Welcome to birth trauma stories Podcast

Corben Cadence Asher’s Birth

Our dear Grandpa, Bernard Edward Nowak

You may be wondering why there's a picture of me (Cathy) and an elderly gentleman. Well, Corben's birth story really starts about 6 weeks prior to his birth. I remember getting to work and receiving a phone call that our precious Grandpa had a massive stroke. I immediately organized with family, travel plans. I lived only about 2 hours from my grandparents (in Florida), but most of my family lived in Northern Ohio. I lived closest to the airport so I would stay behind, work through the day, and pick up my mom, aunt and cousin who were flying in the next day. Being that Christina was over 35 weeks pregnant she was advised not to travel from Georgia. The next day I decided to Facetime with her. I'll never forget that when my Grandpa heard her voice he consciously turned, tube down his throat, to see her. 

It's a memory that still brings tears to my eyes. 

It was obviously a very hard couple of days, but my family decided to end life support. At that point my twin decided to change the spelling of Corben's name. Our Grandpa's name is Bernie. So my sister decided to change the spelling from Corbin to Corben to honor the patriach of our family.

I remember arriving to celebrate Christmas hoping a baby would arrive. 

Our dad was just finishing quarantine from having tuberculosis and surprised my twin and I by driving from Ohio to see us. I remember getting Christmas Eve gifts ready and starting breakfast for Christmas morning. Then around 1 am Christina decided she needed to go to the hospital to get checked. We then woke up her two older children to open some Christmas gifts, then they headed to the hospital.

They came back a few hours later and I remember feeling so bad for her because she was in so much pain. 

I then had to head back to work at the end of the week. I was so disappointed that Corben didn’t arrive before I had to head back to work, but he arrived on New Year’s Eve (ironically the day I met my husband). I know the delivery was hard for Christina but we all were so excited he had finally arrived. 

The first few days of Corben’s life were great as I received pictures of our new family member, then when he was 3 days old everything changed. I went on my lunch break at work and sent a text to Christina to check in. She said Corben was very sick and was being admitted to the NICU. I vividly remember sitting in the chair with my head spinning. How was this possible? Just a couple hours earlier I was told they were going home. 

How did we go from going home to being admitted into the NICU?! 

I then made the decision to drive back to GA on my weekend. I drove after my shift ended around 5 and arrived at about 11 pm. I definitely do not recommend it, but adrenaline kept me awake until I arrived. I walked into the hospital to hug my sister. We then called the NICU to see if we could visit Corben. We walked to the NICU unit, scrubbed up, and made it to Corben’s room. 

We spent the next two days between my sister’s room, the cafeteria, and Corben’s NICU room. I remember the day before I returned to work my sister started to cry. She said I just want to go home with my baby! My heart broke for her and even more so when she asked me to stay longer. I wanted to so badly, but having just taken a week off for Christmas it wasn’t possible.

This was my first NICU experience (That I remember) and honestly it was gut-wrenching. 

I’ll never forget there was a baby who was incredibly tiny; maybe 2lbs. I remember her mom crying leaving her room and it was obvious the baby was not going to make it. The nurses and doctors hugged mom and comforted her. It was just amazing the compassion and support the medical staff showed her in her time of need; especially the nurses. Nurses are truly amazing human beings!

Bella Anne Ivy’s Birth

I remember my sister calling me months before she took a pregnancy test to tell me she was pregnant. I was so excited to welcome a new niece or nephew to our family! Fast forward several months and my sister told me she decided to try for a VBA2C. 

I remember being scared and excited all at the same time. 

I then started praying for her new baby and the delivery. 

Fast forward another few months and delivery day had arrived. I got a phone call from my sister telling me she was on her way to the hospital. It was around 10pm so my sister told me to wait and drive up the next day. I woke up the next day ready to go, but my sister had a feeling labor was going to delay. So I waited some more and decided to leave when my daughter would take her nap. That way (hopefully) she would sleep the first couple of hours. I left around 1 pm and on the way my mother called me. She was already in Georgia and told me what happened. My sister had a uterine rupture. I remember wondering how we went from progressing well to an emergency cesarean? It felt like Corben’s birth story all over again…

So of course I asked my mom, are they ok? Do they need anything? Etc. 

She said they needed space. 

I would go to the hospital the next day. I arrived around 9pm and headed straight to bed. The next day I woke up and made breakfast for my niece, nephew, and daughter then got them ready to go to the sitters house. Thankfully one of Christina’s friends offered to watch Claire as well. I dropped the kids off then headed to Target because my sister asked me to buy a few things for her. 

When I arrived, I remember my niece sleeping peacefully in her bassinet. 

No visible signs of the trauma she endured. Babies are amazingly resilient! 

My sister however was in so much pain. My heart truly broke for her. Shortly after I arrived I remember Bella Anne starting to fuss; my sister looking at her exhausted. I offered to take her and do skin to skin as long as it was ok with my sister. She said “Yes! Thank you!” It was such a sweet moment I had to take a picture…and I am so glad I did. At the time I was already pregnant with Chloe Anne. Little did I know just 8 months later I would not be able to do skin to skin with my own baby because of the interventions I would need to save my life. I absolutely cherish that photo!

Over the next week I took care of the kids and the house until my sister was allowed to come home. Everyone was so excited to meet the new baby and see momma home again. 

However, just a day later she would need to go back to the ER. 

She was diagnosed with a uterine infection (postpartum endometritis). The second time she was in the hospital I remember her calling me to tell me it was time for me to go home. It was so hard to leave her, but I knew she was in the best hands! Our older sister Joy was coming the next day to help.