Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Connor’s Birth Story

Connor Robert Walen joined our family at 7:37 am on Wednesday, December 5. My entire pregnancy couldn’t have been more different from what it was with Madeline so I shouldn’t be surprised that my delivery was completely different, too.

Throughout my pregnancy, I had very naively assumed that his birth would be much the same as my first. I hadn’t given it much thought but I guess I just expected that it would be similar since that is the only experience I had with childbirth and delivery and even though I did have a complication, it was an overall really good labor and delivery experience that was so much better than what I expected childbirth to be like. You can read Madeline’s birth story here

So when all our efforts to flip Connor back to head down after he turned himself breech at almost 38 weeks did not work, we scheduled a c-section. My doctor and nurses adamantly told me that it’s not “over till it’s over” and that they would check with an ultrasound when I got to the hospital the morning of his delivery to make sure he was still breech before moving forward with my cesarean. I said a lot of prayers and kept trying all the at-home exercises to get him to turn. But, when I went in for my final appointment and he was still breech, I slowly started to accept that things would just be different than I planned and did what my Type-A personality self does in these type of situations and just researched everything I could about c-sections and recovery. I ordered all the products other mamas recommended for recovery and added them to my hospital bag. I had a long talk with Corey about the extra support I would need after and then just prayed and prayed.

I cried some more, too. But then I felt like God intervened and gave me some clarity. My c-section was scheduled for my mom’s birthday, which is just so special. Then, in the days leading up to my surgery I feel like God put a handful of people in my path - other mamas that I would run into in the line at lunch or the supermarket that had quite literally been in my shoes where they had to deliver their second baby by c-section after having a traditional delivery the first time around. I feel like these people were placed in my path to give me some peace leading up to the surgery and to remind me that how he got here really wasn’t that big of a deal and that it wasn’t even going to matter in a few months.

Three days before my c-section I started having very mild contractions. When they’d been going consistently for twelve hours my doctor had me come in to the hospital to be checked. Sure enough I was contracting but they were so weak that he felt confident I could make it until Wednesday morning if I wanted but also offered to go ahead and do the c-section that night. It was a Sunday night. But, I had promised Madeline I would go watch her ballet class the next day at school since I would have to miss her recital as it was the same morning as my c-section. So, I decided to go home and just try to take it easy. I went to her ballet class the following day, then took her to American Girl for a special ladies’ lunch at their Bistro and some shopping on Tuesday - her last day as an only child. I am SO glad I was able to donthis and it was a major benefit to knowing exactly when your baby is going to come. 

Then, my alarm clock went off at 3:30 am on Wednesday morning. I showered and shaved my legs (definitely do this right before leaving for your c-section if you ever have to have one) and put on my makeup before sneaking into Madeline’s room to give her a quick snuggle and kiss while she slept before leaving for the hospital.

At 4:30 there was no traffic so we made it quickly and easily. It was a surreal feeling to know you were going to meet your baby. It felt so different than how I felt driving to the hospital after my water broke with Madeline for some reason.

We arrived and then were taken to a triage room to get my IV started and some blood work done. Usually my veins are easy to find but because I was dehydrated from not being able to eat or drink since the night before it took three nurses trying before they were able to get my IV inserted. This is when I started to get really nervous. The anesthesiologist came in to introduce herself and go over some things with me. Eventually all the prep work was finished and it was time to go to the operating room. I walked myself to the recovery area with Corey and we sat down and got situated. My doctors both came in to say hello and go over the procedure with me again step by step. 

I mentioned to Corey that I wished I had thought to ask my doctor to tie my tubes because there was no way I was ever doing this again. He laughed and rolled his eyes and told me that I didn’t know how I would feel in the future.

Finally, it was time for me to go back to get my spinal block. Corey was to wait in the recovery area until after my spinal was in place so it was such a strange feeling to walk with my nurse back into the operating room on my own two feet. I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting it to look like an operating room but for some reason I just hadn’t really thought about what it would look like back there so when we got in the room I was instantly overwhelmed and so nervous. There were so many people from my doctors and nurses to the pediatric nurses to the anesthesiologist and anesthesia nurses. Lots of equipment and tools and bright lights. It was just so different than a dimly lit delivery room with just your husband, nurse, and doctor and I was not mentally prepared for that for some reason.

I climbed up on the table myself and then it was time for my spinal block. It for some reason was way scarier than when I had my epidural for Madeline’s birth. Maybe because the environment was so much more intense or maybe because I wasn’t in any pain yet like I had been with her so it wasn't providing any relief. After it was administered I started feeling it’s effects almost immediately and it was way more effective than my epidural had been. They warned me that sometimes you can feel a “tugging” sensation when they remove the baby but I never felt anything at all once it kicked in. 

Once my spinal block was administered they had me lie down and things started happening immediately from putting up the drape to inserting my catheter (which I thought was the worst part of being in labor with Madeline) to attatching monitors and supplemental oxygen.

