Keira’s Birth Story

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Since it has been three months since we went to the hospital, tomorrow marking three months since our sweet Keira was born, it being c-section awareness month, and now that I have our labor & delivery photos from our photographer (thankful for her and allowing a payment plan for us!), I made the time to blog the story. 🙂

When I was pregnant, I loved hearing labor and delivery stories. I didn’t care if they were bad, good, scary, etc. It was the reality of someone’s story and I wanted to know of the possibility of how ours would turn out. I have been asked about our story a few times and I want to look back on our story. So, here I am writing how we got Miss K into our world. 🙂

BEWARE: This post does get personal! I have been asked why I want to share such personal photos (& video!), but I am such a strong believer that me being open about my experience(s) in life can help someone who might need it. Child birth is absolutely incredible and I am more than happy to share our story (with photos, since they help tell the story), even if it helps one mama! 🙂

As we were leaving my 39 week appointment and had no signs of labor coming anytime soon, our OB’s office suggested that we make an appointment to get induced, just in case baby doesn’t come before 41 weeks and it takes time for the hospital to make sure we get an appointment. Later that afternoon, we found out we got our appointment for 12:00AM on Friday, January 3rd, 2020. Where I was delivering, they didn’t allow us to go past 41 weeks and so I was happy I had until the very last day to get in, as I was going to be exactly 41 weeks that day.

For two weeks, I had all the moms and everyone else sharing their ways of “naturally” inducing labor. I didn’t push it or stress about all the old wives tales, but I did try some. Well, they didn’t work. haha!

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020 was our last day at home, where we had just the two of us. I had all different types of emotions, but I let myself relax, soak in the last day of it being just the two of us, and soak in the last times of being pregnant (I LOVED my pregnancy!). I took the longest shower, knowing it was going to be my last shower before I had a little body in our home. I cuddled with David whenever I got the chance, as I knew that would be the last day of just us two. & I took my time packing the last bits of our hospital bags. Although I didn’t picture us having the chance to ever “prepare,” I did enjoy knowing those moments were our last moments and it was all so bittersweet.

The drive to the hospital was calm. We were ready and excited to get this started. I was never really super nervous for anything. I felt a sense of calm during the whole process, with just a little bit of nerves here and there.

We arrived at midnight and got all checked in. Keira was really active inside, with her heart rate being a little high. They checked to see if I was dilated yet (nope, not even a 1 yet.) and check to make sure baby was head down (yep! I was feeling those kicks up in my ribs!). So, they delayed the start of Cervidil until 3:00AM.

The nurse came in and we started the process. I was told that the Cervidil going up was going to feel like a tampon and shouldn’t hurt. NO. It does! I was in literal tears because of how bad it hurt. (When we talked to the doctor about it later that day, she was surprised and said it shouldn’t have hurt. So, we think it was just the nurse who inserted it. She was not gentle what-so-ever.)

For 12 hours (the amount of time it takes to get some progress), we hung out, rested, and waited. It did start a little contractions, but nothing crazy. (A little more painful than menstrual cramps, but still tolerable.) At 3:00PM, on Friday, January 3rd, 2020, the doctor came and and checked. She then mentioned I was then a 1-1.5cm and 50% effaced. Woohoo, a little progress! Buuuut, not enough progress. She then gave two options: do another round of Cervidil or to break my water. This is when I mentioned I am too afraid of Cervidial due to how painful it was and then started asking questions about how they would break my water.

I chose to have my water broken. It was broken at 3:30PM. First, let me say that I am SO happy my water did not break at home or in public. It is SO much (& it continues to come out like crazy when contractions start). It makes you wonder how all that water is in your body. After a few hours of my water breaking, is when everything started. The contractions came and they sure come! I don’t remember when it hit, but David says it started to hit me around 6:00PM. Once it started to hit me, I remember reeealllyyy having to focus because boy, the contractions were painful. I remember being on my side, focusing on my breathing eyes closed, and hand gripped on the bed. It felt like forever, but not a long time at all. So I asked David, “How long has it been?” He replied with, “Hmm, 45 minutes to an hour.” (I vaguely remember him mentioning it was in the 7 o’clock hour) “WHAT!? That’s all!?” I was hoping it was longer, so that way I can hopefully be dilated more.

Since I was in so much pain, but didn’t want the epidural (yet), they offered me other pain meds. To help me rest, I decided to take it. They mentioned I might be a little loopy (& I was! SO loopy! I felt drunk! hahah!). I tried so hard to eat during that hour (my doctor let me eat up to a certain point) because I was hungry, but I was so loopy. I finally decided to try to sleep, but then the pain started to come back. I then asked, “How long is the meds suppose to last?” “About an hour.” AHH!! I totally would have skipped my warm meal to be able to sleep! Well, that went out the window. At least I didn’t feel any pain for an hour. haha!

As the pain continued for a few hours, they offered me the epidural. I decided to take it. I wanted to wait to see how long I could go, but I was in SO much pain and I wanted to be able to rest. Once I got it, it was magical!! I was able to sleep. But before we got a good chunk of sleep, the doctor came in shortly after I got the epidural to check and I was at 3cm! WOOHOO!! All that pain was getting me closer!

