Monday, May 5, 2014

Welcoming Collins, A Birth Story.

Monday, April 21st, 2014

There is something to be said for "scheduled birthdays." For one, the guesswork is all but obsolete, perfect for a Type-A planner like myself. Second, you get to do silly things prior to having your baby like get a matching manicure and pedicure and don perfect makeup and hair, if that's your kind of thing. 

Much like his brothers' births which you can read about here and here, we knew what we were getting into. We had time to prepare our home and our hearts for the much anticipated arrival of the newest M brother. That being said, my third (and final) c-section went nothing like the others. The weirdest part of it all? I had a feeling this one would be different.

Unlike my other sections which were scheduled for the morning hours, this time we weren't scheduled for surgery until 2pm on that Monday. Everyone seemed to be concerned with how I would handle not eating since midnight beforehand but that was the furthest thought from my mind. I was actually looking forward to a slow, leisurely morning spent packing last minute things in our go-bag and sneaking in a few extra hugs and kisses from the Big Brothers before I would be leaving them for a short hospital "stay-cation." 

At 10:30am, my husband and I kissed the boys goodbye and piled into the car and drove off, for the third time in four years, to the hospital. The same hospital that our other two boys were born at. We listened to the radio, held hands the entire way there and talked about how we couldn't believe we were doing this for a third time. 

It was surreal for sure. The weather was beautiful. The sun was out and all I could think about was how it was the perfect day to have a baby.

We checked into the hospital as directed and we didn't waste a minute being taken back to the pre-op room where the ball to Collins' birth quickly started rolling. My nurses were wonderful. We laughed as my IV was placed, fluids and antibiotics hung and we shared stories about our kids. I met the surgeon who would be performing the surgery and immediately I fell in love with her. She was loud, had an epic sense of humor and Strawberry Margarita was on her nails. 

I wasn't the least bit nervous but I knew the nerves wouldn't set in until I walked back to the OR. 

Before I knew it, it was time to do just that. As the doors opened to OR 1, the same OR where the boys were both born, I felt the familiar rush of cold air as the nurse reminded me not to touch anything on a blue drape. I laughed nervously. Everyone in the OR knew I was a nurse and so we joked a little bit more about that and I could tell the surgical nurse could sense my mounting anxiety as she tried to change the subject nearly fifteen times. I can't remember a single thing we talked about in the OR but I can remember that Michael Jackson was playing in the background. 

So, how did I know this section was going to be different? I don't. I just knew. I had this feeling for weeks that something would be different. That it would all start with the epidural and boy, was I right. 

As the anesthesiologist pressed up and down my spine searching for the perfect spot, I swear I could feel that she was placing the needle higher up along my spine than my previous sections. Whether or not this was the truth, it certainly explains what happened soon after. 

As I laid back on the table, I waited for the warm and fuzzies to kick in. The warm feeling that denotes numbness as it creeps its way up my body. First my legs. Then my belly. Finally to that point just below my sternum. 

But it didn't stop there this time. It kept creeping. It crept past my sternum and into my chest. It felt like I couldn't breathe there was so much pressure on my chest. I knew I could breathe but try reassuring yourself that when it feels like the weight of the world is literally on top of your lungs. 

Then my fingers started going numb. Crap, I thought to myself. This isn't cool and why does it feel like an eternity before they let my husband into the OR to sit with me? (Perhaps because he was busy taking selfies. Side note: Paging Doctor McHotty. Yum.)

Finally, he was at my side and he could tell I wasn't feeling so hot. I had my closed tight and kept reminding myself to breathe. Deep breaths in and out. In and out. And for the love of God why is that damn drape so close to my face? Every time it skirted against my nose I swear I felt like I was going to lose my mind. 

As the surgeons began their first incision I battled nerves, nausea, dizziness and yes, that annoying feeling like I couldn't breathe. I felt this way for much of the surgery but through it all kept reminding myself that it would soon be worth every anxiety-ridden, breathless moment. 

