Jonah’s Birth Story

Well, this was a long time coming. πŸ™‚ The fact that we made it to 39 weeks with our little man was nothing short of a BLESSING FROM GOD ALMIGHTY. I’m sure most of you know by now what went down with the OG – and so many of you were so incredibly kind and sweet enough to check in + pray with us and for us continually once we hit the 32 week and beyond this time around.

So before diving in – just a big THANKYOU to you who reached out, sent love(lovelove), and were such an important ongoing part of our story + journey with Baby Gwynn. πŸ™‚ INTRODUCING…

*If you’re a fan of listening to good stories, there’s an audio version on the THRIVE podcast here!

In finally sitting down to write out little man’s birth story, it’s all so surreal (still). For so long, my prayer was for a healthy full term baby. It was a big deal to make it past the 32 week marker, and from there it was a race to 37…then, it became a bit of a game with God in my brain.

While I think I did get to place of surrender regarding birth in general after our last go, it was a ~challenge~ in those final few weeks – namely because at that point, I told God that if He got me this far He better plan on taking me all the dang way. πŸ˜‰ We kept laughing to ourselves, like watch us get this freaking close and then he still come on his own…

So, let me backpedal for a hot sec.

The birth plan preceds the birth story.

Before, I literally laughed at any talk of a “birth plan.” Knowing how so totally off book birth can (and did, for us) go, it just felt blatantly silly to orchestrate some dream plan when so much is completely out of our control. Granted, I’m all for aptly preparing as much as possible – but to have this whole thing planned out and written down, like making a list and checking it twice…just felt naive to me.

But still, surprisingly early on in my pregnancy, I was being asked by the OBGYN office staff, “Do you know how you want to deliver?” I’d always laugh and say “safely at full term” before directing the nurse to my medical history and saying we could chat about that again at 32 weeks. πŸ˜‰ 

Fast forward and my goal in weighing repeat C-section or VBAC was to do whichever would feel the most different from my first birth experience – whichever had the least likelihood of becoming an emergency again. I was nervous about triggering my PTSD, so I was really just praying through each 0ption. A VBAC would be a whole new experience with its own risks and complications, but ultimately could still end in an emergency C-section. Everyone I spoke to swore a planned, scheduled, safe C-section is entirely different than its emergency alternative, so I ended up feeling the most peace with that option in the end.

We were scheduled for Wednesday, July 5th.

Can I just say how weird it feels to know your baby’s hypothetical birthday in advance? To plan and speak as if that’s THE DAY – while still knowing that it could, in fact, end up not being the day if baby changes plans?

At that point, that’s when it felt like I was gaming God…like, be in a posture of surrender, but be prepared for anything, but have hope and keep the faith and CLAIM THE VICTORY AMEN.

It was also a game against doctors. At my OBGYN practice, you have to rotate through all on-call doctors throughout your pregnancy, and whoever is in on the day of your birth is who delivers your baby. So while I had chosen and scheduled my C-section with my choice doctor…there was a chance that a few who I did not want delivering my baby would, in fact, be delivering my baby.

By the time we hit evening on the 4th of July, we were feeling pretty good that we’d hit our D-day. πŸ™‚ We spent the holiday relaxing at my parents’ house and swimming with Olivia; she slept over at Mimi and Papa’s house and J + I headed home to prep for our 5 am wakeup call.

5:30 am – we left for the hospital. 

6 am – arrived into a totally empty L&D ward. “Hi! We’re here to have our baby!” This is so weird and so totally unlike before…

We sat down with our bags, A’d the nurses Q’s, I changed into my hospital gown and they prepped my IV. In those first few moments, it felt like an eternity before our 8 am surgery time – but soon enough, the room started filling with more nurses, then an anesthesiologist, then it was 20 minutes until go-time.

Looking back at Liv’s birth, we had basically no pictures or videos. It was all a hard blur, and focus was so much on both of our healths throughout the birth that I think we lost a bit of the happiness along the way. And, the drugs I had been on were so strong, I barely remember the experience – neither the birth nor the days in the hospital, because it was just a foggy survival mode. In trying to re-write history now, I brought my iPhone tripod and asked if we could film during my C-section (just our faces – ha!). The nurses said it was typically against hospital policy to film during procedures (totally understandable), but to ask my doctor…and my doctor was totally down. πŸ™‚ From there the whirlwind began…

8 am – GO TIME.

I walked myself back to the OR – already so different from being drugged up and rushed in for emergency surgery.

I had a portable speaker in one hand and my iPhone in the other to play my birth playlist – an idea I laughed at for years, but which ultimately ended up being so beautifully relevant in this whole shebang.

The OR is bright, the operating table is small (as in, barely the width of my own body – you’d think everyone rolls right off). I hike myself up onto the table and make friends with all of the gowned, masked nurses who are ready to rock.

First up, spinal.

I’m shaking – apparently everyone does? – and lowkey scared of being paralyzed. But the anesthesiologist is a baller, totally nails it, and they help me lie back as everything quickly goes numb from my ribs down. In a real, royal change of mood from before…everyone is cracking knock knock jokes.

Why don’t people knock on the 4th of July?

…because freedom rings.

The drape is up, the doc is in. 

He does a pinch test to make sure all is good and numb before beginning. About 30 seconds before cutting, J is brought into the OR – he sets up the little iPhone tripod and sits down by my head.

The start of a C-section itself is so strange. At this point I’m convinced there is no stranger feeling than being consciously cut into, feeling scissors snip your skin and feeling clamps stretch open your abdomen, yet not feeling any pain.

