On October 7th, 2020 at 8:01AM, we welcomed Odin Dean into this wild world. He weighed 8lbs 7oz & was 25 ½ inches long! We waited 39 weeks and 4 days to meet our sweet little guy. It felt like this pregnancy had been 5,000 years long and simultaneously over in a blink of an eye. I’m here to share that giving birth during COVID was not as bad as I worried it would be. Here is our c-section birth story.
*This blog post is created in collaboration with The Christ Hospital. Like always, these thoughts and opinions I share are my own. We gave birth to our previous child at The Christ Hospital and loved it so much! When we found out we were pregnant, we instantly knew we would be back at Christ again. The choice to collaborate and work with The Christ Hospital was a no brainer – a perfect fit! I am so very happy to share them with my local followers as my recommendation for your next child birth and beyond.*
2020? A real rollercoaster – am I right? One that we just keep riding and can’t get off. Like many, this year taught me so much! It taught me to slow down – okay, maybe it forced me to. It also taught me to embrace the unexpected, and go with the flow when things don’t go as planned.
I was honestly not expecting to have another c-section. When I first found out that we were expecting, my midwife said that I was a great candidate for a VBAC (a vaginal birth after c-section.) My previous pregnancy ended with an emergency c-section because of a placenta abruption. Jax was born at 37 weeks with only 10% of my placenta remaining. It was truly a miracle we both survived. A day doesn’t pass that I’m not reminded of that blessing. I was very excited and hopeful to experience labor again like I did with my first born, so I was planning to try a VBAC this pregnancy. You can tell by the title of this post, we had a change of plans.
At 37 weeks we started trying some natural ways to induce labor, as I was already measuring 43 weeks! We thought Odin was going to be 10lbs for sure – turns out, he was just very tall! We were hoping if we could speed things along by a week or two, he would not be too large for a VBAC. Nothing worked and things were not progressing. The weeks leading up to my due date brought on some heavy stress and anxiety. Everyday I was obsessing over kick counts and believed the worst had happened. Multiple times I cried to Derrek thinking Odin was not moving enough and we lost him. I couldn’t shake it. I would tell myself to snap out of it – that everything was okay – but I could not hear it.
At my 39 week appointment, I was an emotional mess. My incredible midwife, Tina, walked in and instantly knew I was not the same person I had been throughout this pregnancy. After talking to her in detail about this intrusive worrying and anxiety, she reminded me of my previous birth trauma. She validated my feelings and let me know this was post traumatic stress showing up. Tina held my hand and said, “We can totally schedule a c-section again if you want to, it’s okay, I promise.” I instantly knew my mental health was being compromised and scheduling a c-section was the best move. I agreed to go ahead and schedule a c-section. A weight lifted from my shoulders. We would soon have our baby in our arms and know everything was alright.
That evening, Tina called and said there were two appointments available at the brand new Christ Hospital Liberty Birthing Center – one as soon as the next morning! We had originally planned on birthing at the Mt. Auburn Campus, but I was totally open to changing plans. I had heard such wonderful things about the Liberty Birthing Center – it was an instant yes!
There we were, 7PM on Tuesday – scheduling our baby’s birth for 7:30AM the very next morning! Things just got real. I looked at Derrek with wide eyes and said, “We are going to meet our baby tomorrow morning!” We packed everything into the car, called our parents to set up a plan for the older boys, and set our alarm for our 4:30 AM time of arrival. That night we all piled in the bed for one last snuggle as a family of 4!
After checking into the hospital, we went straight to our room. I changed into my gown and a nurse came in to prepare me for my 7:30AM surgery. I had to answer some routine questions, get my vitals checked, start my IV, and take a COVID test. Since we scheduled our c-section the night before, I had not received a COVID test yet. I’m here to tell you – it wasn’t so bad!
While we were waiting to head back to the OR, we heard a familiar voice coming up the hallway. It was Tina! My amazing midwife came to our surgery! She truly brought both Derrek and I a huge sense of relief. Due to COVID, my mom could not be with us, so Tina being there was truly the equivalent of having my mom by our side! She even took our photos in the OR.
At The Liberty Birthing Center the rooms are LDRP (labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum) all in the same room. This is a little feature that truly makes a world of difference. In my case, I left to go to the OR for my surgery, but came right back to the same room we started out in. The rooms are soooo spacious! That was one of the greatest things about Liberty – aside from the staff! The entire hospital is so small and intimate, but your rooms are so large! You feel like the only patients there.
Finally, it was go-time! I headed to the OR, where they started my spinal. Once they got me laid down, and my bottom half was numb, Derrek was allowed to come in. They offered to switch my pink, cloth mask for a medical mask. I will say, the medical mask was a little easier to breathe from – but kept poking me in the eyes as I was laying down. It was annoying to keep adjusting it, but honestly not as bad as I thought it would be.
Derrek sat down by my head and held my hand. Going into this a second time, I felt we were a little less nervous. There was no pain during the surgery, just a lot of pressure and pulling. After what felt like a lifetime to my anxious little soul, Odin was finally out and immediately started crying. They cleaned him off, checked him out, weighed him, and instantly laid him on my chest. This was amazing. All my fears and worries were for nothing. He was perfect. It was such a relief. Forget you, anxiety – my baby was happy and healthy! Take that!
