C section birth story: Millie Madeline

I love birth stories. I love to read them and imagine what my babies births will be like, I love reminiscing on my past c-section birth stories and I remember searching like crazy when I found out my first baby was breech for some positive c-section stories and really struggled to find any! So today I'm sharing another one that will hopefully make the internet a better place. If you find yourself for any reason needing a c-section, I hope this little story gives you some hope and excitement and even though I didn't roll right into the O.R. at my scheduled time, it was still such a beautiful and seamless and, in some ways, even better birth experience than my first two scheduled c-sections! Here's Millie's birth story.

C section birth story: Millie Madeline

Labor was something totally foreign to me, because with two other scheduled c-sections under my belt, that's the only kind of birth my body knew! My first baby Anabelle was breech so I had a scheduled c-section with her, and my second Lyla I felt most comfortable with the same birth plan so we did a repeat c-section. For both girls I had everything laid out and totally prepared, I got up that morning and got ready, walked into the hospital without even a hint of a contraction, and experienced what I felt was the easiest birthing experience in the history of ever.

Millie's birth was a little different.

About a month before she came, I was in an extreme amount of pain (round ligament pain) every time I tried to work out – in fact I was even just walking across a parking lot! So I decided to try water aerobics because I had heard it was so much easier on you if your joints hurt or if you were pregnant. My first class went swimmingly (ha) but the following week with a different instructor who was more hard core, and with me feeling more daring, I really went for it and later that day and all the next day I paid for it, in contractions.

For the next few weeks I had contractions on and off, and ironically they seemed to be the worst right AFTER a stressful week, on Sundays, when I finally stopped to rest and put my feet up! The two weeks leading up to Millie's birth were absolute insanity with work, starting with the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale that sandwiched Amazon Prime Day. I was putting in 12-16 hour work days and praying the baby would stay put until I got through that crazy time. And she did, barely!

Tuesday the 17th, two days before Millie was born, I was having contractions all day long, about 10-15 minutes apart. But my c-section scar felt like it was going to explode from pressure. So I called my doctor's office and they asked me to come in and get checked. I had been checked once a week and a half before that and was only dilated 1cm. So we drove to the hospital and I got all checked into triage and the nurse checked me and sure enough I was only dilated 1cm still. I had two contractions in 30 mins so they sent me home. And I felt kind of like an idiot walking out of there, but also at least I knew where I stood with everything.

That night, Tuesday night, I was up ALL NIGHT LONG with contractions. I felt like I didn't sleep a wink, and I was pretty exhausted. But Wednesday I plugged along with a work day, trying to get as much done as I possibly could before my scheduled C Section Monday. Still something kept telling me, “I think this baby is coming early.”

Wednesday night I went to bed and again, was up all night with contractions. But this time they were coming closer and closer together, and at about 3 a.m. I unintentionally woke Neil up because I was yelping in pain and breathing so hard through contractions, that at this point, were coming about 3-5 minutes apart. We waited until around 4:45 a.m. to call our babysitter, and in the meantime I got up and showered and got ready in a foggy blur of exhaustion and contractions and we headed to the hospital.

We got to the hospital at 6 a.m. on the dot and they hooked me up to all the monitors and after checking me, and confirming I was still only dilated 1cm, they said they'd like to keep me for at least an hour and monitor me for contractions. So you know when people talk about as soon as they get to the hospital and get an epidural they're relieved? Yeah, not the case for me, haha.

I passed the time reading my scriptures and praying and asking God, “please let today be the day” because I was so tired of enduring labor pain. And I just kept feeling peace and like everything was totally going to be okay.

Whenever I travel, I always  love to find a window (if I can) with a view of a sunrise and I try to get up by sunrise to enjoy scripture study looking out on a different view of the world, and so it was kind of a sweet tender mercy that I got to watch the sun rise while I studied my scriptures and waited to see if we could have our baby.

Neil was pretty wiped out too so he took a little snooze while we waited.

The triage nurses monitored my contractions and finally called my doctor who said, “there's no need to keep her pregnant any longer, let's have this baby!” Music to my ears. I think I teared up with relief. But like I mentioned before it's all a bit of a blur. I definitely shed some happy tears that morning though!

At first the nurses told me that I'd be having the baby at 12:30 p.m., the first open O.R. that day. I was totally fine with that and just grateful I'd eventually be put out of my misery haha. But then a few minutes later they came in at about 8:40 and said “you're going in at 9.” I was like wait, what? Did I hear that right?

“Yep, someone else's c section was cancelled. Their baby was breech but it flipped so you get that time now.” For sure happy tears were rolling by then.

