Malachi's Birth Story

For what it's worth...this may be a bit more detailed than my other birth here is the short version...had a baby.  He was really big and really tall.  The end.

For the rest who are like me:

I know, I know, when people hear that you went in for an induction and came out with a c-section, the "granola" moms (or at least some of them) roll their eyes and nod like they knew it would happen all along.  But, really, they don't have ESP and only God knows what we need.  I'm so thankful He's at the center of everything and is in control.

A few weeks before our induction, and probably even earlier than that, I began having a feeling that this wouldn't be a normal delivery.  After all, Malachi started out not being a typical baby.  Even on induction day, I never really questioned if we should wait but I just felt that something was off.  On the ultrasound I had on the 7th, he was head down but his whole body was turned to the side (he was basically facing my right arm).  Really not typical for my babies to be like that so late in the game.  So, going in on Friday, I knew God was in control first and foremost and that we needed to be ready for anything.

We were late (which is not really normal) getting to the hospital but when we got there the night nurses started everything up and cranked on the pitocin.  I met my new nurse a little after seven and she brought in two student nurses who were excited to watch us labor and deliver.  Somehow we scared them away but our nurse A stuck with us.  Around 9:30 Dr. J came in and we chatted and he broke my water.  Malachi had come down some and Dr. J didn't really notice anything unusual.  We all knew there as a lot of amniotic fluid due to the ultrasound and sure enough...there was.  A lot.  So much that I was scared to labor standing up because, well, it's kind of gross.  Moving along...

I settled into rocking with contractions on the end of the bed as they got intense.  Dr. J said I could have protein bars and whatever I wanted to drink so we got a soft drink and I got Tracy to make a special visit to the L&D with some protein bars (note that when I labor I don't really like having people hanging around).  Despite me telling her to "shut up" during a couple of contractions, she was a wonderful laughing break when they started getting hard.

At this point, I'm not sure of the timing of things but here's how it all went down.  After Tracy left, I decided to stand and, well, we won't talk about the other things our bodies do during labor.  Nurse A had suggested lifting the bed up as high as it would go and leaning on it.  That was awesome!  I did that for awhile and then assumed my normal bed sitting straight up kneeling position.  That's when the contractions were getting stronger...and stronger.

And then Malachi's heart rate started doing funky things.  During the contraction it would spike, go down, and then spike again.  Not really go down and then stay down and then come back up.  Nurse A came in and after watching the monitor through a contraction said she wanted to check and see if she could tell what was going on.

She checked and I was at a 7 close to 8 and he was still a bit high up and she realized that wasn't a head full of hair she felt.  She couldn't really tell what it was so she called Dr. J to come over and see.  It took him a bit to get over and it took me getting really uncomfortable and feeling really strong contractions to know that I was transitioning.

When he got there, he felt the same thing Nurse A did so they got this big ol' archaic ultrasound machine (it was old ya'll...they assured me a new one was on it's way) in the room and waited and waited for it to warm up.  Dr. J thought a few times he was just going to have to deliver but I never really felt the urge to push or pressure until there was a contraction.  And it was never strong enough for me to even try pushing.

The funniest thing during the ultrasound was watching Dr. J and Ashlynn twisting their heads trying to figure out how Malachi was presenting.  I wish we had gotten a picture if I hadn't been focusing so hard on contractions.  They finally figured out he was presenting with his brow/forehead first. Ideally, and most babies do, will turn their heads to the back, tuck chin down, and come out with the back of their head (or crown...hence, crowning) first.  That's your ob lesson for the day!

So, we talked.  Dr. J wanted to leave me alone to see if it would correct on it's own.  He said 30 minutes but it was a bit longer (because he's very patient).  He also said, if he didn't correct, then he would try and do it.  At that point, I said, "Can I get an epidural before you do that?"  And he asked me if that was okay.    I really reassured him that it was okay, if not totally necessary.  Manipulating a baby in womb didn't sound very pleasant, especially while having strong contractions.  He did say we might have to discuss c-section if we couldn't get him to hold position.  And I knew that before he even said it.

A couple of contractions while we were talking and I told them to please hurry to get the epidural because I was getting close.  He told A to check me just before the epidural was put in.  And he hustled out to call the anesthesiologist.  I continued to reiterate the need to hurry.  Dr. L arrived with his numbing juice and Nurse A checked me quickly.  At 9 cm dilated, I sat up, leaned on Mark and moaned through contractions.  Dr. L worked quickly and was surprised I didn't flinch even when he was doing it.  Ya do what ya gotta do to get a kid here safely.