Odin got to lay on my chest while they sewed me up. It was such a sweet moment between us. I told him Happy Birthday and how much we loved him. We just stared at each other and fell in love.
Afterward, we headed back to our room to recover. It felt so nice going back to the same room we started in! They let me know my COVID test results were negative, yay! Oh, and yes, we did have to continue to wear our masks. When we were alone in the room we could take them off though!
The nursing staff were angels, the absolute best! They took such wonderful care of us. I truly loved each and every one of them. They would just melt over Odin everytime they came into the room. They were mostly there to check our vitals and make sure we were doing okay, but their care came across with so much love. They made us feel very safe.
Odin did really great when it came to breastfeeding! He latched on right away and loved to cluster feed. Even though I was feeding him every couple of hours, cluster feeding is characterized by your baby nursing for short periods, coming off your breast, nursing a little more, fussing, nursing more, hiccuping, and so on and so forth. It’s completely normal! Cluster feeding is most common in very young babies, but can also happen with older babies who have a tummy ache or are going through a growth spurt. Christ does offer amazing lactation services to help in any way. They are a really great resource there to support you during your stay. They also offer outpatient services!
Going into our stay, we didn’t think Derrek could leave the room, but he was allowed to come and go. He just couldn’t leave and tag someone else to come in. He ran out to grab a Target curbside pick up order while we were there. We wanted some snacks, and I needed a new nursing bra. Our room had a mini fridge so we could keep things cold. It was so nice. I ordered a fruit cup with every meal and would save it in the fridge to snack on later. Speaking of meals, their food was bomb.com. The absolute best! I felt good eating hearty, fresh meals. Derrek even got a free meal during our stay. For other meals, he went down to the 1st floor and ordered from the cafe. He said it was delish. It was also very affordable!
During this hospital stay, Derrek was spoiled. In the past, he was starving, or didn’t have a comfortable place to sleep. It was miserable. Our stay this time was night and day. He had plenty of room to sleep on their large couch that turned into a bed. Our room also had a very nice reclining chair where I spent most of my stay. It felt so great to get out of the hospital bed during the day! I never did that with the other boys. I truly think that helped in my recovery.
Truthfully, our stay in the hospital felt more like a hotel stay. I loved every minute of it. The room was so cozy. I would stay up watching Friends reruns, holding my sweet new bundle of joy, soaking it all in. The days kind of blended together like mush for me – I didn’t sleep much and that made day and night became one. When I would sleep, the nurses were so kind and let me rest. They would peek in to see Derrek with the baby, wave, and come back later when I was awake.
We stayed two nights, but I would have checked in for an entire week if they would have let me. Thursday night took a turn of “no more fun” for me. My body started on that first poop after baby business – and if you know you know. I was so constipated. It made the last day of my stay miserable and I was so sad. I didn’t sleep at all. I kept going back to the bathroom praying for relief. Even after stool softeners and lots of prune juice – I did not use the bathroom until Monday. It was traumatizing. Worse than anything I felt bringing a child into the world – x100. That first bowel movement after baby – wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Friday morning, we woke up and were told we could go home! We were so excited to bring Odin home to meet his brothers! Getting the okay for both of us to head home was fairly quick and simple. Derrek loaded up the car and came back up with the car seat. I wore a big dress going home and it was sooo nice – like a big comfy nightgown. Highly recommended! Odie got strapped in his car seat and I held it on my lap. Our sweet nurse wheeled us out to the car. We had so many people in the parking lot see us and say, ”Congratulations!” It was so incredibly sweet. Everyone here is so dang kind, even the other patients!
I rode in the backseat with Odin, of course.
Odin was welcomed by his brothers running out of the house to see him before we could even park the car. They were so excited – and they still are! We have all been adjusting well. The boys absolutely love their new roles as big and big big brother.
Recovering from a second c-section has really been just fine! I’m having the usual pains and discomforts, but I think I am feeling better quicker than I did the first time around. Looking back, I’m very happy with my decision to have a repeat c-section. It allowed us to have a plan for the older boys. It just feels like it was exactly what was meant to happen.
Overall, having a baby during a pandemic wasn’t so bad. Everyone followed precautions, and I felt incredibly safe. The process was relaxed, we got to savor every moment. Not having visitors was actually kinda nice. I had no one to entertain besides my new babe. It forced us to have this precious time with Odin all to ourselves.
If you’re delivering soon, know that you got this, mama! You are so much stronger than you know! If you’re local to Cincinnati, I couldn’t recommend The Christ Hospital Liberty Birthing Center enough. The experience we had was unlike any other. We felt so much love and support from the staff. The Liberty Birthing Center made our birth story what it is, and we are so grateful!
Take a virtual tour, schedule an appointment, and learn more at http://thechristhospital.com/LBC
My midwife is Tina Pearson from Seven Hills Women’s Health Center. Dr. Aichholz performed my c-section. They are an incredible OB practice! I absolutely love their care. Their team provides care through The Christ Hospital.