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.

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  1. Congratulations on beautiful baby Esme! It was interesting to read your story and I’m happy you had a safe delivery ❤️ I’m exited to see what the future holds for your family.

  2. Congratulations!! Your family is so blessed! Esme is beautiful and lucky to have Ruby as a big sister 👭🌷❤️

  3. So so beautiful to read your birth story.. I have written mine too. Had a really difficult labor and vaginal delivery.. i cried reading your story.. rest well sleep a lot eat well.. lots of love n sending recovery vibes your way❤️

  4. Congratulations. I am beyond excited for your new line. Your family is beautiful. I wish you a speedy recovery.

  5. While reading your story, I had the impression to live everything in real time with you! Congratulation Arielle! Your little baby Esme is beautiful (and btw I love this name!!)

  6. What a beautiful story. It is pretty similar to mine 8 months ago c-section mothers here 🙋🏻‍♀️Definitely proud of it, not by choice but due to breech babies (in my case two, twins) it doesn’t matter if we do it vaginal or in a OR. In the end we became mothers and that’s the most beautiful gift life can give us.
    I feel you, take your rest, is not easy in the beginning but you’ll do great babe! Proud of you! Congrats x

  7. Congratulations!!!! I’ve had two c-sections, the first one was also emergency and the second was planned and they are so different. When it’s an emergency you are so anxious it’s really hard to enjoy the moment like you’d want. Recovery is definitely hard but in another week you’ll be feeling soooo much better. Take care of yourself, rest (as much as possible with a toddler) and enjoy your daughters!

  8. Thank you for sharing!! I’m no where near ready to have kids, but I enjoy reading birthing stories and hearing what women go though on their journey to becoming a mother. Our bodies are truly amazing. I’m so happy to hear that you have a healthy baby girl! You have a beautiful family. I wish you a quick recovery:)

  9. I feel so relate to your birth story!
    My baby Valeria was born May,24 exactly 3 weeks ago. We also had to have a c section after a long day of labor and 6 hours trying pushing her out vaginally. My baby was posterior presentation (head down but facing up towards the belly not the back) for last weeks that we knew of. I knew it was not the best position for a natural delivery (as fact baby can turn over during contractions or may not which make the pushing stage way longer). So I also tried my best to do in order to have her lay in a better position. I went to Webster Technique certified chiropractor every other week, prenatal yoga week, lots of pelvic rocking (cat and cow on your all fours) exercises. On our last check with doctor he said that she’s not sunny side up anymore! We were so happy and I felt so proud of my work done and confident to go into labor for the first time. Eventually by the time my labor started and we headed to hospital triage room they told me that she was facing up (again!!??!) We were laboring in the room still trying my best I could at that moment to do labor positions that work better for baby to turn. Apparently she didn’t want to do so. There still was no signs of getting into a c section when we went into a pushing stage. Poor my girl was rocking back and forth on my pelvic bone again and again and couldn’t pass it. 6 hours and 20 min later my doctor said he’s not going to torture my baby anymore since this pushing is not making any progress and we going to have a c section right now. I felt so frustrated and broken on top of being in so much pain. I couldn’t believe after this long long day I will see my baby. After all prepps literally 20-40 min later I heard my baby’s cry! But I also as you was in horrible tremor that I couldn’t stop and couldn’t handle but had to wait until some medicine will work after end of surgery. At the very end it was definitely not an experience we expected to. But we’re very grateful our baby girl is perfectly fine (she came out with a little bump on her head from pushing that gone next day) so as I am.

    I wish you a sooner recovery I all happy days in your life with your sweet girls and family!

    IG @makeupby_eva

  10. I feel you! I had breeches baby with my first, after two versions and every exercise you could imagine I had a scheduled c-section. I felt like s failure. My second was v-bac but my third was once again breeches. My husband didn’t understand why I cried every night for a month thinking I had gone through a v-bac for nothing. I did acupuncture, chiropractor and finally a version at 38 weeks and the baby flipped! My dr told me after delivery she didn’t believe he would stay head down until delivery!! Every baby is a different story… we just remember we plan and god laughs

  11. I had the same experience as you, and I felt those exact same feelings! My son was born vaginally, so when I had to have a c-section with my daughter it was such a different experience…especially since I went into labor and she didn’t wait until the intended day! I’m so happy everything turned out well and everyone is happy and healthy! Congratulations are your beautiful lil Esme!

  12. Thank you for shearing your story. I was reading and crying at the same time. It was partially my story too. So scary of not knowing what is going on, Excitement of meeting you baby, and nervous of seeing the operating room.
    I got more difficulties after c section when I lost a lot of blood and unexpectedly fainted. But end of the day we all happy and healthy today. My baby girl is 17 mo now and every month on her birthday I look at her and telling it was hard to finally meet you but how incredibly happy I’m now. Anastasia

  13. OMG!!! I am crying, what a story. Nice way to narrate the event. I am in to tears of happiness for you. You are the best!!!!!

