The Birth Story of Avery Nicole

 

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Avery Nicole Alfred was born via planned cesarean delivery at Oakville hospital on March 20, 2020, weighing 9.6lbs. I was blessed to give birth to a healthy baby girl. She let out a huge cry when I birthed her from my belly, and the first thing I thought was that she looked so much like Ares, her older brother.
Our baby was born a week after the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic. These times have been unprecedented, uncertain and very scary.
I prepared so much for this birth mentally and physically and wanted to feel very empowered-which I did. This was the best birth experience I could have asked for, even though I had to give up any plan I had for birth and postpartum (it wasn’t easy).
On the morning of delivery, we found out our OBGYN was unable to attend our birth because she was isolated after travelling out of the country. The new OBGYN who filled in for her seemed like such a happy person. He listened to all my concerns and birth wishes. He talked me through the whole surgery and let me know when our baby was about to be born. It was so important to me to feel like I was apart of the birth process and that it wasn’t just a surgery. I also got to hold our baby skin to skin right away while they closed up my womb. The nursing staff was so friendly and introduced themselves to me before birth. The anesthesiologist was very kind and made sure to replenish the warm blanket she laid on my chest and arms to keep me comfortable during the initial stages of the surgery. I felt that they were creating a caring environment for me to give birth to our daughter and my husband, and I am so thankful for that.

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The most memorable nurse we had in postpartum had such caring energy and reminded me of my mom. She took me to the bathroom and washed me with a cloth on my neck, upper back, chest and face. I have never experienced something so nurturing from a health practitioner before. It was such a simple gesture, wiping me with a warm cloth, and yet it gave me so much dignity, and I felt human again.

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Recovering in the hospital was great (other than the food). We felt like we were in a safe bubble. Although I wish I could have had our son with us, it was so beautiful to bond with our new baby girl. Leaving the hospital was a little eerie. The hospital hallways were busy when I was at an ultrasound just a few weeks before. That day, it was empty.

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We had no visitors at the hospital, and I knew we wouldn’t have any visitors at home either due to social distancing. I made sure to dress Avery in the cutest outfit and showed her off to all the nurses and staff guarding the doors of the hospital before we left. Seeing a new baby gives people hope, so I wanted to show her off to as many people as I could (from a distance, of course!)

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Our son was dropped off by my parents soon after we got home, and I instantly felt so much love. Ares, our son, who is almost six years old, was finally a big brother, and my heart was so full.
The recovery after this cesarean delivery has been amazing. I have been up and walking outside since week two and getting back into my regular activities slowly. I feel like I was prepared for recovery this time and gave my body all the tools it needed to heal quickly.
We may not have had the same kind of support from family and friends as we wanted in postpartum due to social distancing. Still, we are so thankful that we have had so many people check in on us and best of all, we have each other.
I believe Avery was born during a pandemic for a reason. It has made me stronger and more resilient. I learned that trusting my instincts is so important, especially when there is little healthcare available in person. I realize how little I prioritized the simple things in life like a hug from a parent or friend. We need to make the best of our situations and find happiness in things that did go the way we wanted.

Packing For A Planned Cesarean Delivery

When we had our first child back in 2014, I was not prepared for my delivery. I’m not sure I was prepared to have him in the hospital at all. There was some serious denial going on as I knew he would be over 10lbs and the chances of having a hospital vs home birth were very high.

I feel the need to be more prepared this time around, as I am giving birth via planned cesarean in only nine weeks! I know some people have said, “Nicole, you have lots of time before the baby arrives, and nine weeks is a long time away.”  Is it, though?

The thought of going into labour and having our baby before the scheduled c-section is not something I like to think about but a very real situation that can happen to anyone. I would be more stressed out not having my bags packed and ready to go if I was heading into another emergency c-section.

I can imagine my husband scrambling around trying to gather things on my list for him to bring and my not so lovely (somewhat bitchy) attitude when he can’t find everything I needed for our hospital stay.

So for both of our peace of mind, I have already started to wash baby items (blankets, covers, clothes, sterilized bottles and breast pump, etc.).

Our baby bag is ready to go, and only a few more items to add to our hospital bag. If I do go into an emergency c-section (knock on wood), all I will have to do is tell him the location of the bags.

I created a hospital bag checklist as soon as I knew I was pregnant in this pregnancy, and I want to share it with you. I think it covers the basics of what you will need to stay comfortably in the hospital after you recover from birth.

Check it out here: The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist

Pregnancy After Miscarriage

As you may have read, we miscarried in January of 2019. It was a tough experience and the outpour of support we received from our community was unexpected. I wanted to share our experience for a few reasons:

  1. To destigmatize miscarriage and the shame that comes with it sometimes
  2. Release it to the universe so that I could move on
  3. To help others who were struggling with fertility know that they weren’t alone.

When we miscarried, I was eight weeks pregnant. So this time around, the anxiety and stress were taking over me. I remember laying in bed the night before our eight-week ultrasound thinking-I’m ready, please God let this be ok. Right before the tech started the ultrasound, I told her how nervous I was because of our miscarriage. As soon as she saw the heart beating strong she showed me the screen to calm my nerves and continued doing her work. I was in tears and couldn’t wait to tell my husband the good news!

Although I was relieved, I couldn’t share it online yet. I told some family and close friends and kept my mouth shut (this is so hard for me).

I am currently 14 weeks pregnant (second-trimester woohoo) and wanted to share the news with all of our family, friends and my community online.

I was researching all the new ways expectant parents posted about their pregnancy and wanted our son Ares (five years old) to be apart of it. While doing so, my husband said- “Are you sure we shouldn’t wait, to make sure the baby is healthy?” Most people post the day they get into their second trimester and I was already past that. This wasn’t something I had considered as we made it past our eight-week point when we lost our other pregnancy. But it got me thinking… what if there is something wrong after I post it online? What if the baby stops developing and I miscarry again? All the thoughts of fear were starting to creep in my head and I quickly shut it down.

Last week I heard my baby’s heartbeat and it was so amazing! Seeing it on ultrasound has helped to calm my nerves about something going wrong, but hearing it was a totally different experience. I now feel more secure in my pregnancy and hopeful for the next months!

I can’t live my life worrying about the future and I have no control if something happens to this pregnancy. I will be as healthy as I can and love this little baby inside my womb as much as I can.