The Life of Bon: June Rebecca Larsen: A Birth Story (Part 3)

Monday, September 15, 2014

June Rebecca Larsen: A Birth Story (Part 3)

I never intended for this story to have three parts.  I intended to sit down and write it all out in one sitting.  I intended to have in one place June's birth story in all its glory.

But then it took so much longer than I thought it would to write.  I wanted to remember all the details.  Life with a newborn is busy, and time to write is sandwiched in between feedings and burpings and rocking to sleep.  When I did have a good chunk to sit and write down June's birth story it took way more time and energy than I realized, and instead of writing it all, I wrote only the events leading up to her birth.  I called it part 1.  When I sat down to finish her birth story, I wrote only about the iv debacle and the decision to have a c section.  So I called it part 2 and promised to finish another day.

I am hoping today to make good on my promise to myself to FINISH June's birth story.  If there has to be a part 4 to this series, I might just drive myself insane.  So here we are, the conclusion of June's birth story.

As soon as the doctor declared that my stubborn breech baby wouldn't turn, and that a C section was in order, there was no time to think, no time to breathe.  I was wheeled down to the operating room immediately.  In the hallway I saw Greg's mom, his brother, and his brother's wife.  I remember feeling so much support, but strangely enough feeling like an idiot because I was being pushed around in a bed.  Vanity is a strong thing, I suppose.

This was the hardest part because I was without Greg.  They had told Greg to stay behind, get his scrubs on, and they would call for him when they were ready.  In the operating room, the anesthesiologist poured cold gel up my stomach.  "Can you feel it here?  Can you feel it here?  How about here?"  I knew he was gauging the strength of my epidural and if I'd had half a brain I would have shouted "I can feel it all over! Up the dosage, sir!"  But instead I hesitated a little bit, said no, I couldn't feel it even when I could feel it a little bit.  I don't know why I did that.  Not every action has a logical reason, I suppose.

This part is all kind of hazy to me. (I suppose this is punishment for waiting two months to finish the birth story.  Had I written it a week after her birth I would've remembered every detail.)  I know a bunch of people had to move me from the hospital bed to the operating table.  They were doing this whole complicated procedure like "One, two, three, lift and roll!"  It made me feel like a real whale until somebody said, "Yah, we probably didn't need to do all that.  She isn't too heavy."  Thank you, whatever random person in the operating room said that.

I remember feeling naked but not knowing if I was naked.  Was I?  Was my whole lower half just totally exposed for the whole world to see?  Maybe I will never know and maybe it's better that way.

They threw up a sheet, I couldn't see a thing, and in a matter of minutes, the doctor was ready.  Greg was nowhere to be found.  The doctor yelled out, "Her husband?!  Where's the husband?  Somebody go grab the husband!"  and in a few seconds Greg was by my side. (Or, more accurately by my head...)  They about dang near forgot poor Greg in the waiting room.

I was mostly numb, but not one hundred percent, so I could feel when the surgery started.  I looked up at Greg who was looking over the sheet at my stomach.  As I felt the scalpel on my skin, I saw Greg's eyes grow wide and scared.  Greg looked away quickly and exclaimed he couldn't watch it anymore. I moaned.  (I hate the word moan, but I can't think of a better word.  I wasn't screaming, but I was definitely making noise.  I could feel some pain.  It hurt. It was wildly uncomfortable.  My body made sounds in response.)  There was pulling and stretching- that I could definitely identify.  I wanted so badly to see what was going on, but knew that if I saw even a drop of blood I would make myself sick.

It was over before I had realized it begun.
"She's out!"  Greg said.
"Can you see her?"  I asked through moans.  I didn't know what they were doing, but I still felt pain.

The anesthesiologist came over to me and messed with my mask.  "Bonnie, I'm going to fix your oxygen okay..."

The next thing I knew I was waking up.  I had been so uncomfortable that the anesthesiologist had taken it upon himself to knock me out completely.  I've never been so grateful to anyone in my whole life.  Forty five minutes of stitches, and the blessed saint knocked me out for all of it.