  14. Thank you for sharing your story with us! I loved it, and you were so brave! Your momma hormones took over and knew you had to do what was safest for baby and you! I literally LOL’d at your comment about Greys, I guess that’s what happen when you spend the week leading up to delivery wrapped up in one of the best tv drama shows EVER, you picture yourself in the middle of it! Congrats to you and your family, watching the bond between siblings will make your heart explode! Just wait, the best is yet to come!!

  15. Congratsss Arielle!!! You just made me remembered my c section, all that awkward feelings in the stomach, someone touching you in your inside, moving your organs, without feeling pain just weird…enjoy your baby girl!!!! Love your story, unplanned but also unforgettable

  16. Congratulations on beautiful Esme!! Your birthing story was so similar to mine… my second son, just wanted to be breech, tried to manipulate him to be head down, but it did not work.. I had a vaginal file very first time, and I was wanting the same again, so when they told me, after he turned back to breech, that I had to have a c section, I was so upset, just remember getting on the phone to my Mum and crying.. forward 18th months later, realistically looking back, it was the only way he was going to come out and he’s beautiful and healthy, and that is all you wish for..

  17. Congratulations on your new baby girl! The interesting thing is our birth stories are almost the same, my daughter came early and suddenly the labor started but I didn’t feel any contractions, she was breech and I tried thousand of things to make her flip, we were at almost 37 weeks and we were at just a regular control at that moment my doc noticed that I had these contractions, I wanted to welcome my baby so I got epidural c section too. It was an emergency and nobody was expecting that day my baby girl was coming 🙂 I was so happy to finally meet my daughter so I didn’t hesitate to go into the surgery and luckily everything went well. But I couldn’t stop shaking when I was on the table gosh never gonna forget about that but also the moment that I heard my baby’s voice for the first time was unforgettable too! I was getting ready to give a vaginal birth but ended with a c section. The most important part is we had a healthy baby girl. So I am soooo happy for your blessed family, you are such an amazing mom and full of love! You are an inspiration to many women out there! The recovery part is not easy but after a few weeks you won’t even remember that’s how magical our bodies and minds are!

  18. First of all, baby Esme is too precious and I love her name. Big sister looks good on Ruby Lou!!

    I have two boys, a 3 year old and a 1 year old. The first birth was vaginal. I loved the experience because it felt like pushing through labor is the first act as a mother. With my second I was so ready to apply a new plan to my delivery that would make me kick ass even more. Then throughout my pregnancy they kept seeing that I had placenta previa. Up until the last ultrasound I kept my hopes that the placenta would move and I could have another vaginal delivery. The doctor came in and said that she had scheduled my c-section for the coming Thursday. I didn’t want to cry in front of her but when she left the room I started sobbing.

    C-section day came and I was sch filed for 10am. I was already in the OR, and they put he spinal in. The problem that arose was it was not taking and I could feel every pinch. They injected me in several spots and still I could feel everything. My doctor postponed me for the afternoon and ordered to give me an epidural. Finally the epidural worked although I still had some sensation on the top of my stomach. I got violently sick puking. I was still in the OR and puking. I remember feeling very sleepy and felt like drifting off. At the same time I felt my husband frantically trying to keep me awake. He is an ER physician and later told me that I could have died. Apparently I was bleeding out and my bp was super low. He says he has seen many people die and I just had that look. At one point he picked up a needle to intervene and the doctor warned him that he didn’t have privileges at that hospital so no way he could do anything. To this day he still cries when he remembers almost losing me.

    Luckily I recovered wonderfully from the csection. My baby boy was strong and healthy. Today I am blissfully happy among the chaos of being a mom of two. The are the goofiest, most loving babies. I now understand that pushing through labor is not the only first act of being a mom. It’s the decision of putting your child’s safety above all under any circumstance. That c section scar is a reminder of that.

    Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl and for having such a cute little family!!

  19. In tears reading your beautiful story, my daughter was laying transverse & I had a c-section as well. It was such a surreal feeling & recovery is tough…I thought I’d never stand up straight again! I took little walks each day and tried to rest when I could. You’ll be back to yourself before you know it. Belly births are incredible, now you’ve experienced both and there’s really nothing you can’t handle! Just remember you are a strong Mama to your girls, you got this…even when you feel like you don’t. Fourth trimester is tough but it’s also a fleeting, beautiful season. Soak up those sweet newborn snuggles. I’m so happy for you and your sweet family, congratulations!

  20. Congratulations Arielle!! You did it!!! So glad everything turned out fine and hope you recover very soon 🙂 I myself had a vaginal delivery two years ago, and I’m expecting a second baby this September, praying all goes well and most importantly, my baby girl arrives perfectly healthy!

  21. I just cried reading your beautiful story…you come across as such a nice person…so refreshing! I love how you arrived at the hospital all dressed up…you didn’t miss a party, you were the party…💜

  22. I’m a grandma so I can appreciate all the feelings your mom had. I can tell you this it does get better (after seeing this mornings post) with each passing day. You have wonderful support and above all when you hold Esme inhale that sweet baby scent it can’t be bottled & is priceless. As for Ruby she will continue to be a 2 year old who adores her Mommy always.. nothing will change that..enjoy your little family the BEST is yet to be!!

