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Hurricane Ian baby Declan Michael born 10/8/22 to proud parents Kandis and John of SWFL

Today's birth story was written by 2nd time mom Kandis. We love it when parents share their story with us and we hope it inspires you wherever you are along your own birth journey. Special thanks to Emily for providing doula support for this beautiful family!

"Declan, gave a new meaning to the phrase, "having a knot in your stomach," LOL!

My first child, Magnolia was born May of 2020 in the panic of the world shutting down for COVID. Through a series of events with a provider who I put too much trust in we had a C-section with Maggie at 37 weeks due to IUGR and breech presentation.

For my second child I knew I wanted a VBAC and was going to do all the research. I listened to all the podcasts. I hired the perfect doula. I never ever reclined and always sat on my yoga ball. Had VBAC supportive midwives. I felt really good. The only issue was that baby progressively was measuring bigger.

I consented to 33 week growth scan because I wanted to confirm position after my first birth. He was measuring 96% and LGA. Again, I wasn’t panicked. I had read the evidence based birth studies and was prepared to advocate for my vaginal birth regardless of size. Consented to 38 week growth scan and weekly NSTs with the intention of using the NST results to fight against my provider suggestion induction due to size.

Here’s where things go sideways… Hurricane Ian. My 39 week appointment was scheduled for the day the hurricane hit Ft. Myers, 45 minutes from where we live. My labor and delivery hospital flooded, had no running water, cars floating in the parking lot and were evacuating to other counties. I stalked my favorite midwife when I could finally get some WiFi after borrowing a generator and she point blank told me to leave town to deliver my baby because the hospitals here were a nightmare and would be for weeks. I was fortunate enough to have a cousin in Jacksonville who is a pediatric neurosurgeon and was willing to house us, offer her nanny’s services for our 2 year old, and get me into providers at her hospital. We made the drive on 10.1 and arrived late Saturday night.

Monday 10.3 was my first appointment in Jacksonville. MFM performed a growth scan and told me Declan was measuring 9lbs 1oz and 86% for size. I was ecstatic! He was finally below 90% and not technically considered LGA.

MFM didn’t share my excitement.

He spoke with me and warned me against VBAC with a 9lb baby. That’s also when I learned that the OB providers at that hospital felt similar and I may get more pushback than expected. We scheduled an appointment for Thursday so that if I hadn’t gone into labor by then we could check on baby again since I was leaking amniotic fluid slowly.

10.4 due date came and went with no labor.

Thursday I had my NST and a BPP and met with one of the hospitalist OBs who informed me that none of their providers felt comfortable delivering VBAC on me because of baby’s size. They suggested some other near by hospitals and offered to reach out to them, but encouraged me to schedule a C-section for the following day. I was crushed. I spoke with my husband and my provider back home. Even my midwife who had been 100% supportive of my VBAC encouraged me to move forward with the C-section because of all the circumstances we were in. I finally decided to schedule it since we didn’t need any more emergency surprises and ultimately I wanted to hold my baby and go home.

Friday we got ready to head to the hospital and the OB surgeon called. The L&D had exploded with patients and they needed to push me out to Saturday at noon. She joked that this was buying me time to go into labor and come in ready to push. Sure enough that night I started having contractions.

Saturday morning by 8am I was having consistent contractions 8 minutes apart for a minute each. I was in labor! We got ready and by the time we got to the hospital my contractions were 5-1-1. I was going to push to get my VBAC after all! They checked me and I was only 1cm dilated. I met with the OB surgeon and explained my situation. She came back a while later and told me she spoke with the head of OB and they did not feel comfortable delivering me VBAC there, but I could be discharged and go to St. Vincent’s hospital where a midwife group would deliver me VBAC.

I was in so much pain, I hadn’t eaten, and I wanted to hold my baby. My intuition kicked in and told me to prep for surgery. The thought of getting back into the car with painful 4 min contractions to meet with providers at a hospital where I didn’t know anyone just didn’t feel right.

I went back for the C-section feeling like it was the right decision and it was my choice. My body was ready to have a baby and now was the time.

When they brought him out there was a huge square knot in his cord which made me feel like it all made sense. If that knot would have tightened while trying to deliver vaginally it could have been catastrophic!

Declan was born at 1:57 absolutely perfect at 8lbs 10oz and 22” long."

Thank you Kandis for sharing your beautiful birth story with us! It has been our pleasure to support your pregnancy and birth and we are so happy for your family as you welcome your newest little love, Declan Michael.

Our doula best,

Emily and the Mindful Birth Doulas


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