Thursday, February 18, 2016

Olivia Cate's Birth Story

My sweet and feisty Olivia Cate will be two next Thursday and I thought that after two whole years, it’s high time that I sit down and write her birth story.  Fortunately I made notes just after her birth, because I’m sure a lot of the little details would have slipped my mind if I hadn’t.

I left off from her pregnancy story by saying that we had scheduled a c-section for her delivery on February 25, 2014.

Jacob had spent the night with my parents the night before because Brian and I had to arrive at the hospital at 6 AM.  We drove to the hospital in the dark – it was quick and easy because there aren’t many people on the road before 6 AM on a random Tuesday, or any day of the week for that matter.

When we arrived, we checked in and they asked us to sit in the waiting room until the nurse came to get us.  The waiting room was completely empty, so Brian and I sat down and hung out, just the two of us.  I remember thinking how weird it was that we were just sitting around all calm and relaxed as if we weren’t about to have a baby.   

We barely waited five minutes in the waiting room before they called us back.  We went to a small prep room where I changed into my hospital gown (it was pink!), went to the bathroom, and then they started my IV.  My veins are always pesky little buggers and they tend to roll, so several of them busted before they finally got one in that stayed.  I’m pretty much used to that happening, but it still stinks having an arm full of bruises when you leave the hospital.    

Once the IV was in, they gave me a tiny shot glass of fluid that neutralizes stomach acid.  I’m assuming that they do this for all c-sections, but who knows.  It was sour and gross, but fortunately there wasn’t much to it and it went right down. 

My c-section was scheduled to be the first one of the day, beginning between 7 and 7:30 AM, but just when it was almost time for me to go back, my midwife came in to tell me that there was an emergency with another patient and that they were heading back right then to perform an emergency c-section for her.

And so the waiting game began…

Until that point I had been calm and cool as a cucumber because everything was progressing properly and there were plenty of things that needed to be done that kept me busy to pass the time.  Well, I suddenly found myself with approximately an hour and a half of spare time to fill, but I was already hooked up to an IV, so there wasn’t much that I could do.  Naturally, my mind started to wander and I started getting a bit anxious. 

I managed to keep my nerves in check and Brian and I chatted to pass the time.  My mom and dad arrived with Jacob and they brought him in to see me, so that helped, but when they found out that it was going to be a while, they left to take him to Dunkin Donuts so he wouldn’t get bored in the waiting room.  I gave him his last squeeze as an only child, and he practically skipped outta there… he loves donuts!

Around 9-ish or so, my midwife finally came back in and let me know that we were on!  Showtime!

They wheeled me down the hall in my hospital bed into the brightest, most sterile, FREEEEZING-EST room I’ve ever seen, and they told me that Brian wouldn’t be allowed in the room until I was prepped and ready to go.  Oh jeez. 

The next few minutes were a bit of a blur… I had to sit on the side of the bed and hunch over so they could do the spinal, and then they laid me down on a board and shimmied me off and onto the OR table.  If you’ve never been transported from table to table like that, then you have no idea what a weird situation that is!  I was complete dead weight and it felt like they were going to drop me straight on the floor.  But of course they didn’t.

Once the meds started working their magic, I started shaking uncontrollably – practically convulsing – which I was told is common, so they put a warm blanket over me.  That helped settle me down, but then I had several strong waves of nausea, which made me feel terrible.  The doctors assured me that it was all totally normal, and that it was just my body reacting to the medicine. 

My entire right side numbed up right away like it was supposed to, but my left side was incredibly stubborn.  The doctor and my midwife poked all up and down my right leg and torso and I didn’t feel a thing, but when they started poking my left leg and torso I could feel every little bit of it.  They waited a few minutes and started poking again, but I could still feel everything.  My midwife and doctor gave each other the side eye and I immediately started to worry.  They stayed calm, announced that we would all just wait a few minutes for the left side to catch up, and they started chatting casually while they waited.  After about two minutes, the doctor took the forceps and pinched my leg (not hard to cause pain) while they were still talking to see if I would notice. 

I did. 

And I told him, “I can feel you pinching me right now.” 

He looked flabbergasted. 

Finally finally a few minutes later, my entire left side numbed up, they let Brian in the room, and we were ready to go!  And believe me, they poked and pinched the stew out of my entire lower body to make sure that I was 100% numb.  I was so thankful that the spinal had worked because I did not want to be put to sleep to give birth to my daughter. 

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had a c-section, or what you’ve ever heard about them if you haven’t had one, but jeez, what people had told me could not be further from the truth.  I know plenty of people who have had c-sections and all of them told me that you don’t really feel that much… you know, maybe just a little bit of tugging here and there and that’s about it. 


I’m here to tell you, that is not remotely what it was like for me.  The cutting open wasn’t bad at all – I only felt a bit of pressure during that part, but when they pulled Olivia out – I was in complete and utter shock.  It literally felt like they were pulling all of my insides out.  I felt like I had demons coming out of me or something.  It totally freaked me out and a couple of times I thought I was going to faint.  I can remember people (nurses?  Brian?) asking me if I was OK, but they sounded far away.  I remember groaning and tensing up and praying for it to be over.  I’m sure it didn’t take that long for them to pull her out, but it felt like an eternity. 

I hate to be melodramatic and I hate to scare anyone who may have to do this in the future, but it was the weirdest, most unpleasant (to say the least) sensation I’ve ever experienced in my life.  However, even though it was so traumatic at the time, I recovered almost immediately emotionally, and I would do it all over again if I had to.

