Alright, so on Wednesday of my 37th week, at my normal pre-natal appointment, we discovered that sneaky miss Adelaide was not in the perfect head down position, but was in the head-up breech position. This was a suuuuppper big shock and disappointment because its very, very, very difficult and dangerous to deliver breech babies vaginally, which is how we planned our birth. It took a day or so for the news to sink in, and for us to figure out a plan. My doctor wanted to do an external cephalic version (procedure where they physically turn the baby from the outside) on Friday of that week, but since the possible complications from that procedure meant immediate c-section, Matt and I decided to postpone the procedure until the following Tuesday. Our plan was to give some alternative remedies a chance to work on turning her. It was really important that our baby be allowed to start labor on her own schedule, so regardless of what happened, we wanted to wait for labor to begin on it’s own.
Between Wednesday and Friday, I saw an acupuncturist, talked to my hypnobirthing instructor, soaked in several different bodies of water and did more relaxation exercises than I’ve done in my entire pregnancy, all in an effort to give our little girl enough room and motivation to turn on her own.
Matt was working that Saturday and we arranged to meet for lunch at 1. However, at 11:30 I called him to tell him that I wouldn’t be able to make it because I was about 99% sure my water broke. At 11:50, I felt my first surge (aka contraction…but surge is a much nicer word). I started packing our bag for the hospital (because that definitely had not been done yet) and was getting really excited that today would be the day that our baby would be born!!!
Matt arrived home about 30 minutes later (I told him to take his time and finish up whatever he needed to finish), at which time my surges were about 5 minutes apart and lasting 2 minutes each. By the way, they make all these fancy contraction timers for the iPhone, but seriously, all we used was the stop watch feature that comes on the iPhone. It keeps a log and everything, and all you have to do is tap the “lap” button each time you feel a surge starting.
Anywho, my surges were getting significantly stronger and closer together, so Matt told me to lie on the couch/relax as much as I could and he would finish packing. We were ready to leave for the hospital at 1:30 (sounds like a long time from when labor started, but, holy cow, it did not seem like it) and when we left my surges were a minute-and-a-half apart and lasting a minute each.
The speed and intensity of my labor made me pretty confident that she was still breech, but since we didn’t know for sure we were still optimistic. It was so strange to me that we were going to the hospital and we didn’t know what kind of a birth we were going to have. In every scenario I created to prepare for this day, I always figured I’d know what kind of birth I would be having by the time it started.
When we got to the hospital, I insisted Matt park the car so that we would walk in together. I really didn’t want to be left alone, and the parking garage was a very short walk from the hospital. We got about halfway there when a really big surge hit me. We stopped on the sidewalk and I leaned on Matt and tried to relax but I started feeling nauseous so I had to sit down, at which point Matt asked, “Can I PLEASE go get you a wheelchair?”. I nodded and he was off, running to the hospital entrance about 50 feet away to grab a chair for me.
He wheeled me inside to the birth center, and we went through the check-in process. It kills me that we pre-registered with the birth center, I had been going there for pre-natal care for the past 9 months, and still we get bombarded with questions about who my doctor is and who our pediatrician is. I couldn’t answer half of the questions because I was trying to breathe and relax through my surges, but Matt was amazing and handled everything.
Finally, they wheeled me into an exam room to get our vitals and to see what position our little girl got herself into. During the exam, the door opened and I was delighted to see my doctor come into the room! We had no idea who was on call that day and I was soooo very excited that it was her. She got the ultrasound machine out, and sure enough, Adelaide hadn’t really moved. She kinda got herself into a transverse position, which is even worse than breech. The plan, at that point, was to monitor the baby through a few surges to make sure she was handling them alright, then attempt the ECV to get her into the proper head-down position.
When I was checked on arrival I was 1 cm dilated. After an hour of monitoring, I was 3 cm dilated. This, plus the exam that revealed how low the amniotic fluid had gotten, made my doctor order an emergency c-section. She was really sweet about it because she knew how much I had my heart set on a natural vaginal delivery, but the facts were these; trying to turn her without enough fluid would harm her, my cervix was dilating too quickly, and lastly trying to deliver a baby in the position she was in would be very harmful to me. With all of that explained I signed the proper paperwork for the emergency c-section.
I’m pretty sure I got asked like 15 times what I had to eat that day (pancakes) because technically when you go under anesthesia you’re supposed to have an empty stomach. But because this was an emergency c-section, they overlooked it and hoped for the best. I regurgitated my pancake breakfast about five minutes before we moved from the exam room to the operating room, so I told them “You don’t have to worry, now I have an empty stomach”. At least I kept my sense of humor.
The spinal block was amazing! I felt my whole lower body go numb and warm…mmmm. Then they covered my chest with warm towels (it was freakin cold in there!) and called Matt in. I was very happy to have him back by my side. A few minutes later, the doctors told Matt to peek over the curtain to see Adelaide being born. They really struggled to get her out of there! When Adelaide came into the world, she came out ass-first and pooping!! What a girl! She had one foot up by her ear the other one tucked under her butt and the cord wrapped loosely around her twice. No wonder she couldn’t turn around!
When she got out, she cried almost instantly, and then so did I. The nurses immediately took her to the warming table where I could see her getting her nose and mouth suctioned out and wiped off. As they cleaned her and stimulated her, she quickly turned nice and pink. Matt was right by her side, stunned, in awe and amazed.
They wrapped her in a blanket, brought her over to me and laid her on my chest so I could look at her. She was gorgeous. All I wanted to do was grab her and hold her but I was strapped into so many blood pressure cuffs and heart rate monitors that it made it impossible. I got to stare at her for a few minutes, then the baby, the nurse and Matt went off to the nursery for whatever needed to happen in there. I was stunned and amazed and wanted to jump off that table and go with them…but I didn’t (of course), I stayed there and got stitched back together, then wheeled to my recovery room.
Matt and Adelaide came in just a few minutes later and I finally got to hold my baby. What an experience!!
Now that it’s all said and done, I’m still very very disappointed that I didn’t get my vaginal delivery, and I’m working through that disappointment as productively as possible. What helps the most is my incredible and supportive husband who continues to remind me that this is they way our daughter was meant to come into this world. She picked the day she would be born and her position in the womb picked the method. I guess it’s never too early to learn our first parenting lesson—no matter how much we plan or prepare, we will never be able to plan for every contingency and we need to learn to roll with it.