Our Beautiful Birth Story | Emma-Rose Margaret

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

On November 13, 2018 at 9:40AM Little Miss Emma-Rose was welcomed into our family. She weighed 7lbs 12oz and was 19 inches long.

This was my third c-section. I never desired to have one for so many reasons but mostly because I knew having multiple c-sections would limit the number of children I could have. I’ve always craved a large family. The feeling of holding your snuggly little baby, well, there’s little in this world that compares. I imagine a good number of people see three children as a large family but God willing, I’d have had 5 or 6, AND my husband would be completely gray BUT, His plans are not our plans, and I am ever so thankful to have 3 healthy, beautiful children. I’m also grateful to have had three safe surgeries to bring those sweet babies into the world.

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

One thing that’s actually really great about a repeat c-section is that you’re allowed to choose your date. It’s particularly helpful when you have other little children at home that you need to make arrangements for. Also, Brooke (our first) was born November 18, 2013, so having Emma-Rose on November 13, 2018, seemed like it was meant to be. We were the first scheduled c-section of the day which I highly recommend if they have the availability on the day you want. Essentially, your chances of getting bumped and having to wait for surgery are much lower unless there’s an emergency situation with another mom or your doctor has someone else in active labor.

For us, all went as planned and I was scrubbed up, given my IV and within two hours was wheeled back to get my spinal block.

Oh boy… so with Brooke, I had an epidural because I went into labor with her. I was stuck 4 or 5 times, and it still wasn’t put in correctly. When I went in for a c-section, unable to get her out, I could feel sharpness. I was shaking, and they put me under. The problem was… I wasn’t told I was being put under. I thought I was dying or in a coma and I fought the entire time to wake up. I woke up angry and confused but thankful to be alive. It wasn’t the birth story I’d imagined by any means.

With James being scheduled, I was given a spinal block. My fears were eased as it was put in the first time and there was hardly any pain. The worst part was the numbing shot which felt like a bee sting.

I went in this time confident, so happy I was getting a spinal, expecting a cake walk! 30 minutes down the road, a handful of electric shocks, too many sticks to remember, four nurses holding me, and many tears later, my spinal was successfully put in. I’m actually a bit confused about how this went down because I was introduced to the male anesthesiologist who was to do my spinal as well as another woman who was in charge of administering my pain medication. When we began, the woman was administering my spinal, and the anesthesiologist was directing her. She couldn’t get it centered it was either right or left which for some reason or another sends painful shocks down your side. Too me, it’s what I’d imagine getting electrocuted feels like. Anyways, after all the drama in the first part of this paragraph, she notified him that he should go ahead and get his gloves on to do it. He stepped up, centered up, and got the block administered efficiently, without too much pain. He definitely knew what he was doing, and I couldn't help but think that the painful minutes prior were unnecessary. She was so kind, and you could tell she felt terrible, and I made it through, so I suppose that's all that matters.

Having a spinal rise can feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest. With James, the feeling didn't last long. This time, it lasted most of the surgery. It was all I could do to stay focused, keep my big girl panties on, and take it moment by moment. I was finally tilted and given a shot of pain medicine, which helped ease the tightness in my chest. I began to calm, and I was able to relax before meeting our sweet girl.

Then the moment came, "She’s about to be here! Dad do you want to announce?” They raised her up, and Dustin said, “It’s a girl!” Emotions full overwhelmed with joy, I waited to hear her cry. A moment’s later the sound of a soft sweet cry, more like a coo was music to my ears. Something I wasn’t used to with my other two. Lungs of steel those babies had… especially Brooke.

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

I want to stop for a moment and address something, anxiety over surgery. Days before, I began having anxious thoughts; I cried, I prayed, I held my children a little tighter, I kissed my husband a little longer. My advice for anyone having anxiety about a c-section is not to think about it as much as possible, DO NOT Google anything, and focus on the fact that God has a plan for you. He is in control, and He is with you. For me, my anxiety has grown with each c-section because of the increased risk and since I’m all the wiser after three; I know what to expect. It’s true what they say, ignorance is bliss. There’s something about having surgery that makes me hyper-aware of the fact that I have no real control over what happens in my life. Yes, I can plan and prepare so that life runs as smoothly as possible, but at the end of the day, my life is not in my hands.

