Introducing… Cole Isaac Gilbert

baby, parenting, announcement, traveling with kids, travel inspiration

The baby is here!  Thanks to everyone who has helped out in the past few weeks, especially those guest posters.  I’ll continue to be on semi-maternity leave over the next few weeks, but I wanted to share the good news and my birth story (for those interested).  Cheers!  Christine

Cole Isaac Gilbert

Born: 3/5/10 9:50 PM

8 lbs 12 oz

21 inches long

“The Cure”

I had breezed past my due date and by Friday my midwife wanted me to get an ultrasound to make sure the baby was still thriving in his post-40-week world.  We were planning a homebirth, a carefully weighed decision based in part on the nearly perfect health I had been experiencing throughout the pregnancy and my strong desire to avoid a c-section, especially since we would be birthing in the US, where c-section rates top 30%. It’s not a choice for everyone, but we were well-educated about the options and it felt right.

That afternoon, I ate lunch and headed over to the ultrasound appointment.  Drew and I sat in  silence as the tech tried to jiggle our baby into movement.  The bio physical scan scored the baby based on 4 types of movement, from rolling over to “practice breathing”.  Our score?  Zero.  I drank some juice.  I poked the baby and wiggled my abs.  After 30 minutes, our midwife transferred us to the hospital for more tests.  The baby wasn’t moving.

Remember that perfectly healthy pregnancy I talked about?  Well apparently on Week 40, Day 4 I developed pregnancy induced hypertension.  Normally you’d see this after the six month point, when the women’s blood pressure starts to creep up and her kidneys begin dropping protein into the urine and her feet and hands might get really swollen.  According to the blood work, I had moved past that first stage of just hypertension, beyond mild pre-eclampsia and was now looking at some of the scarier effects like my kidneys not working correctly, blood clotting issues and potential seizures (when blood pressure in a pregnant women gets too high they don’t stroke out, they have a seizure… fun fact).

The cure?  The doctor sat down and tried to couch it as nicely as possible.  “The only cure is to have this baby.”

We didn’t freak out, in fact we were very calm about the matter.  We spent about 30 minutes quizzing the doctor on the relative merits of induction verses cesarean, the likelihood of success based on cervical favorably, bishop score and methods used, and ultimately what did he think was the safest for everyone involved?  “If it was my wife or daughter? A c-section”.

I think everyone (the doctor, nurses and midwife included) were a bit surprised when we said, “Okay.”  Maybe they expected us to  fight it, to try to come up with some way to birth at home or to take the insane risk of disregarding the medical advice we had been given.   But to us, a home birth was about safety, not about some ego-driven one upmanship over our child-bearing peers.  A low risk, healthy birth is safest when left alone… but all of that goes out of the window once there is complications.  If you are sick, if your baby is at risk, you want a doctor there.  That’s why we did the tests and ultrasounds… to rule out anything that would cause us problems down the road.  Well, it worked.  I signed the paperwork and they prepped me for surgery.

I won’t go into too much detail about the actual surgery, as it’s not pleasant.  You wouldn’t expect it to be, I’m sure, but I might have of had a slightly harder time than other women as the spinal made me extremely sick.  There is one moment I’ll always remember though, and it’s the single bright spot in the experience.  I was gasping for breath from beneath the sickly plasticy smelling oxygen mask, with my own vomit drying on my face and in my hair, trying to not succumb again and I heard my baby’s first cry.  I couldn’t have been further from the moment, forgetting completely why I was subjecting myself to this and his piercing scream pulled me right back.  I burst into tears and felt this clear, indescribable  joy.

baby, parenting, announcement, traveling with kids, travel inspirationAfterward, I got everything I wanted.  Cole was alert and latched an hour after surgery (when they stabilized me enough to permit breastfeeding).  I stayed up with him most of the night, marveling his perfect little features, the way he pouted (my husband says he gets this from me) and the way his breathing gets excited as he gets close to me.  I had spent all this time planning the perfect birth, and I got almost none of my wishes, except one.  A healthy baby.  Later I would tell Drew that the disappointment, the anger, the sadness of having our plans dashed would take time to heal.  Really though, it  hasn’t been time.. the cure has been Cole.  Being with him has been so opposite, so perfectly wonderful, it’s redemptive.  I feel like I won the baby lottery.


  1. Christine your baby is so beautiful! I’m so glad everything worked out okay and excited to hear about the next chapter of your life!

  2. Having had a very similar experience + ending up with a baby in the NICU for two weeks after I was released, I’m thrilled that you’re firmly in new-mama-happy-land.
    He’s just beautiful.

    (FWIW: even though I had to have a c-section on #1, I had a successful, 5hr, no drugs vbac with #2. Keep the faith. Maybe you’ll have that natural experience some day).
    .-= wandermom´s last blog ..Road Trip Ireland Part II – Dublin To Belfast =-.