  23. Arielle mazel tov on your new gorgeous Esme! This story made me think of my mom and what she must have been going through when she had an emergency c-section with me. She went to the doctor because she had a gut instinct that there was something wrong with me because I stopped moving and I was a very active baby the whole pregnancy and it turns out I wasn’t breathing because of my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck and she had to have an emergency c section also! If it was 30 minutes later I wouldn’t have made it. I thank her every day because if not for her amazing motherly instinct and strength I wouldn’t be here. Your story is really emotional but Esme will appreciate and thank you one day! So happy everyone is happy healthy xo

  24. Wow, Arielle! That is such a moving and emotionally beautiful story! I’m so glad you and Esme are happy and healthy – you’re incredible brave and strong, and I have really loved seeing your journey from fashion blogger and overall super person to a fantastic mom and designer. Enjoy your summer relaxing with your family!

  25. Congrats girl. I also had an unplanned c-section, it was rough but definitely necessary. I’m glad you and baby are both healthy! You will start to feel like yourself again in no time. Something that helped me get back was doing core stabilization exercises after I got released from my doctor at 6 weeks post. My husband is a physical therapist, so he helped me through them. You girls are both beautiful, just like you! Praying for a fast recovery. 🙏🏼

  26. I loved this story so much, I teared up at many parts and laughed too!! Hope you have a healthy and fast recovery! Congrats on your new baby girl!

  27. In tears reading this. You are so strong and so brave. Don’t beat yourself up right now, especially over Ruby. You just gave her the greatest gift she could ever have – a little sister! I am sure it’s challenging right now but be sure to show yourself some compassion for what you just went through. It’s truly a miracle. Sending you lots of love and healing vibes. Xx Jacey

  28. I’ve enjoyed following along as I am only a couple of weeks behind you! Our baby girl is still breech at 37 weeks, even after trying it all. We are scheduled for a c-section in 2 weeks and my biggest fear is to go into labor before and getting swept into an emergency c-section situation. I’m at total peace with the scheduled, but the unknown of being rushed in for one is what makes me nervous. Thank you for sharing, as I feel like I got insight into what’s possible for us!

  29. LOVE reading your stories. You are giving the perfect angle on every milestone in life, feels like i’ve been there !
    Besides, you are an amazing mother ! Love your family !
    WELCOME little Esma ❤️

  30. My mom also experienced a vaginal birth and c section. My sister twisted the umbilical cord around her neck and they had emergency c section. She says that the surgeons were so comforting they even played music of her choice during the surgery! My dad always talks about how incredible it was to see the surgeons remove my sister from the sac and see all of the organs from my mom’s stomach (lol). He definitely missed his calling as a surgeon lol. Congratulations and I am so happy everything in the end is well! Blessings!😊

  31. Congratulations! So happy all went well and you have another beautiful, healthy, and happy-baby girl! I loved how you explained everything and I know a lot about birth types now. I don’t have kids yet, but really like reading birth stories, so I’ll know what to expect someday! Hope you get moved into the Hamptons well and enjoy your summer there! Praying for you to heal fast & get back to being able to hug & cuddle Ruby soon! Xoxo-Mary

  32. Wow, congratulations for the new princess! I just read your story and I felt totally identified. It happened the same to me. My first child was natural birth, almost 1 year and half apart I was having my second baby boy, he was in the same position as Esme, I try everything just like you, but didn’t have any success. At 36 weeks we tried with the Dr. to accommodate him (the baby) but there was no way. One day after I started with with contractions and I had to do an emergency C section, I felt same as you, very very nervous, but happy, couldn’t stop shacking. At the end when you see the baby a healthy baby it all worthy. 2 years after I had my third baby boy and I had it, natural birth. It was so much easier than the first one.

  33. Congratulations on your beautiful, healthy baby girl! I, too, had to have an emergency c-section. Everything happens so fast it seems surreal. There are so many emotions happening in such a short amount of time, but in retrospect, it seems like a nice deal for not having to push or being in labor for hours on end. I’m glad you had a fairly smooth delivery process (if you can even call a c-section that, lol) , and that mommy and baby are doing well! Blessings to you and your beautiful family! 🙂

  34. Congrats, Arielle! So happy for you & your sweet family. I also have been LOVING these raw blog posts from you. It’s as if we are just talking as friends catching up, but also super powerful at the same time. As someone who hasn’t had any kids, it was interesting to hear about both births and all the emotions behind it. Again, SO happy for you & your girls and can’t wait to follow along more! So fun to come along these milestons with you 🙂 x Shannon • http://www.champagneatshannons.com

  35. Thanks so much for sharing your story! I’m so glad your little girl was delivered safely. My baby girl is breech as well. My scheduled c section is in 11 days and I’m freaking out. I’m hoping she will turn but I’m not stressing it too much. Having read your story and helped…even though I’m terrified of getting so nauseous and feeling that gas, at least I know what to expect.

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