“I’m Ariel. I’m a photographer, and my husband is Logan, a police officer. We had our first baby, Ryker Logan, in January 2018. He just turned 3 months old and he is our favorite little human. He’s just discovered his hands and his laugh, and as minute as that sounds, if you’re a parent, you understand that every little thing is thrilling. He is such a joy and we couldn’t love him more. Here’s our story of how sweet Ryker joined our family.
Finding out we were pregnant
Logan and I were not trying to have a baby. For the past year, we had followed the natural family planning method. Basically, we abstained from sex for a week while I was ovulating. This was always an easy thing to do because my cycle is like clockwork. Every 27 days, bam, period. I can also feel when I’m ovulating. I get minor cramping that’s slightly different from period cramping. It was easy to predict. It was a Friday morning and I was about to head out of town to visit my parents for the weekend. Everything was fine because I knew my ovulation cycle didn’t start until the following week. We were totally in the clear. Later that evening at my parent’s house, I felt that all too familiar cramping. This wasn’t supposed to be happening yet. Uh oh! I looked at the app I track everything in. I did a double take. I had miscalculated. I didn’t have one more week. I was IN the week. I was on the DAY I typically ovulate.
Once I was back home I told Logan my mishap. To be honest, I wasn’t really that concerned. When you spend years trying to NOT get pregnant, it’s kind of like, what are the odds this one time, this one miscalculation, I’ll get pregnant? Right?! Logan wasn’t too worried either.
As day 27 got closer, I thought about it more and I started to feel different. I started to feel pregnant. I can’t really tell you what that feels like; it was just an inherent inclination. Day 27 happened to be our one year wedding anniversary, May 7th. Logan and I went to one of our favorite brunch places, had a great meal and on the drive home I couldn’t take the suspense any longer. I knew I wasn’t really pregnant. How could I be? But I felt like the stress was keeping my period away. I wanted to take a pregnancy test so I could read “not pregnant” and get my period.
I had Logan stop at the drug store. I picked up a value brand pregnancy test and brought it home. I went straight to the bathroom. I did what you do with pregnancy tests, put it on the sink and waited. In that brief moment, everything in me changed. As I picked up the test to look at it, my heart sank. But not for the reason I thought it would. My heart sank at the thought of reading “not pregnant”. In that moment I was fearful of a negative test. Still sitting on the toilet, I turned over the pregnancy test and a very clear “pregnant” was staring me in the face. I was speechless. I let out an open mouth laugh and stared at the test with my jaw at the floor. I couldn’t believe it. I was pregnant. I WAS PREGNANT!
As I gathered myself, I prepared mentally to tell Logan. I knew it wasn’t what he was expecting and I knew it may not go over well. I walked to the living room and of course, he says, “well??”. I held up the test and told him it says pregnant. His reaction: “Let me see the instructions.” He read that box three times over. He was stunned, I was stunned. We were pregnant! Inside I was thrilled; on the outside, Logan was not. This wasn’t what we were planning. And that was hard. Having such wonderful news; something you want to be so excited about and your partner doesn’t share your feelings. And I knew I had to let him feel those feelings. I couldn’t MAKE him be happy about it. I know my husband and I knew eventually he’d get there. But for now, he needed to process this news and that was really hard on me. I felt alone in my happiness.
A few days later, I met up with my best friend and she was the first person I told. She gave me the reaction that I so desperately needed. She was over the moon, tears in her eyes, happy for us. Her reaction got me so excited, so happy and gave me that boost I needed. Each day Logan and I talked more about it and it became more imaginable to him. I’ve heard that a woman becomes a mother at conception, and a man becomes a father at birth. That could not be truer for us.
The beginning of pregnancy was hard. For the first 13 weeks I was in a constant state of nauseousness. There was no “morning” about it. It was all day, every day. I didn’t gain a single pound the first 16 weeks of pregnancy because I was so sick. Moving on to the second trimester was better. This really is the best. All my energy was back, and I was so ready to eat and enjoy food again. It was amazing! Around week 24 my belly finally started to show and at my appointment with the midwife I first heard my baby was Frank Breech. I was told this was no big deal. A lot of babies are upside down at this point. He’ll move into the correct, head down position.
Around week 27 I started to have bad sciatica pain and started seeing a chiropractor. It helped tremendously. At week 33 we had a growth scan to see how the baby was growing. He was perfect in every way except he was still breech. Again, I was reassured that this is still normal. There’s plenty of time for baby to flip. At this point, I started researching and worrying. You see, I was planning an all-natural, vaginal birth at a birth center. I had taken hypnobirthing classes, I had prepared, I was practicing breathing. Logan was on board. My all-natural birth was supposed to happen. I was excited for it! Not a bone in my body was worried or afraid of giving birth. I literally couldn’t wait for the day.
When you continue to hear the word: breech, it really indicates one thing. In today’s society, breech means an automatic cesarean section. Everything I didn’t want in a birth. I wanted my oxytocin, hormone-fueled, instant bonding birth with my baby placed right on my chest. I didn’t want a cold surgery where I’m cut open and my baby is taken from me by people who don’t love him and will never know him. My midwives continued to assure me he would flip – only 4% of babies remain breech at birth after all – but I was in a state of panic.
As the weeks drew closer to my due date I did everything to flip my baby. I did handstands until 37 weeks pregnant. I laid inverted on the couch twice a day for 20 minutes for weeks. I put ice packs on his head. I tried every inversion and trick suggested on SpinningBabies.com, I held a flashlight to my hoo-ha. I continued seeing the chiropractor twice a week using the Webster Technique. I saw an acupuncturist. I practiced Moxibustion for 10 days. I. DID. EVERYTHING.
