The day I found out I was pregnant was glorious! It was my day off from work and I suspected I was pregnant for a few days. I took the test and saw the line. Convinced I was seeing things, I immediately went to the store to buy a digital test. My dad was visiting us at the time and I’m sure he thought I was losing it when I rushed out of the house at 7 in the morning to go get…soda?? I don’t even drink soda! LOL! Anyway, I was indeed pregnant and told my husband that night and my dad the following day.
I knew I wanted an unmedicated delivery long before I got pregnant so the moment I found out we were having a baby I knew I needed to take a birth class. I am one of those knowledge seeking people…tell me more, tell me all about it…kind of person. I took the Birth Boot Camp comprehensive birth class and it was awesome! I learned a lot about relaxation and coping techniques and my husband learned how to be a Rockstar support person.
I was 30 weeks when I first found out our sweet baby was breech. He was butt down and feet up (Frank Breech). We still had so much time for him to flip that we weren’t worried (anyone wanna take a guess at how this ends?). Our Midwife checked his position at each appointment and the verdict was always the same. Frank Breech. Frank Breech. Frank Breech, despite me doing ALL THE THINGS to flip the baby. I am now 36 weeks pregnant and facing a tough choice. My dream of an unmedicated birth center delivery was gone. I had to be in the hospital and make the choice of induction or planned cesarean. I want to say that these are NOT terrible choices. If that’s the way you WANT to birth, then who am I to say you shouldn’t. It wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted a calm, peaceful, empowering and unmedicated birth center birth.
There was one last thing we could do to try to flip him. An External Cephalic Version (ECV). We tried once with the Midwife, didn’t work. Tried again with the Doctor, nope! Tried one last time with a different Midwive and YES! It worked….for 10 minutes! I took a walk and he flipped right back into his cozy spot. Two days later I had some bleeding and checked into the hospital with a tiny placental abruption. My placenta positioned itself on the top and front (anterior) of my uterus. Every time we pushed baby, he pushed on my placenta. We then made the decision to induce and at 39 weeks 4 days and went into the hospital to start the process of bringing our baby earth side. We didn’t know it at the time, but the Obstetrician we worked with from 37 weeks on was a world renowned OB specializing in breech vaginal delivery! It was a true blessing to work with Dr. Fred P. Cummings! He put all of us at ease and was SO CONFIDENT!
Induction with Pitocin took several hours to start contractions. Once they started, they got hard to deal with fast! I learned a lot in birth class, but failed to practice as much as I should have and requested an epidural early (the right choice for me at that time). I was then able to relax for a little while and let my body work. I will say that epidurals are not the worst possible thing. They are used when mom can’t cope and when the tension in her body hinders her from relaxing causing the cervix to tense. This can cause a number of issues for both mom and baby (we cover all of this in birth class 😉). My water was broken and all of a sudden I was dilated 10cm and ready to go so they took me off the pitocin. Weeelllll, the Doctor was called to an emergency c-section and I had to wait. WAIT!!!!??? Yes, I’ll just hold this in…no big deal. Thankfully, I couldn’t feel any involuntary pushing.
About 20 minutes passed and it was finally my turn. They took me into the OR (in case a c-section was needed) and got me prepped, but there was a problem. I stopped feeling contractions all together. They quickly gave me more Pitocin and about 20 minutes later I could feel contractions start up again. Talk about a rollercoaster!
What happened next was absolutely amazing! I birthed my baby backwards! It took about 2 hours of pushing “incorrectly” and then finally pushing “correctly” to get him out. Dr. Cummings was an absolute professional. The way he maneuvered my baby’s body and shoulders, you could tell he’s done it a time or two. Baby’s head was stuck, his heart rate was falling and I had nothing left to give so I had an episiotomy and out he popped. The scissors unfortunately cut through his nose. He was whisked away to get patched up. I finally heard his cry a few seconds later and my husband shouted, “WE HAVE AN ELIJAH!” He was a surprise gender baby and it was important to us that my husband tell me what we were blessed with.
Whew, that was a lot! It was a lot for us too. My husband was the most supportive, loving, all-star hero I could have ever asked for! I remember lots of kisses during labor! He learned so much from our birth class that he carried through to birth. He relieved my back labor with counter pressure until his wrists hurt, he put cool wash cloths on my head and told me how amazing I was (even when I felt like a failure). I 100% feel like he couldn’t have done any of it to that level without Birth Boot Camp.
The next few days were a bit of a blur for us. Postpartum (the 4th trimester) had begun and it was rough. I had the shakes from the epidural for a really long time and had a hard time breastfeeding because of the cut on Eli’s nose. I didn’t feel like I was informed of my pain relieving options and later found out I was given narcotics which made me and the baby really sleepy. The snuggles were amazing and my husband and I were so happy that we were all healthy! It wasn’t until later that we realized how much our plan actually changed and what that trauma had in store for me (PTSD, PPD/PPA).
It is important that you are educated on all aspects of labor and delivery both in a hospital and out of the hospital. We are grateful for the staff whom helped us bring our baby here, but looking back we wish things had been done differently. This sparked something within me that needed addressing. How can I help other women feel like they had a positive birth experience even when things change dramatically? Birth is so unpredictable. You have to be willing to change your plan at the last quarter second, but more importantly, you must feel like you understood the choices in front of you so that you can make the best choice for you and your baby. In the end, I did feel like the choices made for me were life-saving and necessary. I was well informed of the alternatives, but failed to recognize how that might still affect me. I have come to terms with my first birth and feel at peace with it. I took what I learned and moved forward, bound and determined to have a different experience the next time….