Kwynn’s Birth Story

Well, it’s been almost 7 months since we welcomed our sweet girl into the world. The time is flying by.

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to sit down and write about the day she was born, and the weeks after.

(Life with a baby! It’s amazing, AND, I’m still getting the hang of it all and working to find my flow.)

But, without further ado, this is a story that will happen in four parts. (All of them juicy, I promise you.)

Part 1: My journey is unique as me (Conception)
Part 2: I trust you (Pregnancy) (This one is already written, in case you missed it.)
Part 3: I am ready (Birth)
Part 4: I am healing beautifully (PostPartum)

Part 3: I am ready (Birth)

Today, I am sharing what I think is the best part of the story, Part 3: I am ready. (Birth) Because that is the day my whole life changed.

November 2017

My estimated due date was Nov. 23rd, the day after Thanksgiving.

I am going to digress on my story, even before I get started.

Three years ago, Lance lost his older sister suddenly, due to cardiomyopathy. It hit the family extremely hard quite obviously, and shook everyone to their core. Kerry, who my daughter Kwynn is named after, passed away on November 21st, 2014.

It wasn’t lost on me that my daughter’s potential birth date and the date of Kerry’s passing had the possibility of being so close together, even the same day.

My heart told me that perhaps Kerry had a hand in this, wanting to add a little joy back to family during this precious time of year. For that, I am grateful.

Ok, back to the story.

Once early November hit, the doctor told me to have my hospital bags packed. Baby girl was measuring big and could come any day.

Lance had wrapped up a lot of his work and we were able to spend our final days together as just a married couple.

As my due date approached, despite what the doctors said, there was no sign of her making an appearance.

With each passing day, I was getting increasingly uncomfortable. My feet were swollen, my breathing at night was hard, walking was slow and labored and I was having Braxton Hicks contractions several times throughout the day.

I was that woman who walked through a restaurant on the way to the bathroom as heads would turn and follow me, invariably thinking, “Woah, she is really pregnant.”

But still, no sign of baby girl.

The month ticked by, Thanksgiving arrived, which I didn’t think we would get to celebrate at home this year. Because no plans were made, we had a quiet evening at our apartment in Brooklyn with my parents and Lance’s mom. (Yes, they were all here, just waiting!)

That night, I made the most delicious mini apple tarts. I will never forget those apple tarts, because standing in the kitchen to make them was literally the most effort I had put into anything in the last several weeks.

However, the holiday came and went with no sign of baby.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, Lance and I decided to squeeze in a date night while we still could. We saw Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri starring Francis McDormand. I drank a milkshake, ate french fries and had to get up so many times to stretch because I was so uncomfortable.

I really couldn’t believe I was still pregnant!

We walked home, (I waddled) as I admittedly complained for the 1000th time about how difficult this was. (My husband was a saint during these last few weeks.)

That night/morning at about 3:00am, I started to have what were either more Braxton Hicks or actual contractions.

I wasn’t sure since this was going on for weeks now.

But about 10 minutes later, there they were again.

I timed them as I let Lance sleep, in case it was the real deal and we had a long road ahead of us. Sure enough, they were coming about 10 minutes apart and I thought this could be it.

At about 6am, I decided to wake him and let him know. We texted my doula, Megan Davidson (who I love!) and called the doctor to let them know. Everyone said it sounded like early labor and that this was in fact happening.

I decided to stay at home for as long as I could stand it, but the doctor eventually suggested I come into her office to just check things out.

At about 1pm, we hopped in an Uber with our hospital bags in case our next stop was the hospital.

At this point, I was both excited and nervous, but was too distracted by the pain to worry too much. The contractions would come in waves and I would just have to stop, get real quiet and focus in.

When we got to the doctor, everyone was excited to see us. Right away, the nurse took my blood pressure and found it to be very high. So she tried one more time. Still really high.

I also had protein in my urine.

Uh oh.

When the doctor came in to see us she told us that these two things combined were a sign of pre-eclampsia, which is a dangerous condition when it comes to labor.

It also meant that the baby needed to come out soon.

She checked my cervix to see if there was any dilation (opening of the birth canal more or less.) Despite me being in labor, my cervix was completely closed and positioned as if this baby was planning on staying in there forever!

We were advised to head straight to the hospital with our bags.

