CeCe's Birth Story | a story of miraculous faith
I realize that birth stories are kind of weird.
Like… “Hey! Here is the story about how my baby was pushed out of my body and into the real world! I know you weren’t there and you didn’t ask to hear about it, but I’m going to tell you all the graphic details anyway because I’m so proud of what my body did!”
That last part is important – being so proud of what our bodies do. Birth is incredible. And scary and painful and different for everyone.
I think that’s what makes birth stories so addicting for me. I love them, and each time I read one, I’m in tears. No matter how or when or what or who, birth stories are magical in every way.
Cece’s birth did not go according to plan. At all. But to be completely honest, we didn’t really have a plan. When the nurse asked us when we arrived what our birth plan was, I literally said “Have a healthy baby.”
I want you to know that this is ok. That it’s ok to not have a plan, and to listen to your body in the moment. To go with the flow, and take each contraction as it comes. Make decisions as you go, with the support of your partner and your team of doctors and nurses. To place the trust in God, and your body, and your baby, to know what to do.
It’s empowering, actually. To go into labor knowing you can make decisions clearly because you intend to do so. There is no pre-emptive strikes against you, no path you have to follow.
I loved thinking to myself during labor, “He has gone before me.” God already knows the plan. And it is unnecessary for me to try to anticipate or alter it. He has already gone before me, He knows. I trust that.
Let me tell you, I’m so glad that this was my outlook going in. Because had I tried any other way, our story would have turned out much different, and putting that faith in the unknown was probably the best decision I made.
If you’ve read, or know anything about Joey’s birth story, you know that it was fast as heck. I was 39 weeks and he came with wild abandon and waited for no one. Though, nothing is different now. Should have known.
Because of this, everyone told us that Cece would come fast as well, and to not wait to head to the hospital when contractions began or my water broke. Well, needless to say, she came quickly. But not in the traditional sense.
We woke up normally, and while visiting the restroom, I couldn’t seem to get myself to stop peeing. I looked at Adam, puzzled, and he asked if that was pee or did my water break?
I honestly didn’t know, and put a pad on, and continued to walk around and drink my coffee and get Joey dressed. Of course, it was my water breaking, and soon after Adam left to take Joey to daycare, it really broke, and all over my kitchen floor.
I was 35 weeks and 3 days, and though we had had two preterm labor boughts already, I wasn’t totally ready to have a baby 5 weeks early. But here we go.
Adam came back and we loaded up and headed towards the hospital. I was not having contractions, and had enough time to do my makeup and eat some breakfast and get dressed. I put on one of Joey’s pullups in my undies and put a towel down on Adam’s front seat and away we went – laughing mostly out of nervousness all the way there.
I knew that baby needed to come within 24 hours of my water breaking to avoid infection. And that at 35 weeks, they wouldn’t take any measures to keep her incubating any longer since she was not considered late preterm. So, baby was coming today. July 25th. Within one week of Joey’s birthday, and over a month early.
Upon arrival to the hospital, we of course stopped in the lobby to visit an array of people we knew, explaining yet again why we were headed up to labor and delivery too early for actual labor and delivery, but that today was different.
After basic triage, which was incredibly less stressful and traumatic this go-round, we were transferred to a birthing room and I met Angie, our amazing nurse, who basically never left my side. Cece was the only baby born that day at Enloe, so we had the attention of all the staff, which was frankly, awesome.
Angie and a team of “preterm baby” nurses started to give us the intense and very long run down of what happens when a preterm baby is born. We walked through the steps for the first few minutes post-birth, and all of the “what ifs” and “we may have to’s”. Overwhelming doesn’t even begin to describe it.
I am so thankful that I was not in active labor during this time. I was able to ask questions, be lucid and coherent, and really understand each detail about what was about to happen. Having a baby this early isn’t a small feat, and these doctors and nurses had their things together and were ultra prepared. And because we had the time, Adam and I got prepared in a hurry, too, thanks to them.
We learned all about how they will oxygenate her when she’s born, where she will be taken and why. We were walked through the NICU, met the NICU nurses, and even got to see where she would be if we needed to go there. We learned about what little accomplishments she needed to do within the first few seconds, minutes, hours and days – body temperature, blood sugar, oxygen levels, heart rate, Jaundice, breastfeeding, and finally, the dreaded carseat test.
Once this was all wrapped up, we started to actually talk about labor. Which at this point, had only kind of started. I was having very mild contractions every few minutes, but nothing debilitating. We decided that we wanted to be somewhat aggressive to get labor going, rather than wait all day and all night for it to kick in naturally, if at all. After my doctor came to see me around lunch time, he agreed and then promptly left for his family vacation.
Funny story about Dr. Unterseher: He told me with Joey that I was definitely another week away when he saw me for the last time. Joey was born the next day. This time, he saw me and told me I had at least enough time for him to go on his family vacation and he’d see me in 10 days. Three days later… here we are. He laughed when I mentioned this to him, and said “Third time’s a charm” and I laughed back. Not the time, doc. Not the time.
