My first C-Section: Daniel’s Birth Story

holding Daniel the very first time.  I was so happy to finally see my baby, as it had been a few hours since the birth.  But I was in SO much pain, and my head was so fuzzy from the morphine that I was still rather out of it.  (And oh, yeah with 2/3 of my deliveries, I swelled really bad, as you can see in my face.  What’s up with that?  My blood pressure was not high–you can see it on the monitor behind me 114/68– so that’s just another one of those preggo things I don’t understand).
  Daniel’s was the only delivery that I did not sit down and write out the story afterwards.  : (  So I will have to rely on my memory.  Thankfully, Dan is only 2, so I don’t have to reach that far back.  I did write this on my old blog, 5 days after his birth:
“What a week! Wow. We are still excited our little Daniel is here with us, and of course we are still awaiting the day when Mommy is fully recovered and all our little boys are together!
The first two nights home, Daniel was awake all night, and the night before last was especially rough. But thankfully, last night he only woke up twice. Yay! Unfortunately I still couldn’t sleep! Isn’t that crazy! Having a c-section means that you can only sleep comfortably on your back. Any other position pulls at my stitches and doesn’t feel too good. I am waaay not a back sleeper! I grew up before we put babies on their backs to sleep. I’m hoping the pain goes away soon, and I’ll be able to sleep however I want. Until then I’ll be sleeping in the recliner!
Tuesday was a crazy day. The emergency c-section certainly threw me for a loop though! The actual surgery part was easy, but the pain afterwards was…..less easy…I think we have enough children now! Ha!”

  I’m actually not looking forward to that whole pain part, but they say it’s much different with a spinal block.  Perhaps that will be the case.  I think the bigger problem was my body’s resistance to morphine–which I now have learned does nothing for me.

    With Daniel, I was the largest pregnant woman I have ever ever been.  I was 15 lbs heavier at the end of that pregnancy than with any of my others.  So we’ll just call that one my true “balloon” pregnancy.  Even my fingers were pregnant!
   I knew the size of the baby was going to be a problem, and Dr. Collins had completely forgotten how much trouble my past deliveries were.  Therefore, a month before my due date I went to his office armed with a detailed list of why he could not allow me to carry this baby to 40 weeks or even 39, or the results would be disastrous.  He laughed me off until he actually read the list.  Then he said, “Okay, actually those are good reasons, and very well presented.”  (Success!  : )  I am the least confrontational person ever, but when I know a debate or confrontation must be made, I write down a thorough argument–so as not to lose my nerve, rehearse it in advance, and then make my case leaving no room for questioning or doubt.  I also won a small debate award for that once in college.  : )  )
    My induction date was set for 10 days prior to my due date, the earliest the hospital would allow us to do so.
    Alan and I checked in at midnight, leaving our older two boys with DaddyO and Nonna.  Since I have notoriously slow labors (15-16 hours), we told everyone to just take their time driving up the next day, no need to rush.  They all remembered spending hours on end in the waiting room for the last delivery, so they didn’t need much convincing.
     The pitocin drip was in by 1 am or so, and heavy contractions started right away.  They weren’t close together enough to get me dilated very quickly though.  I checked in dilated 2-3 cms, and the nurses said I was already registering contractions before they started the pitocin.  I didn’t pay those contractions much attention though, as those are the false labor ones that enable me to be several cm dilated before delivery begins, but do not qualify as active labor.
      By 8:30 am, I was hurting badly enough to not want to talk, so I decided it was time to get the epidural.  Everything went haywire pretty quickly at that point.
    First, the epidural went more upwards than downwards, so I couldn’t sit up and my chest felt tight.  Then my blood pressure plummeted, I threw up (dry heaved), and started to pass out.  Thankfully, the nurse anesthetist was still there monitoring my reaction to the epidural, so they quickly injected blood pressure meds into my IV.  That stopped the fainting and the puking.
    I was m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e, and I did not have a good feeling about how things were going.  Dr. Collins walked in to check on me, and I said, “Dr. Collins, this is not going well.  This is not going to go well.  I’m going to be in labor 15 hours (total–that’s my average), then the baby’s going to get stuck at the shoulders.  You might as well just go ahead and cut me open and get this over with!”
   Well, he deals with anxious women in labor on a daily basis, so he was probably not surprised by my change in personality.  (I come across as easy going almost always, EXCEPT in labor and delivery situations….in which I can become a bit scary I suppose.  Not yelling, just grumpy.)    He broke my water, assured me that would get things moving, and fled from the room.  I don’t think he really responded one way or the other to my c-section request….

