My birth story isn’t necessarily a conventional one but after reading through dozens of birth stories prior to having my own baby, I really wanted to take the time to write mine down.
We found out when I was 35 weeks that our baby had turned breech and that my OBGYN would like to schedule a c-section. I was absolutely shocked – we had had an ultrasound at 32 weeks and she was head down and everything looked great. So to say I was devastated would be an understatement. I honestly hadn’t even thought about having to have a c-section. I had done zero research, it just wasn’t even a possibility in my brain up to that point.
We talked with my OBGYN about any other options and she did mention trying to do a version (where they turn the baby outside of the womb) but she said that it’s very painful and it might not work. In her experience when babies turn this late in pregnancy, most times there is a reason (i.e. birth canal too small, cord not long enough, etc.) and they may just end up turning right back or worst case, you damage the cord and have to have an emergency c-section. My Dr. told me we needed to make a decision soon because if we did want to do a version, it had to be done before 37 weeks. So I went home and cried, did some research, cried some more, talked to some friends, had a pity party and cried some more.. Then the next day I called my Dr. to schedule my c-section. Baby girl would be making her debut on December 11th – 1 week earlier than her due date.
So I had 4 weeks to mentally prepare myself for this c-section and I really feel like in hindsight this was an advantage. I scoured the internet for c-section birth stories, c-section vlogs on YouTube, worst case/ best case scenarios all of that. I also had a really open dialogue with my OBGYN – I wanted to know from her pretty in depth what was going to happen (timeline wise) when I got to the hospital. One thing I was really concerned about was how long would I have to be in the operating room alone before my husband could come in. I also stressed that I really wanted to have bonding time/ try to breastfeed right away, which she was very supportive of. After getting answers to all of my questions I was still terrified because let’s face it, being cut open is scary as hell. BUT I at least felt like I knew what was going to happen.
On the day of the scheduled c-section, we arrived at the hospital at 11 am. My Mom met us at the hospital where we still had to fill out some forms and then wait to be called back into a room. I was so anxious (and thirsty) and we waited around for a good 45 minutes, after which we said bye to my Mom and went into a room to do one last ultrasound in case baby girl had somehow miraculously flipped head down and was no longer breech but that wasn’t the case. So I stripped down to a gown, hairnet and super fancy traction socks and Steffen put on what looked like a hazmat suit. Then a nurse came in to administer an IV – not to foreshadow too much but that turned out to be the most painful part of the whole birth, lol.
Then a different nurse came in to take me back to the OR and y’all I am not even kidding, this lady is 35 weeks pregnant and I am just thinking to myself “is this a joke? How am I supposed to lean on this nurse when she herself is 100 weeks pregnant and still working in a hospital”. I don’t know if this ended up being a blessing in disguise because it made me suck it up a little bit but it seemed like a cruel joke at the time.
I digress – so said nurse takes me into the operating room and has me sit on the table and introduces the anesthesiologist who will be giving me my epidural. I knew ahead of time that there would be about 8 people in the room because I had asked my OBGYN that ahead of time. So almost everyone except my Dr. was already in there. They gave me pillow to hunch over on and the nurse had me hold onto her shoulders – any other nurse probably would have gotten the “omg I’m terrified death grip” but no, I couldn’t do that to a super pregnant lady. And actually it didn’t hurt that bad. After that they laid me down and after a few minutes put in a catheter, which I didn’t feel at all because the epidural had already kicked in. Now this is where it got a little sad for me – I was laying on the table and suddenly I felt extremely scared and alone. No one was talking to me, I could hear two nurses counting the instruments and I knew the anesthesiologist was behind me, but I couldn’t really see anyone and no one was talking to me. I did shed a couple of tears because I felt super scared and alone. Thankfully, after a few short minutes my Dr. showed up with my husband and it was time to meet the baby!
I remember just holding on to Steffen’s hands and being so scared and within minutes I hear my Dr. say, “oh wow, she’s big. It’s a good thing you didn’t have to deliver naturally, she probably would not have fit!” and soon after we heard her little cry. Steffen went over to watch her get weighed and get her little footprints taken and then finally placed on my chest for skin to skin. It was so exciting and overwhelming! I was so so lucky that my Dr’s let us do skin to skin and try to nurse for a good 20 minutes. I honestly attribute this to stressing to my Dr beforehand that it was important to me and her being very receptive of that. From what I understand, Dr.’s are trying to be more accommodating towards c-section Mom’s. I actually remember hearing my Dr. talking to the Anesthesiologist and another nurse off to the side while I was trying to nurse saying just how important this time was after delivery.
After those 20 minutes of skin to skin, honestly I don’t remember too many details. I was taken into a resting room for about 2 hours where someone kept checking my vitals (standard after a c-section). Then I was finally wheeled into the room where we would be spending the next couple of days to recover. My Mom, Steffen and Sophie were there waiting for me.
The next few days weren’t great, the first couple of days having to stand up alone and go to the bathroom were very, very painful. And then figuring out how to get around at home without doing anything strenuous but I wasn’t trying to be a hero, I took all the drugs the Dr. gave me. And after about 2-3 weeks, the worst of it was over and I was feeling normal again.