When we got to the hospital and checked in, I couldn’t believe it, but my friend Heidi Kristoffer was in labor too! We had been given the same due date and were now ready to go at the same time! It was so nice (and crazy!) to see a friendly face in the midst of the sudden chaos.

The practice I was with had four doctors. You saw each of them throughout the pregnancy not knowing who would end up delivering your baby.

I had set my intention on having one particular doctor being the one to deliver me. Lo and behold, she was the doctor on call when we got there!

She checked my cervix again and to my dismay, there was STILL no sign of dilation.

This meant it was time for us to make a decision.

We made a decision

Because I wasn’t dilating naturally, I either was going to have to be induced or elect to have a C-section. The doctor felt that because of the positioning of my cervix, the induction could take up to 24 hours and it wasn’t guaranteed that the baby would still come through the birth canal.

And, because of the pre-eclampsia, the longer it took for delivery, the greater the risk I was putting myself and the baby.

Here is something important I want to share with you. And it was important for me to remember.

From the moment I got pregnant, I was never married to how this labor should go.

I knew that it was largely out of my control. There are too many factors when it comes to having a baby and very little of them are about me and my specific wants.

My only birth plan was to educate myself on the process of birth and then to let go and let HER decide how she wanted to come into this world.

The only thing high on my priority list was avoiding an emergency situation of any kind if possible.

As a result, we talked through the two options with our doula and our doctor.

After much consideration (and trust me, I contemplated this for a long time, while in the midst of labor pains), we decided that the risk of staying in labor for up to 24 more hours with the possibility of moving into an emergency situation was not the risk we wanted to take.

As much as I was hoping for a vaginal birth, I felt empowered when I opted for the C-section, under these circumstances.

It also meant I was going to meet my baby in just a short while!

Before I knew it, I was being prepped for surgery.

While I waited to be brought in, I was in a room with a few other women who were either waiting to go into surgery or just coming out. (The hospital was extremely crowded that day!)

It was the most bizarre thing I have ever experienced.

I watched as a woman was being wheeled out. An hour later (yes, it took a while before it was my time, still in labor having contractions mind you!), the woman would come out and be with her baby.

I mean, I knew that was going to be me, but getting to watch this happen a few times was bananas.

It was like waiting in line to go off the high dive. You would watch someone climb all the way to the top, walk to the edge, and then jump. You didn’t really know what happened on the way down, but when they come up from the water, they are smiling ear to ear.

I was just waiting for my turn to jump. So I did my best to relax and get into a really calm, sweet zone.

And finally, my time came.

I will spare the particular details on the start of surgery. In short, bright lights, small talk with doctor, epidural, lay on table. (Look, surgery is intense. Birth is intense, no matter how you do it. Going into surgery to meet your baby is no joke. Birthing a baby out of your vaginal canal is also no joke. Let’s have some serious respect for however it is done.)

Peaches and Cream

As soon as Lance was allowed to come into the room, I locked eyes with him and didn’t take my eyes off of him the whole time. I asked him to play Peaches and Cream by John Butler Trio on repeat until she was here.

Have you ever listened to a song a repeat so that it becomes the soundtrack to that particular experience?

There you are
Right in front of me
A brand new day
Sunrise over sea
No longer
My half empty cup
And now I look up above me
And I thank that great old God in the sky
For telling me my cup ain’t half empty
It took my little girl to show me why

The song felt like it played a millions times. And I just focused intensely on Lance’s smiling eyes as he caressed my face, giving me comfort.

There you are

Right in front of me
There you are
Right in front of me
It took my little girl to show me why

After what seemed like forever and a day, the doctor gave one final tug and my baby girl was lifted out and immediately started to cry.

And the tears started flooding down my face.

“Is she ok? Is she ok?” I asked. That was all I wanted to know.

“She is great!” the doctor said.

“Are you sure?”

“Absolutely.”

Within a matter of moments, they brought her over to us and there she was.

My peaches and cream.

And Lance and I just looked at one another in total and complete awe.

We couldn’t believe at 7:04pm on November 27th, she was here- all 8 lbs 9oz and 21.5 inches of perfect squishiness.


You carry this being for 9 months. Knowing there is a real human growing inside.

And then there they are. On the outside. Ready to take on the world.

