I’m thrilled to introduce our daughter, Hailey Brooke Stoker. Hailey was born on October 11th via repeat c-section at 39 weeks. It was a beautiful day and as I did with my other two babies, I want to share her birth story here to remember all the details and to share what a routine scheduled c-section is like. I have been told by many anxious mamas over the years that our story (especially James, our frank breech baby) encouraged them and helped prepare them for their birth. Welcome to the world, Hailey. We’re so glad you’re here!
Wednesday, October 11
David and I had a normal morning with our oldest two. We got James ready for school and out the door to catch the bus while I read with Claire and fed her breakfast. We took a quick picture together, our last as a family of four. Then, after finishing packing our bags, we said a prayer with David’s parents, gave Claire big hugs and we left the house at 8:45am.
We got to the hospital for our 9:30am check in and did some paperwork. Around 10am, I went back to the pre-op room. A very sweet nurse walked me through all the steps and then I wiped my body down with antibacterial wipes, put on the gown and hair net. I signed consent forms, had my vitals checked, and she started an IV in my hand. David came back to my room about an hour later, around 11am. Our OB and anesthesia team came to talk to us and confirm the plan. We were all set for our 11:30am surgery. During this time, I felt calm and excited. With my three pregnancies, the ending was definitely the hardest with this one. My belly was constantly tight and it was hard to walk more than just around the house. I was so ready to be done being pregnant and meet our little girl.
Around 11:30am, I was wheeled back to the OR (a small, cold, quiet room) while David went to the Daddy room to get prepped for surgery. I was moved to a skinny bed in the OR, then they had me sit up with my feet on a chair on the side of the bed. I hugged a pillow and arched my back. I felt a small sting in my back as they administered the anesthesia medicine. It felt like a bee sting that lasted a few seconds and then warmth moved down my back and legs. Then, they quickly laid me down and got to work. They put a drape up over my chest and the team started prepping. They inserted a catheter. Then they did a time out where everyone stopped and a few people said my name and reason for surgery. Once everyone was in agreement, they continued working. In my other two c-sections, I experienced heavy breathing, nausea, and shivers during this time. I knew I had to breathe through the discomfort and nerves, so I mostly kept my eyes closed and focused on deep breaths. It really, really helped. I had some shivers but it was manageable. Fortunately, no nausea.
Around 12pm, David came back wearing scrubs and a mask. He sat in a chair on the left side of my head. He held my hand and I also had him put his hand on my chest/shoulder for counter pressure to help reduce the shivers. That really helped too. Before the surgery started, one of the nurses asked if I’d like to listen to any specific music. I told her something calm and then said how about Lauren Daigle? So she asked Alexa to play Lauren Daigle and we had some beautiful, calm worship songs playing during surgery. We even had a 10th Avenue North song play, which if you knew us in high school, that was really special and a full circle moment.
Our doctor popped her head over the drape and said let’s get started! She had a medical student with her and I could hear them talking through the steps. I listened for a little while but then decided to just close my eyes and focus on my breathing. I could feel pressure and movement on my body but no pain. I could hear snipping as the Doctor said the was cutting and reducing the scar tissue from previous surgeries. She went through lots of layers and then I felt big tugging. More pressure, more tugging. I opened my eyes and could see the bright light above me and could vaguely see a baby in the reflection and could definitely see a head of dark hair. She’s here!! 12:13pm. We heard a raspy cry and then after one minute passed, the cord was cut and our baby catcher nurse took her to the baby warmer. The nurse (named Brooke!) examined baby, took her vitals, wiped her down. Everything looked good. She weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces. The nurse brought baby to my chest and I got to hold her for skin to skin time but it wasn’t easy to hold her with one hand. She was so pink and had a loud cry. David took her for a while and I went back to eyes closed and slow breathing while the Doctor finished my surgery. No pain but it was uncomfortable to be flat for so long and all the tugging. But we did it! We got our girl and surgery was done. We both agreed she looked like Hailey and officially decided that would be her name.
Around 1:15pm, we left the OR and headed to the recovery room. The nurse worked on Hailey in the baby warmer as David watched. She had her first big black poop and was crying a lot. Girlfriend was ready to eat! My nurse checked on me, my bleeding, if I could start to move my legs, and started the fundal massages, which is basically when she pushes on my uterus to help it shrink down and push out blood. Hailey was brought over to me and I got to nurse her. She latched onto my left side easily and then fell asleep. Later she tried the right side and had a harder time latching. We were in the recovery room for 2 hours (the minimum) with fundal massages and bleeding checks every 15 minutes. Around 3:15, we went upstairs to my postpartum room. We met our nurses and they checked on me and Hailey. They put the pressure cuffs on my legs to prevent blood clots. Some people enjoy the massage of those but I find them hot and annoying. We spent the afternoon resting and snuggling her.