Greg was still at my side, but the baby was nowhere to be found.  Greg told me that she had been taken to the NICU because of a few problems breathing when she first came out, but that she was going to be just fine.  I wanted to see my baby, yes, but mostly I felt so grateful that I was healthy, that she was healthy, and that the whole thing was over.

I was still coming to, so a lot of it is blurry for me.  Somehow I must have gotten from the operating room back to the delivery room, but I'm not sure how.  I just remember being in the delivery room with my mom.  Greg had gone to the NICU to see the baby.  He came back with his mom and brother and sister to show me pictures and that was when I first saw my June bug- on Greg's phone.  Her legs were totally sticking out (byproduct of being a breech baby) and she was bald as an eagle.  I remember saying something like "Well, I guess the mystery is solved of whether you can think your own baby is ugly- you can!"  Greg was shocked and my in laws laughed.  I blame the drugs.

^^A few of the first pictures I saw of June.

Everybody was in and out of the NICU to see the baby except me.  I didn't feel jealous even though I was anxious to see my baby.  Mostly I was just so grateful that she was healthy.

I have no idea how much time passed before Greg wheeled little June bug right on into the room.  An hour?  I know I met her about two hours after she was delivered, I just don't know exactly how the succession of time went.  She was swaddled up tight and had on a cute little hat and looked exactly like a newborn baby should look like.

On this post I explained a little bit my feelings when I met June. I still feel that I didn't do it justice, and the truth is it is almost impossible to describe the feelings that wash over you when you meet your own baby.  I was so overjoyed to see her, so delighted that she was here safe, so absolutely taken away with her beauty and health and perfection.  I remember holding her and thinking, "Oh my gosh. She's so beautiful.  She's so beautiful."  I started to cry the minute I held her.  It felt like I was reconnecting with a long lost friend.  Like I had always known her.  It seemed more of a reunion than a meeting.  I felt so connected to all of my family in that moment- to my husband by my side, to my mom who was right there in the room with me, to my dad who died five years ago, to Greg's family, to my siblings spread all over the state.  It was a powerful testament to the strength of families. It was like this little baby was bringing all the families together.

The spirit was so strong and there was so much love in that room. How can you look at a brand new perfect little baby and not feel that insane spirit?  I have joked around that I can't wait to have another baby, but in all seriousness it is because of that moment right there.  The moment when you meet your baby has to be one of the most sweet and sublime moments in our existence.  I'd do it over and over and over if I could.

^^ Our "reunion"

Our families wanted to know what we were naming her. I looked at Greg.
"June?"  I asked, wondering if he had changed his mind since last night.
"June?"  He asked- was I still on board?
"June."  We decided.
"Hi June..."  I tried the name out on my sleeping swaddled bundle. It fit.

Our doctor came in the next day to see how I was recovering and how June was holding up.  When I saw him I was overwhelmed with gratitude for him and his specific set of skills that had allowed us to get June here safely.  Getting June out of my body took him an entirety of six minutes.  What would we have done without doctors who know what they're doing- who can safely cut open my body, pull a baby out from it, and stitch me back up?

I won't lie- a part of me mourned that I couldn't have June vaginally.  That was what I wanted and what I thought was best.  There is a part of me that is still sad that I didn't experience so many of the parts of having a baby- I didn't go into labor, my water didn't break, I never felt a contraction.  It's almost like I have been left out of part of the universal experience of being a mother.  I remember one night walking laps around the hospital with Greg and little June and feeling like I had missed so much of the experience of giving birth.

There have even been some well meaning, but perhaps slightly hurtful comments made by people who love and care for me about June's C section.  When I have told people that I had a C section a few have seemed disappointed or acted as if it were in someway a lesser choice.  A few people have said things along the lines of, "I hope you get to experience a vaginal birth because it is such an amazing experience."  Initially I was hurt by that and definitely a little jealous- jealous that I had missed out on that "amazing birthing experience."

BUT. When I came to my senses, I realized how blessed I am to have June here safely, no matter her mode of entrance into this world.  Her birth was a profoundly spiritual and connecting experience for me and for my entire family and it would have been whether she came vaginally, via C section, or courtesy of a bright yellow school bus.  Afterall, the important thing is that she arrived, not how she arrived.