They let Lance do skin to skin with her and the next thing I remember was being in the recovery room and finally getting to really hold my baby.

As soon as she was in my arms, she practically crawled her way to my boob, latched and began to eat. It was one of the most amazing things ever.

She knew exactly what to do and how to do it. I couldn’t believe it.

Ugh, humans. They are simply outstanding.

After a short while, my mom came in to see me, with tears in her eyes. She got her first glimpse of her new granddaughter. My dad followed shortly behind and Lance’s mom after that.

Getting to have our family there was the absolute best.

As for my friend Heidi, her son James was born down the hall, just a few hours after Kwynn. His birthday is November 28th. They will forever be linked.

After some time in the recovery room, I was finally brought to our private room and the next 24 hours were a total blur.

While the surgery went beautifully well, and baby girl was eating like a champ, and passing all her tests with flying colors, the next several days were extremely challenging.

In part 4, I will talk about the healing process, the journey of being postpartum and how I have taken extreme care of myself in the last several months.

It hasn’t been easy, but without a doubt, it’s been the best journey of my life so far.

Our little girl brings more joy than I could possibly imagine.

While her birth wasn’t anything what I expected, it was exactly perfect for us.

I am in total awe of all the ways in which we humans manage to get here, to this earth.

We would literally be nothing without the women who carry us and birth us.

So here’s to all the women before us and ahead of us who will go on to birth beautiful creatures!

Do you remember the day your babe was born like it was yesterday? What is the most significant thing about that day? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Lastly, your emails, instagram messages and blog comments during this time of “Mmmm, let’s see if I can figure out how to run a business and have a baby” have meant the world to me.

It’s not always easy, but this has truly been the best time of my life.

Getting to share it with you and hear how YOU are doing your journey (whether you are a parent or not!)  keeps me going on the tough days.

So thank you!

Xo
Erin

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23 Responses to Kwynn’s Birth Story

  1. Melanie says:

    I too remember having my first child like it was yesterday. (Actually I remember all 3 like that 😊) But like yours, our experience was perfect for us, just like our little girl. And she is still (and her brothers too 😊) perfect 30 years later. We are such lucky parents!

  2. Hi Erin,

    I cried happy tears reading this because oh my, it’s very similar to my journey! I could really relate to this! I had my beautiful first child on the 30th December. After an ultrasound at 40 weeks it turned out she had stopped growing and my body wasn’t showing any signs of dilation etc.

    I was highly advised to have a c section as was told directly it would be less traumatic for bubs. Turns out I was diagnosed with preeclampsia just after the birth. I feel I will always remember clearly having to make the decision of how my baby was going to be birthed and I can see how looked after we were in the grand plan because if my OB wasn’t on leave and we didn’t have his locum, I wouldn’t have had that scan showing she needed to come out. So the hurdles became the greatest blessings and oh my…aren’t we just sooo blessed!
    So much love to you from Australia! I love your work and love seeing your journey as I’m sharing it alongside you, connecting with it so much.
    Congratulations!!
    Thank you!
    Lauren xx

    • erin says:

      Awe, congratulations on your bub, Lauren! Yes, ur stories are similar. And thank goodness for modern medicine. Sending you all the love. I hope you both are doing wonderfully!! Xo

  3. Clarissa Evers says:

    Dear Erin, thank you for sharing this wonderful story. I gave birth to my 2 wonderful daughters in 2000 and 2002. Although no C-Section the 2 births were special not at all similar and moving for me and my husband. Life has changed since 23rd March 2000. This change was boosted on 21st July 2002. Our daughters have been and will be our biggest challenges in our lifes. Although really hard at times it is the best I ever experienced after meeting my husband.
    Love to you and your lovely little family, Clarissa, Hamburg/Germany

    • erin says:

      Our children change us in ways we can’t eveb imagine. Thank you for sharing this and for your kind words. Xo