Around 5pm, James and Claire arrived with David’s parents (nicknamed Mango and Papaya). James was excited to show me his Minecraft journal that he picked at the book fair and Claire wanted to show me her hospital sticker. I was holding Hailey in bed when they walked in. Claire was a little apprehensive. James asked what’s her name?? We explained that we liked the nickname Honey so much and wanted a name like it, so we chose Hailey. Mango took a video of this sweet first interaction and Papaya brought in flowers and had tears in his eyes. James rubbed her skin and said it’s so soft. He brought a card that he wrote in his room last night with the poem, “Roses are red, violets are blue, you’re a baby and I love you” with a picture of a baby he drew. It was sooo sweet, he was so proud of it. After some sweet family time, they went home and David and I ordered food for dinner. I was able to eat a normal meal (just nothing that would upset my stomach) and enjoyed a chicken salad sandwich and roasted veggies. It was extra delicious after not being able to eat all day. Around 8pm, the nurse came to check me again. My bleeding was stable and the fundal massage wasn’t too bad. I got out of bed for the first time slowly, washed up in the bathroom and put on a nightgown.
Hailey got her hepatitis B shot, footprints taken, and her first bath. Basically a towel with a small bucket of water in her bassinet. She took a long nap after that. During our first night together, Hailey slept some, ate some, had a few poopy diapers. The nurse brought me Tylenol/Motrin and did checks on both of us.
Thursday, October 12
We didn’t get much sleep but once it’s your third kid, you expect it and try to make the most of it. The nurse removed my catheter around 5:30am and then I was free to slowly walk and move around. I had my blood taken. The OB came in to check on me, everything looked good. I was able to manage my pain with just Tylenol and Motrin.
This morning was busy with various nurses and people coming in. Hailey had a hearing test and passed it. The hospital pediatrician (she was soo sweet) checked on Hailey and gave us lots of details. The lactation consultant came, checked Hailey’s latch and gave me a few tips. We had a quiet afternoon and took a long nap together. James, Claire, Mango and Papaya came around 4:30pm. Our big kids got to hold their baby sister. James brought a newly written poem that he wrote at school and had a few of his friends sign it. It was adorable!
That night, we got little sleep again. We took turns holding her. We had nurse checks with pain meds throughout the night. I nursed her a lot. It felt like my milk might be coming in soon. We played “meditation music” on the Alexa in the room that helped keep the room nice and peaceful but then she’d randomly start playing songs with words and those seemed extra loud and annoying lol Hailey got quick bilirubin tests (light on forehead) at midnight and 6am.
Friday, October 13
The pediatrician came early and bilirubin levels looked in range. Hailey’s heart sounded good. She lost some weight but less than 10%. She was now 6 lb 9 oz. Everything was on track. She said “this little princess is ready to take on the world!” My sweet friend Kate came by the hospital for a visit and to meet Hailey. She brought me a delicious smoothie and chatting with her helped pass the time.
The nurse finally took out the IV in my hand and then David and I slowly walked the hospital floor. I noticed that blood from the IV removal filled the gauze under the bandaid and then less than a minute later I noticed that I was dripping blood down the hallway. Oops! I went to the nurse station and someone cleaned me up at the sink. The OB came in and checked on me, everything looked good and she gave me discharge information. Things like no bath/swimming for 6 weeks, lots of rest but also walk and move often, watch the incision for redness. Continue Tylenol and Motrin every 6 hours at home. Hailey and I were both cleared by the doctors so we started to pack up our room and called for a wheelchair. We were wheeled out around 2pm and said goodbye to the hospital. Three babies in 6 years there. That chapter of our story is now closed. Thankful for great experiences there!
We got home around 2:30pm and gave our big kids big hugs and showed them their new baby sister. James excitedly showed me a big poster on the wall that his class made that said “Welcome Home Hailey” with all of their little signatures. So sweet!!
We had a nice evening at home as a family of 5 and two very kind and helpful grandparents. David’s parents held down the fort and helped life run as normally as possible for our big kids while we were at the hospital. So grateful. We enjoyed our typical Friday movie and pizza night. We watched Boss Baby as a fun way to welcome our new baby. My milk came in that night and Hailey was happy for more food. The first night at home was long but it was sweet time together, getting to know our new baby. The sunrise is a welcome sight on those long newborn nights. The start of a new day together. Hailey is 12 days old as I write this. She is the perfect addition to our family. She sleeps a ton, eats well, and cries during diaper changes. James and Claire love doing skin to skin with her on the couch. Hailey has already been to her first neighborhood block party, a playground, a Cub Scouts trunk or treat and a pumpkin patch. She’s met her Auntie Rissa, Uncle Jon, and cousins Faith and Lily and my sweet friends Jayme and Michelle. David is taking some time off work and has been so helpful in getting the big kids to/from school and activities and keeping them on their routine.
David and I started dating when we were 15 and 16, the summer before our junior year of high school. We used to dream about our future and what our life would look like together once we were out of college, married, with kids, buying a house, etc. We’ve always talked about wanting three kids and here we are. We are a family of five, living in our new house in a beautiful family-friendly neighborhood. Hailey is the missing piece to our family and I can’t wait to get to know her more.
Thank you, God, for your kindness and goodness. For your protection and guidance. For three healthy, growing kids and an uncomplicated birth. I am forever grateful.
More Hailey blog posts: