Monday, September 12, 2011

Cupcake's Story

subtitled: The Birth She Needed

Remember this post... I look back on it now in amazement. A stomach flu!

My OB, who guards my anxiety disorder very carefully and treats me with kid gloves probably more than he should have to, started murmuring even before then about my body not tolerating this pregnancy for much longer even though my blood pressure and everything else registered perfectly normal. I think he might have a sixth sense. I told him I didn't want to have a baby in August. August is such a stinking, hot month in Texas, especially this August... nobody would really want to be born in August.

He smiled and told me he was born in August.  (Open mouth, insert puffy pregnant foot!)

Little did I realize how that "joke" almost wasn't one. He sent me home from my 3 am trip to the hospital the morning of Tuesday, August 30th, and told me to come in for a blood pressure check on Wednesday and then for my regularly scheduled appointment on Thursday, September 1st. He was giving me two more days. That would hopefully get me some rest (get me to September) and get my sweet little Cupcake to 38 weeks exactly. Everything went according to plan... except the rest part.

The pains came back with a vengeance that night. I was afraid to eat anything thinking that would make them worse. Yes, I still thought it was a stomach thing. Can you say stubborn? On Wednesday, my BP was lower than in the hospital but still elevated. On Thursday, at my appointment, it was bad. Not scary bad... but bad. He looked at me then and said, "I'm sending you next door to the hospital... we'll talk more there but it's time to have this baby now."

Now?! I can't have a baby now! My kids are in the waiting room, my husband left everything at work on hold to meet me here. They are expecting him to come back, you know! I didn't even bring my bag! My mom is leaving tomorrow for a little Labor Day vacation. I'm only 38 weeks! My babies don't come until 41 weeks! What do you mean NOW?

When he met me over at the hospital, he gave me the low down on my cervix. It was as I expected. No change... not favorable for an induction... locked up tight like Fort Knox! Well, of course it is! I told you my babies never come before 41 weeks! He said we could still try for induction or we could C-section. He told me what all each would entail. I called my doula and talked to her. She told me she would support whatever decision I made. I called the mother of a sweet little saint who was celebrating that day as his feast day in Heaven and begged for his intercession knowing that he would not deny his mama any request. I was exhausted. I hadn't slept more than a couple of hours at a time since Sunday night. I hadn't eaten anything except crackers, pretzels and Jello since Tuesday. I wasn't sure I could make a decision!

And then, I heard myself begging for a C-section.

And I knew it was bad.

Anyone who knows me knows that most of my anxiety centers around medical issues. Not just your typical white coat syndrome. Hospitals give me panic attacks. Even the words "minimally invasive therapy" strike fear in my heart. I had just written to my doula the week before to put at the top of my birth plan that a vaginal birth was imperative because "I am terrified of C-sections!" She had encouraged me some weeks ago to relax and pray for the strength to accept the birth God gives you.

So here I was, saying to him, I can't be induced. I don't have the strength. The idea of pushing a baby out with my stomach aching was already giving me palpitations. Here I was, with those words blubbering out of my mouth and the tears spilling hot on my face, wondering who it was that was sitting in my body, saying these words, because it sure wasn't me.

He could see I was exhausted beyond reason. He offered me one more day. One night of medicine induced rest in the hospital where I could be monitored and checked. One night to get things in place for our older children. One night to allow Husband to grab a few things like something to eat, my bag and some food for our fridge that my mom could easily put together for the kids. One night to get my mom here instead of on her planned vacation So, I ate and slept and prayed that night still feeling a bit out of my own body but at peace with the decision we had made.

My doula showed up the next day, ready to walk with me along this fearful road. She understands anxiety and panic and offered to help talk me through it. As they wheeled me in, I searched my brain for the saint of the day to no avail. I told you I hadn't even looked. But I knew it was First Friday and the comfort and peace that brought me was tremendous.

I have to admit that the surgery, while certainly not a party on wheels, wasn't as bad as I had made it up to be in my mind. Medical technology these days can do amazing things when it wants to. My OB talked to me the whole time. He told me what was happening. He told me what sounds I was hearing and what sensations I might be experiencing. He told me when her head was delivered and how they needed to suction her a little bit more than normal.

