Updated: Apr 25
If you would have told me two weeks before Lucien’s arrival how the last week would unfold, I don’t think I would have believed the plot twist that lie ahead. But one thing that motherhood has taught me so far, is that being a mom is full of things you could never quite imagine until you go through them, but it is all 100% worth it! ❤️
Overall, my pregnancy had been pretty amazing. If you have been following along you may have seen me share a bit about our journey to start our family, and how it was a very intentional path to get here. Having been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis 7 years ago I had my own healing to do around what motherhood would look like for me and the extra challenges that come with living with RA. Let’s just say it was about a 2.5 year journey to safely come off of the low dose chemo drugs I was on, detoxing, flaring as I transitioned onto a new medication that would be safe & regaining my strength, energy and mindset to be ready to start trying to conceive.
And in April of 2021 our prayers were answered. Over the next 9 months my fears of going through pregnancy with RA slowly washed away. I had never felt so empowered before for how strong and resilient I was to create and carry our little bambino!! In the final months we started working with our doula to prepare for childbirth, go over birth positions, medical interventions, labour stages, comfort measures, etc. I was preparing myself mentally for labour and trusting that I was 💯 strong and capable to birth this babe. While I had no set birth plan, I knew I wanted to let my body go into labour on its own without induction, and see how I did in early labour and how I could manage my pain from there. During our sessions with our doula we had talked about medical interventions such as a C section and the family centred approaches we could take should we have to go that route. I remember thinking, in case of an emergency I know that is a possibility, and would be ok with it if it was absolutely necessary, but wouldn’t want to to do it if not. Little did we know that at 38 weeks pregnant, a plot twist was on the horizon.
As Lucien’s due date was fast approaching, I started seeing my OB weekly, & as we hit 37 wks baby was head down, I was starting to have some Braxton hicks, and my OB was happy with how my RA was under control, and saw no reason to do a early induction. This was great news as some RA patients that are starting to flare further along in pregnancy can lead to early inductions. Although I had one flare at the start of pregnancy, the rest of my pregnancy was flare free, and in fact even better than before pregnancy when I hit second trimester! So when I say there was a plot twist on the horizon from part 1 of this birth story, it was quite unexpected how things unfolded. At 38.5 weeks pregnant I received the news that my stepsister had sadly passed away quite suddenly. Without going into the details, I will say that while she had health issues, it was still quite a shock. It was a difficult few days, processing my own grief on top of being already emotional with pregnancy hormones, seeing my parents mourn, and navigate all that comes with losing a loved one. Looking back, I struggled to sort through my grief and other emotions that came up, while also being worried about stressing too much and how that might affect the baby. Around this time as well I was noticing more discomfort along my right rib cage, which made it very uncomfortable to sleep. I had my weekly OB appt the day after her passing, and updated the OB about all that had happened, along with the discomfort in my ribcage. He checked externally by feeling my belly and pelvis and confirmed that babies head was down, and that it was likely a foot in my ribcage. There was definitely something digging into my ribcage! He checked as well to see if I was dilated, which I hadn’t. He said it was very likely he’d see me back next week. The next day, I noticed I was having a harder time feeling kicks, but I was also emotionally pretty exhausted. By the end of day Brandon suggested we go to hospital to be safe. And that is what our OB had always recommended, if we weren’t sure to just go to the hospital to be safe. So off we went to the hospital at 39 weeks. Due to Co vid, my hubby wasn’t able to come into hospital with me. So he dropped me off and I went into the OB department and they hooked me up to the stress test. I think just being in a quiet environment and really focusing on my breathing and feeling the kicks, I started to feel them more noticeably, and after 30 mins or so when they checked the charts - all was well with our little guy. Luckily as well my OB happened to be on call that night, and he came to check on me. He said he would do a quick ultrasound as well on me to double check baby. I had just seen him a few days before mind you (where he confirmed head was down, but I had told him about the ribcage discomfort). Low and behold when he did the ultrasound - he was shocked to see that Lucien was actually positioned transverse (sideways). I vividly remember him saying “wow amy, well that discomfort you were feeling in your ribcage is actually his head, you’re baby is now transverse!”. I hadn’t really ever thought of that as a possibility. We’re not sure when he repositioned, but as I was now 39 weeks my OB said he does not manually try to flip babies after 37 weeks as it can be very stressful for them, and often doesn’t work in his experience. He explained to me why the baby being transverse was problematic - that if I were to go into labour - there is the risk of the umbilical cord dropping into the birth canal, which can cut off oxygen to the baby - which obviously could be very dangerous. He said he could do a C section that night if we were ready. NO way was I ready that night!! Plus I still had to tell this to Brandon waiting in the car & we had my stepsisters funeral 3 days from then. So my intuition right then said take the weekend & maybe baby would flip on his own. My OB understood but said if I showed any signs of going into labour that I was to come to the hospital immediately.
