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January 13, 2012

Annabelle Birth Story {Part 3}

At 4:23 am on January 13, 2012, our beloved and precious Annabelle YooJin came into this world.

After only a short period of pushing (which really wasn't the hardest part), she came out of my body and into this world. As she was placed on my belly for our skin to skin contact, she had a healthy set of lungs which she exercised quite well. Her umbilical cord was short, so i couldn't have her to my chest and the placenta was still pulsating blood to her so we let her lay on my belly and she let the world know she arrived with her cries.

It was the first of many adventures that she and I took together, getting her safely into our arms and she was a little warrior through it all. She knew exactly what she needed to do to arrive safely and although she came earlier than I had hoped, she came healthy and strong - 7 lbs 1 oz and 20 inches long. All i had to do was be patient and let her do her thing!

As the haze somewhat lifted, I asked Larry... "Is our baby a boy or a girl?" Through all the chaos of her arrival, we hadn't checked. Larry wanted to be the one to announce the gender. "It's a girl!!!" he said with great pride and love. Although he had wanted a boy initially (and 95% of our friends, family and even strangers predicted a boy), the sight of our baby girl was enough to bring tears to his eyes. He just kept telling me how much he loved me and our little girl.

Oddly, I did not cry. I just stared down at her in disbelief. I checked her out. She had long fingers like me. I told Larry "look at her piano hands!" (Now all we need is a piano). All 10 were accounted for. She had dark hair like me. Her head was cone shaped. "look at her conehead!" I made sure all of her was there. And she was all there! (Claudia later told me that its a normal process some women go through, similar to mothers in the animal kingdom, we check out our young to make sure they are all there, safe and sound)

At 4:34 am, her cord to her placenta was cut. Laura asked if I or Larry wanted to cut the cord and neither one of us really wanted to. Her placenta had stopped pulsating all the blood that was there to give and was ready to detach from the uterine wall. So Laura cut it for us.

At 4:40 am, I birthed Annabelle's placenta with a little assistance from Laura. That part wasn't fun but it was nothing compared to earlier. The haze was still lifting around me. 

At 4:42 am, I was given a shot of pitocin post partum to assist with the bleeding. While the skin to skin contact was helping my body release oxytocin, the pitocin would also assist with that. And since Annabelle was out of me, I was happy to accept the assistance.

At 5:05 am, Annabelle latched on to me for the first time and I began to nurse. She was an avid sucker and so bright eyed and alert. She just stared around looking all over as I gave her what she needed.
This was taken after her first feeding.
We had requested her erythromycin and vitamin K shot be given to her after her initial feeding so that we could focus on bonding first. So we got to see her beautiful steel gray/dark blue eyes (which will change to brown by month 9) and her eyes wide open staring all around.

It was an amazing life changing moment. I had survived. I felt so empowered and so strong. Although, it took a while for the haze to lift (and is still lifting), I am amazed and grateful for my body. After spending 34 years of my life wishing i was thinner or toned or this or that, i can finally say with 100% honesty that I love my body. And its because of the process of pregnancy to birth that has made me truly appreciate what GOD has given me.

I later asked Larry "Did i ever say I out loud that I didn't think i could do this?" and Larry said "nope not once, not at all! I'm so proud of you" and i responded "because it did cross my mind a couple of times." LOL

In all honesty, without Larry's unwavering support. He's complete faith in me and my ability to do this, I probably would have stalled out in my labor. He's so eeked out by the littlest drop of blood or the mere mention of poop, but he did not once look disgusted, scared or doubtful. And for that, I am so thankful. He was my strength when I thought I had none left.

And having a doula and midwife who knows their sh** was god-sent. They guided me through a process they've seen hundreds of times. Their knowledge and experience gave me the trust i needed in them to trust myself. Our birth would not have gone so smoothly without them, of this I am 100% sure.

Our birth story was ideal. While I had hoped she would have waited til week 39 to make an appearance, she came out healthy. While i wasn't thrilled that i gushed all over my bed and knew i had a 24 hr window frame to go into active labor, we survived. While I had hoped I would have had more control over the uncontrollable moments, I'm learning that not controlling things is probably what helped me survive the process.

I say that our birth story is "ideal" because i wanted a natural birth without any unnecessary interventions and that is what I got. I wanted to experience birth and walk away empowered and grateful, and that is what happened. I feel stronger. I have more faith and confidence in my body. And I love that i was part of every moment of the birthing process with Annabelle, hand in hand, as we both worked together to bring her into this world.

I've always said its great that we have so many options as to how we birth in this day and age. And I firmly stand by that. I don't care how you birth - in or out of the hospital, vaginally or a csection, with or without interventions... women are warriors. We enter into a process we know we won't have control of and that can bring us an extreme amount of pain, and yet we do it with love, grace and tenderness. Only a woman bears the strength to do what we mothers do, and i'm so grateful to be a part of such a strong community of woman.


  1. Congratulations again! I'm so glad that your delivery went smoothly and you got the birth that you wanted, I'm definitely a bit jealous but like you said it doesn't matter how we delivery we are all strong for going through the process. Can't wait to hear more about little Annabelle.

  2. Your story is beautiful and well-written. I loved it! Thank you so much for sharing as every birth story I've heard has ranged so differently - so interesting!! It takes a generous spirit to share something so intimate. I loved the details and information you provided; it will be so fascinating to compare this with your next experience! ;)

  3. That smile on Larry's face says it all!!! And you, my did an AMAZING job bringing your BEAUTIFUL girl into the world!!! xoxo

  4. What a beautiful post, Amy, and a wonderful story! I'm so glad things worked out the way you wanted and that you came out of it feeling so empowered. I still have a lot of fear and doubt in terms of my own ability to do this, but stories like yours give me hope that one day, I will.


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