I had my first (and luckily only) cesarean in March of 2009. My daughter is now 7. Time sure has flown since then. I always told myself she was born the way she was supposed to have been, that obviously I cannot change the past. But, it didn’t help me feel any better about her birth. I had to dig deeper within myself to figure out exactly what it was I was feeling. During my doula training I had to write an essay about a time that had been difficult for me, so I chose my cesarean birth.
My pregnancy was filled with stress and some slight complications, a diagnosis of an irritable uterus and steroid shots at 27 or so weeks. I ended up on modified bed rest until about 34/35 weeks. At 36 weeks and 3 days I started having contractions and thought “This is it! It’s ok if she comes now!”. Then the midwife comes in to check and says ‘I don’t think this is a head down here’. If looks could kill I probably would’ve set her on fire with the face I was making at that point. I was having good early labor contractions but since it was still considered early-term they thought it best to give me medication to stop my contractions and give my baby time to flip back head down. An ultrasound confirmed that she was frank breech with her head on the left side of my ribs. When the midwife was releasing me she gave me a few tips to encourage my daughter to flip. I asked if there was a Dr. who would be on board with a breech vaginal delivery and she said nope and left the room. So that was that, I had no options. Try to get baby to flip on my own or a cesarean. Never was an external version mentioned. I had no idea that was an option either.
So I went home and tried the ice pack on my ribs trick. I did that off and on all weekend. Didn’t do anything. At 36 weeks and 6 days, in the early evening, my contractions started again. Crap, I do not want a cesarean. I had my first daughter vaginally, so I figured I would have this baby the same way. I was in no way,shape or form prepared for a surgical birth. I literally had 3 days to even consider that possibility. Back to the hospital I go, yup, she is still breech. Knew it. They start prepping me for surgery. I was dilating and they wanted to get me back quickly because apparently breech babies can come quicker. I remember hearing one nurse ask if this was considered an emergency section, to which the other replied with ‘it’s not an emergency but we do need to move quickly’. ” So, breech is not an emergency, she’s not in distress and neither am I, good to know.” I thought.
They got me back to the OR pretty quickly, still having pretty good contractions, and there was trouble getting my spinal in. Then it took and they got started. I wasn’t even sure they had begun until I heard ‘uterine incision being made’. That was pretty fast and it isn’t even an emergency. Next came the awful tugging and pulling. My daughter way up in my ribs. It was not easy getting her out. Then there it was, the sound all new parents are waiting for – their baby’s first gasp of air and cry. The absolutely most beautiful sound in the entire world.
They brought her to me to see and touch and kiss then off to the nursery she went. During the last bit of the surgery I started to shake uncontrollably and asked if it was normal to shake this much. That question was answered with ‘here I will give you something for that’. No discussion, no easing my anxiety about what was going on, just here is some meds. By this point I really did not like this anesthesiologist at all. He didn’t even tell me what he put in my IV. They finish up and the nurse (this was her first cesarean) was removing the drapes from my legs and yelled out “Oh my God!”. No one ever wants to hear a medical professional say something like that near them. I couldn’t move or see what was going on so I started to panic. The resident surgeon came up to my head and asked to look at my chest and arms, he at least was courteous enough to ask for consent and tell me what was going on. I was having am allergic reaction to the mystery medicine I was given. My entire body was red and covered in hives. Fortunately it was not an extreme reaction or life threatening, but boy was that one of the most scariest moments of my life. I ended up having to stay in the recovery room for 2 hours (an hour longer than usual) to make sure I didn’t have any more sever reaction and that the hives faded.
Then to the postpartum room I went. I waited and I waited for my daughter to be brought to me. But that never happened. She was having trouble breathing and was on oxygen. They brought me a picture of her. Her blood sugar was low and I couldn’t nurse her so I had to agree to formula. We ended up staying at the hospitsl for 8 days. This was not the birth I had imagined. This was the complete opposite and I had no idea what I was doing or what to do. Looking back I wish so hard I had known what a doula was, this would’ve been the perfect time to have support and have someone to help me. If I had had a doula she could’ve got me information for me try to flip my baby with. She could’ve helped me communicate better with medical staff. A doula could’ve helped me express colostrum and taken it to the nicu so my baby’s first food would’ve been from me. It could’ve been so much better for myself and my baby.
Trinity Doula Services strives to give unconditional support to our clients no matter what the situation. Contact us today to help make your birth the very best it can be.