Oh this sweet little boy of ours. As wonderful as he has been since he joined our little family, he definitely had his own plans for coming into the world.
On Tuesday, January 27, we headed into the hospital for an induction. At that point, I was 40 weeks and 1 day. We agreed to the induction for several reasons (I know a lot of people turn their noses up to non-medical induction), but my doctor would have been the doctor who oversaw the induction and labor process (and we really wanted him to deliver Henry), and at 40 weeks and 1 day, Henry was definitely cooked and full-term, and some other reasons.
So we arrived to the hospital around 7am on Tuesday and called into Labor & Delivery to let them know we were there, and they had us wait in the waiting room for a bit. And we waited. And waited. And waited. Until 10am. The charge nurse finally came out to talk to us. Apparently with the “snowstorm” that blew through the night of the 26th/morning of the 27th, it sent a lot of ladies into labor (except, you know, for me). Meaning there weren’t any rooms available for us to have our induction. I was a little disappointed, but more relieved, since I really wanted to give Henry the opportunity to come on his own.
We decided to reschedule the induction for Friday the 30th. I made lunch plans with Melissa for Wednesday, had plans to clean and do laundry and paint the kitchen to take up my time before Friday. Of course I did.
Wednesday morning, I woke up around 4:45am to some contractions. Nothing I couldn’t handle, but they were fairly regular, at 5 to 6 minutes apart, but again, definitely manageable. Then I felt a little trickle. I wondered if my water had broken (or was leaking) so I laid in bed for a little bit, until about 5:10, still having the contractions, until I decided to go to the bathroom and see what was up.
I think it’s safe to say I haven’t been more scared in my life, or as panicked, as I was when I went to the bathroom. I turned on the light (which I don’t normally do) to see what was happening, and was absolutely horrified to see bright red blood. It was everywhere. I immediately started shaking and crying because rule #1 of pregnancy is anytime you see bright red blood, you go to the hospital immediately. I ran into the bedroom and shouted to Robert to call Scott and Melissa, our babysitters for Brooke, and get them to the house so we could race to the hospital.
The only thing that kept me relatively calm was that I could still feel B2 squirming around and kicking away in my belly, so I knew he was okay, despite what all was happening.
After what seemed like forever, but was really probably only about 15 minutes, we were on our way to the hospital. Before we left the house, I called the on-call doctor to let them know what was happening and that we were headed into the hospital, so that they would be ready for us when we got there.
We got into our hospital room around 6:30 or so and chatted with a few nurses (and at that point, the bleeding had slowed some, though it hadn’t stopped). They didn’t seem overly concerned with the blood, basically saying that as I was already 4cm dilated, the capillaries were expanding and the result of that is blood. It’s gross but, labor is pretty gross.
The doctor finally came into our room at 8:30. I told her, and the nurses, that I planned to have a med-free birth. Everyone was totally game, and our nurse, the charge nurse from the day before (Barbara – we requested her, she was amazing) was so excited to help us through the process. There was a student shadowing her (I consented…these kids have to learn somehow!) and she was excited to be there for a med-free birth too.
The doctor then wanted to check my cervix to see what progress had been made since Friday when I was 4cm and break my water (since that hadn’t happened yet, despite what I felt that morning) to get things going.
Holy. Shit. I’ve had cervical checks and membrane sweeps but oh, my, goodness. So much pressure, so uncomfortable, and really, just hurt like hell. I felt a little gush while she was still feeling around up there.
And then she said something shocking.
“Well…we have a breech baby.”
I’m sorry, what????
No, we don’t. We have a head down baby. He was head down on Friday. We had a head down baby this whole time. He’s not breech. Check again.
She assured me that he was indeed breech, but they’d do an ultrasound to confirm.
They don’t deliver breech babies vaginally.
The ultrasound confirmed it. Baby boy was butt first with his head and feet under my rib cage.
How did this happen? How is this possible?
I was devastated. I cried. I had big plans for this labor. I brought STUFF. I wanted to use the shower and maybe a tub. I had the lacrosse ball for my back. We brought jelly beans and fruit snacks for me to eat for energy. I made sure they had a squat bar and labor ball. I was PREPARED.
But just like that. C-Section.
I asked if there was a chance we could try to get him to turn, if they could do a version, but no. At 40 weeks, she said breech babies are normally breech for a reason (usually the umbilical cord is wrapped around the neck) so turning that late is out of the question.
