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Delivering Bash: My Birth Story

It’s the last day of Black Maternal Health Week and I feel I would like to share my story on pregnancy and delivery.

The above images are from my first pregnancy. I felt great. I felt confident. I had hit my fitness goal the week before finding out I was pregnant. I was ready for not just pregnancy but for delivery too.

At least that’s what I thought. I was so focused on being mentally and physically prepared to deliver a baby vaginally that it didn’t dawn on me that a cesarean (c-section) was even a potential outcome for me. I mean, prior to this picture I had absolutely no bad pregnancy symptoms and after I took this photo, I went on to teach Boss Chick until 36 weeks, continued I have flawless blood pressure and all in all was the patient my doctor admitted she would have put money on having a smooth delivery. Even labor was relatively smooth. I was able to eat Thanksgiving dinner, drive 30 mins home, take a nice shower and lay down a little...all while in labor.

Le sigh. Not all good things can continue. Let’s fast forward a bit....After 3.5 hours of pushing I was faced with the one thing I feared so much that I didn’t even consider it to be an option. A c-section. I lost it. Definitely wasn’t my most shining hour. All I could think of were the statistics that Black women are at higher risk of having complications or death from delivery than any other race even when you control for socioeconomic factors. The articles I had read during my pregnancy about a Serena Williams, Beyoncé and other black women experiencing near death experiences or death during delivery were scrolling through my mind as the doctors prepped me for surgery. Y’all, your girl was TERRIFIED!

But eventually our son was here and he was safe. The labor and delivery had taken a toll on him and therefore, I wasn’t able to see him immediately. The amazing doctors and nurses caring for us attended to him immediately and eventually we heard his first cries. The entire labor and delivery experience has stayed with me for a while. TBH it’s still at the top of mind while I prepare to deliver our second child.

Meeting Sebastian for the first time. My husband and I were relieved our little boy was fine.

I didn’t ask if I would need to get another c-section until after I was pregnant again. You’d think I would have and factored the answer that in to the decision to have another child.

Two weeks ago, it was confirmed that I am not a candidate for a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC). Turns out I ended up developing (not sure if that’s the right word) something called Bandl’s Ring. Basically, the upper and lower parts of my uterus was segmented by a ring of thicker tissue contracting differently than the rest. That ring prevented Sebastian from completing his decent and required a vertical incision to clear enough space to deliver him safely. There was no level or preparation or planning I could have done to avoid this outcome. How about then apples? Vertical incisions carry an increased risk of rupturing at the incision site during a subsequent pregnancy and and increase of maternal death risk for me. Therefore, the Dr. who delivered Sebastian in 2018 wrote in her notes “VBAC not recommended”.

So there you have it. I get to face my fear twice! So far this pregnancy has felt very similar to the last. I feel great. A little more tired but I attribute that to having a 2 year old at home this time. No bad symptoms, in good health. Preparation looks a little different this time, however, as I know upfront the what me and baby girls end game is. I can prepare mentally, emotionally and physically for what’s to come. At 15 weeks, I still have a bit of my journey to go. Praying for continued smooth pregnancy and an eventual successful, uneventful c-section.

Gender reveal strawberries dipped in pink chocolate to announce it’s a girl
It’s a GIRL!!

A c-section is a major surgery.

A c-section is a major surgery.

I say it twice because I feel they have become so commonplace that it’s not respected as such. The recovery is tough and feels like it lasts forever. And then, all of a sudden, you are supposed to forget about it. I’ve turned the corner where I look at my scar and thank God for modern medicine and for keeping Sebastian safe during the process.

Some of you may have had c-sections of your own. Either emergency or elective. I am curious to hear your experience healing process after the fact. Please drop me a message to share. I know I’m not alone!

1 Comment

Christina Nurse
Christina Nurse
Jun 09, 2021

Hi Portia! You are definitely not alone. I had a c-section because my son stopped taking practice breaths and stopped moving, so he came into the world 2 weeks early on March 5th, 2020 right before the peak of the pandemic! In order to recover, I was looking forward to group swim classes, and mommy and me exercise classes, but the pandemic changed by plans. I definitely took my time in recovering, and I started by walking slowly. 15 months later, I still enjoy walking, and this morning I ran/walked over 3 miles with my husband. So, even though all my plans changed, my husband and I have a beautiful son, and I feel better than ever😄

And congratulations on…

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