I felt so much love and so much protection from those who were there to share the experience with me on June's birth day.  I felt overwhelming love for June, a total bond with my husband, and absolute gratitude and admiration for the doctors who got her here safely.  It is a day I want to relive in my head over and over and an experience I hope I get to repeat.

Our lives, as they say, will never be the same.


  1. I can't tell you congrats enough, Bon! This post was so touching and insightful, it makes me excited to have babies of my own someday. And that last photo of you and June, perfection!

  2. This story was so sweet, and lovely, and perfect. It sounds like it had some scary moments but it all ended up perfectly and here you are now. And while I'm not a mother, I don't think it makes you any less or that you "missed out" because you had a c section. People adopt or have surrogates, even adopt kids or teens and it's a different experience, but it's still just part of your mom journey. (it reminds me of the post you wrote a loooooong time about about how greg told you his experiences weren't bad, just different from his friends who went to college and lived in a dorm). anyway i'm sure i've typed out way too much but i'm just so happy for you and can't wait to hear more!

  3. Reading this was like reading my own thoughts exactly! I didn't have a c-section, but I did have to be induced and you feel this strange sense of guilt that your body can't do what it's supposed to's a weird feeling for sure. But the part about it being a reunion almost brought me to tears. isn't it the truth? That feeling of seeing your beautiful baby that you carried around for months is more like a "oh hey buddy! Nice to meet you again." Congrats to you and your family. There really is nothing like bringing a sweet new baby into your lives.

  4. I agree about definitely feeling the Spirit when my son was born. It is so strong. Justin said it was one of the most spiritual things he's ever seen--watching the miracle of birth in person.

  5. Ummm your body was sliced open. In what world is that lesser. People are crazy.

  6. Love the ending to June's birth story. It's so true that you loose all sense of modesty while giving birth. That was something I had a hard time with. I had a c-section too, after 26 hours of labor (with an epidural thank goodness) and I don't regret my decision at all. I will be having a repeat c-section with any future babies as well. And yep, you are completely naked in the operating room. Awesome feeling right?!?!?

  7. Okay, how do you look so beautiful after giving birth?! You're stunning and glowing and your little family is just so darn cute! I absolutely loved reading June's birth story! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. And about the c-section, in my eyes, it's the same amount of emotional and physical endurance and every baby has to have their own unique story as to how they came into this crazy world! Congrats Bon!

  8. This is the most wonderful story Bonnie! It's so precious that June will one day be able to look back and read about how her parents felt and were so overwhelmed with love when they met her!

  9. Thanks for sharing your story, Bonnie. Although I am not yet a mum, I totally agree with your sentiment that it's not about how they arrive, just that they have and they're here now, totally reliant on you and Greg! You have such an adorable family and I'm happy that you're taking us readers along for the ride :) xx

  10. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! I loved following along!

  11. Beautiful. During my C-section it never occurred to me that they were giving me drugs other than my epidural, and I was so upset that I couldn't stay awake..."I'm about to meet my baby and I can't even wake up!" What matters is that she's here safely! Congratulations!

  12. Anonymous6:18 AM

    Bonnie, I too feel sad that I wasn't able to deliver my child vaginally. Charlotte was frank breech and they wouldn't even consider trying to manipulate her. No contractions or water breaking for myself either. It was bitter sweet but as my husband said, God chose the way she came into this world. For the most part, the C section was a breeze. Possibly a vaginal birth would have been much more painful, I don't know. Regardless, thank you for sharing your story. June is absolutely beautiful.

  13. What an emotional roller coaster I just rode reading this post. June's birth was exactly how it was meant to be and she, as well as you are here, healthy, happy, perfect. It's a shame someone always has a less than joyful comment on how something is. That's more about them than anything else. Great conclusion to a perfect birth! ;)

  14. Such a beautiful, sweet story. I am sure most birth stories are very similar, but each one is still so unique. I am so happy for you and Greg. She is beautiful, just like her parents. Congrats again!!

