Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Second Baby's Birth Story- Welcoming E

(I still have not written my first baby's birth story, but I promise to do so within the next few weeks...)
I knew I was pregnant with E even before it was detected by the home test. It finally showed up positive on the day after my daughter's first birthday. And I wasn't too pleased about it. The pregnancy was not unwanted, don't get me wrong. But it was unplanned and I felt completely overwhelmed. Maybe that is also the reason why I prepared myself so extensively for the birth. I did not want to feel out of control again, wanted certain things to be completely up to myself.

And so I read. Books and blog posts and expert websites and anything I could find. I watched birth stories and videos on birthing. I sopped up as much information as I felt I could.

At one of my doctor's visits, probably around 30 weeks, the ultrasound showed that E had not yet turned. Nobody seemed in the least concerned by this, but it worried me. I started paying close attention to the position of my baby in the womb and knew week after week that he had not budged. I hired a doula to assist me with my labor. Even though I feared a c-section, I wasn't ready to give up the hope of having a natural birth. I really wanted this birth to be perfect. I wanted to correct the mistakes I made when I gave birth to R.

After some research on getting a breech baby to turn, I visited a chiropractor who performed the Webster Maneuver on me. Still no turned baby. I swam, I walked, I made my husband talk to my crotch. We tried to coax E with a flashlight and all kinds of other fun things, but without success.

On October 29, one week before my due date, at 4 a.m. I awoke because my water had broken. What a weird feeling that is! I panicked. I was so terrified that I was shaking and my teeth were chattering. My water had broken and there was no way for my baby to turn himself anymore, no water for him to float around in. Inevitable c-section. I called my doula, who said to go back to bed unless I started having contractions. I called my OB's answering service, who told me to come to the hospital straight away. My husband helped calm me down and we decided to get back into bed. Right after he turned off the light, my contractions started. I remember thinking 'Oh no!' and paying close attention to what was going on. They started at around 4 1/2 minutes apart. And nothing was ready! I hadn't packed my bag yet, my birth plan wasn't finished, some of the things I wanted to take with me hadn't even been bought.

My husband and I took our time that morning. I took a shower, we packed the bag, organized a sitter for my daughter. It was actually quite nice. We breathed through the contractions and I felt more relaxed with them, as if I knew what I was doing. My friend came over as soon as she could to watch R and then we were off to the hospital. The drive wasn't too fun, but I don't think it ever is while you're in labor.

We arrived at the hospital around 7:30 a.m. My doula was already there to meet us and had prepared the entire staff for our arrival. It was nice not to have to explain everything and be able to walk straight into our room. I went to the bathroom and changed into the beautiful hospital gown. I remember asking whether I should leave my underwear on or not- I blame that on the pregnancy brain. But honestly, three and a half hours after my water broke I was still leaking lots of fluid, so maybe it was an attempt at making a slightly smaller mess. They hooked me up to all the equipment and swabbed me to make sure my water had really broken. (I had actually been to the hospital a few weeks prior, thinking I had sprung a leak, only to be told that I had peed in my pants...) My contractions were coming about every three minutes. It was great having my doula and my husband there. They were rubbing my feet and my back, they helped keep me focused and relaxed. I wasn't enjoying the contractions, but I feel as if I could have had a great birth experience. Unfortunately, the ultrasound confirmed that E was coming feet first. There was no way my doctor was going to let me even attempt to deliver vaginally. I think the risk of a broken hip for my baby was too big for me, too.

They tried to hurry everything. It wasn't going to be an emergency c-section, but they wanted to do it as quickly as possible, since I was dilated three centimeters and was having contractions every three minutes. They pumped one liter of fluid into my veins- after blowing the vein in my left hand; just what you need during labor pains- and then it was off to the OR. I was so scared. I remember feeling like they were wheeling me to my grave. In the OR they were all super kind to me. Those bright lights were very intimidating, though, and I wasn't able to calm myself. They got the spinal in me and I anxiously waited not to feel the contractions anymore. Let's face it, if I wasn't having a natural birth, I didn't really want to have the pain anymore, either. I lay on the table and felt myself slowly getting numb. And then they started pinching me! I screamed 'Ow!!!' because I wasn't expecting to be pinched. Of course they were just trying to make sure that the anesthesia was working. It took longer than expected for me to finally be numb, but once I was, they brought in my doula and husband. I was so glad to see their faces! I started feeling a lot calmer because I knew that I was about to finally meet my little man. The doctor had told me that it would take around five minutes until they had the baby out, which seemed like a reasonable amount of time. And then they started. I had read earlier that the sensation is similar to what it might feel like if you were being zipped open. I found this to be very accurate. Not painful, not even uncomfortable, just strange. Then the tugging and pulling and pushing and maneuvering started. I did not enjoy it. It didn't hurt, but it was definitely not pleasant. Being told 'There's going to be lots of pressure' really didn't help any. But then, at 9:52 a.m., there he was, my beautiful new baby boy! He was swollen and squishy looking, but very cute. He weighed 7lbs 14oz and was 20 Inches long. My husband accompanied him to the nursery while my doula stayed with me. All the king's horses and all the king's men were trying to put me back together again. It took another 35 minutes or so. Again, not painful, but very uncomfortable. I started feeling nauseous from all the pushing on my tummy. Throwing up was my biggest fear at that moment. Thankfully, they gave me something in my IV and I managed not to vomit. And then it was all over.

I was rolled back into the room. Waiting for me there were my wonderful husband and beautiful little boy. E was alert and ready for his mummy. Of course, I was still unable to move anything below my waste. I was hooked up to several machines monitoring me, as well as these awesome (not!) inflating cuffs on my legs to prevent blood clots. Yet, I was able to finally hold my baby and I was so happy! I had made it through my worst nightmare alive and well. It was time to feed my little one and it went great- he latched on practically unassisted and happily sucked down his first meal.

It was no fun being helpless the first day, not being able to get out of bed at all. The next day, not even 24 hours later, I was up to go to the bathroom. It was not as bad as I had feared. From then on, the healing process went great. I was pleasantly surprised by my recovery. The hardest part of it was not being able to pick up my daughter, but we figured out other ways to cuddle and be together.

Over all, it was much better than I had expected and feared. It was major surgery and the recovery process was very different. However, I really made myself take it easy, which I probably would not have done after a vaginal delivery. And it was very nice not to have torn again. It almost made the healing seem easier than after my first delivery.

I am still sad, though. It was not the birth I wanted to have. I make myself see all the positives- I went into labor on my own, the baby was ready, my breech delivery would have been very dangerous, etc.- yet I somehow feel like I failed. Rationally, I know that I did not. I tried lots of different things to get him to turn, he just wouldn't. Yet, the feeling is there. Especially since I know that this was my last chance to have the birth I wanted. We don't plan on having any more children. I just wish I could give it one more try.

Then I look at my beautiful boy- who is the most even tempered, sweetest little baby ever- and I have no regrets about anything.


  1. Hey, its me @mamachickx4 First let me say, congrats on a Beautiful baby! Two, I'm mad at myself for just now coming to your blog..I'm now a new follower..third you are so pretty...husband handsome, and your lil' girl BEAUTIFUL! Last keep you head up mama, your birth was wonderful regardless..we can't control what our bodies will and won't do...especially lil humans we create who like to do flips. He was comfortable that way and he's the boss, right. I'm looking forward to more post...and btw...maybe I over looked it but do you have a option to subscribe to your post not just the comments..either way Ill be back visiting you.

  2. Vivien and Andy, thank you for the honor of chosing me to be your doula. Ewan's birth was beautiful even though his entry into this world was different than what you'd wished for. Your strenght and courage were incredible. You've done everything to facilitate a positive birth experience and done it well.I am so proud of you both. You are the best parents two precious little ones could ask for. Thank you for your trust and friendship. Your Doula Angela