  4. Joanna Levitt says:

    Hi Erin, thanks for making me cry for the right reasons!
    So here’s a bit of my first birth story. Of course we remember them all like yesterday. My first was born 33 years ago in the days before clear ultrasounds. But my husband is a family doctor, so when he looked at the 32-week ultrasound and pointed out something sticking out between the baby’s legs, I believed him when he told me he was sure it was a boy. Even though the ultrasound technician refused to confirm what he said, one way or the other. (They were told never to say, to avoid being sued!)
    We didn’t mind, one way or the other, but somehow Bump started to be called Benjamin in my head, and we still hadn’t picked out a name if it turned out to be a girl.
    Of course, when she popped out, and they told us we had a beautiful baby girl, we were rather surprised!
    Four years later, I was pregnant again, and again my husband told me it was a boy, and I looked and it seemed quite clear to me. “I’m sure this time”, he said.”I’ve seen a lot more ultrasounds in the last 4 years”. This time it was a breach birth, and before the deliver was even over, my husband laughs out “It’s a girl!”

  5. Thanks so much for sharing Erin! This brings so much joy to my heart. And such an important story and lessons as I mentally prepare and approach for my first labor. So much love your way!

  6. Rebecca says:

    Such a beautifully written story, and I love that song!
    I delivered my twins through a scheduled c-section because they were both breech and there simply was no room in my uterus to try to turn them at 38 weeks! I had a couple of weeks to accept this fate and let go of whatever hopes had remained for a natural delivery. But, like you, I had never been particularly wedded to a specific delivery plan. After a long, high-tech road to conception, I simply wanted two healthy babies to arrive safely – whatever that meant.
    Surgery was indeed intense and scary. Oh, but that flood of relief, joy, amazement, wonder, fear, and pride when each baby was tugged out – it is truly unforgettable.
    May you continue to heal, and enjoy precious moments with your girl.

  7. It’s been 17 yrs since my last baby but this brought tears to my eyes, thank you for sharing the miracle of heaven coming to earth, it’s truly amazing. (And your peaches and cream has the same birth date as me and my first born which makes the story even sweeter for some strange reason.) Nothing but big beautiful love to you three.

  8. Susanne says:

    What a wonderful story. I must admit when I first read about your due day, I thought, hey she might same birthday as I.. selfish, and since we don’t know each other, not of importance.. but anyway, I love how you’ve written this lovely text about the arrival of your daughter. You must be in a very happy place. And then, bam 💥 she got into the outer world on November 27.just like me some years ago😉. Makes me happier for whatever reason. I am no mother, so I can’t share anything like that with you, but I wanted to congratulate you this way anyway. I follow your work from afar and you inspire me. Happy landings🎶🌺👏🏽

  9. Jan Mostrom says:

    As always I am honored to read your story and tear up as I walked with you retelling it. I have two beautiful girls and was honored to be in the operating room when one of our foster daughters was born by c section. Thank you for being an encourager of so many, me especially. You are a beautiful woman and Kwynn is blessed to have parents who love her so. Keep writing and sharing and encouraging us out here and thanks. Even though we’ve never met you are in my heart and I love you!

  10. Kimberley says:

    My husband and I welcomed a son 8 weeks ago. We did not know what we were having. After a VERY long (38 hour) labour, our baby was born. And the thing I remember the most was when, after they placed my baby on my stomach, my husband leaned in and whispered, “It’s a boy.”

  11. Stacey says:

    CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, ERIN!

    It’s BIG LOVE! I really enjoyed hearing your journey bringing your beautiful daughter into the world. I was hooked, as it engendered every memory of my experience in those last days before my angel arrived.

    16 years later, I remember every second of my only child’s birth like it was moments ago! Childbirth plans can go awry, and often do, however they get here is magical. I know this after trying to start a family at 30, and not giving birth until I was 44 – 14 years later!

    I couldn’t believe I had this beautiful baby. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her, and when she was sleeping, I could watch her eyelashes grow, lol!

    “The Nearness of You,” by Norah Jones, was my labor/birth song. I am overcome with emotion to this day when I hear it.

    Savor every blessed moment, and don’t be surprised when it’s 3pm and you still haven’t managed to brush your teeth!

    Sending much health and happiness ~

  12. Emily K says:

    Oh Yes the birth story! Thank you for sharing yours with us. I love birth stories. I think what’s so beautiful about them is that they are so personal and amazing to each of us. I just appreciate how much with both of my babies it was one of the most present times of my life. Like you said the pain kind of keeps you in the moment. I just went with the flow with both and made the choices based off of the moment. They were the realest and most profound moments of my life. I think we all romanticize so much of our lives that by contrast it’s just such a pure and raw time that it will always leave such a powerful imprint on our hearts and souls.

