STRENGTH | BIRTH STORIES | CINCINNATI DOULA + BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER
I chose to name my ‘strength’ not for the obvious reason how incredibly strong women are when we give birth, but because of the fact how much strength my son showed at his birth. My son actually was the one who taught me strength and taught me quick. Pregnancy was not black and white for me, my first three pregnancies were miscarriages. Why I had them? The answers remain unknown still. I had a bunch of medical tests performed on my blood, body, and uterus to see if I could even hold a pregnancy and all the tests came back as fine, but we just didn’t understand why I could not hold a pregnancy. Once my doctor gave the green light to try again my husband and I did not hesitate to stop, I instantly became pregnant. Which my doctor kept assuring me that was a good sign at how quickly I can become pregnant, this time she put me on progesterone supplements in which I vaginally had to insert myself once in the morning and once at night. At 8 weeks pregnant for the first time I heard my baby’s heart beat, an overwhelming relief came over me, I had never heard my own baby’s heartbeat. When I was four months pregnant, my husband and I found out our son had gastroschisis. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a birth defect in which our son’s bowels were growing outside his abdominal wall while he was in my womb. The doctor who found the birth defect gave me two options 1) to abort him or 2) to continue to carry him and be aware of the health risks that may occur. The fact that option 1 was even brought up angered me, but I was so determined to have my son I wanted all the information I could get on gastroschisis. I was then transferred over to a high risk pregnancy facility and new doctor. I was told gastroschisis babies are usually underweight, stop growing, have development delays, born extremely early, can be in the hospital after birth for months, can have issues eating, can have issues having bowel movements, etc. my husband and I were planning for the worst case scenario but praying for the best. I honestly didn’t start praying so much in my life until I found out about my son’s birth defect. I remember the day I found out, I was crying on my way back home, I pulled over and prayed, “Lord please give me the strength I need to be strong for my son. Please bless myself, my son and my husband with strength to get through whatever we may endure in the future and always stand strong together. And please lord let my son be healthy, happy and strong. Amen.” A sense of relief came over me, and I truly felt like I was in tune with my son. As my pregnancy progressed I knew more and more about my son’s every moves and likes and dislikes (my cravings and adversions).
Sunday, September 18, 2016- I had noticed my son wasn’t moving around as much, I was about 37 weeks and at 36 weeks I went on maternity leave due to my doctors orders because gastroschisis babies can come whenever they please and she didn’t want me behind the teller line and my son decide he was ready to come into our world. I became really worried about him not moving as much and told my husband about it, he said I may be overstressing and to call the nurse the next day if he doesn’t move.
Monday, September 19, 2016- 8 am my son usually rolls around and kicks my left rib cage because that’s his favorite spot, but he didn’t not even a flinch. I decided to eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal because sugar excites everyone, but not him this particular morning. My last and final test was cold ass water, that always got him kicking but this time it didn’t. Instant fear overwhelemed me, I immediately called the triage nurse while texting a friend of mine about her pregnancy the previous year with her son and she even advised me to go to the hospital. The triage nurse had me come to the hospital. I called my husband to let him know and he decided to meet me there, he was working on Camp Pendleton af the time. My hospital was about 45 minutes south of where we lived. I drove frantically in the carpool lane, because let’s be real there was two of us in one seat and one body, and I just wanted to get to the hospital. When I finally reached the hospital, my friend met me there and walked with me to labor and delivery. Immediately I was seen in which my son was given three different tests and he failed all three. Within 15 minutes I am told, “Okay looks like you are going to meet your son today Alaina, we are going to perform an emergency c section.” From the beginning I was never given an option of a birth plan, but I had one and c section was definitely not one, I wasn’t opposed to it after finding out how big my son’s head was but I also didn’t think my first birth experience was going to be an emergency c section. As I got changed into hospital gear I like to say, my husband walked in and they had us sign forms meet what felt like 100 people and 20 minutes later I was taken into the surgery room. C sections are no joke, it’s serious abdominal surgery. I felt paralyzed and could only move my neck and up, as well as my arms. Luckily the staff was nice enough to let me choose ‘Aaliyah’ as my play list. I have always loved her voice. At 12:47 pm my son was born, no labor, no contractions, no water breaking, no losing my mucus plug, just two shots in my back and a huge slice at my abdominal area. My husband said seeing a hole inside me was a gruesome sight. When I heard my son cry for the first time I immediately cried, I saw him for about 2 minutes and he was immediately taken away. I never had that skin to skin right after birth. I never had to push. I never had an epidural, at least I don’t think I did. I never got to bring him to breast to stimulate my breast milk. My son was taken into surgery immediately, and the doctor who ran the tests on my son kept thanking me for listening to my body and I kept telling her it wasn’t me, it was my son. 4 hours later after my recovery, getting my room assigned and Nickolas surgery over, I was able to visit him. I couldn’t believe my son was here. He was just perfect in every way, better then I had imagined. 10 hours later, I was up and walking from my room to the NICU where my son was staying. I was prepared for my son to be in the NICU for 3 months. Monday, October 3, 2016 it was my birthday and I received the best present ever, my son was released from the hospital. Two weeks he was in the NICU the doctors and surgeon were impressed at how well my son was thriving and developing. Especially since they were able to get his bowels back in his abdomen in one surgery.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017- Nickolas, my son, turned one years old and you would of never known he had surgery, let alone a birth defect. He eats absolutely everything, especially on my plate. Poops like champ. Loves his sisters and Daddy. Total momma’s boy. He’s just developmentally thriving. Even though I didn’t birth Nickolas the way I wanted to, I wouldn’t trade any of it. He came the way he wanted to and he remained strong and is still strong, and he is the reason my strength exists still.
My rainbow baby.
- Alaina M