Before I was even pregnant, I knew that I wanted a natural, unmedicated birth. Once we knew our baby was on the way, we hired a doula, read as much as we could, took a 6-week Natural Birthing Class and had a very detailed birth plan. I was never scared of contractions or pushing, I was just so excited to experience the whole process, pain and all! As we heard a lot along the way, babies can have a mind of their own and don’t always follow your plan… turns out, our little one had his own plans for arriving in this world!
I was blessed with a super easy pregnancy. Other than heartburn, I felt great and stayed very active throughout the pregnancy. I LOVED being pregnant and feeling our little peanut kick, hiccup, and dance inside me. In fact, I was feeling so great, I thought for sure I wasn’t going to go into labor until after my due date of June 28, 2015.
Monday, June 22, 2015
I went into my 39 week appointment thinking it would be the same as all of my other appointments… short and sweet. I was seeing a new midwife that day and when she was feeling my belly, she took a little longer than normal. This new midwife, however, said she thought the butt (or, what we thought was the butt!) was too hard to be a butt and suspected it could be the baby’s head. WHAT?! Until that point, we had been told our baby was head down. If this baby is breech, my hopes of having an unmedicated birth were pretty much out the window. We had a quick ultrasound to confirm and sure enough our sweet baby was bum down and his legs were up by his head… he was in the frank breech position.
The attending OB suggested we go in the next morning (a Tuesday) for a Version – a procedure where they try to manually turn the baby using external pressure on my belly. She also recommended if it worked, I should be induced to kick-start labor and prevent the baby from turning back to the breech position, and if it didn’t work, we should go ahead with a C-section that day. HOLY COW! I had gone from having about two weeks (in my mind) for final preparations to less than 24 hours! And, my options were be induced (which I never wanted) or a C-section (which I never even considered). This was not a part of my birth plan!
I called my parents in tears and my mom flew in the next day just in case we were having our baby early! After discussing it more, Nick and I decided to wait an additional day before trying the Version. In that day and a half before our Version, we did just about everything we could think of to turn our little peanut around… doing flips and handstands in the swimming pool, acupuncture, forward leaning inversions, moxibustion, putting frozen foods on my stomach, laying upside down on an ironing board… you name it, we tried it!
We ended up scheduling our C-section for July 6, 2015 at 8:30am, when I would be 41 weeks and 1 day. We were hoping that the baby would somehow turn on its own and we’d be able to have a natural, vaginal birth. But, nothing worked. Not even the Version. Our little one was already proving to be very headstrong! (And, this is when Nick changed his guess from a baby girl to a baby boy!)
Sunday, July 5, 2015
The day before my scheduled C-section, we were so giddy… a combination of pure excitement to finally meet our baby and nerves since we had waited for this moment for so long and it is a major surgery, after all! Since I was 1 week overdue, we had to go into triage at the hospital to check on the baby. Other than still being breech, our baby was healthy, the heartbeat was strong, my fluids looked good and we were set for the next day. After we left the hospital for my 41 week check-up, Nick and I stopped by our church and sat outside by a statue of the Virgin Mary to say some prayers... Prayers of thanks for getting us this far with a healthy baby and healthy pregnancy. Prayers for a safe delivery. Prayers that we would be good parents. Prayers that our baby would grow up knowing that he or she was loved and cherished. We knew our lives would be changed forever the next day, and I was thankful to have that quiet moment with just the two of us.
Since I wasn’t supposed to eat after midnight, and wasn’t sure when I’d be up for real food again after the C-section, I wanted a really good dinner and Nick took me out for my favorite tacos! When we got home, we packed the last minute things in our hospital bag. It felt like Christmas Eve and Santa was bringing us the best present ever! Surprisingly, I was able to get a good night’s sleep, and when our alarm went off at 5:45am, we both popped right out of bed. I did my hair and make-up (one of the perks of having a C-section!) and off we went.
Monday, July 6, 2015
We got checked in and shown to the recovery room. A resident OB came in to make sure, one last time, that our baby was still breech. Sure enough, our little one was still perched butt down and we were “OK’d” for the C-section. I had a stream of nurses and doctors come in and explain the procedure, get consents, place IVs, etc. Our hospital had recently initiated a “Baby Friendly” protocol for C-sections, which included immediate skin-to-skin in the OR. I put on this stretchy white tube top under my hospital gown, so that when the time came, our baby could be placed in it like a little kangaroo pouch! (I ended up wearing that tube top most of the hospital stay – it was perfect for staying modest while having easy access for nursing and skin-to-skin.)
