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Surrender - Callan's Birth Story

The most challenging part was accepting that nothing was going to according to plan. I prepared a birth plan for home, hospital and c section births. I thought there is absolutely no way I would ever have a c section. That would never happen to me.

Callan's birth story is one I will never forget. Birth is such an intimate experience, and as much as I try to remain professional during all births - it's almost impossible not to become emotionally connected to my clients and their stories. Especially when things deviate so far from the plan that there's nothing left to do but surrender to what is.


This is Callan's birth story - told from the perspective of his mother, Brooklyn.


*Before reading, please be aware that Brooklyn's story involves a home birth transfer and abuse by medical providers. If you believe there's any chance that these topics could be triggering for you, or have a negative affect on your mindset for your own birth, maybe come back to this one later.


 

I have always wanted to be a mom and knew I wanted to try right after our wedding. We were extremely fortunate to be able to conceive on the first try. Our wedding was August 13th and by September 5th I had my first positive test.


My pregnancy was so easy! I wish I enjoyed it more because I had no symptoms until the end. I didn't dislike being pregnant but I definitely wasn't someone that LOVED pregnancy.  Around 8ish months I had a bump that was more obvious if I wore the right shirt and that's when I started enjoying pregnancy more. That's when I felt empowered that I was carrying a baby. I never stopped working out or doing anything that I did pre-pregnancy. I only used pregnancy as an excuse once, and my husband (Logan) told me I need to use it as an excuse more often haha.



Callan's guess date was May 15th, 2023 and I was getting soo impatient from 38 weeks onward. People that were due after me were already having their babies so I felt like it could be any moment.



Finally on Friday, May 19th, I woke up around 4:00am to go to the bathroom. When I crawled back in bed I had the tiniest back ache and thought WHAT IF. I never had back aches and this one just seemed different because it went away on its own. So I waited awake to see if it would come back. Sure enough about 30 minutes later it was back. Then went away and about 50 minutes later it was back. I was getting so excited so didn't fall back asleep.


That morning I got up and ran lots of errands in town to keep me distracted. I was still fully functioning but feeling frustrated that things weren't getting closer or more intense. I used those contractions as prep for my breathing. Even though they were very mild I still closed my eyes and counted my breathing so I could prepare.


I took a 2 hour nap to try to get the rest everyone says and I'm thankful I did. Those mild, inconsistent back contractions lasted all day until it was time for bed and they got a bit more uncomfortable. I didn't sleep during the night because I just couldn't get comfortable.


Saturday morning, I texted Hannah, Leslie and my cousin to think about coming up because I was needing ideas to move things along and some support.


They arrived a bit after 9:00am and as soon as I saw Hannah walk into my room I instantly started crying because it had already been over 24 hours of being in labor and not much progress.



I feel like I remember that Saturday so clearly yet it's all a bit of a blur. The contractions picked up quite a bit once they arrived. They were still all in my back and we tried several different positions to get me comfortable but counter pressure on the back and hips was what helped the most.



They were so intense and my bedroom just felt like my little safe haven and I didn't want to leave. According to my camera roll, I tried pushing and moving baby down from 3:45-4:45pm. Whenever I checked myself, I could feel his head. All of my pushing and contractions were feeling so productive but then I was so defeated whenever I would feel his head in the same spot.



Baby still wasn't descending and my motivation to get through contraction was dwindling so the pain was just taking over me so quickly. I remember laying in the pool and looking straight forward not knowing if I was going to pass out or not and slightly panicking because "what if I pass out in the water". My only rest was the 2 hour nap the day prior and only food was a banana and honey stick. I was desperate for energy and to be done.



We decided to transfer to the hospital. Leslie drove her van, Logan took the passenger seat and Hannah stayed with me in the back while I stayed on my hands and knees. We passed a cop going out of town so we did the right thing and called to say we're on a mission to the hospital. We were then told to wait on the side of the road for an ambulance. I just wanted pain relief so bad and wanted some gas to take the edge off.



The ambulance showed up and I was begging for relief. They said I couldn't get gas until the paramedic came. The paramedic got there so again I begged for gas and he said he didn't have any.



The ambulance had the standing bars up top to hold onto so I used those because that was the only way I could barely manage contractions. The driver told me I need to lay on the gurney so I responded that I couldn't handle laying down. He said "we aren't going anywhere until you lay down."


That is when everything really felt like it was going from bad to worse. I didn't even want a ride from the ambulance.


I don't know why an ambulance had to come, I don't know why a paramedic had to come, I don't know why my time had to be wasted waiting for them, I don't know why they made me lay down. 


All I needed was transportation to the hospital and we already had that taken care of when we left the house.



