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Ike's Birth Story

No. I didn't want another c-section, originally. In fact, I SO didn't want another c-section after Ezra's birth that for awhile I seriously ranked that as a reason why I was done having children: No more c-sections. In particular, no more scheduled c-sections.

My emergency c-section with Noah was what it was. It was necessary, no doubt about it. I am not built for delivering 10-pound babies. Especially 10-pound posterior babies with the cord wrapped around their necks. But at least I was able to give it the old college try, you know? I labored, I pushed, I hit the wall and we got him out in under 10 minutes. Bam. Done. My recovery time was nothing -- the opposite of what "they" say an emergency section is like.

My scheduled c-section with Ezra was...well, it kind of sucked, in retrospect. The lead-up time to the surgery meant I had plenty of hours to work myself up into a good, lather-y panic about the MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY I was about to undergo. And when it turned out that NONE of my previous complications repeated themselves and Ezra popped out as a 7 pound, 7 ounce little peanut, I was immediately consumed with regret over my decision to not try for a VBAC. A stupid, silly regret, probably -- I mean, Ezra and I were both fine and healthy, we bonded and breastfeeding worked out and that's what really matters blah blah first-world problemcakes -- but I still couldn't ever really shake the pang of guilt over how unnecessary his week-early, crazy-medical removal had been in the end.

These feelings weren't particularly helped by the fact that something went wrong with my anesthesia. I didn't feel pain during the surgery, but I felt just about everything else. Tons of pressure and tugging and movement and the unnerving sensation of my insides being ripped open. Again: Not painful, but I was still completely aware of what was happening on the other side of the drape and it freaked me the fuck out. I didn't remember it being like that before, and chalked it up to a difference between emergency vs. scheduled, even though that didn't really make much sense either. My chest and arms were covered in some kind of inflatable...I don't know exactly. Inflatable sleeves that I THINK were supposed to regulate my body temperature but mostly just made me feel unbearably claustrophobic and made it difficult for Jason to comfort me and then made it almost impossible for me to touch Ezra once he was out and brought over to me. 

And then there's what happened when the spinal got turned off. "I've given you a shot of morphine," the anesthesiologist said. "That should keep you comfortable for a few hours."

By the time I was wheeled to the recovery room and asked to rate my pain on a scale of one to 10, I was unbelievably aware that I'd just been sawed in half and was practically howling. "Eight! EIGHT!!" The nurse scowled and thought I had the pain scale backwards. 

"No, eight is like, close to the worst pain you've ever felt," she explained.


Needless to say, that was not an experience I was anxious to repeat. But despite all the message board anecdotes and actual reputable medical links that I know you could dig up for me -- trust me, I've read them all -- I generally hit nothing but resistance when I brought up the idea of a VBA2C. I wasn't willing to move to a home birth or even a birthing center -- hell, if I encountered problems I wanted that whole "get the baby out in 10 minutes flat" option ready and available right down the hall -- and as irrational as it probably sounds, I still wanted to stick with my doctor. I've known him for over a decade now, and while we disagreed on this, I admit that I still felt more comfortable with him than with the idea of picking a stranger from the insurance directory and switching past the midway point of my pregnancy. So...that's the decision I made. Not the right decision for everybody, but it was the right one for me, and (SPOILER ALERT!) I have absolutely zero regrets about it this time. 

Anyway, he and I did compromise in the end. We'd schedule a section for June 1, but if I went into labor on my own before then, I would not immediately head to surgery unless there was some other mitagating circumstance or complication. Since I thought -- secretly -- that my doctor was basing the June 1st date off an incorrect due date, I was -- secretly -- confident that I would go into labor before then and get the birth I "wanted." 

I didn't. Go into labor, that is. I'll get to that second part in a bit.

On the Saturday before the scheduled surgery date, the bottoms of my feet started itching. Like, ITCHING. I thought maybe the mosquito bite I'd gotten on my ankle had spread or something, and my other foot was just joining with phantom-sympathy itching. Then the itching spread to my hands, which were suddenly and noticeably red and splotchy. I scratched and scratched and scratched before some tiny nugget of filed-away information I'd read in a pregnancy book once upon a time came back to me and prompted me to turn to Google.

Ah, yes. Between the itching and the nausea and some mysterious pains in my upper abdomen, something fishy was definitely going down. I believe the technical term for it is gallbladder goes kablooey

And just like that, any and all "disappointment" over the prospect of another scheduled c-section disappeared. Poof. It was time to get the baby out. And how convenient! You're right here on the schedule. 7:30 am. Please to be here by 5:30 am. Come hungry.