     About 1 minute after he broke my water, he and another nurse (in addition to the one standing beside me) rushed back into the room.
    “All right, April, you jinxed us.  It looks like you’re going to get your wish.  The baby’s heart rate has plummeted, so we’re going to have to do an emergency c-section and get him out of there.  It looks like when the water broke, the cord started choking the baby.”
    All in a matter of seconds, Alan was handed scrubs, oxygen tubing was inserted into my nose, and they were doing various prep jobs as they rolled me quickly down the hall.
   By the time Alan got those scrubs on, called the family, and walked into the operating room, they had already begun the surgery.  It was rather amazing how quickly it was all done.

    I don’t know what they put in my IV, but it was a rather odd experience, very surreal and confusing to me at the time.  I remember most when they held up Daniel, all covered in goo and crying the quietest cry I’d ever heard.  He was the roundest newborn I’d ever seen.  9lb 4 oz and only 20 inches long.  They held him up and said, “You’ve got a red-head!”  I was so excited to hear that, except I couldn’t really tell that his hair was red yet, only gooey!
   They kept him on oxygen, with Dr. Doggett, the pediatrician pacing over him for two hours before anyone got to hold him.

Dr. Doggett with Daniel, fresh out of the womb …..9 lb 4 oz.  20.5 inches–  Now see, you’d look HUGE too, if you had that baby riding around in your belly!

Poor little Dan.  I don’t know if he was gasping for air or really wanting his first meal, but he held his mouth like that for a good while.  He didn’t get fed until around 5 hours after birth, and even then we had trouble getting him to latch on, so I don’t remember when he got his true first feeding.

    I was too out of it to know anything about that, though.  The epidural had been removed, and I was on morphine, but I felt like I was on nothing at all.  For three hours I just laid there, wanting so badly to sleep b/c of the effects of the pain medication.  But I couldn’t sleep at all b/c I felt like the entire middle of my body was very much on fire.

Lesson learned here:  I really hope to convince the medical staff to give me a different pain medication–not morphine.
   They kept asking me, “What’s your pain level now, 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever felt.”
   I kept telling them, “10!  10!  It’s a 10!”  I wanted to share in the excitement of holding Daniel and talking to family, but I was hurting way too badly.  I told Alan to just make sure everyone knew I couldn’t really talk yet.

    That level of pain only lasted a few hours, the morphine finally wore off and they gave me something else, and so it became more and more of just a manageable pain.  Thank goodness!

    Of course, when Daniel was born it was also very hard on Alan, as he was so worried about both Daniel and me, and they didn’t always allow him in the room.  I felt so bad for him.  No family was there to share in his worry because we had told everyone “take your time”.  They all found out about the delivery via telephone, on their way to the hospital.  I think Daniel was born around 9 or 9:30 am, but I was so fuzzy and it all happened so fast, I just really don’t remember!
   The family was worried about Alan being at the hospital alone during all this, so Alan’s Granddaddy, who lives close to that hospital, was so kind as to come up and sit with Alan until the rest of the family had arrived.  Jennings also came by to visit, before either Daniel or I had come out of the recovery room.
    That was definitely our quickest, craziest delivery!

   The c-section is a slower, more painful road to recovery, even with the rough deliveries that I had had in the past.  However, at least I didn’t suffer any complications from it, and it was truly a life-saving procedure for Daniel.  It’s also the reason I don’t advocate at-home births in an age where we have such wonderful medical advances.  I don’t believe Daniel would have survived a home-birth.

   Daniel was a very typical baby.  He’s a super atypical toddler, though.  Obviously, he is a mischievous little thing, with all the toilets, lipstick, food, and markers he’s gotten into…..but that boy will do chores alongside his momma all day long.  He also obeys better than any 2-year-old we’ve ever had.  He is such a sweet blessing.

one day old, in the arms of Great Aunt Janet

Dr. Doggett, faithfully monitoring baby Dan

J & C, meeting Dan for the first time, already trying to entertain their brother.  And there’s me, with my swollen face!

Caleb had talked for a month about how much he couldn’t wait to hold the baby in his hands.

using my finger as a pacifier….  I was never good at breastfeeding in front of others!  Even after three babies!

meeting his great-grandparents

proud big brother Caleb

Joshua took right to his role as oldest brother.



  • Anonymous

    Thanks for writing all this down. All the photos are good too. My favorite one is Alan talking to Caleb while Caleb is holding Daniel for the first time. I almost cry every time I see it; it is such a heart-warming snapshot of sheer joy! ~Daddy-O

  • Thank you. That's one of my favorite photos too.

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