Elizabeth Ernest Birth Story Pt. 1

Elizabeth Ernest Birth Story Pt. 1

April 25, 2022  |  birth doula, birth story, pregnancy
Elizabeth Ernest and her new little one

My name is Elizabeth Ernest, I am a former microbiologist for a pharmaceutical company. I got married to my husband in 2011, we have three children together, and today I will share my birth stories with you.  

 

With my first pregnancy, I was very adamant about an unmedicated, natural birth. I wanted the option of laboring in water.  I thought I had a supportive provider. My husband and I had two different birth plans written up (a brief 1 page version and an in-depth 8 page version) and went to several birth classes to prepare.   

 

At the time I didn't realize how helpful it would be, but one of my birth instructors told us not only to make a birth plan for our desired birth, but to also make a birth plan for our worst-case scenario birth. 

 

To me, the absolute worst thing would be a c-section. In researching what I thought a c-section birth would look like I found out about gentle cesareans. 

 

Everything about my pregnancy was going great until I hit 41 weeks. My doctor diagnosed us with suspected macrosomia. Except that's not what she told us.  

 

She told us that our son had a life-threatening condition that required us to have an immediate c-section in the next 3 hours or he would die (an issue we would fight later on).   

 

As you can imagine, my husband and I were beyond horrified.  

 

Since I was not in labor, the hospital wasn't particularly rushed to get me into the operating room, and I was able to talk with the staff.  I didn't have a copy of any of my birth plans but asked the doctor on-call if she had ever heard of a gentle c-section and if it would be possible to do one.   

 

She wasn't familiar with the term. Soon I found my nurses and doctor huddled around my cell phone with me watching an abbreviated YouTube video about a gentle c-section in Europe, since they hadn't become common in the US.   

 

She was incredibly supportive and tried to incorporate as much of the video as she could while still following hospital rules.   

 

My arms were free and not tied down.  We made a make-shift chest binder so I could hold the baby while laying on my back in the OR and still have my hands free to aid in breastfeeding.  She lowered the drape so I could watch everything.  She also allowed a slightly delayed cord clamping.  Everyone was so supportive, and I was actually actively breastfeeding as I was being stitched-up in the OR. 

 

The recovery wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  I was diligent about taking my medicine on time and it greatly paid off.  I was told to pump immediately, especially since the nurse said that having a c-section could impact my milk production. 

 

Once at home, my husband rearranged everything so that we would stay on the first floor, since I wanted to avoid stairs. That first night I made a grave mistake in lying flat and had to roll off the bed in order to stand up.   

 

From then on, I made sure to lay elevated and have a pillow around to hold as I came to stand.  I was worried about my milk coming in with having the c-section but actually had an oversupply (which I think was due to the pumping).   

 

I did end up having postpartum anxiety, largely due to the trauma of being lied to by my provider, which caused me to clean all my floors on my hands and knees.  This tore open the surface of my incision and after being forced to rest, it healed completely and beautifully. 

 

Despite the stress and pandemonium of my first pregnancy, our baby came to us happy and healthy. In the long run, that’s the most important thing. 

 

So, the story of my first pregnancy ends. Tomorrow I will detail the events of my second pregnancy. Though less harrowing than the first, my second pregnancy had many ups and downs, hopes and disappointments, wins and losses. Click here to discover the next stage in my motherhood journey.