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Category: Cesarean Birth

Emergency C-Section Picture {Husband Support in the OR}

Emergency C-Section Picture {Husband Support in the OR}

My second born son, Ryder, was brought into the world via emergency c-section due to low fluid and complications at 34 weeks gestational age- 6 weeks premature.

I went in for a routine appointment and ultrasound around 9am the morning of October 5, 2011. He was not moving or responding to outside stimulation, his heart rate was dropping every few minutes, and he was struggling in my womb, so my OB decided it was best to deliver.

He weighed 4lbs 8oz and was 17in long. My husband was my rock through the entire ordeal. He cried with me, held my hand, and took care of me like a faithful husband should.

This picture really captures the love he has for both of us and is one of my favorites. Ryder was life-fighted to a hospital 1.5 hours away 4 days after birth to be cared for in a NICU. He came home at the end of October. It was easily the hardest time of my life, but it’s made me so much stronger, as a woman, as a mother, and as a wife. I can conquer anything!

{Kelsi}

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I Am Strong – Cesarean Birth After Neonatal Loss

I Am Strong – Cesarean Birth After Neonatal Loss

*trigger warning*

I am strong because in April of 2012, I gave birth to a precious baby girl named Evelyn, prematurely at 24 weeks due to incompetent cervix, premature labor, and infection.

I am strong because I endured a frightening classical c-section 4 hours after entering the hospital with a smile on my face, knowing it was the best chance my baby had to survive.

I am strong because I was told I will never have a future vaginal birth due to my vertical incision, and I would never be allowed to go into labor for fear of rupturing my uterus.

I am strong because I spent every single night in the NICU watching my tiny 1 pound 5 ounce, 11.75 inch long daughter through a plastic window, unable to hold her.

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I am strong because I pumped breast milk for her every 3 hours.

I am strong because at 5 weeks and 3 days old my little girl developed an infection called NEC, and within hours of its discovery, it took her life.

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I am strong because I held her for the first and only time as she was passing away.

I am strong because throughout the most horrifying time of my life I was able to plan a beautiful funeral for my baby, something no mother should ever have to do.

I am strong because 4 weeks after she died, I donated all of my pumped breast milk, roughly 600 ounces, to a milk bank  to help babies like her.

I am strong because 1 year and 9 months later I discovered that I was again pregnant, I was elated.

I am strong because I was considered high risk and went to many, many extra appointments.

I am strong because at 13 weeks and 5 days I went into the hospital to have a preventative cerclage placed in the hopes of getting me to full term.

I am strong because I was placed on modified bed rest for over a month, but I took it upon myself to continue bed rest as much as I could throughout the entire pregnancy.

I am strong because I was given weekly progesterone shots.

I am strong because despite the constant fear of losing another baby I decorated a beautiful nursery for our second daughter.

I am strong because at 6 months I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

I am strong because I gave up all of my favorite foods, took medication, and drew blood up to 5 times a day to control it.

I am strong because I held my breath during more than 21 ultrasounds, expecting to hear the worst each time.

I am strong because at 37 weeks to the day, 3 days after my cerclage was removed,  I began having contractions that eventually were 2-4 minutes apart.

I am strong because I finally realized they were not Braxton Hicks and had my husband drive me to the hospital.

I am strong because I was given 4 pills of Procardia to help relax my uterus, but the contractions continued to get more intense.

I am strong because after 3 or so hours of contracting in the hospital I was told I would be having my cesarean that night.

I am strong because at 8:08pm, just one minute later than my first daughter’s birth, my second beautiful girl, Emily, came screaming into the world at 6 pounds 5 ounces and 19 inches long.

I am strong because during her birth my doctor discovered that my previous incision scar was thinning, and had I not gotten to the hospital when I did it would have eventually ruptured, and endangered both of our lives.

I am strong because I heard over the curtain the doctors exclaim that Emily had a true knot in her umbilical cord and her cord was wrapped around her neck, but thankfully neither affected her health.

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I am strong because my baby had to spend 5 days in the NICU, due to being slightly premature and having jaundice, a place I thought I would never have to visit again.

I am strong because I was finally able to bring our baby home from the hospital.

I am strong because I have two beautiful girls, one on Earth and one in my heart, to motivate me to be the absolute best mother that I can be.

From Katariina Shoemaker

The Births of 2 Miracle Babies {2 Preemies, 2 NICU stays, 1 Strong Mother}

The Births of 2 Miracle Babies {2 Preemies, 2 NICU stays, 1 Strong Mother}

In 2009, at the age of 18 as a senior in high school, I found out I was pregnant. I remember taking five pregnancy tests in the bathroom of the restaurant I worked in because I couldn’t believe it was true. Over the next few months, we began to prepare for our unexpected bundle of joy. I assure you this was by no means easy. It seemed everywhere I turned I was met with disappointment, disapproval, and anger. I was determined to rise above it and make a good life for my baby. In January of my senior year I was confronted by my high school principal, and he judged, stereotyped and made me feel unwelcome in the school I’d gone to for the majority of my life. In May of 2009 I received my GED through a career network, a month before my fellow seniors were handed a diploma. In my eyes, I am a quitter for letting the hazing stop me from graduating, but in the eyes of the public, my GED is equivalent to a high school diploma.

In July of 2009 at 6 1/2 months pregnant, I went to my obstetrician for a routine ultrasound. I sat in the waiting room of the doctor office waiting for them to call my name, and my OB came out in the waiting room and sat across from me. Now maybe you will find this as strange as I did, but as the last patient before lunch and the only people in the waiting room, I didn’t think much of it at the time. He proceeded to tell me that he was sending me an hour away to see someone who specialized in small babies, but assured me I had nothing to worry about. Being 18 and naive, I didn’t question him.

On the following Monday, July 6, 2009, my mother and my grandparents took me to see the specialist. I heeded my OB’s advice and did not worry. I convinced my baby’s father to go to work and that everything was fine. I left my dogs tied outside, dirty dishes in the sink. Once in the office, the tech gave me my sonogram, not really saying much to me in the process. Abruptly she left the room and left my other and I in the exam room. Finally, a doctor I had never met comes in and sits down on his stool. He then tells me that because of my baby’s size I will have to be admitted to the hospital, an hour away from my home. My mom began to cry, and I began to fire questions at him. What did size have to do with anything? He proceeds to tell me that my placenta has holes and scars throughout it and rather than flourishing as a baby should in the womb, he was barely surviving. He also explained to me the dangers of preeclampsia, which he suspected I had.

Upon admission to the hospital, my urine tested positive for protein, and my blood pressure was weirdly high, common indicators of preeclampsia. They placed me on a medicine to prevent me from having seizures because of the high blood pressure. They also gave me a steroid injection to help mature my son’s lungs. My son’s father stayed with me in the hospital that night. The next morning, July 7, 2009, a sea of doctors at the foot of the bed awakened us.These doctors informed me with a smile on their face, that I would be meeting my son that very same day, after receiving my second steroid shot. In a medicated daze, I just nodded my head, too out of it to argue or ask questions.

At 5:58 PM via emergency classical C section, I gave birth to my miracle, Paxton Lane. He weighed exactly 3 pounds and was 16 1/2 inches long. Unlike most mothers, I was only allowed to kiss his cheek before he was whisked off to the NICU. I was not allowed to see him again until the next day, after I had been weaned off the seizure meds and pain medication.

Walking into the NICU, I felt the rows and rows of incubators were terrifying. I had never seen babies so tiny. I laid eyes on my son. He was all skin and bones, long legs, long arms, tiny hands and feet, tube down his nose, IV in his arms. All I could do was cry. The nurse bundled him all up and handed him to me and I can honestly say that there is no love stronger than a mothers love for her child, for my love for my son. He was perfect, no matter how small.

