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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