My C-section Story

By February 29, 2016 November 1st, 2021 Breastfeeding, Classes

Today I am sharing the delivery of my second baby, a girl, who was born via c-section.  I was 39 and one day from delivery. I had finished my last day of work as an L&D RN just three days prior. My husband was out-of-town. What? I know, it sounds crazy to have your husband traveling that close to your due date, but we “had a plan”. To give a little background on that, my husband was completing an internship for master’s school on the East Coast. We knew when he took the position there was a possibility he would miss the delivery given it was a summer internship and her due date was July 7. We decided we couldn’t pass up the opportunity and made our arrangements for him to come home four days before my due date. Since my husband was traveling, my sister was “babysitting” me. That’s what you call it when you have a 9-month pregnant woman staying with you! That morning I woke up as usual, dressed, and was just relaxing around the house. About mid-morning I started to realize I wasn’t feeling her kicks. I tried to be sensible, not panic, and just give it a little time. I had some juice and crackers then went to lay down and really focus on kick counts.  Nothing. We had lunch. Eventhough I was a little uneasy, I accompanied my sisters and my Mom to a “pre-baby pedicure”. About fifteen minutes into the pedicure, I sat up, looked at my Mom and said, “I need to hear her heartbeat right now.”

It was one of those gut maternal instincts moments. No one else but me could’ve known how important that decision was. I knew I could face some embarrassment at the hospital if everything was fine but this feeling was beyond that. My Mom and sisters drove me to the hospital. I was pretty anxious during the 30-min ride there. They tried to ease my mind but mainly just held my hand and were there.

The Heartbeat

We walked into labor and delivery and I saw several of my colleagues. I was delivering at the hospital I had trained and started working in labor and delivery.  They got me into a room and monitors onto my belly. I heard her heartbeat!  Sigh. Relief. 20 minutes of monitoring and I would be outta there! My sisters, Mom, and I just chit-chatted for a bit and waited for the nurse to come back in. As a side-note, my two sisters who were there are also RNs.

When the nurse (who was one of my RN training mentors) walked back in, I was explaining to my Mom that they’d have to monitor me for about twenty minutes, and I’d be going home shortly.

The Decision

“Have you seen your strip Linz?” She was referring to the fetal heart rate strip, and no, I hadn’t looked at it through the eyes of a nurse. I had just heard my baby’s heartbeat. I started to read it. “I’m not quite so sure you’ll be going home,” my friend said.  She tried several things – changing my position, giving me some fluid, etc.  The baby’s heart rate is what we call tachycardic with minimal variability. The heartrate itself was hanging around 180 (normal is 110-160bpm). It also wasn’t fluctuating much. Over the course of 20 minutes it didn’t show a single reassuring sign that she wasn’t stressed. The on-call doctor came in rather quickly (someone I also knew and had worked with, thankfully). She was thoughtful and sat down and said, “She is stressed. We need to get her out.” After interpreting the strip myself, I knew she was right.  At that moment I knew my husband would miss the delivery and I knew I was having an unplanned c-section. Neither of those problems touched the fear that perhaps my baby wouldn’t be okay. I was worried about her. I shed a few tears and got kinda stoic and quiet. My family rallied around me and told me I had to be strong, that I could do this.

nurses doing face time with a man

{My Mom, sister, and husband on FaceTime}

The C-section

I walked into the hospital at 4:20PM and my daughter was born at 5:32PM. My husband was less than thrilled when my sister FaceTimed him to let him know his daughter would be born too quickly for him to be there. He, too, was concerned for us and got quiet and hopeful. Thankfully due to technology he was “in the room” during delivery via FaceTime. The anesthesiologist allowed both my sister and my Mom to accompany me to the OR.  I remember the physician holding the fetal monitor as I was being prepped. I could see her anxiety mother-to-mother in that moment for my baby’s safe arrival. The delivery team reported that my daughter had some very thick meconium for 39-weeks gestation.  I was able to perform skin-to-skin in the OR with support and breastfeed within the first hour of her life.

mom giving birth

nurse with newborn child

 {my sister Cami}

three nurses with newborn child

{my delivery team}

mom holding her new child
{Lots of skin-to-skin time}

new mom with her family visiting her

{First feeding~45 min after delivery, my sisters and Mom}

My husband was able to jump on the next plane out west and join us as a family the next morning.

family of four

{Family of 4}

The Lessons I Learned

Even though I ended up needing a c-section, I was grateful that I had the education to know that was the right decision for me. I never have to look back and think, “Was that really necessary?” As the doctor checked on me the next morning, she made a comment that has stuck with me. “I’m sure glad you followed your gut and came in yesterday. I worry that if you didn’t it could’ve been a very different outcome. I’ve seen situations like that become a stillbirth.”  That was when I began to concretely realize that mother’s intuition is real and surpasses all advice you could be given. I also believe that prenatal education is extremely important because it lets you more confidently tap into your mother’s intuition.  That is my daily mission and message with Lactation Link and my video breastfeeding classes.  Arm yourself with solid information and options, and choose what’s right for your situation.

Would love to hear your #csectionstory if you have one. If you’d like, get on instagram, share your #csectionstory, and tag us @lactationlink and use the hashtag #lactationlink so I’ll see it. If you don’t have a #csectionstory, we’ll be doing several features like this on all types of birth!  Can’t wait to see your stories.

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Thanks for coming by,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Lindsey Headshot white with grey