see us. They were all pretty drunk from the party which was hilarious but I was so out of it that I barely noticed! My sisters couldn’t get over the fact that I had a full face of makeup on (eyeliner and mascara that is) and because you’re not pushing and sweating like you would during a vaginal delivery, everything stayed in place haha! The night was really a blur, I think they brought us to our room after an hour and put me into a bed once I was able to feel my legs again. I was numb so I really didn’t feel any pain at this point.

The next day we had all of our family at the hospital but again my memory is in and out probably from the pain medication. I just remember all of a sudden having severe gas pockets trapped in my belly and that pain was worse than the feeling of the incision! By day 2, I was able to stand up and walk a little bit. I took baby steps and by my last night in the hospital I was doing laps around the hallway.

Overall, a c section was the safest option to get my baby out in the position she was in. It’s interesting to have had experience both vaginal and c section deliveries. Both are so different but equally difficult. The process was much quicker and controlled with a c section but the recovery is for sure harder. I’m very sore by the incision site and it’s hard to stand up and down and sleep comfortably. It’s especially hard with a toddler at home because I’m very sore, in a lot of pain and can’t bend or pick up Ruby which is torture for me. It’s hard enough to bring home a new baby but to not be able to be with your daughter like you were before and hold her and comfort her is incredibly difficult. Mentally, I feel great and want to just be a mother and get back to my life but physically I need to rest and recover. I’m only 6 days out of surgery and need to give myself another week but at the end of the day, I have my beautiful healthy baby girl Esme safe at home in our arms and we couldn’t be happier with how everything worked out. We feel so grateful and lucky.

July 1st we are moving out to the Hamptons for the summer and I couldn’t pick a better place to recover! Ruby starts camp and Esme will be able to spend the rest of the summer outside with family and friends.

By Arielle Charnas

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