J is holding my hand. I’m focused on breathing, trying to tune into my music and out from what was happening on the other side of the blue drape. The anesthesiologist is at my head keeping me calm. I’m staring at the reflections off of the pristinely clean OR lights until I realize that the bright red reflection is…my open body…from the other side of the drape…

Bad call E, close your eyes and focus on the music… πŸ™ƒ

A steady beep is coming from a heart rate monitor, and Cece Winans’ “Worth of it All” is coming from my little bluetooth speaker. Quick directives are now coming from the doctor who had cracked a 50 Cent joke five minutes prior.

Right before baby comes, I feel a suuuper intense pressure and pushing on my abdomen.

Then, “Hey! You’re not little!”

The nurses ask if we’re ready for our video. They drop one drape layer and lift up our little man, who lets out a big healthy cry. And suddenly, I’m empty and so full. 

Enter, Jonah James at 8:36 am, 7 pounds 10 ounces of a peanut.

And in the most perfect way that only He could, the very next line to sing out from my birth playlist —

“And all my life you have been faithful // All my life you have been so, so good // with every breath that I am able // I will sing of the goodness of God.” (from this song!)

Looking back, I still am so blown away by the God-incidence of that moment. It brings me to tears every single time I think about it or watch the video back because it truly felt like the hand of God came down and held our little family for a split moment – a divine moment – in our life together. And knowing my own personal journey – in faith and in health to get to this point – just makes it all the more meaningful.

Back to the birth story…

The anesthesiology nurse wiped away my tears. She peeked over the drape – I said “How we lookin’?” She said they’re putting my uterus back… πŸ™ƒ

“Is it in my body?”

“No.”

“Cool…yeah maybe I don’t need to know that. Are there any other organs out of my body?!”

She bust up laughing before saying, “Nope!” From there it became a bit of a blur of activity while the doc stitched me up. Jonah was brought by the baby nurse into the next room to get his vitals, weight, etc – shoutout to nurse Crystal who was the actual coolest and ink stamped his little feet onto a canvas for me. Jamie followed them – and brought along the phone, which was still recording, for what now looks like found footage at the birth scene. πŸ˜‰ He sang the Lion King song and cracked bad jokes, as all good dads do. πŸ˜‰ And as Jonah cried, J said “Jonah, it’s your daddy!” and he stopped crying and it was precious.

Initially I had been told that we wouldn’t be able to all be together until I was stitched up and in recovery, so the greatest surprise came next when I heard J’s voice say, “Alright mommy, here he comes!”

At that point, “Never Walk Alone” by Hope Darst was the song playing when he came into me, which was, again, SO STINKIN’ SPECIAL. 😭

They put Jonah man at my head and he was just the most perfect, squishy little lovebug, all wrapped up in his hospital blanket with his little hat and still-purple hands. So chill with chunky cheeks that I knew I’d kiss a thousand times.

“Hi buddy!” I cried. “You’re so cute!”

He just rested on my chest until he started sucking his hand and the nurses said “Oh, he’s ready to latch!”

From there we went back to recovery, where we spent about an hour doing skin to skin, nursing, just hanging out with our new little love.

For most of Day 1, we were all being actively tended to in our postpartum room – it feels like a revolving door of nurses and consultants and pediatricians. I knew going into it that my goal was to be up, moving out of bed ASAP once my spinal wore off, so that my parents and Olivia could come on that first day and I’d be mobile. Our guy was born at 8:36 am – the fam came around dinnertime, 6:30-ish that evening. From there we had the sweetest moments of introducing everyone – namely, the OG to her little brother. Jonah got snuggles from his uncle and Mimi and Papa, and it was just a lovely little meeting.

Unfortunately, your girl had a not-so-good reaction to the anesthesia; I got super hot and nauseous and was dry heaving, which is basically a nightmare when you just had your abdomen cut open and sewn back together. πŸ™ƒ 

They brought hoagies for dinner which I wanted in the WORST WAY and here I was with my barf bag. But you know what, I would take anything at that point over the Magnesium Sulfate from recovery with Liv, so I channelled my inner Gloria Gaynor and SURVIVED. πŸ˜…

Bless up for some of the best nurses; we made friends with quite a few because somehow NO ONE was delivering babies that week, so we had the whole staff to ourselves. Special shoutout to Madison for the Mama Mocktail that rocked my world, you da real MVP.

We made it through Night 1, saw my parents and the OG again on Day 2, and one of my best friends since high school (hi Molly ILYSM) brought us our fave takeout for dinner that night. By the next day, we were doing well enough that they actually let us discharge early. EARLY.

I mean, this is the family who spent 73 days in the NICU, feeling like we’d never get to bring our baby home…and here we were getting the green light ahead of schedule. WITH THE BABY. I’m sure it seems silly and simple to most everyone who hasn’t experienced something similar, but man oh man…what a gift.

We walked out of that hospital – baby on board – feeling sleep deprived and on top of the world. πŸ™‚

SO HIS NAME: Jonah James Gwynn.

J + I had played the name game tossing around options for quite some time before he suggested Jonah – and it just kinda clicked for both of us. It felt right. From there, I started looking up meaning and got goosebumps seeing that it means “dove” and is a symbol for peace and God’s mercy and compassion.

At that moment, it all just fell into place – and we knew that this birth experience would be a healing work in our hearts.

 

“I called upon the Lord in my distress and He answered me.”

{ Jonah 2:2 }

 

If you like this, you’ll also lovelovelove…

Olivia’s Birth Story, Part 1

Olivia’s Birth Story, Part 2

What’s In My Hospital Bag

What I Registered for for Baby #2 

Tips for 1st-time Moms from a 2nd-time Mimi

First Trimester Must-Haves

Our Baby Shower + Big Sis Sprinkle

What No One Tells Your Before Getting Pregnant