Anyway, I'm including alllllll that somewhat irrelevant build-up because...well, you should know just how low my expectations were for this birth "experience." I think I probably used a lot of finger-quotes whenever I talked about it. 

I set the alarm for 4 am on Wednesday, only to jolt awake at 3:15, all HOLY SHIT WE OVERSLEPT WE'RE LATE OH WAIT WE'RE NOT FUCK.

We got up, showered, checked the bags and packing list one last time, kissed our sleeping boys and headed out in the darkness. I suggested to Jason that he at least eat something, but he refused. 

We arrived at the hospital and sat in the waiting area for bit, and it occurred to me that I was...wow, I was actually really calm this time. No nerves, no fears, no nagging belief that 17 emergencies were going to happen simultaneously and bump our birth back until June 3, or something. And sure enough, we were called back right on time...and taken to the same damn bed that I have spent time in prior to every single one of my children's births. 

I labored for hours in this bed with Noah, waiting for a birthing suite to open up, and I was prepped and monitored there prior to Ezra's birth. And here I was again. 


I don't know why, but it made me inexplicably happy. Nice and circular. Compleat. 

I got one fleeting glimpse of a woman being wheeled into the next bed space with her newborn between her legs and it struck me, almost for the first time, that I was going to get a baby in like, an hour. A baby! Just like that! This unbelievably obvious realization made me clap my hands in excitement, which is when I noticed Jason had gone pale as a sheet and looked like he was about to pass out. 

The nurse and I ordered him to go find some juice and crackers right that second, because DUDE. You are about to see things you cannot ever unsee. For the third time. And clearly, you are not desensitived enough. 

My doctor arrived, the physician's assistant arrived. We were a go. Jason came back, looking much better, but admitted that yeah, he was really terribly nervous, and always was, but never admitted it because he knew I was really terribly nervous too.

"You're the stronger one this time," he said. "I can tell you aren't nervous at all. But...yeah." He held my hand and trailed off as I patted his arm and assured him that everything was going to be just fine. I got this, dude. 

The anesthesiologist arrived. I was pretty sure he was there for Noah's birth. I hoped I was right, since that was the one that DIDN'T hurt like all of goddamn hell. He and I had a little come-to-Jesus talk about my experience last time and how the morphine shots hadn't worked and I'd spent the first two days in pain. "Hmmm," he said. "I won't let that happen this time. I promise."

I walked into the OR and received the spinal. My doctor held my hand and my shoulders, and then...well, everything became incredibly pleasant. Unlike last time, where the spinal kind plunged me into a nerve-wrackingly opressive paralysis and claustrophobia -- like I couldn't feel my chest enough to tell if I was still breathing -- this was...slow. Mild. No inflatable sleeves or arm restraints, just a nice, reassuring numbness in all the parts where I was supposed to be numb. 

The nurses complimented my barely-visible scar and I chatted with them about those silicone scar treatment things and expressed my EXTREME APPROVAL over the fact that Lady Gaga was playing over the speakers. 

Was it natural and Earth Mother-y and hear-me-roar-with-womanly-empowerment-ish? No. But I was okay with it. Though probably, I was just too damn excited to notice.

Jason came in and I was told I'd probably feel from pressure and tugging and such. I didn't. In fact, I didn't feel a single thing until the assistant pushed on my chest and...wait, isn't that what they do when the baby is like, about to come out? Didn't we just start the surgery two minutes ago? We can't possibly already be at that part yet...


I heard it. Jason heard it. It was gurgly, like it was coming from underwater. Was that really...?


Still gurgly, but undeniably a cry. 

"It's a boy!" my doctor announced, and the screaming started in crazy, crazy earnest. (APGAR scores of 9 and 9, probably thanks all that feisty screaming.)

I started crying, of course -- I'm not sure I'll ever experience anything more amazing than That Moment, Those Moments, when I've first heard my babies crying, and this time was no different.

Except it was different, because it was this time. Not last time, not the time before. Not Noah or Ezra, but Ike. Isaac. I may not really be able to talk about his birth overall without constantly comparing it to the last time, the first time, this and that and this were different/similar/etc. But That Moment was uniquely his, the exact second my heart grew to include an unfathomable amount of love for the little person squawling in fury halfway across the room, an essential piece of my life puzzle whom I'd hadn't even laid my eyes on yet. 