I was able to sleep from 10ish at night, until around 4:00AM, with a little waking here and there when nurses came in to check vitals. I also woke up once to get checked and I ended up being 4cm and they were able to feel babies head. Woohoo! Since I was still only a 4, that is when they started the Pitocin. But, I was feeling good with the epidural, I didn’t feel the contractions from the Pitocin (yet). Around 6:00AM is when they checked and I was at 6cm!! YAY!! We then called our family and Jaclyn (our birth photographer) to make their way over and arrived around 8:00AM.

I was checked again at 11:00AM and was a 8! Even more yay!!!

Then comes 1:00PM and the excitement hit! I was then a 9!!! WOOHOO!! They started to bring the tables over with the tools and I told David to share with our family and friends that we will be pushing soon! (Or so I thought)

As a few hours passed, people thought I already had her. (David and I chose to only keep it to just us and our photographer in the room while I was laboring and he either notified people over phone or walked into the lobby to talk with family. But hours would pass with out him notifying anyone since he was paying attention and helping me)

But nope, no baby yet. I was just continuing to lay in the bed in pain, as I started to have back labor. The epidural doesn’t block back labor, sadly. I then started to feel like I had to poop (haha! I was told this how it felt like when it came closer to push. Boy, was it true!). I just kept repeating myself, “I don’t need to push, but it feels like I am pooping!!” I even had David check to make sure I didn’t poop. Bless his heart! haha! For a little bit, I really thought it was going to be time to push. I kept asking the nurses when it would be time, but I guess they were watching the contractions and knew that it wasn’t time yet.

During all these hours, David was the absolute best! He was constantly trying to massage, give me ice chips when I needed some, gave me chapstick, and helping me breathe through the contractions. (Not pictured, but our photographer did all that help too! She went above and beyond!!)

At one point, I was in so much pain, shaking like crazy, and felt the epidural wasn’t working at all. So they called in the anesthesiologist and he pushed through more of the fluids straight into my back, instead of having it drip through the bag into my IV. Instant relief! I was then able to rest a bit. I put some music on and rested while I could.

(we got to see our family in the waiting room from the window!)

The hours continued and here comes 8:00PM, I was hopeful and was staring at my doctor’s face to see his reaction. His face with some disappointment, “Still a 9 and 90% effaced.” He then had to give me some options.

His words (not word for word, but close): “In the medical field, we call this failure to progress. We aren’t suppose to allow you to go passed 4-5 hours, but you and baby are healthy and I wanted to give you and baby a chance to drop and get to a 10. Since that has not happened and I don’t know why you haven’t progressed the last 7 hours, I can only give you one more hour to see if you can get to a 10. But I will mention, that even if you get to a 10 and she hasn’t fully dropped, you will be pushing for a few hours and you have the chance of swelling so much and that can lead to a c-section. Or we can get you all ready and you can have your baby girl within the next hour if you choose to do a c-section. Those are the only two options, as it is already passed 24 hours since your water broke and you did have Meconium when your water broke. So I will give you and David 15 minutes to talk about it and decide.”

(Meconium is baby’s first poop and it’s not healthy if baby poops in the womb, as the baby can swallow it and it can get into their lungs.)

When I heard him say that I can have my baby here within an hour, I started to lean towards having a c-setion. David and I started to talk about it and he was leaving it really up to me, but he knew I reaaalllyy wanted to have her vaginally. He then suggested, “Want me to get my mom?” I agreed, as I felt I just needed a little more reassurance that the c-section will be okay and not just hear it from someone who had not had one themselves or wasn’t part of the medical staff.

She helped give me a little more confidence in my decision. I was also SOOO tired of being in labor for over 30 hours and was SOOO hungry. So, I let the nurses know I was ready to have this baby.

I started to sign the papers, David started to get our things ready (since we would be in a new room after baby arrives) and himself ready to be in the room with me.

I was then experiencing contractions while we were getting ready and I just could not wait to stop them and have our baby here!

They wheeled me away and surprisingly, I had such a calm sense to me, even though I felt my body shaking. I had such confidence in the staff and my doctor. I was just ready. I wanted to have our baby in our arms already.

(During a c-section, only dads are able to be present and they join in after the process starts. So David waited outside until it was time to come in. Our photographer had brought an extra camera and I am so glad she did. David was able to capture some of the moments inside the room)

I was laid on the table and they got me ready some more. The doctor then started to cut and he asked, “Does it hurt?” I replied with, “It hurts, but my cat scratches are worse than this.” He then replied to that with, “Well, you’re not screaming like a cat, so I think we can continue.” He then told someone, “Go ahead and bring dad in.”

David mentioned that as he walked in, he saw me all cut up and was able to see my insides. (Ekk!)

We were then behind the blue curtain.

I will be honest and share that I felt everything. Every layer be cut through, the layers being moved, and the doctor pulling her out. It was numb and they said I would feel a pulling sensation, but it was so much worse than that. David took some Live Photo’s and in the photos when I hold down to play, you can hear me say, “OUCH OUCH OUCH!” But then I hear that first little cry and see her over the curtain and my eyes instantly water.