No if’s, and’s, or but’s.
The doctor apologized profusely for breaking my water – because contractions started almost immediately and they were coming hard and fast. She broke my water at 8:30 and were planning on getting me into the OR around 11. I was hurting and I was pissed about it because I was inherently hurting for no reason. I was having contractions to push a baby out when I wouldn’t be pushing a baby out. Plus I couldn’t do anything to work through them other than breathe because I was being pumped full of fluid to have the operation (had to have 2 full bags pumped into me) so I couldn’t move around because of all the cords and monitoring equipment. I was super annoyed with that whole part of it.
I requested a last ditch effort to see if maybe he decided to turn back around (because he was doing all kinds of kicks and flips through the contractions), so the doctor brought the ultrasound machine back into the room before the surgery, just to check, and he had turned just a little bit, but not enough.
A c-section it would be.
Because the contractions were so painful and coming so fast, they put the pressure cuff on the IV fluids and bumped up operation time to 9:45am. The anesthesiologist came in and explained the spinal (which is different from an epidural) and gave me an idea of what to expect once we got into the OR. He was very nice and honestly, I think everyone felt kind of bad for me. There was a lot of rushing around and apologizing and prepping happening, so it is all a bit of a blur.
Finally, they got me moving into the OR. Robert got his gear on and waited outside of the operating room until I had the spinal in. That was a process. The anesthesiologist tried one spot, after putting in the numbing agent, and it didn’t work, so he tried another spot, which also didn’t work (mind you, I’m having painful contractions through all of this). Barbara, my nurse, was phenomenal. I was holding her hands and leaning on her and she was coaching me through the contractions and reminding me how to breathe until he could get the spinal in. I think he got it on the 3rd try, but not before he had to put in more numbing agent (which hurt like a bitch).
You have to lay day almost immediately after they get the spinal in so it goes where it needs to go, which just so happened to be right in the middle of a contraction, so laying down that quickly was not fun, but we got it to work.
They got me splayed out on the table, the sheet up, and Robert came in. I was fairly emotional during the surgery, though I tried to keep it under control. There was a LOT of tugging and pushing and pulling. He was wedged in there really good. Typically, they do a horizontal cut on the uterus to get baby out. He required the horizontal cut plus a little vertical cut to help get him out. He was certainly cozy in there. I’m pretty sure at one point, one of the doctors put her entire body weight on my upper abdomen trying to push him out.
At 10:20am, little baby Henry Robert was born. He didn’t cry immediately, so they took him to the warming table and rubbed on him, and finally, after about 30 seconds or maybe a minute, he let out a wail. It truly is the sweetest sound ever, and it started up the waterworks again 🙂 Our sweet boy is here.
They cleaned him up a little bit, and at my request, they gave us some skin-to-skin time, which was pretty awkward (because I couldn’t move my arms and they just shoved him down my gown, but I couldn’t really turn my head to see him, and Robert had to hold him…) but it was so sweet to finally hold my boy.
They got me stitched up and squared away, and we were in our recovery room by 10:50.
It was definitely not how I envisioned birthing our boy, but at the end of the day, there really wasn’t anything I or anyone else could do about it. It is what it is. I fully trust the doctors and I know they did exactly what they needed to do. It wasn’t about what was easy for them. It was what is safest for me and for Henry. The complications delivering breech babies vaginally far outweigh the reasons to do it, and that was okay with me…as long as he got here safely and was healthy.
And healthy he is! He was born at 6 pounds 12 ounces, dropped to 6 pounds 5 ounces when we left the hospital, and as of Saturday, was up to 6 pounds 8 ounces. This boy is an EATER. And breastfeeding is going so much better this time around. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still painful (especially the initial latch), but it is tolerable and getting much better each time.
He is a snuggler, LOVES to be swaddled tight, hates to be naked, doesn’t like diaper changes at all, but loves to be held by pretty much anyone.
Brooke is doing amazing with him. She tells him ‘it’s okay baby’ when he is fussing, kisses him on the head, and desperately wants to touch all of his face (we are trying to keep that to a minimum until she can learn what ‘gentle’ means). She is going to be a great big sister.
So, welcome to the world Henry Robert. You are a special little one and we can’t wait to watch you grow. Hopefully you stop causing so much trouble, though 🙂
I’ll be back soon with an update on my recovery and how, for me, recovering after a c-section is different from a vaginal delivery.