[^This picture is one of my favorites. That beautiful first moment of skin to skin… She’s content & warm on mommy’s chest, those chubby, squishy cheeks all pressed up into me. Ok and now I’m crying just thinking about it.]
It’s hard to believe my sweet Cora Beth turns 7 months in a few days. It has been so amazing and challenging and beautiful and humbling all at the same time. Moments so sweet I thought my heart might explode. Moments so hard I was brought to my knees in tears. But I am truly just so grateful for this beautiful baby angel; her sweet smiles bring light & joy to all my days. And so, I thought it was about time to sit & write out her birth story, as I did for Eveleigh.
As some of you may know from Eveleigh’s birth story, my plans for an all natural birth failed and I ended up having to have a c-section. When we got pregnant again, I was torn on whether or not to have a vbac (vaginal birth after c-section). My pregnancies were pretty close together and so there are some more risks involved, but I decided to try for the vbac. But mostly I was ok with either a vaginal birth or a c-section but I definitely didn’t want to endure both like I did before. That was a lot to go through and to recover from. So what was most important to me was not having a failed vbac that would end in an emergency c-section.
After praying about it all I decided to plan for the vbac, but set a date (about 1 week past my due date) at which point if the baby didn’t come we would have the c-section. I prayed that if the vbac would fail or if uterine rupture was possible, that I wouldn’t go into labor and that she would come via the scheduled c-section.
Leading up to my due date, I actually really started to believe that we would have the vbac. And I actually felt like she might come early. She dropped really low and I felt a lot of cramping, and thought for sure labor was near. But at each check up… 37 weeks…38 weeks…39 weeks…40 weeks… I wasn’t dilated at all. But I still remained hopeful. I walked miles on end every day. I did the stairs. Curb walking. Mexican food. Bouncy ball. You name it. And then I’d go into my weekly appointment only to be disappointed that there were no changes. The hardest part is thinking every single day “oh today might be the day!” or “hmm is this the beginning of labor?” and being let down.
I remember at my 40 week appointment my doctor told me that I wasn’t dilated at all. That I was completely closed up and that she thought Cora would most likely come via c-section. I immediately started to cry right there in her office and just didn’t understand. I tried so hard to trust that this was just God’s answer to my prayer… but it was so hard. I felt so defeated. I realized how much I really did wish to have a successful vbac. And mostly, the complete loss of control over the situation was agonizing.
The following week I still held on to any tiny shred of hope left that I might go into labor… But mostly I tried to just take my mind off of it. I soaked up time with Ryan & Eveleigh, and scheduled fun outings & photoshoots to fill my time. As the days passed and the date of the surgery grew near, anxiety started to creep in. But I did my best to be in prayer and focus on holding my sweet little girl.
The morning of February 10th, 2016 we headed to the hospital excited to meet our Baby Cora. They prepped me for surgery, but it got pushed back because they ended up having an emergency c-section right before mine. Typical that we would finally get there, ready & full of anticipation, only to be further delayed. But we made the most of it, being silly & laughing together, and making bets on how much she would weigh.
Then it was time. They wheeled me to the operating room and so many memories came flooding back of when Eveleigh was born. I was afraid of having a panic attack like I did with Evie, but I focused on my breathing and relied on the strength of the Spirit to get me through. Ryan was not allowed in the operating room at this time. I so longed for him there beside me. I don’t do well with pain meds and as soon as the spinal block was administered my blood pressure dropped and I felt like I couldn’t breathe and was going to pass out. Fortunately, it only lasted a minute and then they gave me medicine to help and it passed… But it all made my stomach very upset and I ended up throwing up right there on the operating table. By then I was crying out for my husband… I felt so weak and just wanted it to all be over. As I lost feeling in my legs I started getting that claustrophobic feeling and was just crying by that point. Ryan finally came into the room and I was so relieved to have him there. I remember crying to him “this is just not how I imagined bringing my babies into the world.”
But soon enough, it was over. And I heard the magical sound of her first cry. They lowered the curtain enough for me to peek over and I got to see her tiny little body, and so much love welled up inside of me. And in that moment I remembered why I go through what I go through, and how worth it it is.
We were wheeled off to the recovery room, and I got to do skin to skin and nurse her for the first time. It all felt so familiar but also like such a new experience. She was so beautiful and tiny and so very precious. It’s funny how you forget how little they are when they first come out. And it made Evie seem so huge.
Later, Eveleigh got to come meet her and my heart was just complete mush. It’s amazing how you can be in so much pain but also be filled with so much joy.
And that’s how our little family became a party of four.
So very blessed. So very grateful.
[^I love the way this photo communicates what words sometimes can’t.]
[And here she is. Inside of me one minute, and a new life in this world the next. It’s just… such a miracle. No matter how you birth your children… it truly is such an extraordinary thing.]
[7 lbs, 12 oz. of pure squishy goodness. Only one ounce more than Evie was.]