The Birth Story of William Cary Lindberg
In October of 2014, my husband and I gave our son, Bingham, a framed ultrasound photo with a ribbon and a label that read “sibling.” The excitement in the room was wonderful as grandparents, great grandparents and Auntie Abby cheered, beamed and rejoiced that there would be a “Littler” Lindberg.
Pregnancy wasn’t an easy thing for me the first time, and physically, this time around was challenging as well. From morning sickness to joint issues that lead to a special support belt, I was often reminded of Eve’s curse for painful childbearing. Yet, I was also so excited. I felt importance in my body while carrying my little one… so much so that even on bad hair days, “I haven’t had a shower in months” days or “I feel like I just broke the mirror” days, I was proud of my body as a vessel and what God was doing inside of it. And I could not wait to watch my first baby become a big brother. If “Littler” arrived on his or her due date, the boys would be 19 months apart – just one month more than the distance between me and my brother
When we went to the 20 week, gender revealing ultrasound, I was absolutely convinced – for no logical reason whatsoever – that I was carrying a female. The technician was not a subtle personality, and became ecstatic when she saw the screen and said, “That’s a boy! That’s a boy folks! Do you see it? Do you see his little penis!? Can you see that it’s a boy!? You’re going to have a boy! Aww, another boy for you.” We smiled at her antics and soon I wiped the stickiness from my stomach so we could meander back to our home. I began to cry as we left the clinic, my dream bubbles changing from pink frills and lace to mud cakes and blue puddles. Don’t get me wrong, I was so very happy that my boy was healthy, but I think I had planned so hard on having a girl that I had tangled myself up into a web of complicated, disappointed emotions.
Soon enough, especially while watching Bingham interact with other little boys, I began to rejoice that he would have a brother to love and tackle and with whom to get into trouble (and hopefully they could show each other snakes so they wouldn’t have to show their mama!) Although I was lacking in the energy department, I tried to enjoy all the time I had with my oldest. We went to the park, went for walks, talked about the baby and played games together. Sometimes Daddy took him out on dates so that I could get some rest. Their favorite Daddy-son date was to the Library, and Bingham would tell me all about it when he came home.
I began experiencing “early labor” contractions about 4 weeks before the due date of April 28th, and since my first came a month early, I became exuberant that I may get to meet “Littler” soon! I was sure that he would come any day because the contractions were so intense. At my weekly appointments, however, I was not dilating by more than one cm, and I was only 50% effaced. The due date came and went and baby showed no signs of actually making his way out. By Friday, May 1st, the contractions were such that I had a hard time breathing and they were consistent to the point that a nurse told me it was time to go in. I did, but the contractions slowed and I was still not dilating. The nurses were kind, but sent me home after an hour. I was glad to have Eric by my side, as he helped me stay positive – or at least just laugh at silly jokes.
I was a little embarrassed and a lot disheartened when I got back home. My mom arrived to stay with Bingham, which allowed me to get plenty of rest. The contractions continued with the start-stop-start pattern, despite pro-active efforts to keep them going. I was discouraged but determined, so I pretty much isolated myself from people via my phone or social media and planned to stay home from church on Sunday.
The contractions got strongest on Saturday night, however, and at approximately 6:30am Sunday, May 3rd, my water broke with a contraction! “This is it! Baby has to come today!” I thought, and since mom was already here with Bingham, Eric and I headed straight to L&D at St. Mary’s hospital. A nurse, Jeanette, hooked me up to a monitor and my cervix was checked again… but I was still only 1.5 cm dilated. I continued to be hopeful as Eric held my VBAC birth plan in his hands.
Jeanette was cautious and apologetic as she approached me and said, “Did you know that the on-call Dr. does not perform VBACs?” I was surprised, maybe even shocked, and I teared up almost immediately. She explained gently that this Dr. has his own practice elsewhere, but was filling in for the OBs that work at this clinic, as they were all unavailable. If I wanted an alternative doctor, I would need to transfer to a different hospital. I would need to get unhooked from all of the equipment, breathe through the most painful contractions I had experienced during this pregnancy and walk out to ride in a car for an hour, all the while leaking amniotic fluid. I asked to speak with the doctor to hear his reasons for not doing VBACs. In the 40 minutes it took for him to arrive, I called (and cried) to my mom. Eric called our pastor to talk through the situation, and we prayed.
When Dr. Hughes arrived, he told us that he prefers not to do VBACs because of the risk of uterine rupture to mom and baby. The risk, which is about 1% or 5 in 1,000, seemed low to me before the Dr. discussed it with us. He brought to my attention something I hadn’t considered, that St. Mary’s hospital did not have ready access to a NICU or nearby blood bank. Thus, in the event of a uterine rupture, however rare, neither baby nor I would survive. I was shaken… still having painful contractions at about every 5 minutes and with more amniotic fluid leaking every second. I felt scared and very unsure of myself. How many times do I have to learn the lesson about holding tightly to plans?
At this point, I began battling the hopes I had begun to have from the C-section birth of my first baby with the new knowledge that this hospital lacked a blood bank or NICU; my family’s worries for the safety of me and baby; my apparent arrest of dilation; and an unexplainable feeling that the Lord was leading me towards a caesarean. it occurred to me that to transfer to another hospital in order to continue with the VBAC plan would not only be an inconvenient process, but would really just be to appease my own pride. I would be trying to labor only to be able to tell people that I did try to do this on my own and to avoid admitting that I had listened to medical staff and opted intentionally for a C-section. In that moment I had to make a choice and I chose to let go of my pride, knowing that I may feel shame later in a culture full of mom wars and distrust or distain for births that are not “natural.” I elected for a C-section, knowing that I might more easily become disappointed in my body and that I would have to ask for a lot more help during the long weeks of recovery, that there could be complications of this surgery and that it would also be dangerous, but that I would be following the leading of the Holy Spirit instead of relying on my own understanding.
Tenth Avenue North was playing on my phone in the room when the song “By Your Side” began to play. And God reminded me that I do not have to work for or earn my worth or his grace and love. He reminded me that he is by my side, that he gave me life and He gave my little one life and he would carry us through to the best and most loving outcome. Eric held my hand and spoke to me about the faithfulness of God up to this point in our lives. “God is by your side no matter what and he will take care of you. His plan is perfect and he will work all things for the good of those he loves. He is good and he will be glorified in this.” With tears I squeezed his hand back and told the nurse that I would let go of my previous plan and would like to be prepped for a caesarean.
After checking over my “just in case” RCS birth plan, the nurses wheeled me to the OR. In spite of my fear, especially as I remembered my previous negative experience, the Lord gave me a calmness which allowed me to smile and speak pleasantly with the nurses & anesthesiologists. I dare say he gave me, through his Holy Spirit, the presence of joy. The gentle, sweet and funny nurses smiled with me as they prepped me for surgery. They were so very kind. Still, the contractions came on strong and with each contraction it took everything in me to avoid contorting my body or screaming in desperation. The numbing needle pierced my back at least 6 times, and although I felt less with each poke, the pain was real and it was physically anything but easy. After the final numbing sting, I could feel nothing from my ribs down to my knees… I was quite amused, however, to be able to wiggle my toes! When Eric entered the room I was smiling, fully aware and even pleased as I listened to the medical personal and chatted about our Bingham.
When they began, I felt nothing near the site of incision. The anesthesia had caused me to be a bit nauseated, but I was fully lucid and heard the surgeon speak aloud before every cut. Eric squeezed my hand tightly and I am pretty sure we were both holding our breath as we heard that our baby boy was exiting my body… I believe this because the seconds before hearing his first cry seemed endless and our collective sigh was deep when William Cary Lindberg took his first breaths.
Almost immediately, I held my baby on my chest and our little family shared a beautiful moment that could not be tainted no matter what circumstances engulfed it. In those incredible minutes, my dark haired William cuddled into me as if he were attempting to re-enter the warmth of my womb through my bosom. He did not immediately want to breastfeed but I held him and cried in inexplicable joy, for my perfect baby boy was finally here! Later I learned that William had been in a precarious position in my womb…
Apparently, William was positioned in a “sunny-side-up” expression (backwards in the womb, with his head toward my cervix, but his face toward my tummy). This is also called the Occiput Posterior (OP position). Dr. Hughes said that if I had tried to give birth vaginally, the likelihood of severe perineal tears during pushes would be high, and the labor would be long and excruciating.
That would have been ok – I would have gone through anything to bear my baby – but his head was turned such that my pelvis would impede him with each push. Furthermore, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. According to the surgeon, this means that my baby could have been strangled as I pushed, the trauma to his brain could have been severe, and he could have died inside me. Even if he departed my womb before death, he would not have the proper care without a sufficient NICU.
William was and is a miracle from the Lord. As tears stained my cheeks and my lips beamed with pride, as my body instinctively cared for him, as my skin tingled with lingering adrenaline, my heart praised the Lord for working all of these things together for our good. “Not my will Lord, but yours be done. Thank you for this marvelous miracle.”
In the hours that followed, the 3 of us spent precious moments enjoying each other. William ate and slept and snuggled closer to our hearts.
At about 2:00pm we received a call and Eric retrieved Bingham from the hall. Big brother came to my arms and I kissed him heartily. He was very curious about the situation and I introduced him to “baby brother.” After a few minutes together, Daddy brought a bag of goodies for big brother. Bingham loved the toys, but was even more interested in the softness of his new baby. He held William’s teeny hands with his own little fingers and placed his sweet lips on baby’s sleeping forehead. Eric climbed onto the edge of the bed and we held our little family and overflowed with joy beyond our wildest dreams.