The anesthesiologist kept his promise. I felt no pain this time, at least not until they took my IV out the next day and switched me to old-skool-swallowing-type medications. The first thing I did when I got to my room -- a giant room, apparently usually reserved for "VIPs," whatever the hell THAT means in the suburban Maryland area, but given to me simply by luck of the recovery-room draw -- was to reapply my lipstick and brush my hair. I entertained visitors hours later, and remained all zen-like as my room filled up with grandparents and in-laws and my two SUDDENLY BEYOND GINORMOUS children. I felt great. The itching in my hands and feet vanished within a few hours and my blood tests came back completely normal. 

In the end, it was the easiest, most stress-free birth experience and recovery I've had yet. I'm currently feeling criminally good, like I haven't been pregnant or given birth in years instead of...oh, what? Six days? Not at all what I was expecting, but I suppose...well, hi, welcome to motherhood for the third time. Glad you could join us all here in Obviousville

Not that the immediate post-birth days were full of lipstick and jello and roses, because Ike decided to keep things interesting, and by that I mean terrifying. But that's a story for tomorrow, I think.






Awesome! So glad everything went perfectly! He's adorable!


I'm currently blessedly pregnant with my third baby and have been joining you in all the "are we SURE" and "what were we THINKING" woes, and to read your beautiful birth story and your tender greetings to your lovely Ike just give me chills of joy and tears of happiness. Many blessings upon your very happy family --- and I love your matched set of three boys!


So glad everything went smoothly for you. Ike's lucky to have such a capable Mamma.


I am so glad it went so smoothly. Had an emergency c myself with number two and knew that would be my last! Ike is simply precious!


You tell the most beautiful stories. Almost as beautiful as the babies you make.


Loved this! Just had Gabriel seven months ago (2nd scheduled c-section - my first was natural 10lbs, 2nd and 3rd 8lbs and 8lbs) and it, too, was the most amazing thing ever! And I know what u mean about it being the most perfect experience and comparing it to the others (even though they were AMAZING too in their own right). I loved that u included pics too - totally brought me back to Gabe's birth. Thank you so much for sharing that!
Congrats and looking forward to reading more!
Mom to Kevin, Liberty, and Gabe :)


Lovely, lovely. Congrats on having a great birth experience, way to go out with a bang! Did you have them tie your tubes, or are you keeping the shop doors open for potential future drama?


Beautiful, Amy. :)


I don't think I can put into words how much I wish you were my friend IRL and how sad I am that I'll never accidentally bump into you at Ikea now that I've left DC and moved to bfnowhere Canada.

So so so happy for you all. Enjoy that baby to pieces.


Birth stories. Like crack. Love them. Love *this* one. What is that in my eye?


So wonderful! I love birth stories. He's beautiful. You have a beautiful family!


I knew this would be good and cause me to well up at my desk, but I didn't anticipate it so completely mirroring my own three c-section experiences (each of which also produced a beautiful boy). My third ALSO kept it interesting with a surprise NICU stay -- glad Ike's issues have resolved and all of your boys are home and well.


Congratulations! He is as cute as his brothers! I have to confess the prospect of a 3rd C-section is one of the main reasons I am not too fond of the idea of a third baby. My husband (who will not grow or birth the baby) is very into the idea. My first C-section was emergency, second was crash. Hate to think what could come next.

Amy M.

Congrats! Isaac is beautiful.


Love this post! And love your family. :)


God damn. I'm honest to God crying right now because I'm so happy for you. And I'm pretty sure reading this just flipped some kind of primal switch in my brain, because I'm about to go tackle my man and demand some good old fashioned unprotected baby making time.


What a great birth story! I am glad everything turned out as well as it did.


Beautiful story and beautiful boy.

I love your babies. ;)


Gosh I love reading birth stories. I am so glad that yours was so lovely and peaceful this go 'round. Best of luck with your three boys! My husband came from three boys too...and the stories they tell!!

Mrs. Wilson

I've read a bazillion birth stories in the last couple months and I gave birth myself, but this story still brought happy tears to my eyes. He is beautiful. Congratulations!


Phew!So glad it worked out so well for you. Can't wait to hear the rest!


Ohhhh...thanks for telling the 3rd scheduled c-section story. I'm 4 months pregnant with my third, planning a third c-section and FREAKED out about this one(doesn't help that my mom had 6 c-sections and they NICKED HER BLADDER on that last one *shudder* )I'll be filing this birth story away to remember ("Everything was fine with HER, remember?")and counteract all the horror stories. Also, totally stealing your baby's name.