Meanwhile, Brandon was waiting in the car. When I finally came out and updated him he was SO relieved to know that the baby was ok. I then shocked him with our little plot twist 😬 Overall we were both surprised, but very thankful we went in that night. After finding out at 39 weeks that our baby was now transverse, we debriefed with our doula and talked through our options, how we were feeling, and some exercises I could do over the weekend to encourage baby to flip. I also had a chiropractor appt booked the next day as well (which can be helpful for baby to turn). Going into the weekend - we had my stepsister’s funeral ahead, I was feeling a little in limbo as far as how the next few days would unfold. The funeral was hard. I did my best to allow myself to feel all the feelings, but also prioritize the baby’s well-being, the exercises our doula recommended, and spend time meditating. On Tuesday Dec 21st we headed to our OB appt, with our hospital bags packed just in case. I was nervous going into the appt but also ready to find out if our baby had turned. When our OB came in and set up the ultrasound, low & behold, our baby was pretty much in the same position, still sitting transverse! By this point, it was just relieving to finally know which route we were going, this baby needed to come out safely and thats all that mattered to me now! The ironic part was that our baby’s original due date was Dec. 22 (also the first day of Capricorn season). When we found out his due date, my husband and I had this on-going joke that this babe could either be a Sagittarius (Dec 21 or before) or a Capricorn (Dec 22 or after). My husband being a Capricorn, reallllly wanted baby to be a Capricorn, and I joked saying that would be wayyy too much Capricorn energy for a Pisces like me to handle! So the irony that we could choose between Dec 21 or Dec 22 as our C-section delivery date was wild!! My husband said that I could choose so when our OB asked I said… if we get to choose, I’m ready to do it today..our bags are in the car! He called the hospital to book in the surgery, but the OR was already very booked up that afternoon - SO Dec 22 it was!! Even though I tried for a saggitarius, our baby was 100% meant to be a Capricorn 😂 and was going to be delivered on his original due date! So home we went again, for one more sleep and our last night as a party of 2! ✌🏻
It was a pretty surreal feeling to know that our baby would be here the next day!! While I always knew that a C-section was a possibility, I had never really considered that I’d have so much time to think about it. And how can you, theres no way to prepare for absolutely all possibilities, childbirth is the ultimate release of control. Looking back now though, having time to process it was very helpful to go in with a positive mindset. We debriefed with our doula that afternoon, and thankfully she had actually had a C section herself, and was sooo helpful in supporting us to prepare for a positive family centred C section. Knowing that you will be awake for major abdominal surgery, along with a spinal block can definitely be a little daunting! My major fear was being immobilized, because I have already been immobilized at times during my autoimmune disease when in incredible pain, and I would do anything to not experience that again. So talking through all this was very helpful to help me process through these feelings! Our doula also sent me a very informative article that talked about the thoughts and emotions that come up when a c-section is scheduled (happy to send this to anyone who may be in the same boat at some point!). In addition to debriefing with our doula, we updated a few loved ones who could keep us in their thoughts & prayers. One friend in particular I was messaging with that night @mrs_j_martin had had 3 C sections herself, and offered me many words of encouragement and affirmation. She shared with me some of the special things that she loved about her sunroof births as she called them❤️When I told her that we were ready to do the C Section that day (being Dec 21) the last day of Sagitarrius season and also Winter Solstice, and I thought how special that would be on the darkest day of the year, as Lucien’s name literally translates to “light”. And then she sent me this picture below about tomorrow, Dec 22nd his bday… and how perfectly perfect it was that our little beam of light chose that day to make his grand arrival earth side. I went to be trusting and so excited to meet him that next day!
