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C-Section Strong Mama, I See You, You Are Badass

C sections take serious strength, strength I never knew I had, until I had to do it myself. If anyone thinks a c-section is the easy way out of birth, let me stop you right there. C-Section mamas are BADASS. Not only did you bring a whole human into the world you just had major abdominal surgery.

While I planned for an unmedicated birth, I ended up with a c-section after days of no progress labor.. Here is my story.

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Mercer’s birth story 👶🏻 📖 

“Some babies are born from below, others above, and both ways are beautiful” 

I’ve been thinking about that a lot since a certain labor nurse said it to me. 💓 

My whole pregnancy I prepped for an unmedicated, with no interventions experience. I wanted my rainbow to come into the world on his own terms.

It was something I believe women are programmed into thinking, that if they labor or birth a certain way it makes them less or more of a woman. I hope my birth story helps anyone see that every birth is meant to happen it’s own way. No two women are the same, just like no two babies are the same.

The beginning….

On Wednesday, February 24 I started feeling contractions about 1-2 / hour around noon. I cleaned the house, binged watched all of, “The Queens Gambit”, and then went to take a nap. 

Contractions continued throughout the day increasing in strength, and I started to time them in the evening until they were about 12 minutes apart, then 7 minutes, then eventually 5 minutes apart around 10 pm. 

Now living in the United States I told Mark we couldn’t go to the hospital until after midnight because insurance would count that little time before midnight as “day 1” and well no need to continue this thought if you know our corrupt health system, you know…🙃 

I told Mark it was time to go at 12:30 AM Thursday on February 25. We got to MercyOne by 1 am, had another contraction in the parking garage and elevator, and arrived in L&D triage at 1:15 am.. water broke 5 minutes later before even finishing check in. (and all over my shoes….)

We got to our room around 2 am, and I labored in the tub for a couple hours, as the contractions increased to multiple within a few minutes. I went from 1 cm dilated in triage to a 7/8 cm dilated by 4 am. Called the unmedicated quits and begged for the juice by 5 am. 

It was instant happiness within 30 minutes. I was happy, talking, and now waiting to get to a 10 dilated. I sat at a 9.5 until around noon, finally making it to a 10 by 1 pm. 

First round of pushing for two hours..

Labored with an amazing team made up of Mark, nurses, and midwives. 

I changed multiple positions, and did stretches to get Mercer down into my pelvis. 

The clock kept ticking.. I stayed at a 10.. Mercer was staying pretty high. Then the pains started to set in. The epidural was still working in areas but the back pain was unbearable. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, I just couldn’t focus on pushing. 

The day pressed on, I took a nap in active labor around 9 pm. My midwives massaged my back, and we kept trying positions.. I refused to give up. 

When vaginal was becoming less of an option ….

My surgeon arrived to my labor around 11 pm to see what she could do to help, we placed an internal monitor, we started a slow drip of Pitocin, we pushed more, I was completely numb from the waist down still on my hands + knees refusing a c section. 

1 am on Friday, February 26 came. I was in so much pain I didn’t even know what was happening. The anesthesiologist came back, gave me more medicine, they were prepping me for surgery as I cried feeling like a failure. I had Mark holding me from behind, my midwife with my hands telling me over and over again, it was time to get Mercer out and there is something preventing from vaginal delivery. 

💊From what I remember in the OR, I was placed on the table, shaking, unable to speak, paralyzed in fear. They tried epidural first, I screamed because I could feel the knife, not pressure, the knife.

💉Next the spinal.

My whole body was moving through the drugs, I could still feel, and I was so scared beyond reason. Ended up intubated and under general anesthesia while Mercer was born Barney purple and not breathing. 

Mark witnessing the whole thing in the room was redirected from me (currently being under now) to focus on Mercer who was revived very quickly and the nurse snapped some photos and ushered them out as they continued with me. 

I woke up in a different room with my amazing nurse .. who I joked with like, “Chris, did we steal these drugs?” Or kept saying, “I win” I think my high self meant by that I win because I’m alive and finally delivered my baby. 

The drugs took a bit to wear off, and I was so scared being rolled back into my room (still loopy) and never seen Mark smile so hard to have all three of us together, awake, and safe. 

Labor from noon Wednesday to birth Friday morning at 2:05 am, finally meeting my baby ~4 am, finally holding my baby ~6 am. 

Through the IV needles, spinal, epidural, fentanyl, general anesthesia, catheters, tears, hormonal shakes.. 🩺

I somehow found the strength to push through every medical fear and previous medical trauma for my baby. When they say “mothers instinct” they mean it. 

The next morning when I was coherent I was visited by my midwife + surgeon who explained why I wasn’t (and probably never will be) able to deliver a baby vaginally. 

They explained I have no reason to feel shame or guilt, and that I did not fail by having a C-Section. Then, that they’ve rarely seen a FTM try so hard from hour 1 to end game for pushing usually they give up much sooner or can’t maintain the determination. 

I have what is called CPD, something my surgeon got a good inside look at 😸 and which is hard to diagnose before labor. The shape of my pelvis is so narrow it doesn’t matter if I grew a baby that was only 5 pounds because the shape of my pelvis and length of my pubic bone will not allow passage (insert Gandalf “you shall not pass” gif here). That’s the reason Mercer stayed in the same spot at 10 cm dilated for 12 hours because he literally had no where else to go. 

It’s a rare thing, but also has me so curious about the hip pains I’ve had my whole life.. does this explain other things that are hard for me due to the shape of my pelvis? 🤷🏼‍♀️

Truly it was something we couldn’t foresee, and I’m so grateful the team we were blessed with. I’m recovering at home now, and while it’s a major shock to me, I’m so happy with Mercer in my arms. 

Major abdominal surgery is no joke, and c-section moms, holy quads, you’re all stronger than anyone realizes until they’re in that situation. 

This recovery will be slow, and take time, but Mercer is truly worth it. I love my boys 👨‍👩‍👦


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We help quirky and untraditional couples find joy and adventure on their special days by providing passionate and wild photography that captures the big moments of love… and all the little candid ones in between.


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