  13. Pam says:

    I remember almost every detail of my sweet babies arrival!! I too had very little attachment to the way in which they (twins) came into the world… just wanted healthy babies and momma. The first 6 months were an absolute blur… and some days are certainly harder than others but motherhood has transformed me into a rockstar of a human being.

  14. Linda A. says:

    Giving birth is the most miraculous thing in the world. At 60 years old, I am STILL utterly awed by the process of creating a perfect tiny human being. My not-so-tiny baby boy took his sweet time coming out. So long, in fact, my epidural wore off. Ouch! Once he started descending out of the birth canal, I heard the doctor yell, “She’s tearing!”, then they knocked me out for the delivery. I was very sad about that, but I understood why they did it. When I finally woke up (full of stitches–ugh), I instantly panicked and screamed, “Where’s my baby!” They brought him to me and I couldn’t believe what a “bruiser” he was at 9 lbs, 2 oz. My ever-so-patient husband endured 21 hours of labor with me at the hospital before my son was born. The best part was that he was born on Father’s Day! They wrapped him in a Happy Father’s Day baby blanket (which we still have). He just turned 39 on June 17th, which was also Father’s Day this year. I still remember it like it was yesterday.

    God Bless you, your husband and your beautiful baby girl!!

  15. Natalie Gelman says:

    Erin! You continue to inspire me. Love reading your story and how you guys made your choice. Thank you for sharing this! <3

  16. Zain says:

    I realized on the day my daughter was born, almost 30 now, that there is no deeper love than for a mother and her newborn. Its visceral, intense and absolutely core. The look on her father’s face was angelic. I felt in the power of my female essence and she has grown into the most incredible, kind and compassionate woman. Thanks for the lovely story of Kwynn’s birth. Enjoy the adventure of being a mother. Welcome to the sisterhood.

  17. Mindy says:

    Thank you for sharing your birth story. I have had the honor of giving birth four times. Each birth was unique just as each child is unique. One tradition we have is on their birthday, I tell each child the story of their birth. This means a lot to all of us.

  18. Corissa A Seraydarian says:

    Thank you for sharing Erin. Birthing Stories are the best and I enjoyed yours so much. Kwynn is one lucky lady and so are you! Blessings and love to your family!

  19. Therese T. says:

    Much love, Erin. I had my first babe in 2012 and my second in 2018, about five months after you had Kwynn. Both at home. The waiting game was the hardest for my second, but for my first, the aftermath was the hardest: not knowing how to operate as new parents, having postpartum and antepartum anxiety and depression. I am grateful and glad you have shred your journey, so it can lead to more openness to other women to feel and share their journeys. We are all in this together.

  20. Olivia says:

    Hi Erin,
    Thanks for sharing with such beautiful honesty your birth story, it never leaves you😵 I ve 3 little beauties, my 1st is now 11, I planned a calming home birth but he had other plans. Pre eclampsia hit me at 40weeks just in time for a new maternity hospital opening so I was moved from old hospital to new one, not good for high blood pressure. I was induced so my labor hit fast but the poor midwife brought me to the hospital basement not the labour ward! Eventually got to labour ward + Zach was born 1st of April, no kidding! After a miscarriage I had my daughter next, very hard pregnancy as she was completely wrapped in the cord for all pregnancy (shes a dancer+gymnast!) Had 30% more amniotic fluid so admitted to hospital + labour started straight away at 37weeks, all drama so emergency c section but surgeon broke her collar bone pulling her out. Breastfeeding was so hard for us both until she healed. Another miscarriage then my Angel Caden came along but at 25weeks😵😵 he bleed into his lungs at 2 days, nearly died, at 7 days his bowel burst so we had option of taking him off life support + letting him die in our arms or leaving on life support + holding him, we went with option 2. It gave him boast to keep going so I stared death down + kept willing him to live. Miraculously he survived, moved 3hrs via ambulance to another hospital had 3 operations + is an amazing little perfect 6yr old now. Sorry for long message but children challenge us mums to bring out our best bits! Live + breath your gorgeous daughter as they grow up fast. I love your work and will join your sweat it week. Much love from Ireland xx

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