My birth story

first feedingI wrote this 14 days after she was born. I wanted to share it with all of you here now. Violet is 3 years old now and I still remember these days so clearly. I was determined to have a natural birth but it ended up not being possible. I still to this day mourn the loss of that experience but am so grateful that we have a beautiful and healthy child. In my town c-sections are done vertically not horizontally which means that I am not eligible for a vbac. It has been a long process coming to terms with this, and I am not quite sure I am fully there yet.

Violet Cecilia has been with us for 14 days now. It seems she’s always been here. She is an amazing and beautiful miracle. How can someone so small steal your heart in only 14 days. We are cherishing every moment with her.

My water broke at 11:14 on Monday 9/28, our due date. I called Gabe at school and he quickly came home and we decided what to do next. We made a few phone calls and were on our way to the hospital. I was feeling excited and ready for the challenges ahead. Gabe was being so supportive and encouraging. Mutsuko (my surrogate mother here in Japan) met us at the hospital at 1:00.

The doctor checked me and said I was officially in labor but I was only 1cm dilated. Still, they wanted to admit me because my water had broken. So we were sent to the labor room to be monitored for an hour and then we would be placed in our private room.

My contractions were mild and about 10 min. apart. So we got checked into our room and Mutsuko went back home since it didn’t look like we were going to see any action for a while. We walked around the hospital and laughed and enjoyed our last moments (so we thought) before Violet joined us.

That night my contractions started to come more close together and much more intensely. We didn’t sleep all night because they started coming back to back. But then morning came and they slowed down again.

I was checked by the doctor and he said the baby still hadn’t dropped and that I was still only 1cm. I felt frustrated that I had gone through all those contractions only to have made no progress at all. But still we were hopeful and also thankful that it was now Tuesday and the English speaking doctor was going to be on duty until Wed. morning.

So we walked the halls and stairs of the hospital hoping she would drop… The contractions were 5-7 min apart until the evening when they came back to back again. My doctor came in and said he was hoping to deliver our baby that night. But again I was checked and only 4cm and she still hadn’t dropped.

By 9am the next morning we were exhausted. We hadn’t slept since Sunday night. The doctor checked me again and said that she was still too high and that I was only 4cm but fully effaced. He suggested we go ahead with the c-section. I was devastated. I felt so tired and yet still so ready to give birth naturally as we had planned. He said it would be safe to wait one more day if that’s what we wanted. I asked about being induced but he said that it wouldn’t help because she wasn’t dropping. So we walked back to our room and I cried and cried.

We prayed together about it and decided to have the c-section. It was Gabe’s birthday 9/30. But then we got an unexpected visit from our dear pastor Rev. and Mrs. Yoshida. We talked and prayed together. After their visit we felt refreshed and rejuvenated. When we walked back to tell the doctor our decision I said, “I want to try one more day please.” He obliged and they kept me on antibiotics for safety from infection.

We walked around the hospital with renewed strength. Mutsuko brought a birthday cake for Gabe and we celebrated in the hospital library. Then we walked and walked some more.

That night the contractions were the strongest they had been so far. My friend Machiko came by. She is a pharmacist and specializes in Chinese medicine. She gave me a wonderful massage and brought Jasmine tea leaves for me to smell to help me relax. It worked so well that my water fully broke after about 5 minutes with her.

We decided to go to the labor room. (the whole time we were there they just let us labor privately. They don’t come in and check you all the time like in the US. I was only put on the fetal monitor every hour but I was not checked for progress. It was nice to just be left alone to let my body do it’s work)

So we got to the room and Mutsuko came. We labored all night long. Gabe massaged my belly and Mutsuko massaged my back. I couldn’t have gone through it with out them. My pain was so intense. I told Gabe I thought I could go on if this had only been the 2nd day. But I was just too tired. We were all tired.

The morning came and I asked to be checked again. 6cm and she still hadn’t dropped. I cried and asked when the doctor would be there. He came at 9am. He couldn’t have come soon enough. The nurses were so encouraging and really tried to help me through the pain. The doctor checked me and I was 7cm. He said at this point I needed to have the c-section. We agreed on the spot.

I experienced some grief at that moment. I felt that my body had failed me. That I had failed my child. I wanted so desperately to give her the best start in life. I wanted to feel every pain and every sensation as she came into this world. But the Lord had other plans for her.

I was told I had to wait until 1:30 for the operation. The doctor on call that day had just moved to town. He spoke fluent English and had studied and practiced in the US. It was a relief to have him there in the surgery. He translated everything for us and we felt very comfortable.

1:30 couldn’t come soon enough though. The pain was so intense and I was ready to see our baby girl. They wheeled me to the operating room and I said goodbye to Gabe. I told him to stay with the baby and to sing to her. He did.

When I got back to the operating room they took off my glasses but promised to put them on when they brought the baby out to me. I started to feel a little nervous realizing I was about to have surgery and in a foreign country too. Just then the nurse asked if I liked music…”yes I do” I said. So she put on a cd. It sounded like Chinese instrumental music. It was so peaceful. Then I realized it was the song “You Raise Me Up”. I felt totally relaxed. And the next song was “Amazing Grace”. How perfect.

The epidural was a welcomed relief at that point. I had had one before in high school when I had a spinal tap. For a moment I thought about how much it hurt back then….But I was into my 74hr. of natural labor at that point….needless to say, it didn’t hurt at all.

Finally at 2:32 Violet Cecilia すみれ was safely ushered into this world. She cried right away and I cried too. This time tears of joy! The nurse kept wiping my eyes and saying in Japanese, “Don’t cry, you won’t be able to see your beautiful baby.”

At last, they put my glasses on and brought her to me. It was love at first sight. She looked me right in the eyes and grabbed my finger. I said, “Hello Violet, it’s me, mommy”. It was the most amazing moment of my life (next to the moment the Lord joined my life to Gabe’s).

She was here, she was finally here! They rubbed her face against mine and I was able to kiss her. Then they took her out to see her daddy. They stitched me up (or stapled rather) and then pushed me in a bed back into my room.

Gabe came in shortly after and we cried and celebrated this new life we now 3 share. They brought Violet into our room at 5pm and we had our first breastfeeding experience which was also amazing. Then they finally said that they needed to take her back to the nursery so I could rest at around 7:30. And I slept!
Breastfeeding has been going very well and I had lots of support from the hospital staff. They originally wanted me to leave her in the nursery for 3 days so that I could recover but I was set on breastfeeding and didn’t want her to be given formula. We talked it through with the head nurse for close to an hour and they decided to let us room in and do our best.

My milk came in on the 3rd day. By her 1 week birthday she was back at her birth weight and we all celebrated! The nurses were so pleased as was I.

Breastfeeding has been very healing for me, since I wasn’t able to give birth to her naturally as I had hoped.
Today Violet and I shared our first day alone together. It was perfect! She is an amazing child as I’m sure all mother’s believe of their own. I am treasuring up all these moments in my heart. Every feeding, every diaper change. Every squeak and squeal she makes as she tries to communicate with us.I know that all to soon these days will pass and God willing she will be walking and talking and one day moving away.

These moments are precious. I love her so much and I am so thankful that she is finally here. She came just the way God intended her to come, just as each and every one of us did. I learned that we can plan all we like but only God knows the perfect way.
“Every good and perfect thing is from above.” James 1:17

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