The doctor then said, “Well now I know why you didn’t progress. She had the cord wrapped around twice and was sunny side up! She didn’t know how to turn down the birth canal.”

The camera fell asleep on David, so he didn’t get to capture our doctor holding the baby up in the air, over the curtain for us, but he did capture some on the table and then got to cut the cord.

Once she was out and on the table, that is when everything turned for me. I not only was feeling them closing me up, but I was losing a lot of blood and my blood pressure dropped. I knew I wasn’t dying, but I can not explain the feeling other than it felt like I was. I just kept telling myself, “you are okay. The staff knows what they are doing.” I also tried to keep my focus on Keira crying, as I knew she was okay with how sweet and loud her cry was.

David then brought her over to me, but for some reason, it hurt my neck to turn to either side. So I said my first hello to her and then was forced to stay facing up (my body just would not let me). I told him I will do all my talking and cuddling with her when I was ready.

We then got into the recovery room and I was still so out of it and I was still shaking. I got to watch David and the nurses hold her, check vitals, etc. They wanted me to hold her right away, which is something I wanted to do as well, but in the moment, I was too afraid of dropping her. I was shaking uncontrollably and I was so out of it. I finally caved in after the nurses kept repeating to me, “The baby will help you calm down.”

They were right. As soon as I held her, it was magical. I dreamed of being able to push her out and hold her within seconds of her being born, but even though I wasn’t the first to hold her (other than the doctor) and it was over an hour when I did, it still felt AMAZING. The feeling of being able to carry her in my tummy and then hold her warm body on my chest for the first time was my favorite moment.

She then went to nurse and I remember being so amazed how babies instantly know where to look and feed. I was still out of it, but my eyes and attention was locked on her. Everything around me didn’t matter. WE DID IT!! She was worth it ALL!

^I LOVE this photo! In the hall way, David’s mom & sister waited at the window that we passed by. His sister saw me and the baby pass by first and yelled to tell the rest of the family that she saw us. Then, his mom peeked through and her and dad shared thumbs up that all was well!

We then headed back into our new room where we would be in for a few days. I then talked with David about when we would allow our visitors to come in. Since I was so exhausted and needed rest, we decided to have everyone come back tomorrow and the next day. But he still went out to the waiting room to share the news!

(These photos of Gram, Keira’s great grandmother, are extra special and we are SO thankful we have them, as she passed unexpectedly when Keira was 7 weeks old.)

That night, we rested when we could and enjoyed her sweet little snuggles.

The next few days were the absolute hardest I have ever physically been through and mentally. I not only was recovering from 30+ hours of labor, but also a major surgery. I couldn’t do anything but nurse Keira. David took of everything else. But once we got home, I was so happy to finally change a diaper and feel a little bit more of “normal.” (Being at a hospital for over 5 days can do that to ya! haha!) I then started to feel down about myself and our delivery. Overall I was loving being a mom, I was a little hurt that I couldn’t deliver her vaginally and get those moments I always wanted. BUT over time, now with it being 3 months since then, it has gotten better. I have continually been thinking of the positives: We are both healthy, it could have been so much worse with her cord being wrapped around her, etc.

The past three months have been such a joy! I am absolutely loving being a mom and I continually look at Keira and say, “I can not believe you grew in me! I can’t believe you are our daughter!” David and I are in heaven, even on the tiring days. We couldn’t be anymore thankful for such a blessing. She truly is our rainbow. 🙂

If you have read this far and expecting a little blessing yourself, the advice I can give you that helped me: Listen to all the stories, but know there are no two stories that are the same. Your story is going to be different, but a beautiful one. You can’t plan, but you can stay hopeful. Keep an open mind and keep your eyes and heart on the goal: a healthy mommy and baby! 🙂

Also, a HUGE thank you to Jaclyn with Jaclyn Cruz Photography for all of her help during my labor process (she helped keep me focused SO much, along with David. They were the best team for me!). I also want to thank the whole hospital staff! We only had one hiccup with a nurse, the rest were SO accommodating, helpful through it all! From the laboring, the delivery, recovery room, and in our postpartum room. Then, another huge thank you to the doctors! I had such a wonderful team of doctors through out my pregnancy and I never got the chance to meet 1 our of the 6 and the one that I didn’t meet ended up being my doctor between January 4th-5th (the one who delivered Keira!). We were SO pleased with Dr. J! He was so calm, sweet, and had such a great sense of humor through out it all. 110% SO happy he was the one who delivered our sweet baby girl! 🙂



Another sweet thing that our friend and photographer did was surprised us with the special video! 🙂 We are SO thankful!


Shelby Danielle
{Follow me of Instagram for daily updates: @ShelbyDaniellePhotography}

About Me

I am a wedding & portrait photographer based in Southern California and beyond!

I started at the young age of 16 in my hometown of Orange in Orange
County, California. As my photography business grew and I got married,
life took me to the Chino Hills area, making me more centered to all
major Southern California counties.

Here on the blog, you will
see a variety of posts regarding tips, sessions & weddings, and my
personal life of being a wife, mother, and business owner. To learn more
about me or to see more daily adventures, follow me on Instagram and/or

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