Caroline Ashby: A Birth Story

As I've mentioned before, Baby O was breech throughout my whole pregnancy. She remained cozy and in place until our scheduled c section date, April 4th. I was exactly 39 weeks along.

Going into the surgery, I wasn't nervous. I always described my feelings as anxious because I'd never had major surgery before and I felt like I had to get through the surgery anxiety before I could be excited or ready for little Caroline.

We arrived to the hospital about an hour before surgery and were a little rushed because they expected us there an hour and half early. Basically, it was a breakdown in communication and one person said one thing and someone else told me something different.

Upon arrival, we filled out our admission paper and headed up to Labor and Delivery. We were greeted by a team of doctors and nurses who were all very friendly. It wasn't long before I was in a gown and getting all my vitals taken. They did a quick ultrasound and confirmed that Baby was still breech. After a prayer led by Mark's dad with the medical team and our family it was on to the OR!

After a relatively uneventful prep, minus a spinal block that helped the doc discover that I have a curvature in my spine, it was time to get started! I can only describe the feeling as "Stretch Armstrong." Ha! You know, when you stretch his arms and then they go back into place. That's what it felt like they were doing with my whole belly. Stretching and retracting. Nothing hurt... just felt weird.

At 8:30 in the morning our beautiful baby girl was born! Mark was able to be the first to say, "it's a girl," and it was an incredible moment. The doctor was holding her in a way that he couldn't see her lady parts and he had to ask twice for him to turn the baby. Ha! His words were so sweet and music to my ears:

Mark: We have a beautiful baby girl! .... and she's really hairy!
Me: Hair where?!
Mark: In all the right places. 

 Mark cutting the umbilical cord

Meeting our baby girl for the first time.

She came out crying... and pooping! Ha! It was really funny to hear the doctors and nurses saying, "Oh my! She's pooping!" right after she came out of my belly. Poor girl had the shit scared out of her. Hehe.

Now, this is where the struggle began for me and I got impatient. It took what felt like forever for them to get me all stitched up and out of the OR. However, I won't complain too much because they were taking their time and ensuring that if we want more babies in the future I'd have the opportunity to have a VBAC.

During this time, the medical staff made it possible for me to have skin to skin in the OR and a chance to breastfeed. From what I gathered, this is a rare occurrence and fairly new to the Naval Hospital on Camp Lejeune. I'm so very grateful that I was given the experience! Instead of having to be separated from Caroline and Mark, I just held her on my chest and we worked together to figure out what to do next - she knew and I just followed her lead. The nurse, bless her, was incredible with both of us and made an unfortunate scenario (c-section) into something beautiful and memorable for me.

My mom on the phone with my dad. I love this photo.

On the way to the recovery room, Mark was able to walk past the waiting room and give the news to our families. Everyone had a few minutes to coo and aw over our new baby girl! I wish I could have been there to experience their reactions, but couldn't be happier that there are photos.

My temperature was fluctuating and, overall, running really low... and I was starving. There was a very kind nurse that let me have some ice chips, but decided it was a bad decision after a few minutes considering I was covered in blankets trying to get warm. It didn't take long before it regulated and I was good to go.
Little Caroline had a mini fan club come to visit just hours after she was born. She is so loved and if these photos don't show it I'm just not sure anything will. Mark and I are grateful for the love and support from our friends and family. Having them there on such a special day meant the world.

We stayed two nights at the hospital. I had a private room with two beds in it so Mark was able to sleep in the other bed, which was amazing. Our nurse during the day, Ada, was incredible and I was a little sad to leave her. She was always happy and helpful -- something that means so much when you aren't in the best of spirits after surgery.

Once we got home, the pup had the chance to meet our little lady. She was over the moon to see us and she wanted to know about this new "toy" that we brought home. She's still trying to figure out who this new creature is, but overall has done wonderful!

My dad and his friend-turned-father figure, Nyles, drove down the following Saturday, once my dad's vacation began, and met her at the tender age of 5 days new. It was so sweet to see my dad with Caroline and still is. Yesterday, we went shopping for her and he walked around carrying her saying, "You like shopping, don't you?! This is your first of many shopping trips."

We are so happy to have this little lady in our lives and we are both anxious to see her personality develop. 

We love you, Sweet Caroline!

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