He told me how tangled she was in the cord, how it was wrapped around her neck THREE TIMES and I heard how the knot he found further down caused both him and the doula to gasp in amazement.

He told me she was one very blessed little girl. It was obvious to him now having seen the condition of her wrapped up so completely in the cord and the unexpected knot that he found further up, that an induction would have caused her tremendous distress, if not worse. I could tell he didn't want to think about the worse part. I couldn't help but think about it. Now I know why it wasn't an option. Why I begged words out of my mouth that sounded completely out of my mind to me. This was the way she needed to be born... for her sake. It was God's plan, not mine. God gives you the graces to handle what he asks of you, when he asks it of you.

In all my years of being afraid of a C-section, I now realize that what I should have been afraid of was the recovery. : ) Our faith teaches us that in pain and agony will woman labor to bring children into this world. Having now experienced both ends of the delivery spectrum, I know that the pain and agony of a vaginal birth comes before whereas a C-section's comes after. The first thing I said to my friend who has had multiple C-sections was that I was sorry for not being more sympathetic! I can't deny that at times a certain amount of pride was present when answering that question "all vaginal deliveries?" in the affirmative.  I know women who speak of feeling empowered by birthing a baby. I have felt that myself. But childbirth is truly humbling, no matter how it is accomplished, and I know I would do well to remember that.

My official diagnosis was preeclampsia; some call it toxemia or pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH). No, I have never had any problems with it before and it's possible that I might never again. We just can't know that now. It happens to young moms, it happens to older moms. What I do know is that I feel less afraid than I did before. I feel stronger, a little bit, every day.
Not my nicely manicured nails... my beautiful mom's!
And I am certain that the birth plan we "chose" was divinely inspired. She was worth every bit of fear, panic and pain. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat for her!



  1. I love the subtitle. So glad you are all recovering...remember to take your time.

    Cupcake is SO beautiful!

    For me, repeat c-sections are even worse since they are usually more planned and one isn't in pain to dilute the anxiety. My anxiety and fear of them grow worse each time. I'm already battling those demons and I have 4 1/2 months to go.

  2. Oh, my gosh, she is heartstoppingly cute. Hugs, and congrats and take good care of yourself!

  3. So glad all is well in the end. I'm sorry your recovery has been difficult. It is not that way for all women (I've had 5 with minimal discomfort after, but that is unusual). Hope you are getting the rest you need.

  4. That was a beautiful birth story!!

    (I especially like the parts of C-sections---since I will have my 6th in a few months)

    She is soooooo beautiful, thanks for sharing, and Congratulations and God bless you all!

  5. Oh Nicole, I only meant that compared to the ease of the recovery from a vaginal birth that I've experiences does this recovery seem more difficult. I'm used to bounding up after delivery and feeling thoroughly energized. This one has required more rest... and pain medication.

  6. What a wonderful story! Cupcake is gorgeous--you must have a tough time pulling your eyes away from her. I love stories like this in which you can see God's grace so quietly but thoroughly woven throughout.

  7. I have been through this twice. But my children were born two weeks after due date. And though I wanted a natural birth. They were both born by c-section. I'm sure if I was to do this again, I will have not other choice but to pick a c-section again.

  8. We had a cord knot with one, and we had other reasons to believe his existence was a grace of God. I'm so happy that all those prayers worked and you made the right choice. Isn't it amazing how that happens?

  9. My hospital anxiety made me opt for home births with a wonderful midwife. My last baby, however, my "old lady" baby, was high risk and so was born in a hospital with pictocin and epidural and NICU stay. My fear before that was that I would have to have a C-section, so even though this last birth was so very, very invasive compared to my homebirths, I was relieved I did not have to be cut. Praying that you recover quickly.

  10. So much of this rings true in my own heart. God bless you!

  11. My children all just said "Awwwwww!" when they saw these pictures! She has captured all of our hearts, and we haven't even met her yet.