Once all 8 lbs. 4 oz. and 21.5 inches of Olivia was out (at 9:33 AM to be exact), Brian cut the umbilical cord and then they took her to the other side of the OR to make sure that she was healthy and perfect.  I could hear her loud cries and I immediately forgot about all of the craziness that I had just been through.  All I wanted in that moment was to see my precious baby.

Brian and one of the nurses carried her over to me as the doctor and midwife continued stitching, and they held her to my face so I could see her.  I cried tears of joy.  It was one of the very best moments of my entire life.  

After they were done stitching, I was wheeled into a recovery room where they placed Olivia in my arms for the first time.  I immediately nursed her and she took to it right away.  She nursed for about 45 minutes while I marveled at her tiny hands and her button nose and the smattering of wispy dark brown hair that formed a tiny little mohawk on the top of her precious little head.  It was love at first sight and I felt an immediate connection with her.  Like I had known her my entire life. 

When she was done nursing, they gave her a bath next to a little tub of water beside my bed, and then they wheeled us into our room.  I wasn’t quite ready to share her yet, but everyone had been waiting longer than expected due to the emergency c-section that had gone before me, so we told the nurses to send them in.

My parents brought Jacob in, along with my two brothers, my sister-in-law, one of my uncles, my grandmother, and Brian’s parents.  I was ecstatic to introduce our sweet Olivia to everyone, and everyone’s faces reflected the same love that I was experiencing.

Brian carried Jacob over to meet Olivia first, and he peeked at her while she laid in her bed.  My dad picked her up first, to hold her up for Jacob to see, and then Brian helped Jacob hold her.  In that moment I thought that my heart was going to burst.  

After the introductions were over, we let Jacob open his gift from Olivia – a Mater pillow (from the movie Cars), and then Jacob wanted to give Olivia her gift that he had picked out for her just a few short weeks before - a stuffed pink sheep. 


It was a joyful day!  Once it was over I felt amazing – alert, not much pain, and not at all exhausted like I was after 18 hours of labor with Jacob.  The spinal started wearing off shortly after we got to our room, and I was incredibly relieved to feel my toes and legs again.

Later that evening I started to get a headache, which turned out to be a spinal headache… if you haven’t ever had one of those, consider yourself lucky.  It was hands down the worst pain I’ve ever had in my life.  They made me chug a Coke for the caffeine, they put me on some major painkillers that made me sleep really hard, and they made me lay flat on my back.  Lying flat on your back is the only way to fix a spinal headache (aside from doing a blood patch, which we wanted to avoid at all costs) because it helps the spinal fluid spread out evenly over your spinal cord which helps to patch the hole. 

I was told that spinal headaches only happen in 1% of c-sections, so as with my first birth with Jacob when I had my nerve damage, I was the freak-of-nature who fell in the 1% again.  Jeez. 

The spinal headache lasted for seven days, but it felt fine as long as I was lying flat on my back, so I spent most of the first seven days of Olivia’s life lying flat like a baby… just like her!  Haha. 

Once the headache was gone, the recovery from my c-section was easy peasy.  The pain of the headache was worse than the pain in my abdomen for the first seven days, and then after that first week, the pain in my abdomen wasn’t even that bad anymore.  I healed very quickly, and within about two weeks I was walking around comfortably and even wanting to start doing some light work outs (which I was obviously forbidden).  

Even though I experienced all of those crazy feelings during the c-section and then experienced the spinal headache, I still consider the overall experience to have been quite easy.  And I got a gorgeous new baby girl out of it, so you don’t even need to bother to ask me if it was all worth it.  It was all worth it a million times over!

Olivia Cate, you have completed our little family and made us whole.  We will be forever grateful for every second we have with you.

*Linking up with Home of Malones for Thoughts for Thursday.


  1. Awww this has me in tears! The birth of a child is so amazing no matter how it happens! She is the cutest little baby ever!! And I know what you mean about feeling lots during the c-section! With 2 of mine I always felt them pulling the baby out and you're right, it was like my body was possessed! I always was so freaked while laying on the operating table, it was always mind over matter going through my head!

    1. Tell me about it! It was definitely the weirdest sensation that I've ever had in my entire life! I can't imagine going through it again, but I sure would if we ever decided that we wanted one more. Spoiler alert - not going to happen. Haha.

  2. That picture of Jacob holding Olivia brought tears to my eyes. So very sweet. I did feel tugging when they pulled the girls out of me. Olivia is beautiful (now and when she was born). Thanks for sharing her story.

  3. Replies
    1. Oh girl, you have no idea!! I want one soooo bad after looking through these old pictures!

  4. Such special, special memories. All of these pictures are just priceless.

  5. So adorable!! I love stories of the other sibling meeting their new brother or sister. The gifts were a great idea!

  6. I love birth stories, and your story was beautiful!

    1. Thank you so much, Debbie! And thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm heading over to check yours out now!

  7. Thank goodness your spinal finally worked and you didn't need to be put under. I didn't have a c-section, but being put under for one was my worst fear. I didn't want to miss the birth of my daughter. So glad you didn't have to either! What a wonderful story and beautiful photos!

  8. I love birth stories! Your little girl is SO adorable. I can't believe you remembered so much after 2 years! You must take very good notes!!

    1. Thank you so much! And yes, I did take good notes... plus when I started typing the story it all started coming back to me like I was reliving it, anyway! I did have to ask my hubs a couple of questions to make sure that I was remembering correctly, though.


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