Waking up on Dec 22, I felt like a little kid on Christmas morn, except the gift being a wee baby you have been dreaming of meeting for the last 9 months! I remember getting up early so I could have breakfast lol I think it was about 8 hours or so without food before surgery…and I’m glad I did, as the procedure ended up being delayed a bit. Here's a photo of us that morning, can you tell we were excited?😂
Driving to the hospital was the most exciting, yet surreal drive ever, both my husband and I just kept saying “ I cant believe we’re driving to meet our son!”.. Looking back my husband says he cant believe how in good spirits I was that day, and that he thinks he was more nervous than I was but didn’t want to make me nervous 😂I’m glad I had the day before to go home and process it, because I truly did wake up feeling so excited to meet him, and knowing that I had done everything in my power to carry a healthy baby, and today was the day that I finally got to meet him, and his safe arrival was all that mattered at this point. We got checked into the hospital room. At this point we turned off our phones so we could be totally present with one another, and also agreed that we would wait until we were settled later that night to notify our family of his birth, we wanted it to feel just as much as a surprise and not have everyone expecting a call at a certain time or feel pressured to share the news right away. I don’t remember the exact time line but likely an hour or so before surgery my nurse came in and started to get me prepped - changed, IV hooked up, liquids started, etc. At this time I also requested a few things I had chatted with my doula about to make it more of a family centred c section - such as music playing, skin to skin right away if possible, not having my arms strapped down, etc. When my OB came in to say hello before going in, we agreed to have some Christmas music playing, skin to skin, however he said my arms would have to be strapped down. I understood his reasons but looking back that was a part that felt restrictive and sore. When I was all prepped, they wheeled me into the OR, and had Brandon wait in hall while they administered the spinal. I was surprised to see how many ppl were in the OR! My OB briefed them on my case and then they all got to work. The anesthesiologist came over and walked me through what he would be doing. My room nurse came to stand in front of me and talk me through, and offered her hands for me to squeeze. They applied some freezing to the injection site and then the spinal, which was actually way less painful than I thought it would be. Very quickly my legs started to go tingly, and they helped me transition onto my back. They then brought Brandon in, and he came to hold my hand, this being around 4pm. Things happened pretty fast from there! Our OB said it was time to begin.
There was a big gown up so I couldn’t see anything, and Brandon recalls just seeing their shadows and tops of heads moving around lol The anesthesiologist could sense I was looking for some feedback, as he came up to my shoulder and started to talk me through what was happening. I remember him saying all is going well, and it wont be long now until you meet your son! Although I couldn’t feel any pain, I was surprised by the amount of tugging, and movement.. it felt like I was on a roller coaster. I kept coming back to my breath, holding Brandon’s hand, and affirming that all is well, I am well, and our baby is happy and healthy. And before I knew it, I heard the best sound of my entire life… our babies first cry, our little angel Lucien Andy was finally here. Upon hearing his first cry I started immediately sobbing with joy, and a few moments later they brought him around the curtain so we could see him - I’ll never forget how perfect that moment was. They then took him behind me for the delayed cord clamping, Brandon went over to cut cord, and then they brought him back for our golden hour of skin to skin. While in the OR I was laying flat on my back, so they laid him on top of my chest, as they stitched me up. When the surgery was over, they brought us all back to our room, and then I could sit up and finally hold him in my arms! It’s hard to believe this was 3 months ago, we are still in awe of our little fella. And so grateful our birth story led to his healthy arrival!
The end of the birth story, but just the beginning of the chapter for our beautiful Lucien Andy Rohrer :)