We welcomed our second daughter to the world on October 4, 2016 at 8:27am. Our newest addition is sweet, snuggly, and so precious. Her big sister is incredibly proud and loves “Baby Sister” so much already!
Our birth story is not one that you typically find when searching for “perfect birth experience”, however, it was our perfect delivery. Actually, we have been blessed with two perfect deliveries. Being a labour and delivery nurse for five years, I have seen nearly every type of delivery and heard many birth plans. So for Keith and I, with our first daughter, our perfect birth experience was one where she arrived safely into this world.
The Birth our First Child
On April 16, 2014 I went into labour, but by the morning of April 17, I needed some assistance increasing the strength of the contractions with an artificial rupture of membranes (my obstetrician “broke my water”), followed by a syntocinon augment. After hours of strong contractions and not much change in cervical dilation I chose to try an epidural, in hopes that it would help me to relax muscles I thought I had been, but maybe wasn’t. A few hours later, with minimal change in my cervix and her heart rate showing signs that she might not be able to tolerate labour much longer, my wonderful nurse, obstetrician, Keith, and I collaboratively decided that a cesarean section would be optimal for the safe delivery of our daughter.
It was beautiful. After we made the decision of a caesarean birth, our oldest was born 30 minutes later, and placed on my chest less than two minutes after entering this world. With Keith by my side, it was everything we had ever hoped for in meeting and holding our sweet daughter for the first time.
The Birth of our Second Child
Fast forward to April 2016 at my first obstetrics appointment at 13 weeks gestation with the next pregnancy, where I was asked what our birth plan was. Keith and I had already discussed our options for attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) or scheduling an “elective section”. We decided that we were 100% comfortable with a repeat cesarean birth and booked it that day! When asked by friends, colleagues, and clients why I was not attempting to VBAC, my answer was that it was our personal choice. I have witnessed beautiful and successful VBAC deliveries and I have seen scary situations for both mother and baby’s safety in these attempts. Each family needs to make their own decisions in collaboration with their health care provider based on their own specific situation.
For the majority of our pregnancy, we knew the exact date and approximate time that our baby would be born. How amazing is that? For us, it was! Sure, there was the possibility I would go into labour prior to that date, and we made sure to discuss that scenario with our obstetrician. However, that scenario never arose and I did not need to go to the hospital, as a patient, prior to our delivery date.
October 4, 2016. Keith and I had a lovely sleep and woke excited knowing that in a few short hours we would be holding our new baby! I was thirsty and hungry, as required to have nothing by mouth (NPO) prior to surgery. We drove to the hospital giddy like children on Christmas morning. After checking in, we walked up the stairs (I knew it would be awhile before I could do four floors of stairs again!) and were welcomed with smiling faces on unit 4 South (the Assessment Room). We chatted and laughed with our wonderful nurses while they completed my paperwork and started my IV, all the while I couldn’t help thinking, this is perfect – this is exactly the morning I had planned in my mind.
We walked ourselves to the operating room (OR), took a few photos, and then I sat on the OR table for my spinal anesthetic. Once again amazing and happy thoughts were running through my mind, as everything to that moment had gone completely as anticipated. Keith was able to join me after the anesthetic was in effect and the surgery had begun. I felt much less “foggy” than with our first caesarean, I think likely because of our great sleep! Feeling the “pushing” sensation from the top of my abdomen, I knew it was almost time to hold her, so I looked at the clock, gave Keith a kiss, smiled at our amazing “Baby Nurse” and heard the most beautiful sound – Our newborn daughter’s cry! She had arrived!
8:27am. After cutting her cord, they carried her past me to the baby warmer to dry her off and Keith went over to meet her. She was then placed directly on my chest and what an incredible feeling that was! Within minutes, our sweet baby was bobbing her head to search for some nourishment and latched herself right there in the OR! It wasn’t the most comfortable nursing position – completely flat, unable to move my lower body, and with oxygen prongs in my nose, but I didn’t even care. It was beautiful and amazing.
Thoughts were racing through my mind, “Is this really happening? Did we really just have our perfect, planned cesarean birth that we had anticipated since early April?” You bet!
My spinal anesthetic took a little extra time to wear off, so we were in the recovery room longer than expected. Keith and Mikah stayed with me the entire time. We cuddled, fed, and took a few photos. Once we were transferred to postpartum, we shared the news with family and friends and excitedly waited for big sister to make her way to meet “Baby Sister” with her grandparents!
Our entire delivery went as planned. We are ever grateful to our nurses, obstetricians, anesthesiologists, and unit clerks who made it happen! WE LOVE YOU!!! Two days later, we all drove home. What a surreal and beautiful feeling thinking, we are complete.
Kellie Willie is a mother of two and the founder of Fit Your Life. She runs pre and post natal fitness classes for women out of Edmonton, AB and has created a rad community of women supporting each other. Check out her website and Instagram for inspiration to get healthy and active postpartum.