I then tried to find an OB that would allow me to deliver my baby breech. The problem with delivering breech babies vaginally is that although the vast majority of them will deliver completely fine and healthy, the small percentage that don’t, tend to be catastrophic. I wasn’t worried. I believed in myself and my baby to do this. I knew we could. I still know now, him being a 3-month old, we could have done it. But I couldn’t find a single doctor who would do it. Too much liability they say, and sadly many OB’s are no longer trained in breech deliveries.
At 38 weeks, my baby still hadn’t flipped. We discussed our last resort. An External Cephalic Version (ECV). In layman’s terms, an ECV is an attempt to flip the baby from the outside by manipulating your belly. Two days after Christmas, Logan and I headed to the hospital to meet with a physician who performed ECV’s. For 45 minutes I experienced the most physical pain I have ever been in. The doctor and my midwife pushed and twisted my belly while I closed my eyes, held Logan’s hand and tried to practice everything I learned in my Hypnobirthing classes. After 45 minutes, I was breathing through gritted teeth, my body was shaking uncontrollably, I was crying and I felt like my skin was going to split open any minute. They tried their best. Every time they would make some headway and turn him, he’d wiggle back. After all of this, baby boy was in no distress at all. His heartbeat remained normal and as soon as they were done he started his usual routine of hiccups. My baby wasn’t turning. He was happy, he was big, and he was comfortable breech. I was going to have a c-section.
Having Our Baby
I was scheduled for a cesarean section at 39 weeks with the physician who performed the ECV. I really liked him. He was very sympathetic and understanding of the situation. In the week after the ECV, I really tried to mourn the hopes and dreams I had had for my natural delivery. I cried, I talked to friends, I was aware my choice to birth my baby the way I wanted was taken from me. I was given no choice but a cesarean to bring my baby into the world. And that was my cold, hard truth. While I was so happy my baby was going to be here, I was extremely angry about the surgery, and I 100% let myself feel it. Cesarean recovery is hard and long, and in my opinion (after much research) is not necessary for Frank Breech babies. I mourned and just thought about meeting my boy.
The morning of Ryker’s birth I was SO excited. We were meeting our baby today! I had canned all my negative feelings and was just so excited to meet him. We got to the hospital at 8 am and were taken right to our room. Our sweet birth photographer, Melissa, was there as well as my midwife. That’s the wonderful thing about midwives. Even though I was no longer delivering with her, she came and stayed through my entire surgery and recovery for support.
Around 10 am the nurse started giving me all the IV’s and fluids and things you take before a cesarean. Everything was light-hearted and happy and just so much anticipation.
At 11:30 am they were ready for us. It was our turn in the operating room. It was Ryker’s time! I walked myself to the OR and thank God my midwife was allowed to come right into the OR with me. Logan and Melissa waited in the small waiting room outside the OR.
They were allowed to come in after I was given the spinal. As I walked in I took in everything around me. It was white, cold, and sterile, and I was suddenly in my worst nightmare. Despite a happy morning, all my fears and anger came rushing back to me. The anesthesiologist asked me to sit on the side of the gurney so they could administer the spinal. Before I could control myself, every emotion was washing over me. My head sank to my chest. My whole body sank and I started quietly crying. My beautiful birth was not happening. How could it be that I was here in this cold place? My midwife grabbed my hands and had me look at her and told me it was going to be okay. We were going to be meeting Ryker soon. I couldn’t control the tears. The anesthesiologist asked my midwife, “Is she crying? What’s wrong with her?”. That remark was as cold as that room and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
They administered the spinal, lay me down and started testing for numbness. My midwife was still there holding my hand. Thank you, Ashley, thank you! It seemed to take forever before they allowed Logan in. As soon as he saw me and saw I was upset and crying, he was crying. He rushed over to me and grabbed my hand and pet my hair. Having him there was everything. I am Logan’s world, and he makes it known. Despite his initial, hard reaction to the pregnancy, he’s a giant teddy bear who loves me more than he loves himself.
The surgery itself wasn’t bad. I just felt a little pressure and some tugging. I was still crying and just staring at Logan’s hand wrapped around mine. In my birth preferences, I had requested things be as gentle as possible. I didn’t want my arms restrained. I wanted all monitors hooked up to my back and not my chest. I also asked for a clear drape and wanted Ryker brought directly to my chest once he was born. My physician and the nurses were all so kind and accommodating.
My doctor told me Ryker was almost here. I felt one more weird pressure pull and they said he was born.
My boy was here! Ryker was born at 12:08 pm on 1.8.18 at 8lbs 15oz! A second later he was screaming and they held him up to the clear drape so I could see him.
He looked nothing like I had imagined, but everything I wanted. He was screaming and screaming. They brought him to me and put his warm, gooey body on my chest.
In that moment, he looked right into my eyes and calmed. He stopped crying and it was the most magical moment of my life. He was perfect. So perfect. Logan was crying. I was in love and Ryker was staring at his momma; the person who carried him for 9 months and loved him unconditionally without knowing him. Everything in that moment was okay. It was wonderful.
Our lives were forever changed and our hearts doubled for that tiny person.
Logan, the man who didn’t know how to handle the idea of becoming a parent, became a father that day. He loves our boy fiercely and there’s no better father for Ryker. Becoming his parents was the best day of our lives and Ryker has been nothing but the life-changing miracle we never knew we needed.”
You can view Ryker’s birth *FILM* below! Be sure to watch in HD and with the volume up!
It was an honor to be there as Ryker was welcomed into the world! Thank you, Ariel, for sharing your beautifully written love story with us!