As we were the first on the schedule for the day, everything was on time and around 8:30am, Nick and I walked from the recovery room to the OR. I sat down on the operating table and he sat in front of me to hold my hand while the anesthesiologist got started right away with my spinal block. Once I laid down, I began to worry that the spinal block wouldn’t numb me all the way. I can still wiggle my toes… Is this normal?! The anesthesiologist asked me to pick up my leg and it didn’t budge. She also pricked my chest with a needle and asked when I could no longer feel it. Behind the drape, the OB asked if I could feel any pinching… Nope. I was told they were pinching me really hard, so if I didn’t feel that I must be numb enough and we were good to go. I had been warned that the spinal block could make me feel really nauseated and cause my blood pressure to drop, but thankfully, I felt fine the whole time.
Nick sat up by my head and held my hand. Even though Nick looked official (and sexy!) in his hospital scrubs, he doesn’t care much for blood and guts, so the gory stuff was blocked by the drape for both of us. I felt lots of pressure and tugging. Over the drape, I could see the 110 lb resident OB using all of her body weight to wiggle the baby out. The doctor said “We have a butt… now a leg… we’re almost done and you’ll get to meet your baby!”
Our baby was born on July 6, 2015 at 9:07am. Nick was supposed to announce the gender. I couldn’t see the baby yet, but Nick could. I think he was in shock because Nick was just staring over the drape and the midwife finally said, “Well, what is it, Dad?!” and Nick snapped out of it and said “It’s a BOY!” At that moment, I started crying! The doctor came around the drape and showed me the most beautiful baby boy. He wasn’t crying yet, and they took him over to the side to get checked out. Then, I heard those loud, magical cries and my heart burst with joy. We knew if it was a boy, we were going to name him Worth. Nick went over to be with Worth and the midwife, whom I had just met that day, was so sweet and kept wiping away my tears of joy. Once Worth was measured and foot-printed and had a little bit of oxygen (maybe 7 minutes, but it felt like an eternity!), the nurses brought him over to me and placed him directly on my chest in the little kangaroo pouch. His eyes were wide open and he just looked around and took it all in. We were able to lay skin-to-skin while the doctors put me back together and sewed me up. It was so surreal… after waiting for this baby for so long, here he was… and he was absolutely perfect. He was tiny and smelled so good and had ten fingers and ten toes and deep gray eyes. It was truly the best moment of my life.
I was wheeled back to the recovery room and Nick got to carry Worth along side me. Nick said Worth was alert and awake the whole time. Worth was just as mesmerized with the world as we were with him. Once we were back in the recovery room, I started nursing Worth right away. What an unforgettable moment. He had just been in my belly and in less than an hour after being born, he was breastfeeding!
My mom was waiting in the waiting room so Nick went to get her and announce that we had a baby boy. She came into the recovery room and was so thrilled to meet her first grandchild. After a couple hours, we were wheeled down to the postpartum room and the rest of the day was a sweet blur. I couldn’t stop staring at Worth. The nurses encouraged me to “Sleep when he sleeps,” but there was no way I could take my eyes off of him. I had some ice chips and water and that settled well, so for lunch I had jello, beef broth and apple juice. I was able to eat a regular dinner that night… beef and barley soup and mashed potatoes!
Nick had the honor of the first diaper change since I was still in bed. Neither of us had much experience with newborns, so we called our nurse in to show us how to do it, haha!
I recovered really well… I was able to walk around later that same evening, I had my catheter out that night and my IV out the next morning. It felt great to move around and shower and attend to our little miracle.
When I was resting, Nick laid skin-to-skin with Worth on the fold out hospital bed. There was a huge picture window over the bed so the two of them would just lay there and stare out the window. For being early-July, the day Worth was born the weather was cool and overcast and rainy, but the weather didn’t matter to us. We had our very own sunshine right in our hospital room.
Nick was so supportive and sweet. He loved and cared for Worth, and me, so perfectly. One of the nights in the hospital, I was overcome with gratitude and love that we had a perfect little boy. I crawled out of bed holding Worth and walked over to Nick, who was asleep on the fold out bed. It was 3am and I was sobbing as I woke Nick up. In a panic, he said, “Oh my god, what’s wrong?!” Through my tears and sniffles, I said “Nothing, he’s just absolutely perfect! I love him so much. How did we get so lucky!?” Nick chucked and gave us a hug and we sat there savoring those quiet moments as a new family of 3.
I ended up staying in the hospital two nights and was discharged on Wednesday, July 8th. The car ride home was classic – I was in the back seat with Worth, and Dad was driving and cursing at all the other drivers for going too fast! We got home, brought Worth inside and said, “Well, what do we do now!?"
Worth was a perfect little boy from the moment we met him. His eyes just melted us and he made the cutest expressions. He had a big round head (14.5in) and was so cuddly at 7 pounds 14 ounces and 20 inches long. The newborn clothes we had seemed SO SMALL but they fit him perfectly. As much as I wanted a natural birth initially, in the end it didn’t matter. Worth arrived in this world the exact way that he was meant to. My delivery was a dream and free of complications. Nick and I are so incredibly in love with this little boy, more that I could have ever imagined. I now understand the depth of “a mother’s love” and I am so thankful to be this little guy’s mama.