We encouraged him to leave for his vacation, since the doctor on call was a favorite of the nurses’, and we really believe it’s important for him to spend this time with his family. Who are we to keep him from his most beloved?
Immediately after he left, I was checked and then started on Pitocin.
While we waited for the contractions to begin, Angie and Adam and I chatted about a family who had two of their four babies on a toilet. The mother, begging to use the toilet to go to number 2, had pushed out two babies on said toilet. Angie, after this experience, never lets a mother use the bathroom while in labor without checking her dilation first. And if she is more than 6 cm, she doesn’t let her go. So when I said I needed to go, I knew Angie was going to be super cautious.
She cautiously let me go, and as soon as I did, active labor began. So fast in fact, that I couldn’t even get up off the toilet to get back to bed. Adam and Angie basically carried me back, and I never actually laid down again.
I was 6 cm when Angie checked me before the bathroom, and Cece was born 35 minutes later.
I breathed through about 10 transitional contractions as Angie monitored baby’s heartbeat, and suddenly needed to push. I asked for pain meds, and was denied. Angie assured me that it was almost over – Cece was coming right now.
The room FLOODED with people. Angie and another nurse, the midwife, the doctor, the nurses assistant, the pediatric team, the NICU team, and the baby nurses. Cece was going to have a team of her own, and I had a team of my own.
This is when it gets blurry.
As I sat there, I said out loud, “I feel like I’m not in control. I can’t feel my body right. I’m not ok.” The mass of them kept telling me I was in fact ok, but I swear, I didn’t feel ok. I was scared. I was never scared with Joey. I was terrified. Crying, screaming, frantic. Looking for Adam’s hand, and stuck in this position of sitting up with my legs crossed in front of me.
All of the sudden, I was forced back. Hands pulled my shoulders down, and other hands pulled my legs up and I was instructed to lay down. They had lost baby’s heartbeat, and she needed to come out RIGHT NOW.
I pushed once, and felt her transition. I pushed again and the relief came.
Through tears, I prayed hard for a cry from her.
And after what seemed like eternity, she squealed.
She was placed on my chest, and Adam’s hands followed mine to her little body, and she cried while laying there with me, needing no assistance by any of the massive team of nurses there for her.
After her cord was cut, she was taken over to the monitors to check her vitals and all the things. Adam went with her, and she was promptly brought back over and put back on my chest with the pediatrician smiling over us. “She’s perfect.”
Cece needed no intervention. Which in itself was a miracle.
A few minutes later, as the doctor was delivering my placenta, I mentioned that we had planned to keep my placenta and encapsulate it.
A few minutes went by, and someone around the table examining my placenta blurted out “miracle baby.” Adam’s and my eyes looked her direction, and Angie walked over to us and said, “You have a miracle baby.”
She explained to us that Cece’s umbilical cord was not surrounding the blood vessels that were entering the placenta, leaving them exposed. They had ruptured upon delivery, but not before. This is called Velamentous Cord Insertion, and if those blood vessels rupture before delivery, baby does not survive.
Most cases of Velamentous Cord Insertion end in miscarriage or stillbriths, and if it is detected, baby is delivered via C-Section as soon as baby is viable. Approximately 35 weeks. Rarely, as in never, is natural, vaginal delivery done with this condition – due to the fact that the trauma and pressure on baby, placenta and uterus causes extreme risk of rupturing.
But Cece came naturally, and though the vessels did rupture, she was already here, breathing on her own.
He had gone before me. He had gone before her. God knew. He knew.
And we bawled. And held her tighter, and stared at her perfect little body in awe of His creation and ability to perform miracles.
Needless to say, I did not get to keep my placenta. It was taken for analysis, I assume since there are VERY FEW cases of successful deliveries with this condition.
I hope that whatever they analyze and conclude results in someone else’s happy story, too.
Cece thrived after delivery. Immediately began nursing, kept her blood sugar nice and high, and never had any Jaundice. She was kept an extra day in the hospital, but not in the NICU, simply because she failed her first carseat test (they have to sit in the carseat for 90 minutes and not decrease oxygen levels). Granted, she was only 24 hours old, so I’m not surprised. She passed with flying colors the next day.
Cece was born 5 weeks early, weighed exactly 5 pounds, 18 inches long, on July 25, 2019 at 5:53 pm.
If you are out there in search of a miracle, a place to call Home, or arms to run into, I’m here to tell you that they exist. That plans and anticipations and ideas are obsolete because our mighty God has already gone before us. His mercies and miracles are real, and He is the only place we can really call Home, and His arms are waiting, wide open, for us to run into.
I imagine Cece knew this, too. And that she was so excited to experience Him that she just couldn’t wait one second longer. And thank God she didn’t.