Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Breech Baby Surprise

When you are pregnant it seems like everyone is saying, "It never goes the way you plan." I think for some people it must go the way they plan! But here were my surprises...

As a nurse I have seen both a vaginal birth and a c-section. I have also taken care of children with cerebral palsy. My biggest concern about child birth was anoxia at birth (lack of oxygen to the baby, which is believed to be the leading cause of cerebral palsy). I thought if I ever had a baby, I would request a c-section.

Zip forward to the future, more years than I had planned on... When I was in my 20's, I didn't plan on being pregnant with my first child at age 35 (Surprise #1!).

Once I was pregnant and reading everything I could find, I brought my mind around to the idea of natural childbirth. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and I told myself I could do it! My husband and I sat through four evenings of natural childbirth class and I was reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - which I would describe as hardcore natural childbirth grass roots reading! I was doing my yoga and my squats. At my 36-week check up, everything was good. No progress towards labor yet, but that's normal at 36-weeks with your first baby.

Here's me, blissfully relaxing in the community pool...
36 weeks
I breezed into my 37-week check up, not anticipating any problems. I was hopeful they would tell me I was a centimeter or 2 along...I knew it was early but it was getting so hot out and my feet were swelling like crazy in the heat!

Then the doctor said, "Hum, that's interesting." An ultrasound confirmed, yes, my baby was breech (Surprise #2!). Two days later I underwent an external version procedure to attempt to turn him. This was incredibly painful and also unsuccessful. Perhaps I would have a rosier opinion of the procedure itself and of the doctor who had performed it, had it been successful. As it was, I was pretty traumatized by it and my uterus was tender for the whole next week. 

Then started the hassle of scheduling a c-section (Surprise #3!). My "weekly" count went up on Saturday and they would not schedule my c-section until my 39th week and would not schedule it for after my due date. That left 5 days when they could schedule it and they were already pretty booked up that week. So I was given Tuesday at 9 a.m. Which was fine, except my mom was flying in on Tuesday around lunchtime.

In a flurry of activity during week 38, my mom rescheduled her flight to Sunday so she would arrive before my c-section. I arranged with my boss that Friday (end of week 38) would be my last day. I did somersaults in the pool, but baby's head stayed persistently shoved up against my diaphragm. My husband took this "breech" picture:
38 weeks - Breech!
On Tuesday of week 38, I saw my primary care OB/GYN. She was coincidentally the one scheduled to do my c-section which was very comforting to me (Surprise #4, not all surprise are bad!). I had not seen her since she diagnosed my pregnancy because the midwives delivered the vaginal births so I had been seeing them to attempt to get to know them before I went into labor. My doctor was wonderful and reassuring and made me feel great about my scheduled c-section.

On Thursday of week 38, my husband and I went out for dinner. I had a mushroom and Swiss cheeseburger, fries, and a strawberry milkshake (not fast food, from a nice place ;-)). My plan was to eat light over the weekend and through Monday in prep for my surgery, cause a c-section is surgery. This was supposed to be my last big splurge meal of pregnancy.

Off to bed...I woke up at 3 a.m., went to the bathroom, and my water broke (Surprise #5, never mind what I said above about surprises!). What was going through my head...
  • My house is a disaster
  • My laundry bins are full
  • My mom is not in town to watch the dog
  • My hospital bag has not been repacked for a c-section (versus vaginal birth)
  • My out of office is not on and all the stuff I was supposed to do on that last day of work is not done
What should have been going through my head - I'm in labor and I should head for the hospital!

In retrospect, it was really only about 20 minutes before we left the house. I called the hotline to let them know I was coming in, I yanked the labor gown and some other things from my bag and shoved in some extra clothes for me and baby (anticipating a longer hospital stay). We put a key in the garage so a friend could get in to pick up the dog and headed out.

We arrived at the hospital around 3:40 a.m. and following a leisurely check in and gowning up procedure, an ultrasound to confirm baby was still breech (which I knew already!), they checked me and said I was at 4 cm and 100% effaced (Surprise #6!). I signed the consents, spoke for a brief moment with the on-call doctor who I had never met before as she worked out of a different clinic location, and was off to my c-section at a much quicker pace. 

At 4:52, baby was born:
Introducing Henry!
We were in our room (recovery was in my own private room which I then stayed in) at a little before 6:00 for some snuggles:
Resting with Mom
First Family Photo

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