We placed bets on how much we thought the baby would weigh. I guessed 9lbs. 2oz. and the doctors laughed. They didn't think he would be that big and they estimated his weight to be between 8 and 8.5lbs. I laughed. 

What do they know, right? 

And then that minute came. Before he was even pulled from my belly, I heard him. That precious, life-affirming, gurgling cry. I started sobbing uncontrollably. Everyone was yelling congratulations and that he was a "big one!" but all I could hear were his cries. His sweet, beautiful cries.  

As I opened my eyes and looked up to the ceiling I saw him. He was perfect. He was whisked away for vitals scoring a perfect 9/9 on the Apgar scale. He was having a bit of difficulty clearing the fluid in his lungs so he was put on forced oxygen or CPAP for a few minutes, something that often happens with C-section babies. He weighed 9lbs. even. 

The surgeon joked about holding my ovary in her hands as she gave me the run through of each of my organs before she "closed up." I gagged a little at the thought of my ovary in the palm of her hand. Everything looked great, she said.

Later when she would come to visit me in recovery I would find out that the bottom third of my uterus was stretched so thin that she could have easily torn it open with her hands. Because of the way my babies laid themselves in there, because of how big they've been, they've stretched my uterus to the point where it is no longer safe for me to carry a baby to full term, the biggest risk being uterine rupture. 

We knew we were done having babies after Collins but to be told that we were done was unsettling for the moment. I'm just so grateful for a surgeon who took the time to notice that sort of thing and furthermore, sit down and explain it to me. Her exact words were, "I can't recommend that you have any more babies. It's just not a good idea." 

I watched the nurses hand our brand new son over to my husband. To see his eyes light up. To see him settle that tiny baby into his big, strong arms. It bought tears to my eyes all over again. It is a moment that I will forever remember with each of our babies. 

As my husband took his seat by my side, he placed Collins next to my head. I kissed his face from forehead to chin, lingering on his tiny button nose. He was perfect. I silently prayed to God, thanking him for this blessing. For blessing us not once, not twice, but three times. I kissed my husband and he said, "we did it again. You did it. Great job, Mama." 

The following hours were a blur. The nursery nurses came to my bedside in recovery to do his newborn assessment. There wasn't a moment that he wasn't by my side. We nursed, we snuggled. I inhaled every inch of him. We started sending The Text Message to our friends and family, notifying them of his arrival. We took pictures, we soaked in every inch of him. 

As we settled into our new room on the Mother/Baby unit, I was overwhelmed once again. I couldn't believe he was here. As I glanced over to him, sleeping snugly in his bassinet, I couldn't believe that just two hours he was tucked so safely in my belly.
What a miracle, our Collins Mason. 

The following days in the hospital were some of the best and sweetest days I could have asked for. As I recovered, I spent quiet, quality time with my newest son. I memorized every inch of him. Every rise and fall of his chest as he slept on mine. I knew the minute we went home it wouldn't ever be this quiet. This uninterrupted. This was our special time together. So special, in fact, that I even opted for the "Bonus Day" and stayed an extra day before heading home, something I will write about another day. 

But that's it. The story of the birth of the third M Brother. He is here and I can say with absolute faith and certainty that our family is complete. He was always the missing piece and it feels so good that he's here. We feel whole. It's really incredible, to think about it. This complete-ness.  

Happy Birthday Collins Mason. We love you more than carrots.    
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  1. So interesting that even your third scheduled c has a story. Being told you are done had to be tough. That is very nice she paid attention to that. The part that made me giggle was "tiny baby" he was 9lbs! Did he fit in newborn at all?! Congratulations!! He's perfect!

  2. Aww, you did great! He's adorable - congratulations to you and your beautiful family!!

  3. Beautiful! Congratulations again!

  4. So, so beautiful. God, I love birth stories and this one (of course) made me cry. What a miracle to bring a new life into this world. Congrats again, mama.

  5. He's perfect! I always cry and have coherent thoughts when I read about births. But I still wanted to remark on his perfection.