Congrats on baby Ike! He is gorgeous. I am so glad that you had a great experience. I have also had 3 c-sections. I felt like you were all up in *my* head and experiences while reading your post;) Beautifully written, so well put.


I really think that you and Ike had an Angel by your side this time.


Gorgeous baby, of course, but honestly - that last picture makes me insanely jealous of your pretty, pretty hair color.


a beautiful birth story - thank you for sharing.


Happy, happy, happy. I'm so glad you're doing so well.


Love your honesty and ability to discuss these issues the way you do.

LOVE that picture of you and Ike at the bottom. Such a treasure.


Was sitting in labor and delivery waiting for my neice to be born when you delivered Ike. Am awesome by association. My neice was born at the same time as Ike! Yay for babies! Every post I read of yours makes me cry.


My second son was a c-section, and the way you described your first c-section was EXACTLY what it was like for me. This whole time I thought I must be a wimp because everyone else on the planet told me they felt nothing during their sections and I felt EVERYTHING. Whew. Maybe I'm not crazy after all.

die Frau

Beautifully put...I'm 11 days away from my due date with my first and the part about hearing him cry...ok, now welling up again.

And thank you--I'm talking with my doctor today about possible induction if he's late because MY INSURANCE WILL RUN OUT if I don't get him out by June 30. Hooray, lack of job security. But now the idea of a c-section isn't quite so scary.


So precious, thank you for sharing.
God bless


I love how you captured this whole experience in written form. It was really hard for me to write down my birth story, because it was just so special, and I couldn't find the words grand enough to express that moment.


Great story telling and so fantastic to hear that this was a great experience too. Thanks for being so honest with us and sharing the good with the bad. We love you for it and we are all jealous of how awesome you look in all of these photos.


I'm going to need a lot more baby pictures to get the thought of not feeling my chest to tell if I was still breathing and feeling like my insides had been ripped out thing outta my head. I don't have kids yet. Yeeps.

Parsing Nonsense

I've heard that about third babies, that they're easy in general. Easy births, easygoing temperaments, sunshine and roses. Congrats on your new little guy!


Yay! So glad you got this.

Did the anesthesiologist have any clue what happened the last time? I've had two facial surgeries (cysts) with that exact same issue (I can feel EVERYTHING) and when they had to do it a third time I made them put me under, I couldn't handle it. I'd love to know what the difference was!


Yay for happy endings! I feel like it's so much easier to just enjoy subsequent children b/c you are so much less freaked out by them :-).

I had a home birth. Eh. Even though I had a wonderful midwife, I would call the experience overrated. Birth is hard no matter which way you do it (I did in the hospital with an epidural like a normal person the first time)--things don't go as planned and everybody just does their best.

So glad Ike is here! You make exceptional pretty children.


Congrats!!!! We all know that in the end it doesn't matter how the baby arrived; only that he is here and he is loved. I am so happy that you are so happy with your birth story!

Kate at Big City Belly

Best c-section birth story I've heard! Congrats.

Alecia @ Hoobing Family Adventures

Congratulations! I am so happy it went so well! Tell me more about those silicone scar treatment things!!

Life of a Doctor's Wife

What a wonderful story! So glad it went so well.


love it. love love love.

Loretta S.

You have amazingly skinny arms for just being preganant! And a super sweet baby! So glad all is well...even with the duun duunn duuuuunnnnn stuff!


I love your family.


I'm so glad it went well and you were able to enjoy it so much. And yes, The Moment, The Moment. Makes me well up every time I think about it or watch it on a baby shoew, because, oh man, it is so awesome. Didn't get it as much with my first, who was a preemie and whisked away while they checked everything (I had to keep asking, boy or girl, boy or girl?) but with my second, ohhhhh. Am crying now.


I have always heard the 3rd baby is the easiest. With the first, you're just trying to figure out what happened. With the 2nd, why in the heck did we do this - what were we thinking!!! By 3 - you've got this.

I haven't made it that far. I had my first 17 years ago, my second 2 years ago, with the addition of 3 stepchildren in between. I totally kind of wish I could do it again, but in the post-baby period 2 years ago (which was awful), I insisted we both get fixed. So...such is life!


Congrats, Amy - Ike is adorable! Your description of That Moment is especially moving, since I experienced That Moment with my second child just a week ago - also by c section. That gurgly cry....such a feeling of joy and relief and hope and all things good.


