A Gentle C-Section

It’s never been easy to conceive for me, but this particular pregnancy seemed especially miraculous after the trauma I endured from my OBGYN while trying to get an IUD after my fourth son, was born. With a 14 cm hole perforating my uterus after the doctor placed the measuring instrument too far in my body, we weren’t sure what conception would look like in the future.  So this story of conception reminds me of the beauty, grace, and mercy God gives us when we seek righteous desires.

I returned from our cruise to the Bahamas feeling rather ill and was wondering if it was just my sea legs, or if I contracted Zika virus after we landed in Florida and spent a day with my brother adorned with our sunhats, exploring the Everglades and the Atlantic ocean. We knew that Zika was pretty prominent in the Caribbean islands, Bahamas,  Mexico and in southern  Florida at this time and I was bit by many mosquitos.

I took a Zika test about a week later along with a blood draw and urine pregnancy test. Both came back negative- Zika and pregnancy. Two weeks after this appointment, my sister, announced that she was going to bless her newborn baby. We were so excited to come but my husband Blake had to work, so I decided to take the kids myself and make the 10 hour drive. We knew that there could be weather, so  I decided that I would leave as early as I could Sunday afternoon to not drive in the dark. The blessing was beautiful and at the party at my sisters home my father persistently asked if I was pregnant and commented that my face looked fat.  I reminded him I had previously had a pregnancy test two weeks before that came back negative in my doctors office and I appreciated reminders to start working out again when I returned home.

He kept assuring me that I was pregnant and that time would soon tell. I guess father knows best!  I left Utah with impending weather expected to hit in the early evening and it certainly delivered!  Me and my family encountered a white knuckle drive in blizzard conditions.  I-80 in Wyoming closed, so it took over 14 hours to arrive at my home in Colorado. My phone was nearly dead, my windshield wipers had frozen the freezing rain into long sheets, the trucks in front of me were blinding my view every time they passed.  The wind threatened to blow me off the road, and I started to really wonder if the stress and anxiety was making me sick, or was if I was indeed pregnant, was a baby growing inside of me and I was actually experiencing morning sickness?

When I arrived home I asked my doctor if I could have another pregnancy test, I still was feeling off and shared with him that I thought I may be pregnant, even though the first test was negative. I took a pregnancy test and it was negative again in the doctors office. This led me to think I may be feeling sick from a virus I caught on my cruise or maybe something from the trip, and hadn’t gotten over it. But at the 10 week mark and after missing two periods.  I knew that something was remarkably baking away in this oven.

After we had my fourth child and second son, my husband felt nervous about having more children and it took some convincing, time praying, receiving guidance and revelation that it was indeed the Lord‘s will for our family to grow. Every time I thought about our family being done after our fourth child - I would cry my eyes out knowing there were still more children to come to my family.  When we found out we were pregnant with another girl,  my heart rejoiced. I felt so much joy along with so much morning sickness - after not having had a girl for 7 years.  All of my children were so excited and would blow raspberries on my stomach and wait for the Bebe to kick back. They were able to come to the 20 week ultrasound and we kept her gender a secret, as we always do.  The ultrasound technician was so great to involve all of our children in the surprise of not knowing if we were having a brother or sister and informing us that her ear was indeed the most beautiful she had ever seen in 13 years of radiology.

This was such a joyous time for me, although I was very sick and did not feel my best for at least 28 weeks. I was able to work, teach piano, voice, french lessons, clean houses, plant a garden with cedar boxes and a drip irrigation system in the front, remove grass, landscape the back of the home and xeriscape the front yard, while nesting in the house. I’m quite the busy bee in my second and third trimesters as I feel I need to accomplish it all before another bebe takes all my focus and energy.  I knew that with four little ones and soon to be five in under eight years I would be sorely outnumbered in the labor force on the home front. My dear friend Chelsea took pictures of me in that last trimester. These pictures are precious to me as I’ve never felt confident or beautiful while pregnant. Looking back,  I see the beauty of being able to hold and create life as only a mother can- this is one of the most special gifts we are given- to be co-creators with the Almighty God and to nurture and bond with a spirit in ways too sacred to separate.  Being a mother is truly one of the greatest and most valuable gifts my Father in Heaven has bestowed upon me.