  3. Welcome to our world, Baby Cole … Congratulations to the new Mom & Dad!

  4. Christine, thanks for telling your story about a tough but critical decision. So glad everything worked out. He is gorgeous! And you are fearless!
    much love and admiration, Marilyn
    .-= Marilyn_Res´s last blog ..Stolen Sarcophagus Returned to Egypt =-.

  5. He’s gorgeous. Congrats and good health to your entire family.

  6. Congratulations x millions to your baby boy wonder! He is gorgeous! Really adorabel and a heart breaker 🙂

    Sometimes life has some real surprises for us, things don’t always goes as planned – as we travelers know well of course… *giggles*

    Good luck to you and your family.

  7. Congrats!!!
    .-= [F]oxymoron´s last blog ..The Washington Post Peep Diorama That Never Was =-.

  8. Congratulations to you and your husband. Your baby looks absolutely radiant.
    And your story totally almost made me cry.
    .-= Carolina´s last blog ..5 Prong Approach to Happiness and Balance =-.

  9. What a beautiful baby! I’m so happy for you and I totally relate to your experience. I used the Bradley method for a natural birth and was determined to follow it through even when hospital staff informed me that because I was 31, they would be transfered out of the birthing center and into a regulat delivery room if I had any complications. This terrified me more than a problematic birth but in the end, I was able to have a natural birth. I remember clearly the fear I felt about an induced delivery and I’m so glad that you didn’t give into that and did what you had to for a healthy baby. Congrats on Cole!
    .-= Fly Girl´s last blog ..Pomegranates in Paradise =-.

  10. Christine,

    Congrats! He’s perfect. Enjoy every second of it. I just had my baby two weeks ago, and my husband and I threw out our birth plan as soon as we found out I needed to be induced. 37 grueling hours later, she was here…and all the disappointments and frustrations were whisked away. Enjoy this special time with your son…they are only this little once!
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..The nine best quotes I’ve ever heard =-.

  11. Alison B.

    Thank you for sharing your birth story, and congratulations!

  12. He is just perfect. He looks like such a doll! I’m so glad that even though you got thrown for a loop you a had a successful birth.

    I know it is tough to recuperate from a c section so you have my best wishes – I hope you start feeling fantastic soon!
    .-= Bethany´s last blog ..Somewhere In Time – Temple Bar – Dublin, Ireland =-.

  13. Great story. Very touching. And I am very glad you pointed out the difference between a smart and safe decision and one that is just for the sake of doing something to say you have done it. Well, I have no plans on having babies, and reading your story half-way, thinking of all the issues you had to deal with, opting out seems like a good option – but that cute baby is sure tempting. :)!

  14. He is so beautiful! Absolutely perfect.

    And your story made me cry – not at all for your derailed birthing plan, but rather out of joy for you and your baby. I hope other women whose plans don’t always come together can read your words and see the “cure” the same way you did.

    I had a very smooth labor and deliver at a birthing center w/ my first son, and so we decided on a home birth for our second. The second time, there were complications, but not until after the birth…I ended up in the hospital overnight. All-in-all, it was a fine experience, but it does take time to ‘mourn’ the loss of the original plan.

    Congratulations to you and your hubby. I can’t wait to hear what’s next…

  15. Congratulations to you and Drew on starting the greatest journey ever. No matter the circumstances — it looks like you still had the perfect birth.
    Now the adventure begins!!
    .-= Brenna & Bob Redpath´s last blog ..A Good Problem To Have =-.

  16. Congratulations Christine! This post will be so cool for Cole to read when he’s older 🙂
    .-= Lara Clayton´s last blog ..Oops… I tweeted =-.

  17. Congrats and thanks for sharing!! Cole is soooo stinkin’ cute!! Enjoy every minute!! My baby is 2 today and I can’t believe time has gone by so quickly.

  18. Congratulations, Christine! What a beautiful baby. It’s funny how the most careful of plans can fall apart in a moment of crisis. Despite many things going wrong, like you said, what counts is that you and Cole are healthy. So glad to hear the both of you are doing well!

  19. He is beautiful! Congratulations. FWIW my first was an emergency c-section, the next two were natural (but in-hospital) births.

  20. Welcome Cole. A beautiful son. I am sorry for your trials with the C-section and all, Christine. Funny how some things don’t always go as we plan, but no question that this little child was worth it all. Congratulations to mommy and daddy! I will be looking for more baby pictures now.
    .-= Arlene´s last blog ..Tip of the Week – Bed and Breakfasts =-.

  21. He really is one of the most perfect looking babies i haver seen. he has the tiniest and cutest little features.

  22. Congrats, he’s so cute!!!

    In Chile they also have a really high c-section rate — over 40%. Actually I was looking and it seems a lot of countries in South America do too. Weird. I wonder if it’s lower in Europe.
    .-= Kyle´s last blog ..7.2 Aftershock Hits Santiago =-.

