Thursday, October 17, 2013

{Becoming Mother II} - A Breech C-Section Birth Story

In honor of Baby #3's impending arrival, we are launching another {Becoming Mother} blog series. As my own labor and delivery quickly approaches, I find it encouraging to immerse myself in childbirth stories. I love reminding myself that women birth every day, that they survive and that they rejoice in being a mother when it's all over. 

As always, this is not to promote a particular type of birth. These stories are intended to be more of a picture into "what it was really like" for these mothers in their various birth settings. I hope they inspire you to marvel in awe at God's perfect plan of childbirth.

As always, you can check out  my hospital birth story with Cannonmy birthing center birth story with Cason and my reflections on both deliveries. I will be back at the end of this series with some of my favorite birth stories from fellow bloggers, as well as my thoughts in preparation for childbirth the third time around.

Let me introduce you to my friend, Laura. She and her husband were in our home group at The Village Church. They moved to Colorado about a year afterwards, but we've stayed in touch thanks to Facebook and blogs. She might be the best baker I know and I always scour her Pinterest boards when I need a fabulous recipe!

Even though I live in Colorado and this is against the norm here, I always knew I wanted a hospital birth with an epidural. That was my plan. My biggest fear was not getting to the hospital in time to GET an epidural. I don't do well with pain and, for me, I wanted to look back at our daughter's birth and have happy memories. Did I mention I wanted an epidural? It was all in the plan.

While I was pregnant, I did a lot of research on the best car seats, swaddle blankets, strollers, you name it, I researched it. We took baby safety classes and breastfeeding classes at the hospital and read books from the library. But for some reason I couldn't get myself to read anything about the actual birthing process. I didn't take a hospital class on it and skipped those chapters in "What to Expect When You're Expecting." I had this deep fear of that whole process. I wasn't worried about bringing our daughter home or getting through the first few months, but I was so worried about what was going to happen to my body during and after labor. My motto was "ignorance is bliss" which is quite different from my uber-research on every other aspect.

I was due on Halloween 2012 with Charlotte and because of the approaching holidays, I was hoping she would come as close to her due date as possible. At Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado you have the option of using a midwife or doctor for your delivery and care. I had been meeting with a midwife the entire pregnancy who would race to the hospital the minute I went into labor. She was fine with using medication and was very laid back and supportive throughout everything. She was comfortable with inducing me on or after my due date so after passing out candy to trick or treaters, we headed to the hospital around 8:30pm to be induced overnight and hopefully deliver in the morning. It was all in the plan, right?

We checked into the hospital, went up to our room, settled in, took the obligatory last day pregnant pictures and ate Popsicle's. The nurse came in to do an ultrasound just to make sure everything was okay before they induced me. The ultrasound tech, very bluntly, told us rather quickly that our daughter was breached. I had been told that very early on in the pregnancy and had laid upside down on the ironing board for days in a row, and my doctor, only by feeling, told me that she had flipped! Apparently not.

Since I was already at 40 weeks, the chances of her flipping with the doctors help were slim to none. She was already so big and it was too dangerous. I called my midwife, crying, and we decided a C-section was the best route. And then there was more crying.

A C-section wasn't in the plan.

What was interesting is that as we were walking into the hospital that Halloween night to be induced, I started crying outside because I was so afraid of what was going to happen to my body. Would I rip completely? Would I bleed for days? These are the things that nobody talks about! After coming to terms with my C-section, all those worries went away. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. God completely provided in a way I would have never even been able to think up.

We left the hospital to spend our last baby free night in our own bed and they called me at 9:00am the next morning to let me know they could do my C-section that afternoon. So, at 1:30pm on November 1, we checked into the hospital again. The nurses came in to do another ultrasound, just to check that she hadn't flipped overnight.

Surprise! This ultrasound tech told us that she was transverse, meaning she was laying head to feet across my body, head on one side of my ribs, feet on the other. Should we try to manually push her head down now? They called in a high risk ultrasound tech only to find out- surprise!- she was actually frank breached. That means that she was folded in half up in my ribs, her feet were up by her own head. She was putting no pressure on me which was why I hadn't dilated at all yet. We have no idea how long she had been like that but we sure did feel bad that when we had been pushing on her feet to get her to kick back, we'd also been poking her in the face!

At that point, a C-section was the only possible route for a safe delivery and even if I would've tried to go into labor, I would've ended up with a C-section.

At 4:30pm, we walked into the (freezing cold) operating room and things got started. They numbed me up to my chest and kept me updated on everything they were doing so I could still feel a part of the process.

At 4:54pm our sweet girl, Charlotte Elizabeth, was brought into the world bottom first! I remember they kept saying, "She's not a little girl...look at that bottom!...look at all her hair!..bottom first into the world!" My husband cut the cord, they lifted her over the sheet and then walked over to where they were wiping her down, taking her weight, etc. When I found out we needed a C-section, I was really worried that I wouldn't see her right away and be able to nurse and do skin to skin time. They quickly wrapped her up (again, the room was freezing) and brought her over and we were suddenly a family of three
Our first look at each other
My husband left with Charlotte to run her tests, etc. while the doctors closed me up. My midwife was in the room with me but we had a doctor assisting for the C-section. They wheeled me into our recovery room where my husband, one nurse, Charlotte and I sat for an hour, nursing, taking pictures, and mainly staring at this sweet baby that was all ours!

After an hour, they wheeled us and all our luggage into our room for the next few days. Because I had a C-section, we had to stay for a minimum of three days. I was still numb from the waist down so I was given a catheter through the first night. I will never forget my wonderful nurse that night came in before her shift ended at 5:00am, woke me up, and helped me get to the bathroom for the first time. It was so nice to have a familiar face instead of the new daytime nurse.
The results of being frank breached - her little legs were up in the air at all times for a few days!

For the next few days I was up moving around or sitting and loving on Charlotte. I would walk to refill my water glass every hour or so and I think that was pivotal to my healing process. Besides a scar and occasional back pain, my recovery was great. I moved a little slower for a few weeks and couldn't drive for two weeks but that was a great excuse to just cuddle on the couch with our babe.
We aren't ready for baby #2 yet but I often think about what I will do next time. The way they closed me up makes it possible for me to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) but I can't decide. I love the idea of scheduling when I will deliver to coordinate family and Charlotte. I love how quick it was and I already have the scar so nothing new there! I know how the recovery works and I feel comfortable with it. But I wonder if I'm missing out on something by not having a vaginal birth. Will I regret it 50 years down the road? Just wanting to know what that experience is like? But then all those same fears jump right back at me and I go back and forth again.

No need to plan it now, since as I learned with baby #1, God loves to laugh at our plans and His plans sure are perfect.

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