We waited and I numbed and finally Dr. J came in to check me.  He was able to push Malachi up and turn his head in the proper position.  Then Malachi would promptly come down to where he was and put his head back to brow presentation.  He tried three times and each time, Malachi turned to see the world below.  So, Dr. J said we'd wait and turn me to my side and see if he'd correct himself.  We waited 30 more minutes and he came in and checked and he had moved a bit but was still brow presentation.

So, Dr. J went to do a procedure, I changed positions, and we waited.  It should have been another 30 minutes but it was a lot longer.  We waited and Nurse A conspired with the other nurses to brainstorm ways to get this baby to come out the "right way."  We really tried it all.  Including a foley bulb (yep, glad I had an epidural then).  She checked me and thought for sure that Malachi had moved and scooted his head down...then she flinched.  Malachi had blinked on her because she had poked his eye!  Apparently, that is a really gross feeling.  And we waited and prayed and talked to Malachi and prayed and texted and blogged and prayed some more.

Dr. J came in and said he was really still high up and he tried to get him to turn again.  He wouldn't.  And then Malachi blinked when Dr. J poked him in the eye.  And Dr. J made a yucky face.  It must feel really weird.  Seriously, though. do you want people poking you in the eye?!

We talked about the options:  waiting...although I hadn't progressed (which I normally do quickly when I hit transition), this could pose several problems.  If we waited, with each contraction (obviously I was completely off the pitocin but still in full labor), Malachi's face was being squished and pushed into my pelvic bone.  Enough of this and eventually, he'd run into some serious malformations and could have vision problems among other things.  If we did a c-section, the circumstances would not prevent a future VBAC and I knew for a fact that Dr. J was pro VBAC (he told us that doing a section was just a lot more work for him and everyone involved...and after going through it, I can totally believe it).  So, after a lot of talking (and Mark and I had already prayed) we (that being the whole team with Mark and I being the lead ones to call it...including a reluctant Nurse A who was so wanting to see us go the other route) chose a section.  And we had a peace about it.

We prayed, they prepped and then we went off to get Malachi out.

After I was wheeled back and several people maneuvered my extremely numb body all around the operating table, they brought Mark in.  It didn't take long after that and we heard the sweetest noise to any mama...a baby crying.  Dr. J made sure to show us Malachi and then he was wiped down, wrapped up, and given to Mark.  The pediatric nurse had talked to us before hand about what to expect (and we told her what we expected as well).  Mark brought Malachi over to meet me and I got to give him smooches and smile at him.  It was really hard to concentrate on him, the nausea, and what felt like the marathon I was running but I did get some eye candy before Mark headed back to our room to get all the vitals done.  The nurse came in a few minutes after they left and let us all know how big and tall he was!  We all had a nice conversation about my big babies after that.  They had a bit of a pool going as to his size.  Can't remember who won it though.

Now, here's some funnies and then I'll give my take on a c-section.

Dr. J had to deliver another baby awhile back via a c-section who was face presentation and apparently she had been that way for some time (and I think even got stuck in the birth canal).  He always shows the mamas the babies after they're born but this kid, apparently, did not come out looking quite right and he passed the baby off to the nurse rather quickly.  Nurse A had been there and was kind of shocked as well.  This baby left quite an impression on Dr. J and the nurse.  So, Dr. J told us about it after Nurse A had.  He also said that a year later the parents sent a picture of her to him and she was so beautiful. I took the time being wheeled back to the OR to inform Dr. J I didn't really care what he looked like, I wanted to see him.  If he was all squished then at least we could laugh.

I spent most of  the time on the table making them laugh (it's a really weird feeling when you're lying on a table and they are pushing and pulling you trying to make you fit because you're too tall and when something falls from the OR lights and almost hits you and there's nothing you can do because you can't move...made sure that something was not in me when they stitched me up) and trying to not pass out from feeling light headed.

One of my fears was that my spinal block wouldn't take and I'd have to be knocked out.  I was quite relieved when Dr. J checked one more time to see if he had corrected and I didn't even realize it.  God really answered those prayers.

The nurse anesthisist took Mark's camera and got a lot of the pictures and so did the anesthesiologist even though he hit some buttons and pulled up some weird menus.

