May 22nd, 2013
I rarely write anything personal on this blog, trying to keep the focus on DIY ideas and practical solutions, but I decided to write about my recent experience with having a breech baby because I really couldn’t think of a time when I was more of a stalwart than the past two weeks, trying like hell to DIY flip my baby over! Also, for some reason, women have an unfortunate tendency to skip over the parts of pregnancy that are tough to admit or talk about, like miscarriages, gender disappointment, depression or a feeling of detachment from all of it.
Maybe we judge each other too quickly, too loudly or use the wrong words to comfort, creating an unsafe place to be more open. I know that when I expressed my own bout of gender disappointment with some close friends and family, I often heard “Well, I’m sure you’re just happy he’s healthy, right?”…which actually only made me also feel like the worst person on earth!
We found out at my 38 week appointment that our son was breech. This late catch was a mix of mistakes made by me and my doctors. While no one checked this via ultrasound during my rotations, shuttling me in and out of appointments in sometimes less than a few minutes, I also had no idea that I shouldn’t be feeling large movements above my belly button and the smaller kicks in my pelvis so I never even mentioned it.
Most techniques used to flip babies are more effective before 36 or at the latest, 37 weeks, so we were told only 2 weeks before our due date that I would likely have to have a C-section in my 39th week. The news sent me into a tailspin of research, trial and error and a postpartum-like depression because a scheduled C-section was the last way I would ever want to end my first successful pregnancy.
While I’m generally open to pain management during labor, after nine months of carrying this child, I abhor the idea of having him surgically removed instead of being given the chance to experience the beautiful agony of labor.
The chance to have this process end as it was meant to naturally was abruptly stripped away from me and I definitely didn’t handle it well. Hearing positive C-section stories or the oh-so-common “however he gets here healthily is the best way” only made the news worse for me and after watching the documentary “The Business of Being Born”, my husband also joined me in my heartache and disappointment. Between my sleepless nights and a few crying fits on the bathroom floor, we attempted two versions, the Webster technique and balanced my body in many precarious positions from the Spinning Babies website.
I am writing this one and half days before my scheduled C-section where they will try another version before the surgery just in case. As I get closer to the reality of never knowing what labor feels like, my heart only feels heavier. While some of my friends were given the opportunity to have some physical contact with their baby after their C-sections, I have been told that I won’t be allowed until I am in recovery. This is the hardest part for me as I want that skin to skin contact immediately. Also, knowing myself and my emotions, my husband and I both worry that this C-section will only lead to a tougher postpartum recovery for me.
After so looking forward to the struggle, pain, tears and trial that is labor, I can’t imagine that a scheduled surgery will provide the closure I personally need and want so badly after 9 months. Maybe this sounds selfish, but despite popular belief, pregnancy is not all about the baby. It is just as much about the woman and her process and how that affects her baby. I know now that this could just be a fluke or I could be a woman who always carries breech babies, but in the future I will do everything I can to find someone who will let me deliver on my own terms if at all possible.
June 26, 2013
On May 24th, after I was prepped for surgery and in the surgery suite, a doctor attempted a version one more time before our c-section. This one was a lot easier for me as I was already numb, but our son just wasn’t having it. Like the last time, just as he got to a certain point in turning, his heart rate went down and then right back up again when the doctor let go. After he was pulled out, my doctor found that the cord was very short which would explain why he couldn’t turn himself and why he could only get so far in a version. Luckily, she also explained that it could have been impossible or very risky to deliver vaginally with a short cord. Unfortunately, my fears of feeling detached from the delivery process were true in the end. The time between delivery and actually being able to feel my son was just too long and our quick bonding time in surgery was cut short by some nausea and vomiting common during a c-section.
After a month of being able to settle into becoming a parent, I can safely look back at the whole experience and know that it was obviously the only thing I could do but still not how I would want to deliver a baby in the future if I can avoid it. I think the hardest part of the recovery is not being able to be there 100% for your baby the first four to five days and for me it was much longer due to some complications after I got home. The only benefit I found from a c-section recovery was my complete lack of time to focus on my baby blues! Every time I felt like I was going to break down in tears, my son would need to be fed or it was time to take my pain medication or wash my incision or soak my swollen ankles. I suppose a c-section could be quite easy for some women, but I also know after hearing horror stories that it could have also been worse. Every story is vastly different when it comes to labor and delivery, and I certainly learned valuable lessons when it comes to asking the right questions during doctor visits, but happily we all end up with tiny precious humans no matter what goes down!