Vienna Gracious May Shoes Collage

Vienna Bond is a little lady who has literally grown up in her Gracious May shoes.  Today we are absolutely thrilled to be bringing you her birth story!  The miracle of birth is made even more amazing when retold as witnessed through the loving lens of a mothers eye.  As such, Vienna’s birth story is brought to you by none other than her lovely mama, Irina… enjoy!

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“On December 10th, 2014, my world changed forever.  Our baby girl, Vienna, was born at 5:44am, weighing 6 pounds, 3 ounces and measuring 19 inches long.  I will never forget hearing her tiny voice for the first time and seeing her little face (eyes wide open) as it pressed warm against mine.

Vienna was originally due on the 18th, but she made her appearance a little earlier at 39 weeks.

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During a scheduled checkup on the 9th I had had a non-stress test that showed I was having contractions every 10 minutes.  I came home from that appointment to an odd fever and chills.  I called the doctor’s office about it and the on-call OBGYN told me that I should get checked out at the hospital.  Upon arriving at the hospital, I left my hospital bag in the car thinking I’d probably just be sent home.  As the hours progressed, the on-call doctor recommended that I remain at the hospital since I was already full-term and having regular contractions.  By this time, my contractions were closer to 5 minutes.  By Midnight on the 9th, the painful contractions began.  My water broke during one of these intense contractions and the pain went up considerably, at which point I begged for an epidural.

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At our first meeting, I told my OB/GYN that a vaginal birth was very important to me. I even asked her what her C-section rate was and what I could do to increase my chances of delivering my baby “naturally.”  Throughout high school and college, I had volunteered at two local hospitals (one of which was the one I delivered at) and had seen countless vaginal and C-section births.  I definitely knew which one I preferred.  Because my labor was progressing naturally, I thought I was on track for my ideal vaginal birth.

Unfortunately, the doctors and nurses decided that it was imperative that I have an emergency C-section. The reason for this decision was threefold: I was running a fever, which meant there was a possibility of some kind of infection; my water broke with meconium in it, meaning possibly fetal distress; and I was not dilated enough in relation to what they saw on the fetal heart rate monitor (another signal that baby might be in distress). My entire pregnancy had been normal and healthy, so hearing the word “C-section” as a possibility was incredibly upsetting.

It wasn’t the scar that scared me (as the nurses seemed to think when I was reluctant to sign the consent forms).  I didn’t want major abdominal surgery; I didn’t want to be cut into.  I had prepared for a vaginal delivery mentally and emotionally. For weeks now I had been going through the motions in my head and giving myself pep talks about how well baby and I would do.  I wanted to continue laboring in that room instead of being wheeled into a surgical theater.

Doctors and nurses kept coming into my room and repeating how important it was to start the surgery now and urging me to sign the consent forms. All the while, they were frantically prepping for C-section.  When my own OB/GYN arrived around 5 am, she affirmed that, given the circumstances, a C-section was the right choice. I felt I had no choice but to oblige, especially after hearing that my main doctor (who’d seen me from 7 weeks’ gestation) was on board.  I was frustrated because my intuition told me that I was doing fine: my contractions started on their own and my water broke naturally too. However I also realized that something could have been really wrong with my precious baby.  I couldn’t help but wish the tests that were run could somehow come back within hours instead of days later.

I sadly and slowly signed the consent form and held onto the clipboard a few seconds longer before giving it back to my nurse.  It felt like my life and my baby’s life were now completely in the hands of mostly strangers.  I remember my husband telling me through teary eyes that everything would be okay and that we had to do this for the baby.

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I was in the operating room with the extra NICU staff huddled and ready around the incubator/bassinet (a precaution taken since there was meconium in the amniotic fluid). I think there were about 30 people in the room because of the extra staff.  Although I couldn’t see past the blue screen, I had seen doctors performing a C-section enough times to know what everyone was doing.  I just couldn’t believe I was the one on the table.

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Soon after the C-section began, I heard the sweetest sound – my baby girl’s little voice!  I couldn’t believe Vienna was here and all ours.  My Husband was with Vienna the entire time, but because she was being cleaned up and checked out by the NICU staff I couldn’t see her for some time.  I listened intently for any clues about her health and waited eagerly for the moment I’d finally see her.  Finally, a nurse brought her to my face and I got to see my sweet swaddled bundle with wide-open eyes. I kissed her and cried as we touched face to face for about a minute.  Then she was whisked away to the NICU floor.

The hospital staff did an excellent job, and I am forever grateful for their skills and professionalism in taking care of my baby and me.  As a first time mom, however, I felt robbed of so many special moments in my delivery.  I naively never, ever thought that this could even be a possibility for me.  Because of precautionary measures taken due to the fever I was running during labor, Vienna had to stay in the NICU for 48 hours; and I in my recovery room for 24 hours after my fever subdued.  Aside from the few minutes she was held against my face in the operating room, I wasn’t allowed to see Vienna until about 28 hours after delivery.

I’m balling my eyes out and barely able to read the screen as I go back and remember what it was like being separated from my baby for 28 hours.  Family and friends were going back and forth visiting Vienna while I sat in my room staring at the clock.  I was counting the moments until I could go up and hold her for the first time.  I couldn’t feel her sweet little kicks in my tummy anymore, yet I wasn’t holding her in my arms.  It was surreal and unnatural.

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28 hours after delivery, the time finally came to go upstairs and hold my little Vienna for the first time.  My husband took me up to NICU floor, where I put her delicate 6 pound body against my own.  She was so warm and lovely, and her skin was velvety soft.  Every little sound she made was precious, and I wanted to protect even the tiniest hair on her head.  I spent hours there making up for lost time.

Sure enough, the 48 hours passed and Vienna’s tests came back looking great, and she came back down to my recovery room with me.

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Both the NICU nurses and the postpartum team were so helpful in our recoveries; I couldn’t have asked for a nicer or more helpful staff.

The birth plan in my diaper bag was never even touched, however it’s incredibly fortunate that there never was any infection present during labor.  After all this, (and with much perseverance) Vienna took to breastfeeding like a champ, which was so important to me!”

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Thank you so much for sharing, Irina!!

This story was adapted from an original post at bondgirlglam.com.  All images c/o Irina at Bondgirlglam.com and @bondgirlglam on Instagram.  External links are provided solely as a means of crediting the interviewee.  Gracious May is not affiliated with, responsible for, or endorsing the content of the external links in this post.

Would you like to have your story featured on the Gracious May Blog (birth, adopotion, NICU, etc.)?  Email us with 2-3 sentences that describe the experience you want to share about and we might feature you!

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