    You did such a beautiful job writing her birth story. We are so very thankful for her safe and healthy arrival!

  12. What a miracle she is! Truly. I have tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing her/your story. I have had both vaginal (5) and c-section (3) births. From my experience the first c-section I had was the worst as far as pain and recovery. I will continue to keep you both in my prayers. Especially for your continued recovery and well being. God bless you, Charlotte.

  13. What a story! Thank you so much for sharing it. I pray that you have a speedy recovery. Take care of your self and enjoy your new little blessing in life! Hugs!

  14. What a scary/beautiful story! God is so good. And I just can't get over your dainty little doll of a girl! She is such a pretty little thing.

    I've had very hard recoveries from my c-sections. This last one was the easiest by far, but it still takes me weeks before I'm really feeling at all like doing much more than sitting or sleeping all day. I'm glad you have a bunch of big kids to help around the house.

  15. I am so happy everything came to right in the end. I've not experienced a c-section but perhaps some your recovery issues could be related to the high blood pressure issues you had. I had pre-eclampsia with my first (and was put on two weeks bed rest before induction though I felt unwell long before my BP went up too high and stayed up) and it really wore me out physically.

    Praying for a quick recovery!

  16. Oh, Charlotte! Deo Gratias Deo Gratias Deo Gratias!!! Such a beautifully written testimony of so much Grace! Hope you are feeling better soon. Cupcake remains gorgeous. :-)

  17. What a beautiful and truly divine birth story. Thank you for sharing, and congratulations to you all.

    I'm praying for a quick recovery and healing period for you.

    God bless!

  18. thank you for sharing Charlotte. I hope you are feeling better now. I ma so happy that everything worked out. Your story reminds me of that expression, "the best way to make god laugh is to tell HIM your plans." He just knew what was best for you and cupcake all along. keep the pictures coming.

  19. God is Good...all the time! I am so happy that little cupcake had arrived safely. She is absolutely adorable! Blessings to mama and baby. ( I actually recoverd quicker from my c section ( 1st child) than my vaginal birth!haha

  20. Your new baby is very beautiful! Congratulations to all the family. I have had two natural births and two sections- one emergency and one crash. C- sections are no cup of tea when recovering; take it easy! Either way, through God's grace I have four healthy children and I am very grateful for modern medicine for that- it's part of God's work too. By the way, just so your readers are not confused, pre-eclampsia is not Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH). They are two different conditions; I had PIH in all four pregnancies; it may make you develop pre-eclampsia or you may not. Enjoy your cherub!

  21. That's an amazing story. Many prayers for your recovery.

  22. My 1st pregnancy ended with a surprise C-section, too. The baby was in distress...and when I heard that, so was I! I loved your description of letting the Lord make the decision on the type of delivery you had. I've always known that He made the decisions for me, too. He presented me with 2 wonderful daughters who have blessed us with 3 amazing grandsons...all born vaginally. My daughters are my heroines! Thanks for sharing your most intimate thoughts with us. I am praying for the anxiety cross that you bear...I have an anxiety cross, too.

  23. This is beautiful Charlotte.... your words so clearly enlightened by faith and that beautiful baby! Love to all of you!

  24. Charlotte, I erased you from my St. Gerard list and added you to my special intentions for a good recovery from your c-section. Your sweet little one is just beautiful. Hugs!

  25. what a beautiful post and story of your darling's truly providential birth! what an absolutely beautiful little soul you have. God bless.

  26. I found your blog through Kate Wicker. The birth story of your precious Cupcake is very much like the birth story of my son Joe. I have severe, I'm talking SEVERE pre-eclampsia and a failed 2 day induction. I ended up with a c-section and I was devastated because I wanted so badly to give birth naturally. I have come to terms that God works in HIS way, not ours. Reading your story has also helped me deal with some of my hang-ups on having a c-section. Your daughter is absolutely precious. God bless you and your family!

  27. God bless you both and prayers for a speedy recovery to you! What a beautiful story. God's hand so very apparent!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!