I’m Tiana Lashae, award-winning maternity and newborn photographer. I gave birth last summer to my 4th child, and I am sharing the details! It’s been a journey from nauseousness and shortness of breath to an emergency c-section! Mateo Archie has been the best addition to our big family.
Before “Birth Day”
I had just celebrated my 31st birthday on Jul 5, at the beach with my blended of 7, soon to be 8. I still remember walking along the beach in my yellow swimsuit, toes lightly touching the water’s surface, enjoying the sounds of nature, and watching a magnificent sunset. Yet, as I reflect, I still don’t think I would have known what would happen just 11 days later.
On the morning of Jul 14, I felt extremely nauseous and had shortness of breath. It didn’t seem abnormal, although I did notice my feet had started to swell. All of these things were typical pregnancy-related issues. Thank God my Husband urged me to check into Urgent Care around 9:15a. They immediately sent me to the hospital, as I had a blood pressure rate of 189/114.
I was in complete disbelief because I’d never had blood pressure issues before. I’m staring at my husband with uncertainty all over my face when a nurse walks in and speaks. She explained that I have preeclampsia with severe features. My ratings were at stroke level and could affect my heart, and the baby could become distressed. Still trying to process it all, she tells us that I cannot leave until I have my son. He was not due until Sept 24. I could think about the next ten weeks, sitting in a hospital stuck to monitors. I cried and was very sad the first night. It was the last place I wanted to be on a hot summer day, not to mention all the things that still needed to be done in preparation for this arrival.
They kept me on monitors because my blood pressure was so high. The meds weren’t working. Finally, on the night of the 15th, a nurse explained that the baby was showing signs of distress. We need to schedule the c section tomorrow! We planned it for 11:00 am. I contacted my husband, parents, Mother in Law (who flew down from GA on the 14th), and birth photographer to let everyone know what was going on.
Jul 16: Day of Birth
Early morning on the 16th, they came rushing into my room around 9’oclock with concerns about my baby’s heart rate. I needed to be prepped for the OR. It was emergent! I panicked and called everyone to say get here ASAP. As soon as they made the incision, my placenta ruptured. The placenta had been overworked with my blood pressure rising. It moved incredibly fast. My husband and birth photographer missed the birth by literal minutes. They had been prepped for the OR too but were able to join a couple of minutes after birth.
Here’s a quick video to summarize it, including a special postpartum photoshoot, from my amazing birth photographer, Jennifer Mason. Jenn is one of the best birth photographers and doulas in the area. Capturing these moments was important to me, as I knew this was our last child.
Our NICU Stay
Mateo Archie was nameless for three whole days and was born 2lbs 5oz. He was born at exactly 30 weeks, just like his older brother. We stayed a total of 5 weeks in the NICU. Being a NICU parent before, I was prepared and familiar with the process. With the support from my MIL, we were able to manage hospital visits with ease as she was our primary home caretaker. The incredible support from friends and family will always be remembered and appreciated, especially during such a vulnerable time. This is why I will always have a servant and giving heart.
Also, if you know any parents in the NICU, here are five helpful ways to contribute.
1. Give parents time to grieve. Contact them to congratulate them on showing your support, but prying can cause further anxiety. Don’t ask too many questions. They’ll tell you what they want you to know.
2. Offer to do house chores for them. The last thing a new parent wants to do is cook and clean after spending their day between work and the hospital.
3. Provide Meals: Cook dinners or give them gift cards to instacart, door dash, grub hub, etc. Meal prep can be challenging, especially with a thousand other things on your mind and heart.
4. Buy them a NICU journal. It helps keep track of their baby’s progress—things like their weight gain, feed increases, doctor notes, etc.
5. Offer to babysit if there are other siblings.
Mateo just needed to gain weight because he was small. There were no other complications. He was discharged on Aug 20, 2021, weighing exactly 4lbs. It’s so amazing how resilient these babies are. I am so glad I snapped these last few pictures before we left.
Tiana Lashae’s Thoughts
Initially, I felt robbed of an opportunity to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section). My homebirth wishes were set aside because I medically couldn’t try for a VBAC due to a previous classical incision. I wanted to be heard and trust my body this time. I wanted to feel natural labor instead of forced inductions. None of that happened, but it was okay. All that mattered was that my baby and I were healthy. Preeclampsia is one of the sneaky diagnoses that can happen to any pregnant woman.
I felt proud advocating for myself. My two requests were delayed cord clamping and for my birth photographer to be there to capture these moments. Having these photos mean everything to me as that was the last birth that I will ever experience.
I am always happy to listen to my client’s birth stories. It was such a pleasure to share my birth story with you!
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