So, here's the scoop, having had both vaginal deliveries and now a c-section.  Totally, would one hundred percent choose vaginal.  But, I'm also so grateful that a c-section is available if needed (along with those epidurals).  I spent a better part of Friday feeling weak and light headed.  When they put me on the table I could feel Malachi kicking me in the ribs.  Yeah, he was still that high up.  And since c-sections are major surgery, you get to deal with all the risks and complications.  After Malachi was born, I started feeling nauseous.  Let me say that throwing up laying down while an anesthesiologist is holding a plastic bag...not fun.  Throughout Saturday night, I threw up three more times (mostly while nursing Malachi and since I wasn't allowed up, Mark had to rush to get something for me).  Throwing up when you are sore and have stitches all in your abdomen, not fun either.  I wasn't really nauseous, it would just hit and I would have to throw up.  And they didn't let me get out bed until the next day.  I didn't get a shower (and we all know after laboring, showers are a sweet gift from heaven), until two days later.  The pain is about the same as a vaginal except in a different area which means you have to be very careful because you use your abdomen for everything!  And then, I can't lift any of our bunch until six weeks.  All that to say, I'd never, ever, ever choose a c-section.  Just not my cup of tea...and I'm ever the more grateful that we have a doctor who is pro-VBAC too.  We've already warned Dr. J that if he ever moves his practice to another town, we were following. I think our words were we would hunt him down.  He laughed and said he wasn't going anywhere.  I told him we just wanted to make sure he was aware.  Stalking is only illegal if you get caught, right?

I've been told that if I take it easy this week the following weeks will be much easier.  And those that know me, know that I do not do well with "taking it easy."  I'm trying though.  And for now, I'm dealing with an infection so that's going to keep me down.

I will say, that I have been told it's harder to bond with a baby after a c-section.  Not me. I fell totally in love with that scrunched up swollen baby the minute I laid eyes on him (I saw him before Mark by the way, I could see his reflection in the OR lamp).  I think all of our waiting and praying and worrying made me ever the more grateful to see him healthy and whole (and big).  I had such a love for that sweet gift right away.

Oh, and breastfeeding after the section...tough to do.  I was so light headed, I couldn't do the regular cradle hold I like.  I tried the football hold but he was too long.  So, I had to lay on my side (remember now, I'm numb from the chest down) and nurse.  Wish we had a video of how I got on my side.  We put the bed completely flat.  Mark got on one side and my mom got on the other and they pushed me over and propped me up with pillows.  Both sides.  My dad got the hard job of holding the baby.  Fortunately, the numbness wore off quickly and I was able to nurse him my usual way after that!

We are so grateful to God for so many reasons.  First, that Malachi came out healthy.  We felt God reaffirmed our decision to do the c-section when we saw him. His whole forehead and eyes were swollen.  His eyes were swollen almost shut.  Apparently, Mark saw him open his eyes but I didn't see his eyeballs until several hours after his birth.  I noticed some bruising on his upper lip as well.

We also, felt all of the prayers throughout the day.  We had such peace and our anxiousness was calmed because we knew others were praying for us and God was with us.  I can't wait to tell Malachi his story of how he came into this world.  I know God has, from the start, made his life special (as He has with all our kids).

We were blessed to have an ah-mazing nurse who was willing to do everything she could to get Malachi to come out naturally.  I mean, truly, an advocate and support for us.  All the staff at the hospital were super awesome.  We continue to sing the praises of having babies at that hospital!  And, of course, Dr. J was a great support and wealth of advice throughout the labor and delivery.  One day, I'll share how God brought Dr. J into our lives.  It's a doozy!

For now, please know we'll get back to regular blogging after I've had a break.  I'm sure Mark will post more pictures this week so you can get your feel of some of our baby love!


  1. Ok, so I told you I don't blog..I follow! So I stalked you! Creepy? Hope not! You two are an amazing couple and it was such a pleasure to take care of you. Taking care of families like yours always validates the reason I do what I do. I pray that you heal quickly! Thanks for letting me be apart of this special time! I pray that next year when you come back, I am there to take care of you all! ;)

  2. Totally creepy! But so glad you found us! You'll have to keep up with us now. We are grateful God brought you into our lives and hope you're there when we come back too!

  3. Wow, Abbie, what a story! The eye-poking--haha!! Wow, that's a new one, right?! :) I'm so glad you have such an awesome doc and nurse and felt cared for and knew that the interventions used were ones you chose and felt in control and all. That is so wonderful and what YOU needed! I'm so super happy for you! I just realized today "Oh, I haven't been online much the past few days--I wonder how Abbie's birth went?!" :) Man, what a surprise for how it all went down, but it sounds like you feel positive about it all, and that is what matters most. Oh, yeah, and he's healthy and here and you get to hug and kiss him! Yay!!! :) I love that you have had babies every which way and can evaluate them all! :) C-section recovery stinks but hey, there's a reason they are there, and we are all glad to have them when they are needed! :) Much love to you and I pray you heal quick. It's so hard to be forced to lay low and stay in bed!!!! I know all those kids are loving their new baby brother!! <3 Emily