Thank you for sharing Ike's birth story! Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy.


I just adore you! Thank you for taking the time from your new perfect boy and your 2 ginormous perfect boys and update us all. Happy motherhood v3.0!!

kim at allconsuming

I adore you. He is divine. The third is exactly what you're experiencing - all the joy with virtually none of the angst.

He is absolute perfection.

I'm just so happy for the Amalah family.


What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing with us. BTW, were they going for a record number of wrist bands they could fit on your wrist?


I'm so glad you ended up with a good experience even though it was not the one you initially wanted. My feeling is that the most important thing is a birth by whatever means that results in a healthy baby and Mommy.


"an essential piece of my life puzzle" - exactly, love this.

Well done, very happy for you.


Ohhh congrats again! I love hearing your story of little Ike. My second will be 10 weeks old on Thursday and it made me smile thinking back to when he arrived. Way to go Mama!


Congratulations! Ike is a BEAUTIFUL baby!

I feel sooooo validated reading you post. At the end of my first pregnancy, I got that itchy thing for a couple of weeks. I would scratch the skin on my feet off with a credit card. It was torture. No one could explain why it was happening. After reading this, I am pretty sure it was my gallbladder.

My first c-section was a nightmare. I felt soooo much. It was painful and awful, and no one believed me. Afterwards they hit me with major drugs, that wiped a lot of my memory out. I had "flashbacks". For my second c-section, I had both an epidural and a spinal. Much better!

So, as I said, I feel validated. I feel that I'm not crazy, or melodramatic. Thank you.


Beautiful. All of it. Congratulations to you and all of your beautiful boys. So very happy for you. :)


It is a truth about all birth stories that they make me smile and get a little teary. It is a truth about only your birth stories that I find myself rereading certain phrases over and over again because I feel like I am back in the recovery room after my c-section, experiencing the joy and elation and wonderment of holding my baby for the first time. This was beautiful. You have a gift. And Ike is precious. Congratulations on three perfect boys.


Dammit, I so totally want another baby.


Amy, I'm pregnant and hormonal but DANG you are master of the happy-cry post. After wiping the tears from my keyboard, I just had to thank you for your stories. Congrats to you and your lovely family -- can't wait to hear more.

hdmi cable

I have read the Ike's Birth Story, This is such an great experience for you. He is looking So Cute.


Well that just made me all kinds of clucky. Shit.
Well done on creating that gorgeous boy, he is just beautiful and for completing your family. Nice feeling, hoping to experience it myself one day. The "done" feeling would be nice.


I had the same first C-section smooth as glass, second... not so much experience.

I was out cold for the surgery but still woke up just a little too soon. The first thing I became aware of was the tube in my throat making me gag and the first words I heard were, "Oh my god! She's waking up already! Get the tube out!" Not reassuring at ALL. Couldn't talk, couldn't move, couldn't even open my eyes, but I could hear and comprehend everything going on in the room. It was a very strange experience.

But this is about you and your beautiful new baby boy. So, so, SO glad you had a better experience this time. And what a cutie Ike is! Congratulations!


Beautiful pictures and story (and hair!) Amy!

Btw, couldn't they have fit a few more hospital bracelets on you?


What an adorable little guy! My
maiden name starts with Ike only spelled differently so all my brothers and my Dad were called Ike by all thier friends so i really love the little guys nickname :)


Amy, you've survived awful tragedies this past year...of COURSE this was a piece of cake. You're stronger than you give yourself credit for. You go mama.


That's fantastic. I'm so happy to hear that it went so well!!

Katie Serendipity

Happy tears, a little bit. And I don't even have kids to compare the feelings to! Gah. Ike is beautiful and I'm so happy his birth was exactly right. :)


GAH! Your story makes me want another baby! GAH!!

Really, though- so sweet- so perfect.


Oh yes, the GINORMOUS siblings. I couldn't believe how big the other two looked when I got home from the hospital. Almost creepy.

Mom in Boyland

I have 3 boys too..we will never run out of penis or testicle stories! What a beautiful birth story. It's so nice to hear of such a wonderful C-Section birth.


What a beautiful story and I love love love reading your updates on Ike and the boys. I'm so glad this c-section was a better experience than Ezra's. I just had one a few months ago and I had the same pleasant experience (well as pleasant as pulling your baby out of a 5 inch opening in your belly can be!) my question for you, what are the silicone scar treatments you used? Thanks!

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