Paxton was a true miracle. Never needed oxygen, toughest little bugger out there. He ate through an NJ tube for a few weeks, and I did my best to pump milk for him as the nurses wouldn’t let him out of the incubator long enough to try and latch on.  Paxton Lane came home on August 10, 2009, 19 days before his due date. He was one month and 3 days old. Paxton is now 4 years old and he is right on track developmentally, He is a little on the small side, but he comes from a family of tiny people.

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I bet you thought that was the end, huh? I got my happily ever after, right? Wait, it gets, much, much better.

Paxton’s father and I went our separate ways a few days before his first birthday. We went down a long road of fighting, harassment, and custody battles. And I began the inevitable struggle of being a single mom at the age of 20, until I met my soul mate. On June 13, 2012, a friend suggested a blind date with her fiancé’s best friend. We all decided to go fishing in the local park. Paxton and I spent all day getting ready for his first fishing trip. We went out and bought his first fishing pole and tackle box and all the necessities. Paxton caught his first fish that day, and never was I prouder.

This man I met proceeded to take me out on dates, make surprise visits to me in the most menial places, like the laundry mat, and instantly I was attracted to the way he was with my son. He didn’t treat him as though he was fragile, rather like he was an equal. They played, they talked, they ran under the sprinkler, and as summer wore on, we moved in together.

In November 2012, one of our friends made a joke about how I was gaining weight, that I must be pregnant. To prove them wrong, I took a pregnancy test. Much to my astonishment, he was right! We were pregnant! After Pax was born, the doctors assured me I could have more children. They would give me medication and monitor me, so I never had to go through this again. In the beginning of my pregnancy I even spoke with a specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine and he advised I just monitor my blood pressure with this pregnancy.

Paxton was so excited to have a baby brother. He began planning all the things they would do together and all the things he could teach him. All of our friends and family came together and helped us get everything we needed for our new baby’s arrival. Throughout all of this, I was working as a nurse’s aide, and coming home every night in so much pain I could barely walk from all the lifting, walking, bending, etc. My feet were so swollen my socks would cut off my circulation. Although my coworkers tried their best to go easy on me, I quit my job in April if 2013 at my fiancé’s insistence.

It turns out he was right to push the issue because in early May I was put on modified bed rest. No more lifting my son, no carrying laundry baskets, no walking the dog, etc. My blood pressure was high again and everyone was concerned. They did an ultrasound, which confirmed the baby was small, but showed no other problems. I even asked the tech how the placenta looked because of my problems with my first pregnancy, and she assured me it was normal. They admitted me to the hospital for a night and the baby showed no distress, so they sent me home the next day on strict orders to become one with my couch.

I followed their orders to a T, yet woke up the next morning with an elephant on my chest. As a CNA I at least knew enough to know this was a symptom of a heart attack. I called my mom, because I couldn’t stop getting sick, and the bed rest didn’t allow me to drive. She came to pick me up and she took me to the ER and triage took one look at me and sent me up to maternity.

I was put in this broom closet sized room and all the nurses knew me by name from being there so many times. They took one look at me and got to work administering an IV to give me anti nausea and pain medication. On the bed I rocked back and forth sobbing. The nurse couldn’t get me to hold still long enough to get the IV in and ended up getting blood everywhere. She tried to get me to lie back to attach the fetal monitors and I remember yelling at her to leave me alone. Those poor nurses.

When the medicines kicked in and they had me on oxygen, I finally calmed down enough for them to hook up the fetal monitors. By this point, my OB was there, hooking me up to an ultrasound while an aide took my blood. I distinctly remember the OB frantically telling the nurses that my baby’s heart beat was in the 50s and I needed to get to an OR stat. When nobody moved, she ordered the nurse to stop taking my blood and began to push me from the room herself.

Upon entering the operating room, all I remember was the doctor frantically asking the anesthesiologist if I was under yet so she could begin. I didn’t even have time to be afraid.

Jaxson Levi was born at 2:26 PM on May 30, 2013, just an hour after being wheeled into the ER. He weighed 3 pounds, 3 ounces and was 16 inches long, born 45 days before his due date. I woke up in recovery, and was soon after wheeled to the hallway to meet him, before he was life-flighted to the nearest Children’s Hospital.

It turns out that my placenta had ruptured from my uterine wall due to the stress HELLP syndrome had put on my body, causing the severe chest pain. Had I come in half an hour later, they believe neither of us would have made it. They had to perform chest compressions on Baby Jax because his heart rate was so low. When I met him in the hallway, my bed next to his incubator, I was again, terrified. No matter how many preemies you have, the shock of it still scares you, I think. He was on a ventilator, the tubes so large compared to his tiny body.

As Baby Jaxson headed to his helicopter, I was shipped back to a birthing suite where those wonderful nurses took such amazing care of me. They all said I should never have been discharged the day before.

At 1 AM, my OB came in and told me I was being transferred to the nearest women’s hospital because they couldn’t get my blood pressure under control. She hugged me and cried. The two of them, my regular OB and the one who did my C section, are my heroes for saving my son. And of course, those nurses for recognizing my symptoms for what they were. I spent one terrible night in the ICU. I had to cry to get a pillow, they wouldn’t give me a breast pump, I was allergic to the pain medicine they gave me and scratched myself raw and I had bruises that looked like finger nail marks up and down my neck, back, chest, arms and legs. They also thought they should take out my catheter in a room with no restroom. After hours of asking, at shift change I was finally moved to the oncology floor where there was extra space, and was treated wonderfully. It took 5 days to get my blood pressure down, and I still had to go home on a blood pressure pill that cost $100 for a monthly prescription. Finally, I was released, and went straight to the NICU of the children’s hospital to see Baby Jaxson. He was 6 days old when I finally got to hold him.

Jaxson was released on June 20, 2013, when he was 3 weeks old. He is now 3 months old, and he weighs nine pounds, triple his birth weight.

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2 miracle NICU babies

Both of my boys are wonderfully healthy and perfect. And although I cannot have any more children, two miracles are definitely enough for me.

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Cesarean Birth Trauma and then VBAC {2 Stories}

Cesarean Birth Trauma and then VBAC {2 Stories}

My first birth C-section and disrespect.

I never doubted my body’s ability to give birth. I guess that is why I didn’t think I needed to research my birth options. My mother gave birth vaginally, her mother, my other grandmother had 10 children vaginally, all the way back to my great great grandmother who had six sets of twins vaginally on a Cherokee reservation. My first pregnancy was stressful but I had a great doctor who assured me all would be ok.

Unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control, we had to a move 5 hours away at 32 weeks. That’s where any “birth plan” I had went out the window.  The only doctor I found who would see me obviously had no faith in me. I honestly believe when I walked in the door he saw a very petite woman and thought C-SECTION! The day before my 40 week appointment I had an ultrasound done and everything looked great.

However at my appointment the next day my doctor started scaring me by saying my placenta was depleting and becoming less safe for my baby and I needed to be induced the next day. My cervix was still hard and I wasn’t dilated. I asked if we could wait at least a week and was made to feel like I had just asked the stupidest question on earth “but your placenta is DEPLETING!” I reluctantly agreed after he assured me that if the cervadil didn’t soften me enough we’d wait or try another round.

I went to the hospital that night and they started the cervadil.

6 am the next morning the Doctor came in to check me and said that I was “a little softer, but only dilated to a one”. He then proceeded to BREAK MY WATER. Pitocin was started at some point I can’t quite remember if that happened before or right after my water was broken. The next few hours were hell. The doctor had the largest hands I’ve ever seen on any human and he HURT me so bad every time he came in to “check me” I asked tearfully several times to let the nurses do it. After several hours of the pitocin being increased and increased I asked for some pain meds and eventually an epidural.

When I requested these I was again made to feel stupid and incompetent as my doctor asked “why did you wait? You just wanted to know what pain feels like?” The epidural was terrible. I couldn’t move from the chest down and started having panic attacks. I was also almost given phenergan twice, which I am severely allergic to. I am so lucky my husband was so vigilant and asked what they were giving me every time they came in to give me anything.

Almost twelve hours in my doctor came in and started pushing for a c-section. I said I didn’t want one and that’s when he pulled out all the stops telling me “your baby will go into distress”, “fine don’t do one now but I’ll just be back in an hour or so rushing you in for an emergency c-section” and the real kicker “I have been doing this a long time and I know when a woman isn’t meant to give birth, you’re just too small”.

Feeling beat down and like my body was betraying me I agreed. Strapped down and feeling broken I welcomed my beautiful daughter into the world. They brought her over to see me for a brief second and my husband was able to hold her and go with her to the nursery. Laying there being stitched up I cried. Not the beautiful happy cry it should have been. I felt terrible. My child was beautiful but I didn’t get to hold her and bond. I was not happy like I should be I was angry. I felt like a failure.

In the recovery room it only got worse. My nurse said something along the lines of, “I hope you didn’t want a big family” I asked what she meant and she said “well they will only allow you to have one or two more c-sections”.  I told her I would attempt a VBAC next time and she said, “not in this city you won’t”. Again I felt like a failure.

When I finally got to hold my baby several hours later I felt horrible because although she was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen I didn’t feel any bond. She immediately wanted to breastfeed and was a total champ at it although my milk wasn’t completely in. Thankfully the bond came quickly over the next week and I thank breastfeeding and plenty of skin to skin time for that.

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My beautiful birth center VBAC and hospital stay

Within months of my first daughter’s birth I started doing my research on VBACs and birth choices. I knew what happened to me was wrong, but I wasn’t prepared for how common it was. I was told to check out “The Business of Being Born” and was shocked! How could the state of birth be so awful in OUR country? It was then that I decided my next birth would be with a midwife.

When we found out we were expecting our second baby we started the search for a midwife. One of my husband’s co-worker’s wife had recently had a VBAC with a midwife named, Joi, and only had wonderful things to say about her. When we met with Joi, I instantly knew she was the one for us. She shared our faith, spoke confidently, and put any fears we had at ease. I told her my birth story and she was as mad as I was and even got teary eyed with me. Immediately I had a sense of comfort and a new found confidence in myself.

Over the next few months I had my share of doubters and was even called selfish for wanting a better birth experience. I had to come to realize that those who were negative and rude, just didn’t know what I knew and so I started trying to educate others on the risks and benefits of each birth option. My confidence grew over these few months as well. I was more educated than ever and had wonderful support.

Thanks to a wonderful friend I was even able to attend the Birth Without Fear conference where I was encouraged and my spirit was strengthened. My team at the birth center was amazing as well. Joi and her backup midwife were wonderful as well as the student midwife Meghan who was the person I felt most comfortable texting with random questions.  I had no doubt that my team was there for me and believed in me.

We had everything planned out so well. My husband was going to get a bonus at just the right time to help us pay off the midwife, my best friend who does photography was going to come and photograph the birth, and my mom was going to be there to watch my daughter. However in the last few weeks of my pregnancy everything seemed to fall apart. Three weeks before my due date (and six weeks before Christmas) my husband not only didn’t get his bonus, but also had to take a 30% salary cut. My best friend wouldn’t be able to make it and my mother had to go out of town. I was very upset and stressed out, but Joi held my hand and assured me that it was in God’s hands and that whoever was meant to be at my birth would be there.

At 40 weeks 6 days I started having regular contractions. They would start out ten minutes apart and get closer to 3-5 minutes apart, but then they would stop for several hours. This went on for two days before I asked Joi if I could come in and be checked. I went in Thursday afternoon December 12th and I was dilated to a 3 and about 80% effaced. After my first birth experience I was so overcome with emotion when I found out how beautifully my body had progressed on it’s own.

I felt confident in my body, but I asked to have my membranes stripped at this point. It was an “intervention” I felt confident in having as it was my choice on my terms. My husband and I must’ve walked five miles that afternoon stopping every five minutes to breath through a contraction. The contractions continued to get closer together and stronger. Around 9:30 I called Meghan and told her that I thought this was it and was ready to come in. We agreed to meet at the birth center in an hour.

When we got to the birth center I was checked, and I was somewhere between a 4 and 5 and still 80% effaced. I had the option of going home to labor a little longer but decided to stay and get in the tub for a little while. My contractions were strong and I did low moans through them. As I labored it was just my husband Ryan and I.

I couldn’t have asked for a better support than my husband was. I didn’t want to be touched or coddled I just wanted him to hold my hand through the contractions. It was such an intimate experience and I was glad that it was just us, no cameras, no nurses, just us. About 1:30am I was checked again this time I was 5cm and 90% effaced. I decided to get in the bed and try to rest some. Joi told me to try just breathing through the contractions and not moaning. My husband got in the bed with me and held my hand with each wave.

After a while of being in the bed I could feel a change during the contractions.  The only way I can describe it is it felt like my water was trying to break. I kept saying to myself “these contractions are not stronger than me because they ARE me.” I decided to get on the birthing ball for a little while. The contractions were more intense now and I had lots of pressure on my lower back. Joi came in and showed Ryan how to apply counter pressure. I kept thinking this hurts but not too bad, but it’s going to get worse.

About 30 minutes after I got on the birth ball Joi came in to check me again. She looked at me after a minute and said, “sweetie I think you’re complete.”  I thought she meant completely effaced and my thought was “ok big deal,” but then I looked at Meghan’s face and she was smiling and excited. I looked at her puzzled and said, “wait, completely what?”  “Completely DILATED,” she said excited. I realized that sensation I was feeling during contractions was the urge to push. With the next strong contraction I started pushing.

A few pushes in I moved from the bed to a birthing stool which made pushing so much easier and more productive. Having both Joi and Meghan there pushing me and encouraging me was amazing. My husband sat behind me and gave me strength by just holding me. My water finally broke but there wasn’t the huge gush of fluid I had expected. Shortly after my water broke, Joi told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head. It suddenly became so real, I’m DOING this. I am pushing a baby out! I felt a rush of strength and with the next two pushes my baby was born at 4:38 am, Friday December 13, and immediately placed on my chest.

All the pain and anger from my oldest daughter’s birth was forgotten and healed in an instant. I couldn’t believe how smoothly it went, I never had a moment where I felt it was too much or I couldn’t do it.  I was on cloud nine. I did it! At some point I looked up and said something to the effect of, “suck on that, Dr. O.” I can’t describe how amazing I felt in those moments after she was born. I proved to my doubters, and more importantly to myself, that I could do it. Joi cried tears of joy with me and Ryan. She thanked ME for letting her be a part of my birth. That amazed me. What a difference in care. What a blessing.

Unfortunately a few days later I got very ill. I went to the ER with 103.5 temperature, and when I got there my heart rate was 150. We eventually found out I had a rare blood infection group a strep. There was no way of knowing how or when I got it and I was told I most likely was a carrier of it on my skin and it entered through an open wound during delivery. I could write a book on my terrifying hospital stay, but what is important is my husband and I were informed.

We asked questions. We made the doctors take their time to explain things and refused unnecessary procedures. They tried to tell us to send my baby home, but when pressed for why we should they couldn’t give us an answer so she stayed. They tried to tell me I should never give birth outside the hospital again, but when asked if they could have prevented this or caught it earlier they said no. They tried to tell me I put myself at a “great risk” for uterine rupture by having a VBAC, but backed down when I threw actual statistics their way. I stood up for myself and I believe I showed my strength.

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I Am Strong {Breastfeeding in a Modern World}

I Am Strong {Breastfeeding in a Modern World}

I am strong because at 39 weeks and 1 day my son, Brendon was born.

I am strong because I endured 24 hours of labor, and only dilated to 5cm and he still hasn’t dropped into the birthing canal.

I am strong because after knowing I refused to have a cesarean section, my doctor told me it was the only option.

I am strong because while in the operating room, we found out my son’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck.

I am strong because we heard his cry even before he was taken out of my body.

I am strong because I am still exclusively breastfeeding, despite how difficult the world makes it.

I am strong

Healing Home Waterbirth After Traumatic Cesarean and Miscarriage

Healing Home Waterbirth After Traumatic Cesarean and Miscarriage

“This is the story of my Home VBAC Water Birth after a traumatic cesarean birth and a miscarriage. My story really begins with the birth of my first son. It is fairly lengthy, so I didn’t want to repeat the whole thing here. Some of what I will share will make more sense if you do read it. It was written over a year after my son’s birth, and while I might not write it exactly the same today, it is very much how I felt at the time and a part of my journey. My son is now 3 1/2 and this birth was just as much for him as it was for me and our new baby!” – Melissa

I separated my cesarean birth experience from my son from the moment I met him. I knew I had to in order to be a mom to him. Those few days had torn my heart and made me question everything. I couldn’t have this beautiful new little being attached to such horrific event. He was here, he looked like my husband so he must be mine, and I was going to do everything I could to succeed at what was left for me to do – be a mom.

For months I didn’t dare think about what happened, I was holding on to my faith by a thread. When I did start to think about it I struggled with making sense of it. The only conclusions I could come to were either A – God wanted this to happen, in which case I was incredibly pissed at Him and didn’t want to talk to Him, or B – This was a test, as I had felt it had been, and I had failed in which case I was ashamed and didn’t want to talk to God. So I stopped. I wasn’t until our son was about 2 years old that I started to make any sense of the spiritual aspect of the events. I often get flack for saying this but it doesn’t change what I know. My first experience was a test, God tests His children with trials, and I failed. He asked me to trust Him and I didn’t. It’s taken a long time, but I have come to terms with that. The key is “His Children”, even though I failed, I am still His child and I have learned from my failure.

In March 2012, I found out I was pregnant again. We were both so happy! We wanted more children and hadn’t expected to take as long as it did to conceive again. I was in the middle of planning the first Bellies to Bambinos Expo. I knew I would have a lot of work to do to prepare for a VBAC but I was busy with the expo and figured I would have plenty of time after it was over. I did, however, come to the conclusion that there was a good chance that I could have another cesarean and that I needed to be at peace with that. My husband thought I was giving up on a VBAC like I had given up on my first birth. But I explained that I just needed to be able to be at peace with either outcome so that I wouldn’t be in fear the whole time. I knew that even if I had another cesarean there was no way that it would be like the first. One major reason for that is that I was educated this time and I was going to trust God. If I had another cesarean, it wouldn’t be because an inpatient OB bullied me into it, it would be because there was not other choice and it was truly needed. This was a bit of a revelation for me.

April 8, 2012 around 1am, I was up with my son, who had been woken up by our new noisy neighbours again, and I had a cramp and got dizzy. I thought it was odd and was a little worried but I as 10 weeks, I went back to bed. I woke up with bleeding. I called for Dave, in tears, and asked him to pray. Even thought it wouldn’t end up being over for 8 days, I knew in my heart that our baby was gone. I had cramping and bleeding all that Easter Sunday that peaked that night in about 6 hours of, what I can now say was transition like, labour but without the pressure. I had taken another shower as it had helped before, but it was too hot and I started to pass out. I had no intention of going to the hospital and I was fine by the time my husband was on the phone to 911, but I went anyway. They confirmed in what I knew in my heart. I was so sad, and scared, but I was trusting God. They had offered me a pill to speed things up, but even though I thought they were right, I knew they could be wrong and there was no way I could take control of this. I left it in God’s hands and our little “Sprout” came to us on April 16, just after I had attended a birth. It is still incredibly sad, but I am at peace with it. God loves me and knows best and this is what He chose.

The end of October 2012 and I was pregnant again! I was excited, but both me and my husband were a little hesitant to be too excited. He will admit that he had issues bonding with the baby even up to the birth. He had been hurt by the miscarriage and was afraid to get attached and lose another child. I knew either way, this was going to be hard. I was either going to face another miscarriage or have to fight for the VBAC I knew I wanted. With the planning of another Expo in the works, I went to some counseling with a doula friend of mine who is also a Christian. She asked some hard questions about my faith, as I had come to terms with my failure at my first birth but hadn’t really known how to move forward from there. How do I see myself? How does God see me? Who did He make me to be? In light of this, how should I live? Questions we should all ask. I didn’t get time to finish all the sessions before the birth, but even just having someone listen to me and not throw out the standard “Thank goodness for Drs, God made them too and they obviously saved you from yourself” and “you should be happy you have a healthy baby” was a load off of my shoulders.

I remained cautiously excited and did what I could to stay healthy and give myself the best shot I could at a successful VBAC. This included having midwives and choosing a home birth. I also wanted as close to an unassisted birth as I could get and still have the midwives there. I wanted to know that this was happening on my turf and I was calling the shots. My midwives were so supportive and respectful of my decisions all the way through pregnancy and the labour.

I had gained about 70lbs with my son, I believe mostly because I was allergic to wheat, diary and corn and didn’t know. This time I gained about 25lbs and attended belly dancing classes, to which I attribute the amazing core strength I had through out my pregnancy. I also took a few different vitamins and supplements, saw a naturopath and had a few acupuncture treatments. While for months I would jump at any little twinge or gush, in fear of another miscarriage, but the pregnancy was without any major complications. I was, and remained a good candidate for Home Birth and a VBAC.

I didn’t know it was possible, but I started having Braxton Hicks contractions from about 6 weeks pregnant, I had never had any the first time. The baby also dropped in to my pelvis and was quite low very early on. Everyone, even the midwives, speculated that I might go early! Since being post dates was the major instigator of everything that happened the first time, I really hoped they were right!

Week 40 came and went, I was now 40+5 and creeping closer and closer to the 41+4 that my son was taken from me at. I was still in good spirits but the worry was always there, quietly in the background and saying that the clock was ticking and I would have to fight. I had a plan, I would be 41+1 on Canada day and I have a fairly severe allergy to milk. My plan was to go to Dairy Queen and get a Blizzard if labour was no where in site! A BIG one! I knew that it would have about the same effects as castor oil on me and would taste far better. The midwives thought the plan was hilarious and even said they hoped it would work so they could write “induction via Blizzard”. My husband didn’t mind the idea either as he hadn’t had a Bilzzard in as many years as I had.

My midwives appointments were every Friday now. Thursday afternoon I lost my mucus plug! I was excited as I knew that meant change, but cautious as it was no guarantee anything was going to happen soon. My Braxton Hicks came back again, as they had stopped for a couple of weeks, but were different. I didn’t know for sure what it meant – early labour? Nothing? I was excited about both at my appointment and really didn’t have any desire to discuss induction at our Friday meeting. I really thought the baby might be here by Canada Day. My Midwife was optimistic, but was talking about what day the hospital did inductions. I think I started to tune out at this point. I am sure she knew I wasn’t going to agree to one, even if it meant being 42 weeks and having to deliver in the hospital, but it was on the check list for the appointment. I left still in good spirits but anxious to move things along.

I had been doing and taking everything I could over the last couple of days to get labour going, homeopathics, essential oils, sex, evening primrose oil, acupressure and letting my son nurse as much as he wanted (which was the only thing that seemed to do anything). Each evening feeling hopeful I would wake up to labour. When my husband got home that evening, we went out and got some groceries and went to the bank. At the bank I saw my naturopath and asked if she would be able to do a treatment on me, she said “Yes!” and came to our house later that evening. She put in about 25 needles, ALL the way. I think that was about my third or fourth treatment ever and I really wasn’t expecting the needles to disappear into me! My husband thought it was hilarious and just had to take a picture to commemorate the moment. I thought for sure I would wake up in labour this time!

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Saturday morning came, and I had slept the whole night. No only that, but I wasn’t even getting the mild contractions anymore that I had been. Letting my son nurse wasn’t working either. Everything had stopped. I was started to panic, to doubt, to play worst case scenarios over and over in my head and to think that I was NEVER going to go into labour on my own. At more that one appointment I had told my midwife that I was hoping and preparing for a pain free orgasmic birth, but really all I was worried about was actually getting into labour and whatever happened after that I could deal with as it came up. She thought this was a good plan, but so far it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen. Saturday came and went, my husband arranged for someone else to cover the sound board at church as he didn’t know if he would be there, but I was starting to get a pessimistic and wanted to just make plans for the rest of the week and forget everything that was going on.

Sunday morning came, and once again I had slept the whole night. My husband went and did the setup and sound and took our son with him as he usually did. I slept in and made sure I went into church late. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, especially when most knew that I was due or post dates. I didn’t want the questions, the looks, the “You’re still here??” stare. I came in and sat at the back, with my husband at the sound table and avoided eye contact with everyone. Much to my pleasant surprise, one of the other moms came in a bit after me and walked right over and said “You look like you are going to have that baby any day!” It almost brought me to tears. I had carried very high and trim the whole pregnancy and most couldn’t believe I was full term because I looked to small this time. This instigated a lot of “You don’t look like you are having a baby any time soon” type comments, even when I was 40+ weeks. This was the first time anyone had said I looked ready. I needed that. One concerned friend came over with an almost frantic look on his face after church and said “Where is your baby??” His wife had been a part of the Blessing Way group and my Mom had told them on Friday that I was in early labour, I guess some had assumed that I would have had the baby by now. I relied pointing at my belly “In urtero.”

I came home from church tired and exhausted. I was getting scared, worried, frustrated and just plain fed up. I felt like I had done everything I could and my body was just saying “NO.” I didn’t feel like it would ever say “Yes.” My husband went took our boy outside with him and worked on the shed that we had been building, he had hoped to finish it before the baby got here so he was taking the opportunity while he had it. This left me some time to think. I often do my best thinking when I am journaling, something I haven’t done a whole lot of lately but I felt I needed to get it out. I wrote/prayed to God and wrote to my baby. I begged God, pleaded with Him to make me go into labour NOW! As I thought this I realized that this wasn’t His way. While I am all for doing things to prepare your body as best you can for labour, I had been attempting to take things from His hands, once again I wasn’t listening to Him or asking Him or trusting Him. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. If I “made” myself go into labour, who would be glorified? God doesn’t like to share His glory, and He clearly told me He wasn’t going to. I could either trust Him, or fend for myself. Well, I know how well that worked out for me last time. I chose to trust Him. I also wrote to my baby, I told it that I was sorry I was so sad and that it was safe to come out now, but if it waited to much longer, it might not be. Mostly I was scared to fail, scared to fail by baby and my son, who wanted to be at the birth so much. After my praying and journaling I felt more at peace, I had let go.

Once I had let go, I decided I needed to do something to keep busy and keep my mind off of things. Cleaning the bathroom has been my husband’s job for a long time. It started with the toilet when we got married. I said the two things I do not do are garbage and the toilet – that is a boy’s job. Since he was already there he kind of just took over the rest of the bathroom and it’s been that way for years. However, every woman knows that most men’s version of clean isn’t quite the same as ours and I would need to do a really through clean every once in a while to satisfy myself that it really was clean. I had found out I was pregnant right after moving into our house and had never had the energy to bother with a good scrubbing the whole time we had lived here. In the back of my mind I had known for weeks that the bathroom was going to get cleaned by me before the baby would come. Now was the time! I scrubbed my heart out and cleaned every inch. My husband came in at one point and tried to take over, being sweet and not wanting me to have to do it. I quickly bit his head off, tired of waiting for labour, and said “Just leave me alone! I have to do SOMETHING!” I just as quickly apologized and he left me to clean.

About 8pm Sunday I started to feel the surges again, but stronger. My heart was elated, I knew this was it! I kept it a secret as I wasn’t having to breath through them yet and didn’t want my husband to be too excited to sleep. I had a bath in our soaker tub with a small glass of wine and some cheese. I floated and swayed in the water, reveling in every surge and delighting in secret that only myself and my baby knew – we would soon meet. I went to bed but I didn’t feel I would wake in the morning.

About 4am Monday I had been awake for a bit off and on, the contractions were becoming stronger and I couldn’t sleep through them any longer. The birds were singing outside our window as they always were at this time. The sun was just beginning to make it assent into the sky. I had to get up and move. I put on my robe and paced and swayed. They were strong enough that I couldn’t ignore them but I didn’t have to breath through them yet. I hummed and sang to my baby, standing and swaying in the front door watching the sun rise. I sang the song from church the day before that’s lyrics were “Grace to you and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” It was new but words and the melody had been playing in my head since I had heard it. I enjoyed our time together, some of our last hours so close. I am in tears remembering the beauty of it as I write.

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About 6am my husband and son woke up. He had known that things were happening but had tried to get some more sleep. He got us breakfast then proceeded into a flurry of action that lasted the rest of the day. He was excited and nervous and I think he felt like completing tasks was the best way to “fix” the situation. Some of the things needed to be done, he went to the grocery store and got some food for everyone and kept our son busy and fed. But all I really wanted was for him to hold me, sit with me and for us to spend some time together as a family. The contractions had gotten stronger and I was having to breath through them by mid morning, but they were still irregular and anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes apart. I waiting until I thought everyone would be up on a holiday Monday and let them know what was happening. I called my doula, my midwife, my photographer and my Mom. I had at least 2 or 3 contractions when I was on the phone with each of them and always felt like a creep doing all that heaving breathing on the phone. I had a good laugh with each of them about it too. They all appreciated that I had waited until morning to call and were on standby if anything changed. Nothing really changed.

Canada Day continued that way all day. The contractions would get stronger and closer together and then they would space out, they didn’t get any weaker but every time they got stronger they got further apart again. Then they got closer and stronger then spaced out again. I walked, bathed, ate, drank and continued the day like that. Evening came and I paged my midwife about 8pm. I wanted to check in with her before bed time as I knew I wouldn’t be getting much sleep. She asked if I wanted her to come and assess me, I said my biggest fear was that I had laboured all day and she would check and I would be 2 cm. We decided that she would come and see where I was. When she got there I was on my knees and draped over the birth ball. I looked at her and said “It just occurred to me what actually molds the baby’s head – that’s not nice!” She checked me and sure enough, I was 2cm… She suggested that I try a Gravol shot and Tylenol. I have issues with Tylenol so she was going to just do the Gravol but discovered she was out. While she went to get some more, I heard the Canada Day fireworks and laid down in bed and slept! I had maybe 2 contractions in the time she was gone, which was about 2 hours. My body knew I needed a rest and it gave me one. I probably could have slept longer but when she came back I woke up, the contractions started again and she gave me the shot. It didn’t do a thing, and the silly part was that the injection site was hurting like crazy, was red, hot and swollen! It almost hurt more then the contractions at that point. She left us to go to a hotel and get some sleep. I, unfortunately, didn’t and the contractions picked up where they left off. By 2am Tuesday, I knew I needed some support and called in my Doula and paged the midwife to come back.

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When my doula and midwife arrived to stay, I felt like things were finally really happening! I was vocalizing through contractions and coping well. Up to this point I had been labouring on my own. My husband had been home for the most part, as well as our son, but mostly I was going doing my own thing without any support through the contractions. It was good to know I wasn’t alone and I didn’t have to troubleshoot things myself anymore. I could just let my mind go and let things happen.

My husband filled the birth tub in our living room while our son was still sleeping. I was in different positions and tried the tub. I was still eating, drinking, peeing and pooping – oh the pooping! I don’t think I have ever pooped so much in my life! The student midwife arrived and at 6am I was 3cm and 90% effaced. I didn’t want to hear that, I was tired and already felt like I had been in labour forever. It was progress, but it wasn’t as much as I had hoped. The midwife called this the start of active labour. I knew I wasn’t going to give up but I was discouraged that I had made what seemed like so little progress. I also knew that things could change quickly as my cervix had almost completely thinned. We called my friend, fellow doula and volunteer birth photographer to come when she was ready. I continued in and out of the tub and different positions, vocalizing eating, drinking – pooping! Around 10am they checked me again.

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I was 6cm, once again it was progress but labour was getting really hard and it seemed like it should be happening faster. I was in the thick of active labour and it hurt like hell. Nothing seemed to help. I was getting frustrated that nothing seemed to even be taking the edge off. At every birth I had attended there was always something that helped. I couldn’t understand it and I was starting to feel like no one was helping me. They were all there and supporting me but I didn’t feel like they were. I think everyone could tell I was hitting a wall and suggested I go out side for awhile, it was humid but a nice day. I really didn’t want to, but did it anyway.

As soon as I stepped out the door I had to drop to my preferred hands and knees position as this was how I had been labouring, that, and howling like a banshee! When it was over I made it about another 20 feet and was down again. I stayed down when it was over. My husband was with me and I could tell he was worried. I really wanted to say “I can’t do this” but I knew I couldn’t, I wouldn’t. I did say “I don’t know if I can do this” but that is because I didn’t know. It was so hard, nothing had prepared me for that. Not the books I had read or even the births I had attended. My husband was strong for me when I couldn’t be, he told me I could do it and that I there was no way I was going to give up.

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I made it back in side and sat on the birth ball. My midwife could see that I was still having a hard time, she talked to me about my head space. She suggested that maybe I was trying to have three labours at once – my first son’s, my miscarriage and this one. She later said I gave her a look of death and that is why she had backed off after, but it was just that I hadn’t had a conversation with anyone in a while and just wasn’t in the head space to think quickly. I took a few minutes and really thought about what she said. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t think that was the issue, or at least the biggest one, but I did realize that I was thinking too much about the future. I needed to deal with what was happening right then and there. I needed to take it one contraction at a time and the truth of the matter was that I WAS doing it and had been doing it already much longer then I ever thought I could have! That was the moment I dug deep and fully committed. This was happening, it was what I had wanted so desperately and I was going to see it through. I wasn’t alone, God was with me, friends and family where praying for me and I was joining every other woman throughout history that had every given birth.

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Less then an hour later I was on the toilet, again, and started feeling a little “pushy.” My contractions actually stopped for a little while too, and my whole demeanor changed. I “woke up” and looked around, I was smiling at people and greeting them, as I didn’t remember doing it when they came in. It crossed the back of my mind that this could be my “rest and be thankful” stage before pushing! I asked to be checked. About 1:30pm I was 8cm with a thick lip at the front, they told me not to push. Once again I was feeling somewhat defeated, happy that I had made progress but really expecting to be closer to fully dilated. Now I was in transition, wanting to push, feeling like my pelvis was going to break into a million pieces and I couldn’t do the one thing that had brought me any relief – push. I got into some forward leaning positions to try and put pressure on the the front of my cervix, it was so hard, but there was only one way out – quite literally! And that was for things to progress. At some point my husband had started breathing with me as I had totally lost control of my breath at the peak of the contractions, he said “Breathe innnn and ouuuut.” This became my ritual, my breaths were me saying/yelling “IIINNNNN – OOOOWWWWTTTT!” And, yes, “Out” just so happens to start with “Ow!”

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Just after 2pm I was into the tub again and that is where I stayed! I was actually sleeping in between contractions and my body was starting to push all on it’s own! About an hour later they checked me again and I still had a cervical lip at the front, so they said not to add anything to the pushing my body was doing. My body might push through the lip but they didn’t want me to cause anything to swell. The student had checked me and she also said that I could likely reach the head if I wanted to feel – did I ever! It was the most amazing thing to feel my baby’s head while it was still inside me. I could also feel what my body was doing and boy was it doing something! I had moved into a squatting position in the tub and thought I might as well try and do a bit of pushing with a contraction to try and get the feel for it.


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I had my finger on my baby’s head and it moved a little when I pushed, but right after I stopped, my contraction peaked and my body pushed – it moved about a 1/4″! WAY more effective than anything I was doing. My contractions spaced out a bit at this point, likely to catch up to the movement of my baby down the birth canal, and I slept in between them. I felt my baby through every one, I even let my husband feel too.

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The second midwife was there and keeping our son occupied as official “Pooper Scooper” and got him involved in checking the tub temperature too. It wasn’t too many contractions before I started to feel a bit of the “ring of fire” and everyone said they were starting in be able to see hair! I hadn’t been freaked out or worried up until then. This was the part that I had been a little worried about – crowning – I didn’t want to tear and I heard it burned like hell. I had to take my hand away for a bit so I could gather myself. I put my hand back and my baby’s head was right there! It was slipping back a bit in between contractions so I did a little bearing down in between so that I wouldn’t loose any progress. A couple more contractions and it’s head was out! They knew I wanted to be the one to pick the baby up so all they did was check for a cord around it’s neck. It had a tight one they couldn’t get off, so I pushed out the shoulders. My baby was born! I picked it up and brought it into my arms. As a family, my husband, my son and myself – we welcomed our new son!

At 5:49pm on July 2, 2013. Our family was reborn. As a family we welcomed our new son and brother, Levi, into this world, into our home, without drugs, without interventions, without fear and in God’s own timing. Levi means “joined together” or “joined with him”. That day our family was joined together and so was my heart, it was healed.

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Photos © 2013 Nicole Marozzo & Melissa Van Dam
A Cesarean for Breech Baby, Jaundice and PND

A Cesarean for Breech Baby, Jaundice and PND

At our 19 week scan, the sonographer found that our son, J’s, nuchal fold was more prominent than it should be. She also found the left brain ventricle to be larger than the other. These, we discovered, were soft markers for some chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, and it may have indicated J having fluid on the brain.

I remember I picked up the scans on a Friday afternoon. My next appointment with my GP/ob was not until Monday and I had to work Saturday morning. The first thing I did when I got home with the scans was read the report (of course!). It had a lot of big words that I didn’t understand, and I did the worst thing possible. I turned to Doctor Google. I was in tears when Tobi came home. He said I was being silly, and there was no point in panicking and dwelling on this until we had heard it in laymen’s terms from the Doctor. I went into work Saturday morning, determined not to think about those horrible long words in the report. I stepped into the office, where the boss was sitting, to grab my keys and name tag, and the boss asked me (completely innocently) how I was. I took a deep breath and burst into tears! He took one look at me and sent me home. He is the biggest softy when he wants to be.

We were booked for another scan at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide at 22wks, just to double check the measurements. It was at this point it was highly recommended to have an amniocentesis to confirm whether J had any chromosomal abnormalities. Tobi was adamant it was not a risk worth taking. I needed a little more convincing, but with a 1 in 200 chance of miscarrying, it was not something I wanted to risk. We also agreed, that whatever the outcome, we would still want J, regardless. The doctor we saw also told us that a termination was still an option, right up until 26-ish wks, when “it would start to become a little difficult.” NO! NOT an option!

I felt devastated. I hated being in limbo, not knowing whether our baby was healthy, whether he would be ‘normal,’ or whether he would even survive. Tobi was my stronghold. He never wavered in front of me. He knew nothing was wrong and that we would have our perfect baby with us. I should have trusted him. I later found out from a family friend that he wasn’t ok, and had gone to him and completely broken down. I had no idea! He is so brave for being strong for me. He doesn’t need to be, but it is nice to have a rock to lean on.

For 10 weeks we continued on. I still worked, the world kept revolving. We headed back to Adelaide at about 32 weeks for another scan to check the measurements again and to see whether I could birth our baby back home, or whether (because of the possibility of fluid on the brain) I had to be in the city. There would still be the possibility of a chromosomal abnormality, but our local hospital would be more than capable of ‘handling’ that. The scan took forever. Two different people did the ultrasound. We then waited for the results.

They came back all clear!

There seemed to be no fluid on the brain. It was just a random thing that happened every now and then. The possibility of having a Downs baby, or some other abnormality flew out of my mind. I was just ecstatic that I was allowed to stay home and try for the birth I was so desperate for. Oh, and it was also at this scan that we found out baby was measuring nearly 5wks ahead of dates at 36+ wks!

A bit of history – my first son was posterior. I had always had in my head that I wanted a natural birth. I envisioned walking around, laying in the bath, nice warm showers, not birthing on my back… but after 3hours labour at home, I was crying to Tobi to take me to hospital. Within an hour of being there, I had screamed for the gas. NO, the pethidine. NO an EPIDURAL! I had just got the epidural in when the midwife leant down on the bed and said, “ah… I’ve just read your birth plan… ummm…” to which I replied “I don’t care, it doesn’t matter!” while still waiting for the epidural to kick in! Anyway, 18 hours later, and about 1 hour of pushing (and third degree tearing), we welcomed L into the world.

I was determined that I was going to have my natural birth one day, or that I’d at the very least, better myself. I research and educated myself on natural birth, and found myself a student midwife to help support me. From about half way through, J decided breech was the best position, and stayed there until birth. So I also researched (extensively) about vaginal breech births and had spoken about this with my midwife and OB. My OB was all for trying a vaginal breech birth, but wasn’t confident, and was recommending I see another OB as well to discuss options. I was to make an appointment with him at about 37 weeks. In the mean time I was spending a lot of time inverted or on my hands and knees to try and get him to turn. It must have been hilarious watching me!

On a Wednesday night, at 36 weeks and 2 days, I finished work with MAJOR cankles! It was hot, I know I hadn’t drank a lot of water and I had been on my feet at work for 9 hours that day. I took myself up to the maternity ward as I had never had an issue with swelling before, and it was starting to feel really uncomfortable all over. I was monitored and had my blood pressure taken, but all seemed normal, so was sent home and told to put my feet up. I was planning on finishing work that Friday, and was really looking forward to a week or two off before baby made his entrance. Later that night I thought I noticed some fluid leaking. But I wasn’t sure. I had no pelvic floor muscles left by that point and baby seemed to be sitting right on my bladder for the last 4 weeks, so I assumed it was just wee.

Friday, as I’ve finished work, I’ve noticed my pad is pretty soaked, so again, I trot myself up to maternity to get myself checked out. With my first son, my waters broke after the epidural was in, half way through the day, so I didn’t know what to expect. Tobi came up with me and we sat around for a while, while I was being monitored again. The midwives check the fluids, and yes, it was amniotic fluid. My pelvic floor muscles were better than I gave them credit for! Coincidentally my OB was on the roster that night and she came in to see me. She explained that yes it was my waters. They hadn’t broken, it was just my hind waters. As I had no contractions in the 2 hours I’d been laying there, the (more senior) OB might do an ECV if asked. This was one of my options, as a breech vaginal delivery was NOT a favorable option to most of the hospital staff.

Unfortunately, the OB who was on call, was not one of the local guys. He was an OB from Adelaide and he was driving down (5hours) and still ½ an hour away. He was not aware of my birth plans and didn’t seem to want to hear them.

I overheard my OB was on the phone to the visiting OB explaining my ‘situation’ and, bless her; she was such an advocate for me to have this baby preferably breech, or at least try an ECV. She came back in to see Tobi and I with a sullen look on her face. She reiterated that the other OB did not want to try and ECV, and it was far too dangerous to try a vaginal breech delivery. He had said to book an operating room immediately and prep me for a cesarean.

For the second time this pregnancy my heart dropped. Having a C/S was so far from my mind. For me it was a very last resort. I was devastated. I wanted SO bad to try a natural birth and this person I had never met had just stripped it away from under me. When he finally waltzed in, he sat on the bed and would not listen to a word my OB and I were saying to him. He would not do an ECV as my waters had broken and there was not enough cushioning for the baby. It was far too dangerous to have a breech delivery, it is safer to have a cesarean, especially at 36+4wks. I just wanted the option. I wanted to try. I wasn’t even in labor for God’s sake! The visiting OB stated his reasons, said “hmff” and put the consent forms on the bed. Through tears, I signed the consent for to be prepped for the operating room. To this day, hubby still doesn’t seem to understand why that was so hard for me. Why a cesarean was such a bad thing. For me, I think, it was more the lack of choice. This doctor who didn’t know me from a bar of soap, strode in, told me what to do and expected it. I did not like that one bit.

At some point I was moved from the delivery room I was in to the maternity ward across the hall. Tobi and I debriefed a little and let it sink in that we were going to meet our ‘troublesome’ baby finally! I then did a little panic because we hadn’t chosen a name! It was literally on the way to operating room when we finally agreed on the baby’s name. We didn’t bother thinking about girl’s names as we were almost positive that this baby would be another boy.

So I was prepped for the most relaxed ‘emergency cesarean’ they’ve had for a long time and I got wheeled away. The anesthetic seemed to take forever to work. I swear I could feel them pricking me with something the whole time they were testing. They ran ice over my belly (apparently) and then they were ready to start. Funnily enough, as they cut into me a massive gush of fluid came out all over the Ob saturating his shoes. That made me feel a little better (no fluid or cushioning left, really?). It felt so weird to be tugged and pulled at. My Ob explained everything as it was happening and Tobi took photos over the curtain. It’s cool looking back at the photos, I must admit! I had to have a longer cut than normal as J was footling breech and had his feet were well engaged. Finally they pulled him out and showed him to us. He was perfect. Jackson Eli was born!

breech c-section photo

breech c-section photo

They whisked him away to be checked and I started shivering. Tobi freaked out a little me shivering, but the anesthetist assured him it was normal. It wasn’t long before I was stitched up and moved across to a bed. Still in the operating room, I was given Jackson and we had some skin on skin time and (tried to) breastfeed in recovery.  I think he was born about 9:30pm (that sound horrible doesn’t it, that I can’t remember, without looking at his book!). We got back to the room and J was weighed at 8lb 15oz, or 4.04kg (I think!). The question was floated as to whether we thought our dates were right, but after a couple of days, the nurses all agreed, because of his mannerisms, that J was definitely early.

We had a rough few days. J ended up becoming jaundiced and was under lights. Thankfully he was able to stay the room with me the whole time. Because of his jaundice, he was tired and he struggled to attach properly. I was pumping and expressing like mad and using a syringe to drop colostrum into the side of his mouth while he sucked on my finger. I was determined for him not to have a nasal-gastric tube and he was not having formula. We continued like this for about 3 weeks before he finally seemed to get his latch right.

On day two, the visiting OB came in to see me. He looked at our chart and saw I had been expressing and syringe feeding J. He told me that it babies don’t in fact need colostrum, it’s pointless really. People in such and such a country don’t give it, that’s why milk can take up to a week to come in. So don’t expect your milk to come in until next weekend. My milk came in that afternoon, before 48 hours were up. Just let me mother my baby! Just to add to that, not long after he left the (horrible) midwife on duty told me that J had lost too much weight and needed a formula top up and nasal-gastric tube. I asked why? My milk hadn’t come in, it was less than 48 hours after birth, give us a break! She begrudgingly left saying well, if things don’t improve, we’ll need to do it by the next morning.

I don’t remember when, but somehow J ended up with a tube thing “just in case.” Tobi wasn’t around when they did it and he wasn’t happy when he came in and saw it. He was just about ready to rip it out himself. I was already doubting myself and would’ve agreed for the midwives to give him top ups if it weren’t for Tobi and my friend. Kylie came in that day, and had the same reaction as Tobi. Kylie was an ABA counselor in training and was just about finished her nursing degree. She checked our chart and my colostrum supply in the fridge and said that J didn’t need that tube in. That settled it for Tobi – he marched J down the hall to the nurses and demanded that the tube be taken out. Tobi isn’t one to be messed with. He’s 6ft+ tall and built solid. You wouldn’t want to say ‘no’ to him! J came back without the tube in.

breech c-section first feed

A week after J was born, with his jaundice levels going down, we decided to leave the hospital. I was going mad, and the midwives and my OB told us his jaundice wouldn’t necessarily improve any faster in hospital, than at home. But they kept telling us, ‘just one more day, just one more day.’ By the Friday, we’d had enough, we discharged ourselves against medical advice and lo and behold, J was fine!

breech c-section

I was diagnosed with mild PND just before J’s first birthday. I think a lot of it has to do with his birth and the lack of choice I had. We are now talking about trying to conceive baby #3 and I am arming myself with even more research and knowledge. My OB and I are more confident and although I have still been recommended to see a senior OB, she and I seem to be on the same page more often than not and is more than happy to support a VBAC this time.

Giving Birth is a Journey

Giving Birth is a Journey

Three years ago I had my first baby girl naturally at 35 weeks pregnant, she was breech a week before but due to a small car accident the shock turned her, she was not harmed and neither was I, but apparently she couldn’t wait any longer. During delivery I suffered a 3rd degree tear that needed to be stitched in theatre, but I refused as I did not want to leave my baby. Luckily enough I had an excellent doctor who agreed to do the repair work in the birth suite.

Shortly after Isabella was born she was sent to the hospitals special care nursery to receive antibiotics, it was there they discovered she had high levels of jaundice requiring phototherapy within a humidicrib, she also had feeding troubles so a nasogastric tube was inserted to help her to feed. After over a month in special care we finally got to take her home. I was terrified about having another baby thinking the same thing would happen, but through the support of my partner we decided to go for another.

Isabella

Around 20weeks into my 2nd pregnancy we found out our baby was breech, we tried everything to turn her but she wouldn’t budge so I booked a C-section on a week that my partner would be home from work, as he worked away for a week at a time. Two weeks before my booked date, I knew I had gone into labour but I didn’t want to do it alone. So I held out and stayed home through increasing pain with Isabella (who was now 18 months old) until morning came as my partner would be flying home that day. I spoke to him and he told me to go to the hospital and he would try get an early flight home.

He arrived as I was being wheeled into theatre to welcome our new baby girl; I couldn’t be happier. Aria was born via emergency C-section at 38weeks and we got to take her home 3 days later; however, I knew there was something off about her. On day 6 I requested a doctor come to our home 30 minutes out of town, as my partner had gone back to work and I couldn’t yet drive.

Aria

She was readmitted to hospital that afternoon into the special care nursery as she, too, had high levels of jaundice. Hers, however, were at a critical level due to a urinary tract infection we weren’t aware she had. Blood was flown up from our states capital and triple phototherapy (the first time it had ever been attempted at our hospital) was commenced in the meantime to try starve off the jaundice to avoid brain damage. 1 month later we got to take her home again free and clear with no signs of any side effects.

Thirteen weeks ago I gave birth again to another baby girl, I prayed for a VBAC. When we found out she was breech also, we once again went through all the motions to try and turn her to no avail. I was booked for C-section at 40 weeks; 2 days before my due date. However, at 38 weeks pregnant, late at night, on the day of my step daughters 4th birthday, I knew I was going into labour.

I made all the calls and we arrived at the hospital at 3am, Jan 17th the day, after her birthday. Within half an hour I was in for my emergency C-section. Once again, I was terrified of my baby being ill; however, everyone was confident we would have a healthy baby girl. This time my C-section was calm and peaceful. My partner and I joked and lots of photos were taken of the whole process including her delivery by our midwife.

Moments later things started to get tense and I knew something was wrong. Harper was taken to be checked over while the surgeon battled with a bleed I was having. When they brought her back they told us not to be alarmed, but as soon as my bleeding was controlled they would need to take her into the special care nursery as some things weren’t “right” about her.

They let me hold her as they fixed me up and off we went. While in special care, I found out she had some “abnormalities” as they called them, and they weren’t 100% sure she was a girl, tests came back clear, she has no chromosomal abnormalities and we were sent back to the ward.

Harper

The next day things started going downhill, while I was up and about she was very lethargic and starting to yellow, so on my insistence they called a specialist. She was readmitted to special care nursery on day 2 with high levels of jaundice just like her sisters; however, they also found she had a heart condition and a torticollis in her neck, causing her head to pull to the side and develop a little wonky. After 2 weeks we took her home only to have her readmitted a week later with chronic heart failure.

She was placed on heart medication, antibiotics for an unknown urinary tract infection, and oxygen to help her breath as well as a feeding tube, that night they rang to tell us she had been moved to the NICU. After 4 days in the NICU, and another 2 weeks in special care, we got to bring her home again. She has an ASD, VSD, duplex urinary system, bilateral reflux of urinary system, and torticollis of the neck, low muscle tone, and failure to thrive.

Through the help of our team of specialists, she is on various medication as well as growth formula and physiotherapy, and is on the road to recovery. At 13 weeks old she still only weighs 5kg, but she is getting there.  I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of my friends, family, partner and our team of doctors who have looked after all my babies and gotten them home with us.

I have attached photos of my girls in special care/NICU as well as my body post my miracles. People ask if I’d do it again, and I’ve always said yes. But since Harper was born I have changed my mind. Reading the stories on this site have helped me to see that even though it’s been a difficult road, I wouldn’t change it for the world and I would definitely do it all over again if I could.

Mom

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