Everything after that happened pretty fast. My doctor came into my room to talk with me before going into surgery and I was just so happy to see her!!! She went through all the possible complications and before I knew it I was walking down the hall to get prepped for surgery. My anesthesiologist was a really cool guy and I met him in my triage room before hand too.

He asked if I had any complications with anesthesia and I told him that with my first, my blood pressure dropped like crazy when I got the spinal block and that with my second I told the anesthesiologist that and said “there's probably nothing you can do about that” and that anesthesiologist responded “there's ABSOLUTELY something we can do about it.” So the anesthesiologist for Millie's birth agreed that he could give me some type of medication to help regulate that, along with regulating any nausea I might feel once we got started.

I had written Millie's name on an envelope with the two options “Milly Madeline” or “Millie Madeline” and almost everyone (except 1 nurse!) voted on the “e” ending, so we walked into the delivery having just decided on Millie Madeline. And with that last little detail buttoned up, we were ready to meet our girl.

I forgot to talk to the anesthesiologist about Neil coming in, but remembered once we got to the O.R. door and the nurse told me “okay now it's time to say goodbye to hubby” and I said “oh no please, I talked to my doctor about this and I really want him to stay with me!” In most hospitals, they kick the husband out while the wife is getting the spinal block so that there aren't too many distractions in the room and so the husband doesn't pass out watching that because they don't need two patients in the O.R! Ha.

I didn't realize this with my first because Anabelle was born in Utah at a hospital where Neil knew some of the staff, because he had been a medical device rep for years, so they just let him come right back with me. With my second, Lyla who was born in CA, the hospital staff wouldn't let Neil come back with me and that was by far the most scary/stressful part of the birth. I also was just not confident in my doctor and I remember feeling SO nervous and scared while I got the spinal block with Lyla.

Luckily this doc was really cool and once we told him that Neil was a rep for 10 years and totally comfortable in surgery and around needles etc, he let Neil come right in. This was a HUGE deal to me, to have him by my side where I could see him and not feel so afraid. I have a huge fear of needles so just having Neil with me made a world of difference.

I had asked my doctor if we could have music in the O.R. so I didn't just have to listen to the noises of the surgery in an otherwise silent room and she said “yes of course! We have an ipod jack if you have your own play list” (I didn't – but in that moment I was wishing I had been prepared with that!) or she said we could just turn the radio on. The anesthesiologist turned the radio on and after a couple minutes the song “Lovely Day” came on, one of my favorite old tunes and Neil said “hey this is your song!”

I remember feeling SO SO SLEEPY. So sleepy. After finally getting relief from the contractions with the spinal block, it was like my body finally relaxed after two full days and nights of no sleep and no rest from those dang contractions. I literally thought to myself, “I'm going to sleep through my baby's birth I am so tired!” This was pretty radically different from my other two scheduled c-sections where I had been full of excitement and adrenaline and anticipation, ready to meet our new baby. This time I was legitimately worried about sleeping through the whole thing ha. it was like I had just ran a two day marathon and finally got to rest.

LUCKILY I didn't fall asleep haha. it's funny though, with that gigantic sense of relief and rest I don't remember as many of the details with how it felt being numbed but having the baby come out. It seemed like this one was faster than ever, and that could be because my doctor is such a rockstar! Millie came out with a strong healthy set of lungs and my doctor told me after that when she opened me up, she could see her hair swishing in the water before she broke it, and as she was pulling her out, before she was even fully out of me, she started crying! I love that sound of the baby's first cry so much. I definitely teared up a little and Neil said “Oh she is cute, she's reeeeeally cuuuuute. She's so beautiful.” He just kept saying over and over “she's SUPER cute.”

I love this picture of Neil and Millie SO MUCH. Look at all that joy in his eyes!!!

Neil walked over to where they had Millie and took a couple quick pictures for me and walked back over to me to show me, and then a minute or so later one of the nurses peeked around the drape with Millie so I could see her! I honestly wasn't even expecting this so I was so thrilled to see her little face peeking around the corner. And quicker than any other delivery, they had Millie in my arms too! I got to just lay there and hold her and look at her and kiss her while they closed me back up. It all went so fast because I got to have time with her so immediately.

The nurses did take Millie back from me the last maybe 5 minutes or less that I was in the O.R. and sent Neil with Millie into the recovery room. Neil hesitated to leave me because I had told him that when Lyla was born I was really upset when they separated all of us.

