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  • Cari Hall

The Birth of Lilah Grey

I thought I would dedicate my first blog post to sharing about Lilah Grey’s birth! Lilah is our rainbow baby so I was definitely nervous most of my pregnancy with her. However it was text book perfect! Zero health issues whatsoever. Then around 35 weeks I was told she was breech, but she still had time to turn. At the time the thought of a breech birth, and the risks it can have really scared me. I was made fearful of the whole idea, and on top of that I was already nervous because my goal was to have a baby earth side. I now know that breech is a variation of normal, and I would absolutely birth a breech baby naturally if I had this happen again. But the Friday before my 37 week appointment I had noticed Lilah was moving less, and I honestly just felt like something was off. I didn’t know what, but I knew I needed to be seen. I asked for an ultrasound because they weren’t going to do one, but I insisted. They did the ultrasound, and found out that I had low amniotic fluid. I was told to be sure to drink plenty of water to keep my fluid up, and they would see me on Monday for my regular appointment. When we came in they did another ultrasound to see if we could do an ECV to turn her, to avoid a csection… But we then saw Lilah’s fluid was dangerously low. It had dropped a lot in only 3 days. They could only find one tiny pocket, and most of her fluid was in her bladder. My world came crashing down as I was told I would need to have a csection that very next morning because of her being breech, and the risk of stillbirth due to her fluid being so low. Now anyone who knows me knows that I am extremely naturally minded. I believe physiological birth is so important. I feel birth should be undisturbed for the most part, and there was literally nothing I wanted more than a completely natural birth! So hearing that I was going to have to have a major surgery unexpectedly was just shattering.  The next morning my husband JJ, and I worshiped the lord on our way to the hospital. We were trying to find peace in all of this that was going so differently than we had planned. Being prepped for surgery, and getting an epidural without my husband was so scary for me, and as the surgery started I had more fear arising.  I have to say being awake while you can feel someone with their hands inside of you has got to be one of the most strange experiences! I was so nervous, and just wanted her to be healthy. My plan was to have immediate skin to skin with her, because this bonding experience was so much more important to me now that I couldn’t have a vaginal birth.

Lilah Grey Hall was born at 8:18 April 4th, 2018.  She cried almost immediately which literally brought tears to my eyes. We were able to delay cord clamping for 60 seconds at least. I got to see her for a second, and then the nurses whisked her away to look her over. When my husband brought her back to me I didn’t get to hold her or kiss her. They had told him that he had 30 seconds to show her to me, and then she had to go to the NICU because she was having some trouble breathing. This started the 12 hours that I didn’t get to see her. The hospital would not let me go see her until I could feel my legs again. There is literally no feeling quite like knowing your newborn baby is laying in a bed alone, and you can’t hold her. It was devastating to me. The NICU was not giving us updates or anything, so I was just sitting in my room in and out of consciousness from the medication I was on crying because all I wanted was my baby. I wanted to bond with her. Once I could finally feel my legs again I was able to go to the NICU to see her. I can’t explain the moment I saw her because there aren’t words, but I know fellow NICU mamas will understand. It doesn’t matter how long you had to be in the NICU with your child, it’s very traumatic. Seeing her with an IV in her tiny hand, and hooked up to all these monitors.. it was just heartbreaking. But oh the moment I got to feel her on my skin for the first time. Everything was okay in that moment, and I finally had what I had longed for my entire life. A sweet baby. I was a mother to a baby I could hold! The rest of the three days Lilah was in the NICU was full of us fighting nurses to respect our choices when it came to our child’s health. This was also traumatic to me, not knowing what they were doing behind my back. They had done several things without asking permission, and this mama bear was not happy. We weren’t informed that we could be at all her touch times, and feedings. As silly as that sounds, I just didn’t know how all of this worked, and I was also kind of out of it because of the medication they were giving me for pain. I really regret taking it, because I couldn’t even hold Lilah by myself the first day. I didn’t have anyone helping me latch her in the NICU even though we asked many times. Breastfeeding was very important to me, so I was trying all I could. The rest of the NICU stay lead to them not letting me have her in my room because her “Sugar, and temperature were low.”…. Well that very well could have been remedied if she could have been with her mother doing skin to skin, and nursing. There are more details in all of this that I’d be happy to share if anyone would like to reach out. But needless to say, we were not happy with this whole NICU experience. Our wishes were looked over, and we were treated as if we as her parents didn’t know best. Looking back, I definitely see why I had PPA and PPD after Lilah’s birth. When you have this entire plan in your head of how you want your birth to be, and literally none of it happens that way it just effects you on a large scale mentally. I hope nobody takes this in a negative light, because I understand how this could be read. It can sound ungrateful. I mean all that’s important is that Lilah was healthy right? That’s what I hear mothers told so often. But no, that is not all that is important. A mother’s mental health is important. Being listened to during birth, and after when your child’s health is in question. Birth trauma is REAL. And it looks different to everyone. I’m aware my outcome could have been so different. But it doesn’t negate the fact that every time I see my C-Section scar I think about how much I missed with Lilah’s birth. How helpless I felt. I still struggle with it even two years later now. But day by day, I learn to process it more, and accept my birth. I cannot thank God enough for letting my baby live, and keeping her safe. My midwife told me that she believes my placenta had stopped working properly, which most likely caused the low amniotic fluid. So Lilah very well could have been stillborn. Something no mother ever wants to hear. But she’s here, because God was holding her the entire time. I’m not sure why God chose us to go through this experience. Maybe to bring awareness to birth trauma, and if that’s the case here we are! I will always share in hopes that I can bring awareness to this subject, and help other women feel more empowered when it comes to their birth choices. Let your voice be heard, and listen to your instincts. And please feel free to reach out to me if you just need to vent, or just talk about my experience to help you process your own.