For those of you with an upcoming c-section, the day of, get prayed up, get dressed, and focus on one task at a time. Get to the hospital. Check. Get in my gown. Check. Get my IV. Check. Get my spinal. Check. Get distracted by the nurses and your spouse, so you’re not freaking out during surgery. Check. Feel overwhelmed with love and appreciation. Check. You WILL make through, and all of the worry, all of the anxiousness instantly flies out the window when you hear your baby crying.

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After I was stitched up, I was wheeled into the recovery room for two hours where they could monitor my bleeding. I was able to be skin to skin and begin nursing. (I’ll be expanding on my nursing story on Instagram sometime in the next two weeks) After two hours and normal recovery signs, I was wheeled into our new home for the next four days. The ride from recovery to our room felt like a victory lap with various nurses and staff members smiling as we passed along the way.

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

This was our first time delivering as this hospital. We were tucked away in a corner room that was set apart from the rest of the labor and delivery area, and it was pleasantly quiet. We had a big beautiful window that let in gorgeous light. Our room was spacious, and as you can see from the picture, Dustin approved of the sleeping area. They even had a Halo Bassinet specifically because it was helpful for c-section moms! If you haven’t researched a Halo, it is seriously saving grace being able to get your new little one up to feed without causing you too much discomfort after surgery. I remember when we were in the hospital with Brooke crying and throwing things at Dustin in the middle of the night, trying to wake him up, so he could get her and bring her to me. Between the hormonal changes and the pain medicine, not being able to get up and get your crying infant is the icing on the cake for a meltdown. We have the Halo at home, and it’s been the best, c-section or not, being able to reach over and have the side of it drop down so you, with one eye open, can easily pick up the baby is a beautiful thing.

Warning: TMI ahead but I wanted to share for the mamas that may be reading this. The first two days the nurses really kneaded my uterus. It was not in the least bit pleasant. I actually don’t remember ever having that done with my other deliveries. I apologized to our nurse each time because my reaction was to grab her wrist to make her stop. Naturally, I was curious as to why she was doing that since I couldn’t recall it being done before. I was told that it’s to make my uterus shrink, tighten, and to reduce bleeding. As painful as it was, I only bled for a week after surgery. My other two, I bled for a month heavily. I couldn’t round out the surgery process without giving a shout out to my new doctor! She did a fantastic job with the surgery, and my incision has healed the best it ever has!

With both Brooke & James I walked after surgery minimally, and it took me 6 weeks or better to feel like I could resume my normal routine. This time, well, I was two weeks postpartum on Tuesday, already I feel like I’m at the 5-6 week mark. The difference? I walked a few laps around the delivery ward on the second day. I forced myself to be up and moving around as much as I could stand, and I genuinely think that made all of the difference. Having two little ones at home has made it to where I really have had no choice but to get up and move around a lot more. My sister also experienced quick healing with her third c-section, and she feels like walking was a key factor as well.

Word of caution: Because I feel like I’m healing on a super mom time frame, I’ve overdone it a couple times. Me to Me: Don’t go upstairs and watch how much you bend over.

Honestly, I’m about to order one of those orange pickers (clearly I’m from Florida) I don’t know what they’re called, but elderly people use them a lot. You guys know what I’m talking about. My mom brain/ borderline OCD makes it hard for me to be okay with dropping something on the ground and not picking it up. I was out of commission yesterday because I spent too much time picking up after everyone on Monday. Luckily, my sweet friend Tricia came for a visit and helped me, rather forced me, to sit still.

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

Being a third-time mom is magnificent. I’m confident in who I am as a mother. I’m way more relaxed, I’m way less stressed, and I don’t feel like I have anything to prove. I have little to no mom guilt regarding discussions I make for my children and my family. I take the time to be poured into, so I can pour into everyone else. I’ve got two pretty cute helpers around the house this time around; something as simple as having Brooke let our dog out is tremendously helpful.

Last night Dustin and I had the conversation about how far we’ve both come as parents over these last five years, and it’s astounding. Dustin has been my rock. He’s been so gracious and such a good husband and father; from something as simple as helping me put on my pants to the big things like pretty much taking on all of my responsibilities in addition to his full workload; I can’t help but think how blessed I am to have him in my life.

I have some other amazing people in my life that I'm so thankful for during this time and that's all of you! Thank you so much for your kind words and messages! I cherish being able to share this time with all of you and to hear your personal stories, both highs, and lows when it comes to being a mom and the birthing process! Encouraging and supporting one another on this journey is what it's all about.