  6. That's crazy that you uterus has been stretched to that point, but what a relief that Collins got here safely! Congrats, again, momma!

  7. I can't read through this without tears in my eyes. I am so happy for you and your family! As I read your birth story for your precious little man, I remember each of my boys' birth days, and even though they were different from yours, I am reminded of the miracle that happened and how wonderful it is. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I love all of the pictures and the glimpse you shared into such a special time for your family.

  8. Love this, AP. Such a sweet birth story. Welcome, sweet Collins (though I know he's been around for a couple of weeks now). I know not everyone would say this, but I am: WHAT a blessing!!! 3 boys! You are so lucky. Your house will never be quiet; it will always be bursting with love. Amazing! Glad that he arrived safely, and that you pulled through ok too:)

  9. Such a great story and beautiful pictures. Congrats again!

  10. Love this so much. So beautiful.

  11. What a beautiful birth story and perfect family of five! I just had a c-section with my twins (my first birth) and I vaguely remember saying over and over "Am I ok? Am I breathing?!" It is the weirdest, most unsettling feeling in the world to not be able to feel yourself breathe!

  12. So amazing AP! Congrats to you and your family.

  13. So incredible, scary that you felt like you couldn't breathe, but what a beautiful story of Collins entry to this world. Your family is incredibly blessed! I love all the photos and how beautifully you share the story of his birth, and the emotions. Thank you for sharing, this mothers day is going to be a very special one for you!!

  14. This is precious! I cried. Your family is so cute!!! Congrats again Mama!!!

  15. I'm so glad everything turned out just fine with you and Collins after such a stressful C section! I had the exact same thing happen with Jax, but unfortunately, I couldn't breathe at all and they had to put me under, which then stopped Jax's heart. It was incredibly dramatic and scary but I'm so grateful for a healthy boy 5 years later. And I'm so happy for you and your family and that sweet little brother. Can't wait to watch him grow :) XOXO

  16. So, so, so glad that Collins' birth was a healthy one. And thank GOD for your surgeon's recommendation. So glad you're OK! Congratulations again - so happy for you!

  17. Such a sweet birth story! Congratulations!

  18. Absolutely beautiful story! Congrats once again, and usually I keep my thoughts to myself on the subject matter, but as a former OR nurse and just being a woman---lookin' good Mr. M, lookin' good! :)

  19. absolutely beautiful.
    i am so happy for your family and the life you've created!
    congrats mama. you did it!

  20. What a beautiful experience! I just had my first baby 7 months ago and I can't imagine the joy of getting to do it again and again. Hope you are enjoying this time with your little loves!

  21. congrats! He's perfect!

    I had a similar experience with my epidural (I have vaginal deliveries, so IDK if it's supposed to be different or not) with Tyler... except my numbness didn't stop at my sternum, and I started slurring my words. Fun times. This was after the 3rd epidural (the first two didn't take on one side).

  22. What a beautiful story... Thank you for sharing...Reminded me of how exciting the whole experience is... We are having #3 in Sept via repeat c-section and so I am excited for #3's arrival and the whole experience once again. I find myself repeating my past birth experiences over and over in my head from time to time because it brings tears of joy to my eyes! Funny how I feel the same way about the "stay-cation" and the "bonus day"! LOL Hope you are enjoying every minute of being a mom of 3! Best of luck to you!

  23. excuse me while I wash the mascara dripping down my face. congratulations again AP...beautiful story and family!

  24. Such a sweet birth story! Reading it makes me confirm that I HAVE to do it again :)

  25. Congratulations, he is beautiful and perfect!! You are a strong lady, mama! :)

  26. Such a sweet story. Makes me want # 2

    Karen @

  27. Congratulations, beautiful mama!! So happy for y'all!

  28. Love it! Congrats AP, he is beautiful!

  29. What a beautiful birth story! So lovely how you described your first moments as a family of five. Can't wait to read more of your adventures!

  30. What a beautiful birth story! So lovely how you describe your first moments as a family of five. Look forward to reading more about your adventures with three boys!


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