  23. I only recently “discovered” your blog, so my perspective must be very different from people who have been following your adventures for a long time, but I have to say that you are embarked now on the greatest one of them all. My “baby” is now 28, but you brought back so many wonderful memories with this lovely post. Ask me if I regret the travelling I wasn’t able to do because of becoming a mom, and the answer is a resounding “no”. My two sons brought and bring me so much joy and adventure that I don’t mind the wait at all.

    I can also say that your little chap is exceptionally gorgeous too!
    .-= islandmomma´s last blog ..Ensconced =-.

  24. Congrats! And thank you for such a well-told story of a necessary scheduled C-section! Your little adventurer was born on the 1-year birthday of my little adventurer, birthed also overdue and by the same means, and we are thankful so as it turned out. Hope you get lots of rest.

  25. Congratulations! We are very happy to hear both mother and baby are doing fine.

  26. congratulations… he’s very cute!
    .-= flip´s last blog ..10 Things You Should do in Brisbane =-.

  27. Congratulations, Christine. Cole is adorable.
    Welcome to the emergency c-section club.
    Welcome to the world, Cole.
    What a Trip!

  28. Congratulations! He looks perfect.

    I’m sorry you didn’t get your perfect birth, but I applaud you for being so level headed, for accepting the disappointment, and for immediately recognizing that the only thing that really matters is a healthy baby and healthy mom. Hope your recovery is going well and you’re all ready to hit the road in the not so distant future.
    .-= Theresa´s last blog ..There’s a Difference Between Eating and Eating Well =-.

  29. Congrats, Christine! I’m glad it came out so happy in the end. My little Isaac didn’t come via the all-natural birth I’d envisioned and planned for, either, and the cesarean scar STILL hurts 18 months later (something they don’t tell you about!) but it’s funny, as much as I hoped for that natural, perfect birth, once he was here and healthy, I never looked back. You are so right – the joy is simply indescribable.
    Welcome to motherhood!
    -Lauren in Seattle
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Xlapak, a Mayan Ruin =-.

  30. He’s a gorgeous baby. My wife and I just had a little girl 3 months ago. It is so amazing. Congratulations!

  31. Lori Reagan

    He is just beautiful…and your story was touching….from one Mom to another…you will never love anything more than your own child and that feeling will continue to grow even when you think you could’nt love him anymore….Love, Lori

  32. I’m chiming in abit late on this one but a big congratulations! It’s great to be able to share in your experience through this post and the joy of a healthy baby. 🙂
    .-= Kirsty´s last blog ..How I Wrote My First Ebook =-.

  33. Christine–

    Congratulations and… how did you afford it (the hospital US C-section, specifically)? I apologize for such asking such a downright nosy question, but you’ve been so forthright in your blog about so many of the “how-tos” of living on the cheap…

  34. Hi Bryna,

    I don’t mind the question! It’s a good one… my c-section cost $20,000 and it was covered by my health insurance. It’s actually why we returned to the US to have the baby, just so we could us “in-network” providers.


  35. Congratulations! I had my baby girl (number 2), Tessa, on March 25. 20 minutes of active labour – epidural didn’t work. Felt all the pain women talk about – the “ring of fire” ; the “burning sensation” ; “the numbing pain”. The reward: a healthy 7 pound 6 oz baby girl. Yes, I completely understand how it is redemptive. I am glad you have a healthy baby in your arms right now. Hope you’re getting enough sleep / rest.
    .-= Jen Laceda´s last blog ..Smashing Spring Giveaway =-.

  36. A beautiful story, and baby, Christine. Congratulations! I tell my daughters every time they ask if having a baby hurts… yes, but you don’t care about any of it once you see or hear that baby for the first time. Enjoy.
    .-= Dee Andrews´s last blog ..Discovering Love in Barcelona =-.

  37. I’m late to this post, Christine, but wanted to offer you congratulations on a healthy baby.

    I appreciate you sharing this — it’s a great example of how to include some of the more private details of your life within the context of a professional blog.

    This is something I am struggling with on my own blog, and I am encouraged by your example.

    You make this all look so easy!

    Bookmarked forever, Lisa

  38. your baby is BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations!!!
    Really enjoyed reading your post, thank you so much for sharing!

  39. Congratulations! I understand what you mean about Cole being the answer..not your exact words. And it all being a rather redemptive experience. I’m very happy for you and your family! Many wonderful years of love and joy with him and your husband.

  40. Congrats to all in the family. Blessings now and always!

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  44. Christine, thanks so much for sharing this. Our birth story was similar, as we spent months planning a birth with a midwife at a small hospital where c-section rates are low and natural, non-medicated birth is encouraged. Then I went into labor and things didn’t go as planned. I still need to process/grieve the birth I’d wanted, but yes, the baby is the best cure for all those feelings of disappointment.

  45. Congratulations! He is gorgeous! In my mind the most important goal in giving birth is a healthy baby! You accomplished that! Enjoy all the love and challenges this journey will bring. 🙂