Birth Stories: Arielle Charnas

By Arielle Charnas | Photo's Courtesy of Arielle

The embodiment of beauty and confidence, style sensation, Arielle Charnas shares her unexpected story of giving birth for the second time. @ariellecharnas

This is a story of Esme, the birth of my second daughter. 

A few weeks leading up to my due date, I found out that my baby was transverse, which means she was positioned sideways as opposed to head down. In hopes of getting her to turn, I did everything from a series of moxibustion with my acupuncturist, to swimming laps, to even putting ice packs at the top of my belly, to no avail.  As a result, we scheduled an ECV (external cephalic version) for June 18th, at which they planned to induce me so I could give birth vaginally.  As it turns out, she had other plans. 

The night she was born, we were meant to go to my mom’s 60th birthday party in Brooklyn around 6 pm.  As Brandon was finishing getting ready, I was laying in bed fully dressed when suddenly it felt as if I got the wind knocked out of me. It was scary but passed once I stood up, so I attributed it to Braxton Hicks. I gave it a few moments and then it happened again! It was alarming and felt very different from when I went into labor with Ruby, so I called my doctor’s emergency line. She told me that it sounded like contractions but also might be Braxton Hicks, therefore, to be on the safe side she insisted we head to the hospital because of my baby’s transverse position. I told Brandon that we had to go to the hospital immediately, so he grabbed a bag and threw some clothes in it. I looked at him like he was crazy as this was undoubtedly Braxton Hicks and we’d be home in a couple of hours. Never in a million years did I think I was in labor!

Once we got to the hospital, and I described the sensation of “getting the wind knocked out of me,” they hooked me up to a contractions monitor, did an EKG (to rule out any heart or chest issue since I was complaining of pain), checked my cervix, plus the baby’s position. As it turns out she was fully breech (her head was in my ribs), my cervix was soft but not dilated, I had light contractions, and my EKG was perfect. I was sure this had to be Braxton Hicks, right?? They thought maybe but wanted to update my doctor before making a ruling and discharging us. Fully assuming it was a false alarm, we ordered sushi for delivery at home.

The doctor arrived 20 minutes later, checked me and said: “We’re going to meet your baby tonight!” Plus, I was dilating fast, and they needed to do a C-Section because of the baby’s breech position. I started crying because I was nervous, excited, and scared all at once! Immediately they prepped me for surgery and brought me into the operating room. They hooked me up to IV’s, gave me an epidural, and lay me on a metal table with a curtain hung across my body. I was terrified and kept asking for Brandon. Finally, they let him into the room with full scrubs on, and I told them that they could go ahead and start (as if I was in control), of which they laughed and said they were already in! I didn’t feel any of it until they started pushing and shoving things aside in my belly to get to her out, which gave me the most intense nausea! All of a sudden I heard a cry pierce the air and she was born at 10:05 PM. They wrapped her up and handed her to Brandon because I was so sick and shaky I couldn’t hold her. Brandon held her in one arm and my hand in the other while they sewed me up. I desperately wanted it to be over so I could be with her! Finally, they finished, took the curtain down, inserted anti-nausea medication into my IV, and handed Esme to me.

As I began to regain sensation in my body, they brought me to the recovery room, where Esme immediately latched onto my nipple and started feeding; it was the most incredible feeling in the world.

Then, like a burst of energy, my mom came running in hysterically crying, followed by Brandon’s parents and my sisters—most of them were a bit tipsy from the party, but it was hilarious. Plus, my sisters couldn’t get over the fact that I still had a full face of makeup on as we were ready to go to the party when I went into labor. Moreover, since I didn’t get sweaty pushing (with a vaginal delivery) everything stayed in place!

The next day, Brandon went home and picked up pajamas for me, along with my HATCH set (cashmere robe and socks), a toothbrush, pillows, iPhone chargers and clothes for Esme. I had him pack so much less then I did with Ruby, as I knew what essentials I needed this time. We spent a few days at the hospital, and by the second day, I was able to stand up and walk around—baby steps at first but was doing laps around the hallway by the time we left.

After my experience, I don’t believe in birth plans; it’s a waste of energy considering I gave birth vaginally with the first and had a C-Section with the second. Of course, my “plan” was to deliver both of my babies vaginally, but ultimately it was out of my control. To think, with Ruby I was in labor for 24 hours, and with Esme only 4 hours, but in the end, the result was the same, I have two beautiful baby girls.