Baby P's Fresh 48 at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, FL was nothing short of utterly lovely. With the threat of a rainy weekend looming, mama Melissa bravely decided to take the opportunity for good window light and go ahead with our session just 17 hours after an emergency C-section. It was plain to see she wasn't feeling great, but her decision to rally really paid off. These are some of my favorite Fresh 48 images to date.
Even though this wasn't a birth session, I still love a good birth story and Melissa was kind enough to share hers. Here it is in her own words:
I went to my Week 39 appointment on a Wednesday morning, assuming I’d get the same update I’d heard at previous appointments, that there were no signs of impending delivery.
First up was an ultrasound, and the tech said the amniotic fluid was borderline low. When I saw the doctor, she said, “We can induce today, or we can induce Monday, but I won’t let you go past Monday.” I had her reassure me that she didn’t anticipate a big difference in outcomes between inducing that day versus the following Monday, and she said the difference would just be the chance of spontaneous labor. I said, “I don’t want to worry all weekend,” so she said, “Then let’s do it today.” Aside from not wanting to worry for several days, I had read a lot about stillbirth (my biggest fear at the time) and felt better about induction outcomes for Week 39 instead of Week 40 anyway.
I was in shock but excited. I called my husband, Rick, to tell him the good news and met him at home, where we ate ham and eggs, and I finished packing my hospital bag. Sidebar: Thank you to everyone who advised me to eat beforehand even if I wasn't hungry! We stopped to put gas in the car and checked in at the hospital at about 2:30 p.m.
I knew inductions could take a long time, so once the nurses had started my IV and inserted the first dose of induction meds, I was prepared for the long haul. We flipped through TV channels and stopped to watch a Milo Ventimiglia interview on “Ellen” when the nurses rushed in and said, “Turn on your side. Turn on your side.” The baby’s heartbeat had decelerated, and moving me helped stabilize it.
We’d been there all of 45 minutes at that point, and things started progressing quickly. I don’t remember the exact order of events, but the nurses rushed in a second time to turn me and give me an oxygen mask, my water broke, I was able to get an epidural (yes!), and they inserted a fetal monitor that attached to the baby’s head (ouch — more painful than the epidural). The epidural was a welcome relief, but I was very still nervous about the whether the baby was OK.
When the nurses came in a third time to move me around and the baby was not responding how they wanted, one of the nurses said, “OK, we’re done” and called for the doctor. My baby was not going to tolerate labor. Before I knew it, I was scribbling my signature on consent paperwork for an emergency C section.
My doctor had yet to arrive, so the doctor delivering next door met us at the operating room. As they wheeled me into the room, she said something like, “Do you give me verbal permission to go into your belly to save your baby?” I said, “Yes.” I couldn’t believe the words I was hearing — not so much the surgery stuff, but the “your baby” part. It’s not like I didn’t know he was coming, but I continued to feel surprised by the fact that I was becoming a mom throughout my pregnancy and even after my baby was born.
From cut to delivery, the doctor had baby out in a minute flat, at 6:28 p.m. And then I heard a baby cry. My baby. It was surreal. He was real, he was mine, he was here. It happened so quickly that Rick had yet to get from the delivery room to the OR. Someone yelled that the baby was healthy and “as pink as can be.”
We found out that the umbilical cord had been wrapped around the baby's neck and had a knot in it, which someone showed me afterward. Once Rick arrived, he brought the baby over to me. I cried with relief that our son was here and healthy. How could I be so lucky?
We were moved to a recovery room, where I was able to hold and feed my baby for the first time. Rick and I prayed over our baby, thanking God for this amazing little person we’ve been so lucky to bring into the world. Shortly after that, the baby had to be taken to the nursery to be warmed up — his temp was not quite where they wanted to see it. We were moved to the room where we would stay for the next few days, and a nurse brought him back within an hour or two.
I’m so grateful that everything went the way it did — that I followed my instinct and didn’t wait to be induced, that I had the epidural, which allowed me to stay awake through the C section and hear my baby’s first cries and that an excellent doctor was there to take care of us. If I had not had the epidural, I would have been under general anesthesia and could have woken up without from surgery without my baby there. I can’t even imagine. C sections are tough enough. During surgery, the doctor also removed a fibroid the size of an egg, which I assume I'd still have, had I not had a C section.
I feel so lucky that I had such a great experience under the circumstances and that we got to take home our sweet little boy that weekend.
I love how Melissa has been able to find the sweetness in every moment of her birth experience. In reality, nothing happened as she'd hoped it would. Right down to Baby P's (secret) namesake getting sick and being unable to visit baby in the hospital for the big name reveal. Still, she never showed disappointment about her experience and remained only joyful & grateful for her healthy baby.
The new grandparents were obviously pretty thrilled too. Literally everyone was over the moon to meet baby P, but Rick's mom wins the prize for 'best meet the baby' expressions. Some of the best ever. This little man sure is blessed to have such close, strong, and gentle people to love him and call him their own.
If you have enjoyed this story, take a moment to leave a comment. Once 50 people have commented Melissa & Rick will receive a FREE 8x10 mounted print from their session (a $40 value).
Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design.
Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography