As a mother, I had this sort of primal need to birth my children the way women’s bodies were designed to birth children. My first two children were born after pitocin inductions and epidurals. Their births were special and miraculous, don’t get me wrong, but I always wondered what it would be like to have a baby without any intervention, I wondered how different, maybe even more wonderful, the initial bonding experience would be when there were no medications inhibiting the bonding hormones.
When we were surprised with the news that we were expecting our third baby, I decided immediately that I would do whatever I could to have this baby the “right way”. I interviewed midwives, consulted with doulas, watched the movies, read the books, made an elaborate birth plan that my wonderful OB was totally on board with, I was 100% prepared for natural child birth.
Then life happened.
My husband accepted a job 200+ miles away. That in itself made me question my decision to let my body go into labor when it was ready because I was so worried he wouldn’t make it in time as we were not able to move before the baby’s due date. There was lots of traveling back and forth so we could all be together and operate our family as normally as possible. I try really hard to choose joy in every situation and to be as content as possible but this was a tough season! At my 20 week anatomy scan baby girl was breech. We weren’t concerned at that point because there was plenty of room and time for her to turn. Everything else was going perfectly! As time went on, I kept wondering if I wasn’t feeling her head under my ribs, but brushed it off, knowing that there was still time. At 35 weeks, she was breech still! I think I pretty much yelled at my doctor “I am NOT having a c section for my third baby!” He giggled at me and told me to relax, again, there was still time and I had options. (he’s the best by the way!)
36 weeks, she was transverse, Dr. and I both thought she was on her way to head down so we decided to wait another week before making any decisions. In the mean time, I had been doing all kinds of things to encourage her to turn and continued to do so throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. Between week 36 and 37 I did tons of research on breech birth, external cephelac versions, and breech cesarean births. I read medical studies, checked statistics, etc.
My doctor had given me 3 options if she didn’t turn.
2. Planned cesarean
3. Spontaneous labor resulting in cesarean
I decided I wanted to do what was safest for baby and in my opinion, a planned c section was the safest. No risk of not making it to the hospital on time resulting in an unplanned breech vaginal birth. I didn’t like the potential risks to baby that could come with an ECV either so I declined that option as well.
Of course she was still breech at 37 weeks and again at 38 weeks so we scheduled the cesarean. I was nervous because it was something new to me, I was disappointed because this was not the birth I wanted, but I was mostly ready to get our baby in our arms safely.
I arrived at the hospital a couple of hours before the surgery time. They monitored me and the baby for a bit, started an IV, and then my OB came in to make sure baby was still breech. She had moved back to transverse, so the goal was to turn her during the cesarean and deliver her head first because that is the safest way even by cesarean. The procedure was not bad at all, I was tearful when we got to the OR but not because I was afraid, it was just really an emotional moment. The spinal was fine, my legs went numb quickly as well as everything else below my armpits and then my husband was able to come in to be with me during the surgery. The surgical team was great! So sweet and encouraging! Not long after my OB made the incision, he told me that she was breech again! Foot first! I could swear I felt her crawling up toward my ribs away from the doctor when he was delivering her.
He said, “She’s still a girl and she has a ton of hair!”
She wasn’t crying though. I’m not sure how long it was before I heard her first little cry but it felt like an eternity! They brought her to me to snuggle for a minute and then my husband followed her to the nursery to be cleaned up and monitored. She was 7lbs 3oz and 19 inches. My smallest baby.
We all joked and talked about high school mascots while the doctors were stitching me up (I don’t know why this was the topic of our conversation but it’s funny) I joked that I should have had all of my babies that way since it was so quick and easy to!
Before I knew it they were wheeling me to recovery and I was aching to hold my baby. My doctor came in and let me know that Kopper was needing a little extra help because she inhaled and swallowed some fluid during the delivery, I wasn’t too worried because I trusted the nurses to take good care of her but I sure wanted to snuggle her. She ended up having to stay all day and night in the nursery being monitored which was really sad but she made a full recovery with no problems nursing!
My recovery was much easier than I expected! I was never in horrible pain and I had wonderful nurses that helped me get up and moving as soon as I was physically able.
This birth was supposed to be different, and that it was! It reminded me that our plans aren’t always the best plans.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.