Then, suddenly my blood pressure dropped very low. This can be a side effect of a spinal block so they administered some medication to bring it back up. Unfortunately, I was unexpectedly very sensitive to that medicine and my blood pressure skyrocketed to a dangerously high level. Even my anesthesiology nurse was starting to panic, which was terrifying for me on the table looking up and only being able to see her sitting at my head and the monitors going off.

The high blood pressure caused a really intense headache. It was the worst one I’d had in my whole life and literally felt like I was being beaten by bags of bricks on all sides of my head at the same time. 

They brought Corey in just as this was all happening, which made me feel a little bit better just because I felt him grab my hand even though my headache was so bad that I couldn’t see him. He massaged my head with his other hand and they administered some more medication to help balance out my blood pressure.

I started feeling nauseous from the headache and all the different medications and just wanted to close my eyes and rest until it was all over but I didn’t know how far along they were or how close we were to meeting our baby and I just desperately wanted to hear that cry. 

Then, I heard our doctor say that she had his feet. Then I heard her say “Oh it’s definitely a boy!”  Then, everyone laughing because he was peeing. Haha! Then, finally, after what felt like an eternity more, a cry.

The pediatric nurses brought him over to examine him and suction out his mouth and nose. Then, they brought him all wrapped up over to Corey and I could look over my shoulder to see him for the first time. This was such a different experience than your baby being placed directly on your chest for skin to skin right after a vaginal delivery, which made me so sad even while feeling happy and relieved that he was here safely at the same time. I didn’t expect to feel any sadness over this because I had had the opportunity to experience a traditional birth with Madeline but in the moment it made me so incredibly sad not to get that moment with him. 

They took him away to measure and weigh him and brought Corey over with them while they closed me. Then, they sent Corey and baby Connor out to the recovery room while they finished up my surgery. This only took a couple minutes more and I started to feel a little better as my vitals evened back out. Finally. I was transferred to a gurney and wheeled out to recovery. This is when I was finally able to hold Connor and do skin to skin and eventually nurse for the first

One of the first things Corey told me when we were all back together in the recovery area is that he believed me now that I didn’t want to do this again!

We stayed in recovery until they were able to get three stable readings of my vitals and until I was able to move my legs, which took about an hour and a half more. Then, we were finally able to get to our room just in time for Madeline’s ballet recital so we FaceTimed in to watch it and then let her see her new baby brother over video. 

The rest of the day was pretty relaxed because I was on bed rest and not allowed to get up so we just spent it nursing, cuddling, and getting settled in. And FaceTiming all the grandparents and Madeline of course since they weren’t coming to visit until the next day. 

The day was definitely so different than what I imagined his birth story would be throughout my pregnancy but at the end of it we had a healthy baby in our arms so that’s all that really mattered. Oh, and this particular day - December 5, my mom’s birthday, made it even extra special.

Connor is the sweetest little babe and so different than Madeline was as a newborn so far. We are all just smitten with him - even Madeline who has also been a little upset over all the changes in our household as we all adjust. I had a lot of advice from friends who have had second babies about things I might feel - some of them very brutally honest. But what we feel the most is grateful for him and completely in love. Lots of tears were shed when trying to get pregnant for so many months. It’s really hard to believe those memories are real now looking at the perfect baby boy who has joined our family. He is such a reminder that God does things in his own time and He is always crafting a story that is better for us than we can even imagine. 

All photos are property of Tara-Marie Photo and reproduced here with permission. 


  1. Oh honey he is precious and so are you. I would have been scared too with all you went through, but look at the end product.

  2. Look at that sweet boy! These are gorgeous photos. I'm glad that your pregnancy and birth went well, even if it was different than expected!

  3. Definitely scary, but so glad everyone is healthy!! He is just precious and I love the pictures. So happy for you all!

  4. I love the photos and that he shares a birthday with your mom!
    Sounds like it was intense and scary at times, but so glad you and the baby are both doing well now.
    My experience the second time was different too because I was induced this time but not the first time. Definitely a surreal feeling to know when the baby is coming and drive to the hospital calm and NOT in labor.

  5. He's just so beautiful! What a miracle and gift from God!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your story! You were so brave! Friends have told me with an epidural / spinal you have to crunch right over while pregnant and this can be really uncomfortable - is this the case? It sounded v scary when you related about the blood pressure (and painful) but it sounds like your team know EXACTLY how to fix the situation, and very quickly you were distracted by the delivery of your perfect little boy! I know it must have been frustrating and upsetting not to have the same type of birth and get him immediately laid on you - but you rightly said - how they arrive, although tough doesn't matter in the end - he came out one way or another and looks simply perfect! Here in the UK they make C section mothers inject their tummies for weeks with warfarin, an anti-coagulant drug to prevent blood clots (also used in rat poison, lovely eh) - is that the case in the US? I hope you have recovered fully and weren't left with any lasting effects from the BP issues - it took mine ages to recover from being so low last summer! Sending love, hugs and congrats for getting through it all with such grace xx

  7. Glad he arrived safely! And December 5 is a pretty great day. My husband and I became engaged that day!


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