My doctor, was optimistic, positive, informative, and helpful as he reminded me through the course of my pregnancy that I would be more tired and feel more anticipation to get this baby here. He would talk me off the ledge as I would tell him I was ready to deliver around 35 weeks,  but  he assured me that bebe wasn’t fully baked yet and I didn’t want doughy cookies!

I wanted bebe here, even though I knew it would be exhausting to nurse an infant all night long - but I felt more exhausted , achy and ready to be done with this pregnancy.

When the day came for us to deliver our baby girl,  I was expecting some grand gestures and excitement as my previous 4 deliveries had been very dramatic and eventful. I didn’t even have Braxton Hicks contractions going into the delivery, (well maybe two days before when I was scrubbing my floors) as I had had in my previous pregnancy. She was due on my Birthday June 14, 2018, and I thought it would be remarkable to have a baby on my birthday, but having had 4 previous C-sections,  we knew this date may change; and she was delivered via C-section at 9 AM on June 7, 2018.

One of the most exciting parts of a delivery, is when the doctor announces the gender to the parents as the baby is delivered. Especially when you have C-sections, as I do, so many things can go wrong in surgery.  So with a little hesitation, a lot of excitement, and a lot of preparation, we  rolled into the operating room, I mounted  the table, had the longest needle in the world stuck into my spine (a spinal tap needle is about 2 inches longer than an epidural and goes into a different space).  My body processes the epidural too quickly and the anesthetic wears off before bebe is delivered.  My Dr. turned on the music and everyone started jamming out as my husband was called in.  My Doctor told me he would  follow through on his promise to make this the best delivery I’ve ever had.  My heart rate plummeted dangerously low after my spinal tap, which makes me sick and happens each time I deliver. The nurses gave me all the blood pressure medication and the staff  waited patiently for the nausea to subside and for the dry heaving to stop. There were 4 residents, nurses and medical school students who were present in the delivery room- many who had never seen a c- section and a few who had never been at a birth before.  They were an active part along with a great team of nurses and doctors who delivered a beautiful healthy baby girl. She was given to me covered in all her white waxy bloody newborn beauty. I have never seen a baby like this before!

This was my fifth child, and previously, the nurses and doctors normally clean the baby, preform APGAR test and check vitals before I see or hold them. But I requested a gentle c- section with as many natural steps we could take depending on my health and that of the Bebe.  The doctor gave her right to me, laid her on my chest and asked if I felt good enough to hold her while they repaired my incision. I assured him that I was strong enough and that my husband could be there to make sure that I was OK.  I cried as I looked at this beautiful life that was given to me, that I was able to nurture and hold and cherish within my body and provide a way for her to enter the world as I did for my other four children as well. The process of life is remarkable- it is miraculous- it is mine again- I kept thinking as I couldn’t do anything but stare at my beautiful baby.

She was quiet  and still as I spoke to her in French and her proud papa stroked her hand. The repair went quickly and they moved me into the recovery room asking if I was able to hold her as we moved. I was somewhat shocked, in the past, they would take the baby to the nursery for observation, but I was more than willing to hold her as we moved to the room. She never left my side those first two hours. I’m so grateful for these cherished moments that we had.  We needed to bond, nurse, become acquainted, familiarize ourselves, and learn about each other before I could introduce her to her family.  I was once again overwhelmed with the love and emotion that only comes from a pure and loving Father in Heaven who knows exactly the majesty and power that a newborn baby holds when placed in the arms of her mother.

~ Christina Packard

Sarah Ziroll

Sarah Ziroll