We get there and they take me through the emergency room and to the labor and delivery floor. All the staff is in my room. All the attention was on me as I was screaming from some relief and there was only 1 other patient on the floor so they weren't busy. I was standing on the side of the bed since I was too uncomfortable laying down. The doctor said I needed to get on the bed because she can't deliver a baby standing up.


Then she said she needed to check me so I told her I can check myself and tell her that his head was in my cervix. She did end up checking and when I tell you, she hooked me so hard from the side, oh man. I asked her why she had to be so rough and I couldn't tell you what her answer was.


Finally the anesthesiologist came and inserted the epidural. He wasn't pleasant to deal with either. And of course it only took on my left side. It gave me just enough relief that I was able to get a nap after being awake for 2 days.



I woke back up and the doctor asked me what I would like to do. I said I wanted to keep pushing because I wasn't ready to give up.



She sat at the foot of the bed and you would not believe it, apparently I irritated her by wanting to push because she had her arms crossed, eyes rolling and sighing so loud I could hear it over everyone counting.



Finally we decided to do a c-section.


My heart shattered into a million pieces and I sobbed.



They took me back and Logan got his scrubs on while they prepped me.



I remember them telling me to lay my arms out to the side on the table and I said "I can't do that because if they strap me down I'll feel claustrophobic." They said they don't strap you down, you just have to lay out on the table.


At some point Logan came in and sat next to me. I very vaguely remember hearing Callan's first cry.


I remember that Callan was by my head and it felt like I was trying with all my might to reach up to him but couldn't move. Sometime between them telling me they don't strap you down and when baby was out, my arms were tied down. And I just remember thinking these LIARS. Why am I tied to the bed?!



 When they unhooked my arms I was able to touch my baby's face and I couldn't think of anything to say but knew I had to say something so I just said "my sweet boy".


I don't remember anything until I woke up feeling all the pain of them working on me. I was begging for something to take the pain away and the doctor said "sorry I just have to keep going" but I can tell you it wasn't with a gentle tone.


I then said I needed to throw up and asked the anesthesiologist if he could help me turn my head since he was sitting with me. He told me "no" and threw me a blue bag. WITH WHAT HANDS DO I USE THIS BLUE BAG!? I'm tied down to the bed and just get told no to helping me turn my head. So I just start throwing up laying there facing the ceiling and it felt like it took every bit of strength in my body to turn my head the slightest.


I just felt like a complete object to them. I felt like I got treated so poorly. Nobody was compassionate, nobody cared about my feelings, most of the people had an attitude.


None of this was what I wanted.


I didn't want to leave the house, I didn't want an ambulance ride, I sure as hell didn't want to go to Fremont hospital, I didn't want a doctor that was so rude, I didn't want a c-section, I didn't want the c-section to be as miserable as it was. I just hated it all.


After all that in the OR, I got back and got to hold my baby. I don't remember holding him but Leslie took a picture of Logan, Callan and I.


And THAT is why you hire Leslie. I wouldn't have any images from our first moments...

And though I don't love our birth story, I am so beyond thankful that I have all the pictures to look back on. I have looked back at our images so many times.



Mourning the birth it could've been, thankful for the time I labored at home, happy that I got to have a healthy baby, loving the raw emotion in everyone's faces. 



The most challenging part was accepting that nothing was going to according to plan. I prepared a birth plan for home, hospital and c-section births. I thought there is absolutely no way I would ever have a c-section. That would never happen to me. I think I would've had an easier time accepting the outcome if I were more open to all the possibilities, but I was very closed-minded when it came to anything getting in the way of my home birth and things not going perfectly. 



Things I would share with others:


-Follow your intuition. Nobody knows better what to do than you do 


-Contractions are all a mental game. I never doubted the fact that I knew I could handle contractions. Of course they were miserable but it wasn't until things weren't progressing that my mind very quickly was giving up and made the pain became unbearable. So try not to ever feel discouraged during labor and keep that strong mindset! 


-You will birth your best friend 


-Time really does go very fast and the hard days will pass 


-Take all the pictures, even when they don't seem important because one day everything will be a distant memory 


-If your baby is fussy, PLEASE take them to the chiropractor. It will change everyone's life. But being born is a good enough reason to go to the chiropractor anyways 


-No matter how you plan on birthing your baby, do make sure you have plans for every scenario!


 

If your birth did not go as planned, please allow yourself the time and grace to grieve. Especially in a culture that tells us "a healthy mom and baby" is all that matters.


YOU matter. Your feelings matter. Your experience matters.


If you don't have a plan to capture your birth story yet, go download my FREE Birth Photography Shot List - with all of the most important moments to capture, along with some pro-tips for better, more creative images. Grab it here --> Birth Photography Shot List


If you're local to the Lincoln NE area and want to learn more about birth photography and videography services, let's connect! Your initial consult is always free so you can get ALL the info and ask all your questions before deciding if professional birth photography is right for you.


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