Everything is about expectation and just like the difference in when they kicked Neil out for the spinal block, the second time I was so nervous when they had Neil leave with baby and I was left lying there by myself on an operating table to be closed up by a doctor I didn't totally trust or have a huge amount of confidence in. But this time with Millie I had all the confidence in the world in my doctor so after he asked me at least three times and I was like yes, seriously I'm okay go be with Millie! He left and in just a couple quick minutes they were all done with me and transferring me to the bed that they'd roll me out of the O.R. and into the recovery room. I was laughing as the anesthesiologist and a few nurses transferred me on a sheet from the anesthesiologist saying, “onesie, twosie, threesie” and then they heaved me from the O.R. table to the bed.

We spent the next hour or so in total heaven with our little Millie. She hopped right on and nursed like it was the easiest thing in the world. I'm always AMAZED how these babies come out of the womb and just instinctively know how to breastfeed. We got to enjoy skin-on-skin and other than a couple of checks from the nurse to make sure her vitals and mine were okay, it was really precious uninterrupted time for just Neil and me to soak in all the sweetness of having a literally brand new baby in our arms.

We did have to wait a little longer than I expected for our room but I was literally in NO rush, I was so happy to have Millie out and to stare at her I didn't care where we were. Probably an hour and a half later we finally were transferred to our room, a really beautiful ocean view private room where we'd spend the next few days. Man I loved that room! I could have just lived there forever haha.

Neil loved it every bit as much as I did. We just kept looking out the window and saying what a beautiful view it was! Not that we wouldn't have been in baby heaven anyway, we mostly just stared at Millie. But it just added to the experience being that much more beautiful.

I LOVE how teeny tiny she looks in Neil's arms!!

One of my very very favorite parts of this whole day was watching our girls meet their baby sister for the first time! Anabelle was so excited and asked at least 10 times if she could hold her baby sister. She just kept saying “she's so cute!!”

Lyla was a little more skeptical about this new baby in our family. And actually based on her first reaction to Millie, I kind of expected that Lyla might struggle with Millie once we brought her home. She's been the exact opposite though and has been so sweet with Millie. I just think it took her a minute to get used to her and realize she wasn't getting replaced or forgotten about. Lyla has loved the role of big sister and is always eager to help me with Millie and loves running to wash her hands so she can touch Millie and give her loves. It's pretty cute.

And then there were five.

I still can't believe we have three kids!! Bringing Millie home has made our family feel so much more complete, although I'm not convinced we're done for sure. It's funny because with my first two there was no question we'd for sure have one more, but with Millie I kept saying her entire pregnancy to Neil, “babe this might just be our last baby. I don't know if I can ever do this again!” But from the moment she joined our family, I keep telling Neil, “this can't be it! This cannot be our last baby.” I just love the newborn baby phase so so so much and the heavenly experience of welcoming a new baby that it's hard for me to even imagine that this is our last. But we'll see … give me a few months and I may change my mind! Haha.

But when my doctor closed me up after my c-section, she said, “Corrine everything looks SO GOOD in here. You have literally no scar tissue. It looks like you've never had a c-section. You could have like, 5 more kids!” Coming from a doctor who always shot me straight this entire pregnancy and had even asked whether I wanted to tie my tubes, I was really surprised to hear her say this. I knew it wasn't just something she said just to be nice. There was a small part of me that was afraid that after this third c-section, my doctor would tell me I shouldn't have any more kids. I wasn't even sure I wanted more kids, but I definitely wanted the option.

The girls and Neil hung around for just a little longer to see Millie have her first bath, and then it was just the two of us for the rest of the day. Girlfriend did NOT like the bath haha. And even now she's not a huge fan but luckily we discovered she LOVES the shower.

After everyone left, I had some much needed down time to finally rest and enjoy snuggling and feeding Millie. I just kept feeling so grateful she was finally here and that everything went smoothly and that she and I both made it through the delivery experience without any complications.


See our birth story video below, and a huge thanks to my dear friend Arielle Levy for being there to capture all these precious moments the day Millie was born!!

Corrine Stokoe

Corrine Stokoe is a blogger, podcaster and content creator behind the brand Mint Arrow. She and her husband Neil live in South Orange County with their 5 kids, she runs her blog and business with 7 team members, where they find the best daily deals and share favorite finds in fashion and beauty. They also run a podcast called Mint Arrow Messages. Mint Arrow has been featured in Forbes, Women's Wear Daily, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, AdWeek and Allure. Corrine is passionate about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ as often as she can and teaching others to use social media for good.

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  1. I love these pictures and the video and I think my favorite part is seeing Ani’s excitement over baby sister! Love you and can’t wait to snuggle miss Millie. <3

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