Today marks the first week of Caius’ life! B and I were sitting down and chatting a couple of nights ago (a rare occurrence these day), and reflected on all that had happened in the last week. We realized that through the birth journey, God was truly protecting me and the baby.
I had originally wanted a natural home birth, but it turned into a c-section, hospital birth – completely opposite of what I had planned. Obviously, God had other plans.
Everything happened so fast. I was ordered for an ultrasound on dec 22, because baby was apparently measuring small. Then, I noticed on the ultrasound that baby was breech! This was a complete surprise because the baby had been snugly head down before then. The ultrasound tech didn’t even mention breech – I had to point it out and ask her (who then did confirm that baby was breech). Not impressed. Anyways, the tech then ran everything by the radiologist, who said things were “fine” – baby was measuring fine, but did not say anything about breech baby.
I got all nervous because breech was bad! And I was 37 weeks by then! So I called our trusty midwives right after the ultrasound. (I love our midwives, by the way). She then ordered an external cephalic version (ECV), which is where an OB tries to manually turn the baby. The success rate for that procedure is about 50%, and it’s super uncomfortable. Also, baby might turn back to breech if it even works at all. The tentative date for my ECV was Thursday – Christmas Eve.
Thursday came and it turned out that the OB was super busy and had no time to do an ECV on me. So I was set up for the following Tuesday to do it. Life continued as per usual; I played Mary at our church skit with my uber big belly, and Brandon played Joseph. It was a hoot. Who knew that our baby was going to be born 2 days later.
Boxing day morning was like any other. Before lunch, I noticed that I was trickling little down there. Maybe my water broke? But I always thought that it would be a big gush. So I passed it off as my usual pregnancy incontinence, even though I wasn’t laughing or coughing. However, soon after, I started to get cramps like period cramps. I told Brandon, who got a bit concerned. I shrugged it off, thinking that it was false labor. But in the back of my mind, me being in true labor was a real possibility. So I took a little lie down, which is what our doula advised me to do if I am in early labor.
We had lunch at home, and things were progressing: more trickling and more frequent/intense cramping. I was more certain that this was labor. And if my water broke, I had better call the midwife. So we called and our midwife told us to go to the hospital right away, since I was breech and my water broke. She said that I am very likely going to have the baby today. I was not ready! This was 2 weeks before my due date, and my heart and mind was not prepared.
Our midwife called the ambulance for me as a precautionary measure, since she didn’t know what kind of breech this baby was (the radiology department had not send in the report yet – which made all of us quite mad, looking back, because things exactly like this could happen).
So as I was doing downward dog and child’s pose in our living room, and arranging for my mom to come take our dog, 2 ambulances came to our apartment. It was a bit over dramatic. I got into the ambulance, with Brandon tagging behind in his car. That ride felt super long, even though the paramedic was real nice, telling me that he’s delivered 7 babies in his ambulance (I wasn’t sure if I felt more confident in him, or nervous about the possibility of an 8th baby that day). My water then broke even more in the ambulance, and contractions were picking up.
I got admitted to emergency, which even over-dramatized everything. One nurse asked what the issue was. When answered that I was breech and my water broke, she said, “so that’s her complaint?” Gee- thanks. It’s not like I wanted to arrive via ambulance. The paramedics gave her a dirty look. Eventually, I got up to the birthing unit where our midwife met us. It was a relief to see her (did I mention that I love our midwives?)
The OB came and talked about c-section and risks/benefits, etc. A bedside ultrasound found that I was indeed still breech. We could try for natural birth, but the risks of that outnumbered than that of a c-section, and the OB wasn’t comfortable doing it. So, it wasn’t really much a choice by that time. Once we all agreed on a section, it seemed like forever before I could actually get one. The operating room was busy, and by then, my contractions were really strong. Some positions helped, but the hip squeezes and counter pressures from B were the only things that made a difference. I got really irritated when it took 3 tries to get the IV in me- I was not a happy camper.
About half an hour before I went into the operating room, I felt a few contractions where I had the urge to push. Everyone told me not to, and I was about 6-7 cm dilated by then. I could sense that people were getting concerned. I couldn’t believe it: 6-7 cm all within 4 hours of labor.
Though I never wanted pain meds, the spinal epidural was necessary for the operation. And it felt great, after it was put in. I was getting excited to meet our little baby soon. The whole operation took about an hour. Get this: The OB said that one of baby’s foot was coming out, and the cord was around its neck. Even though that was pretty scary (if we had insisted on a natural birth), it confirmed that a c-section was the right decision.
We insisted that Brandon announce the sex of the baby. So once the baby was out, they lowered the curtains and Brandon announced that it was a baby boy! *cue the tears* And then when I saw our little boy, so many mixed emotions came over me. His arms were splayed out, his cry was strong…and all that hair! He was so foreign, but also so familiar to me at the same time.
The next 48 hours were spent in the hospital, recovering and getting to know our baby. This past week has been real crazy. We were going to have a nice dinner date for NYE this year, but instead had been taking care of baby at home.
There is some disappointment that I had to go through a section. Not only does the recovery sucks, but also because looking at how things were progressing in labor, a natural birth would’ve been quite fast and smooth (if baby wasn’t breech) for me. According to our midwives, my body and hormones just seemed to know exactly how to give birth and would’ve been great for labor/delivery.
Looking back, we saw how God was protecting us. Baby wasn’t really measuring small, but for that potential issue, I was ordered an ultrasound, which then showed that he was breech. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have known he was breech and I’m afraid to think what would’ve happened if we tried delivering vaginally a breech baby with feet coming out and a cord around his neck
B and I weren’t going to give each other a Christmas present this year. We were going to spend that money on a experience we could enjoy together. It turned out that we got both an amazing Christmas present and a crazy God-filled experience.
Happy new year!