Cora Lorraine Brunotte was born Tuesday, April 19 at 6:32 PM. She weighed 6 lbs, 15 oz and was 20 inches long. I was 38 weeks and 5 days when I went into labor. Because she had been breech for the majority of my pregnancy, I had a scheduled C-Section on Friday, April 22. But the little chick was ready to meet her family early!
Around my 26-week ultrasound, I knew that Cora was breech. It was not a major shock because my sister and I were both breech with my mom, so in the back of my head, I always knew it was a possibility. It wasn’t my first choice, but I wasn’t afraid to have the surgery either. I found it odd that nearly every time I told someone that she was breech and I had a scheduled C-Section, people said, “Oh, I’m so sorry,” or “Gosh, that really sucks.” First of all, even if you feel that way, why on Earth would you say that to a pregnant lady?! Second of all, if that is the safest way to get her out and into the world, then how can that be a bad thing? Third, I had a wonderful experience with my surgery and found the whole thing rather easy – but I’ll get to that later.
The morning of the 19th, I went to work, had a few meetings and was sipping on a cup of coffee when my stomach started to hurt. There was a sharp and constant pain in my upper abdomen, so I assumed that I was having some heartburn or acid reflux from the coffee. I grabbed a bottle of water and the pasta I had brought for lunch and started eating, hoping that that would help.
Around noon the pain got more intense and it was nonstop. I ended up closing the door to my office and basically laying down in my chair with my feet up on my desk to see if I could make it stop. When it only got worse, I left work, drove the 8 minute drive to my parents house and laid down in their guest room. On my way, I called Nick and told him. He seemed to think I was going into labor and wanted to leave work, (he works 1.5 hours away from where we live). I told him not to leave because with how high the pain was and how unrelenting it was, that there was no way these were contractions. But, I promised him that, if after half an hour the pain wasn’t better, I would go to the doctor. Thirty minutes later, in tears from the pain, I drove myself down to my OB’s office. Nick, incidentally, had left work even though I had told him not to, so he was headed to meet me there, (good call Nick!!)
At the doctor, the nurse checked Cora’s heartbeat, which was fine, and then she sent me across the street to the hospital because she was concerned about the severity of my pain and the location of the pain in my abdomen…she was worried that I was having a placental abruption – where the placenta becomes detached too early. Nick met me there just in time and he drove me across the street to the hospital where we went to triage.
Once in triage, they took blood to do tests and hooked me up to a few monitors. They soon discovered that I was having contractions and was actually in labor. However, the pain I felt was so extreme and so constant that I could not tell the difference between contractions – even when the monitor showed that the contraction has ceased, the pain was still exactly the same. Thankfully my doctor was on call that day, and she came over to the hospital just in time. She told me that Cora had actually flipped, but she was also concerned that this intense pain meant I was having a placental abruption, so she asked me if I was still okay with having the C-Section. She explained that if the placenta was indeed becoming detached this early, that it could cause some complications with my labor and it could cause me to have an emergency C-Section regardless. Since I had always thought I would have to have surgery anyways, I told her we could go ahead and do it. From then on, everything happened so fast. They took all this blood to run some tests, they started prepping me for surgery and within minutes they were whisking Nick off to get prepped as well.
As Nick was getting ready, they brought me into the operating room, which was crazy bright and full of people. They sat me on the edge of the table and had me hunch over. The nurse who had been helping me since we got to triage asked me to hunch over and told me I could hold on to her. She started talking to me about something that kept me focused on her, and as the nurse anesthetist told me to hold still and warned me that I would feel a little pinch, I waited for the pain from the spinal tap while I listened to whatever story the nurse was telling me. Next thing I knew, the nurse anesthetist and the anesthesiologist were telling me to lay back quickly because the spinal tap sets in so fast. I had not felt a single thing! I didn’t even feel the “sting” from the initial shot meant to numb my back. (I was so worried about this part beforehand…).
I was laid out on my back on the operating table and I could feel my body starting to get numb. It’s a surreal experience, laying there, not able to feel a portion of your body but being totally conscious. Nurses came in and out of the operating room while I laid there, half-naked. I was asked a few questions, the nurse put in my catheter and just as I started to feel nervous, my doctor came in and started talking to me. She was so calm and cheerful that it put me at ease. She did a few tests to see if I could feel my belly and once she was satisfied that I couldn’t, they brought Nick in wearing his scrubs.
Nick sat next to my head and held my hand. I couldn’t see anything past the curtain that they hung, and Nick did not stand up to look over until they brought Cora out. I could feel them moving my body around and I could feel all this pressure. It took about 15 minutes from when they started to when they held her up over the curtain. Nick and I both started crying immediately. Then Nick stood up and took some pictures and walked over to be with her as they cleaned her up. I was not able to do skin to skin until after I was completely sewn up. The rest of the surgery seemed to go by quickly – maybe 20 more minutes and then they transferred me to a gurney and took us to a recovery room where we had to stay for 2 hours while they kept an eye on me post surgery. As soon as we got there, the nurse helped me get ready to do skin to skin and she laid Cora on my chest. Cora kind of did this little army crawl, found what she was looking for, and latched immediately. I cried again. It is amazing they babies are born with that great instinct.
The rest of that first night is kind of a blur. Once we left the recovery room, we were taken to our room – which was huge, had massive windows and a great view. Nurses came in every hour to check on me, check on Cora, and take more blood from me…I swear I must have lost 10 pounds worth of blood that night haha. I really never had any intense pain from the surgery – and I never had to deal with a long and difficult labor. Having a C-Section really was great for us.
We stayed in the hospital for three nights. Once the nursing staff was satisfied that I could get up and walk around on my own and not be in too much pain, they let us leave. I have to say, we had the most incredible experience at Riverside Hospital, (Columbus, Ohio). We had phenomenal nurses, and I really felt like we were special patients, even though I know there were tons of other babies and new parents there.
Today is Cora’s 4-week birthday. She has gained about a full pound since we left the hospital, I have lost 22 of my 30 pounds that I gained. I still have a little belly bump and the line on my belly is still dark. My incision from the surgery is very low and surprisingly short. It has been healing so well that I can already barely see it. I stopped taking the pain meds after two weeks and I feel basically no pain there anymore.
I have been struggling with breastfeeding ever since the night she was born. Something happened that first night on the left side – maybe an infection or just the way that she was latching, but it got to the point that I would cry uncontrollably whenever I fed her on that side. I went back to see the lactation consultant at the hospital and she told me to pump on that side until it healed. She also gave me a prescription for some miracle cream called Dr. Jack Newman’s that healed it in 24 hours, I swear.
Some days are easy and some are so hard that I cry all day. I struggle with wanting to be the best mom and give her everything that she needs. I get frustrated when she cries and I can’t seem to console her. But I finally know what it feels like to fall in love with your baby the moment you see her. It changes you in an instant and it has been the most beautiful thing that has ever happened.
Please send me an email if you have any other questions about having a C-Section, being a new mom, or breastfeeding problems!! firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to hear from you!!!
XOXO – Em
all photos by Emma Parker Photography – thank you Emma for being such a wonderful friend to our little family!
Thank you to Xtreme Lashes and Bespoke Beauty Boutique for the eyelash extensions that meant this new mama didn’t have to wear anything other than chapstick for her first few weeks at home – a serious lifesaver!
The robe and nightgown that I wore in the hospital were both from Hatch and were part of their “From Hatch to Hospital” Bundle – everything mama needs to wear at the hospital! It was really nice to have someone pack that for me so that I didn’t have to worry about it.