Friday, February 13, 2015

Welcoming Nico

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. For comfort, I listened to the hypnotic beat of my own heart, while waiting to hear his first little cry.

Over the past nine months, I have appreciated every ache and pain in my growing body. Going into labor, we knew that I had an excessive accumulation of amniotic fluid in my uterus, called polyhydramnios. My belly measured four weeks larger than my due date. My uterus was overly distended. With two prior cesarean sections, I was at a high risk for uterine rupture and uterine atony. Uterine atony is when the uterus is stretched beyond its capacity and post birth contractions meant to shrink it back down don't occur, sometimes resulting in a hysterectomy.

I sat waiting in labor and delivery for my rare blood type to be brought into the operating room in case I would need a blood transfusion. All the while, my contractions were one to three minutes apart for the greater part of the day. That being said, my emotions were near the surface. Truthfully, I was nervous about my uterus, but I was much more anxious to see a healthy baby. I had played it out in my mind a thousand times. The birth of our twins left me with some serious PTSD. I imagined all that could go wrong. I needed to hear his first little cry more than anything. 

I was brought into the operating room, administered a spinal epidural, laid down on the table and then asked, "Mrs. Schwen, what are we about to do?" I wasn't sure what response they were looking for. So I shouted out, "Have a baby!" I heard laughter. Then in a serious tone, Dr. Buzzell said, "We want  you to confirm what procedure we're about to perform." Oh. While taking in the bright lights, they strapped my arms down, sterilized their work space on my body and then brought in my better half. He immediately came to my side and grabbed my hand. I had a flood of emotions rush through me. I thought about all those "birth plans" I had dreamed about over the years. The iCAN meetings, the research, and the support for my strongly desired vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), were all a distant memory now. I confirmed that I was about to have a c-section. again. All for different reasons. I closed my eyes and let every part of my body feel this experience. The anesthesia was more effective this time around. Thank goodness.

I felt the poking, tugging and pulling, but without pain. I tuned out every other loud noise in the room and solely listened to the beat of my own heart, waiting on pins and needles to hear my baby's first little cry. When I finally felt him pulled from my body, I did not hear him. I honed in on the voice of the doctor. She spoke softly to the nurse in her serious tone, "the umbilical cord has been wrapped around baby's neck one, two, three times." As she unwound the cord from my baby's neck, the room was silent. She passed him off to a nurse with a bulb syringe. After a few good suctions, there it was... his first little cry. He struggled. Then it got louder. I cried. Paul held me.

While the staff put me back together, I watched the nurses clean and weigh my baby. He was perfect. I was gratified. My eyes were drawn to his feet. I was told by my high risk doctor that my baby's feet would be clubbed. We had met with a pediatric podiatrist as well as an orthopedic surgeon prior to his birth. I thought his feet looked turned in, but not as severe as I had imagined. We later found out that Nico has metatarsus adductus, a much better diagnosis. He won't need painful casts or braces at birth, but should out grow this diagnosis by the age of one.  

Every day comes with its own challenges, but today it is filled with an immeasurable amount of joy. 

Feeling blessed. 

trying to smile through the contractions

Meet Nico. 
7lbs 10 oz, 20.25 inches long, 14.25 inch head circumference 


first bath


nurse Liane was a life saver


  1. These photos (and your story!) bring happy tears to my eyes :) He is absolutely adorably perfect! Love you guys!!!

  2. He is gorgeous, Lena! I LOVE the picture of him sitting up, bleary eyed and pink! You are so strong and beautiful in all you express. Birth really is a miracle - never to be taken for granted. So happy you have a nest of 4 now! Looks like I have some catching up to do. TVB

  3. I laughed out loud at the "Have a baby!" part. I'm so happy for you!!! You have added an adorable family member. Sending love your way. XO

  4. Reading this made me love you more.

  5. Lena, you are a champion, and Nico is beautiful! I love the picture just before you list his stats. He looks so alert and expressive for just being born. Totally made me smile.

  6. So grateful to God for his and your health. He is beautiful, but we knew he would be because your whole little family is :)