  15. sitting here trying to finish up my guest post and you have me in tears at the thought of meeting my own little one...and so now there is lotion in my eyes and the guest post will have to wait. congratulations bonnie :)

  16. It's definitely not "how" you give birth that makes you a mother. I was told, "they don't write it on the birth certificate, they don't give you medal". After being awake all night and having contractions three minutes apart for five hours I was still only dilated to a THREE! You BET I was going to get that epidural! And there were still some people, I'm sure, who were disappointed that I didn't have her "naturally". It's your birth story and I think that it's beautiful and perfect and a miracle that these little babies get here no matter how they enter the world. There are SO many things that can go wrong, it's amazing how they come out and everything feels just right. I can see how much you love and adore her and that's what being a mother is about. Welcome to the world baby June! And happy two months :)

  17. When I became a Mother my labor was a phone call from LDS Social Services that we had a 6 day old baby boy waiting for us....When they put that baby in my arms I knew that he was straight from Heavenly Father to us...the love I felt at that instamt was the most overwhelming feeling I have ever felt.... He is mine forever and I am so thankful that there are more ways than one to become a Mother.... I was lucky to become a Mother to a beautiful daughter two years later in the same manner. all is well....all is well.....

  18. Thank you for writing this. I am pregnant with my first child and I am scheduled for a c section this coming Monday, due to medical risk that could put both me and the baby in jeopardy if I try to labor. I have had several people make comments, that are well meaning, but they hurt. But then I have had other mothers that have been great and supportive. One I ran into at our OB's office. She herself had had a vaginal delivery, but she went over all the positives of a planned C section with me. I am just trying to focus on the fact that we will both me safe and healthy and that is all that really matters in the end.

  19. I completely understand how you feel about "missing out". My little one came on July 26 after being in labor for 28 hours via c-section. It wasn't what we planned and I too am jealous I missed out on the vaginal experience, but my baby is here, and she is healthy and that's all that matters!!

  20. I'm sitting here fighting back tears. We are one month away from my little lady's first birthday and it's like her birth day was yesterday. I've been thinking about it a lot. How completely special and amazing it was and how no other days in my life will compare to the day I became a mother and my husband became a father. Squeeze that sweet little June as much as you can. Soon enough she won't be so little and squishy. So glad you shared this story, even in all it's 3 detailed parts ;)

  21. Well done. It is so hard to capture, let alone remember, these precious moments. I really enjoyed reading it. It's funny that you say you felt jealous of others that have had "normal" vaginal deliveries because I'm always jealous when I hear c-section stories! [My sister-in-law had three -- the first was a bit scary and unplanned, but the next two were planned, family was there, she never felt a contraction for any of her's either! Her recovery was pretty easy. Boom baby. The grass is always greener ;) ] But like you said the beauty is that the baby comes no matter how! And the life of that little baby is a miracle. Always. And I too just couldn't get over how big God felt in that moment.

    I loved writing my daughter's birth stories.
    Becks' :

    And I probably should have done three installments on those suckers! Yeesh!
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  22. Thank you for sharing this special, private and intimate part of your little family with us in Blogland. We don't know each other, but I am so happy for you, Greg and little June that you finally found each other!

  23. You are simply lovely. Congratulations!

  24. So beautifully written! Thank you for sharing. Congrats on your sweet baby girl!

  25. Weeping. I LOVE birth stories, and this is so so beautiful. You are one gorgeous mother, Bonnie!

  26. Bonnie -- I'm almost certain you won't remember me, but I was your neighbor freshman year at BYU. I was Carly Higginson back then and lived in the apartment with all the girls from Arizona. You taught me how to make an apple pie. I think you might have been my visiting teacher. Anyway, I stumbled across your blog this week and wanted to say hello! And also -- this was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL birth story! I balled my eyes out. You are so right, it doesn't matter how they get here; each baby is an absolute miracle. That June is a lucky little girl to have such a wonderful mother! Thanks for sharing your writing talents with the internets. Hope you get some good sleep soon!

  27. love love love love! I LOVE birth! Any way! I am a birth photographer you can say I am slightly obsessed! haha. Such a beautiful birth story!!