As I write this I still have the outlines of bandages that held an IV in my arm. Despite a couple of showers I still need to take the alcohol to my skin to get rid of all the little bits of grey funk that stuck to the residual adhesive. At the end of the day I am healthy and so is our son. Things did not go as planned and I know that even more now I am a proponent of the home birth that I was not allowed to experience for a second time. I am grateful for picking an experienced midwife and glad she was with me and my husband as our family made this journey.
Last Wednesday 27 March around 0330 I woke up feeling a little off and shuffled my way to the bathroom like every super pregnant person does at that cray cray hour. Around 0530 I started feeling some contractions and went to the Contraction Master website to record them while chatting online with a friend on the East Coast who was already awake. I woke my husband up at 0630 to give him an idea that something was going on and that he might want to make arrangements to work from home that day. As my contractions approached a minute in duration and under 5 minutes apart I called the midwife to give her a head’s up about where I was. Before noon my husband packed up our son and took him to my father’s to possibly spend the night. The toddler was full of energy and I was not wanting to deal with him when I knew my dad would take him to the park and have a ball with him. My midwife and I talked every couple of hours until 1500 when she had to make her way to Denver to check on another client. We decided she would see me first and if I felt fine then she would see her other client. She came over, yeah this was labor but I was doing good so told her to go and come back later. I also told my husband to take off and run some errands.
While I was alone my water broke at 1800. I called my midwife so she could head back and my husband who apparently was at the grocery store with a list but dropped everything to rush back. Things were going well and I labored until full dilation at 2100. That is when things took a funky turn. We were getting in a good position to have this baby when some dark liquid hit the shower curtains we laid down. It was meconium. My midwife instantly had me go on my back for an exam and just as quickly ended the gender surprise we had been building for nine months when one of the words she exclaimed was “scrotum.” This was not good. At some point recently this baby went breech. In the state of Colorado Certified Professional Midwives/Direct-Entry Midwives are not legally allowed to deliver breech babies.
I cried and screamed for a minute. Despite all my calm laboring I lost my cool for a while. My midwife said we needed an ambulance. I told her we didn’t since the hospital was just over a mile away and that I would pull my shit together. We did have to go immediately. We walked in the cold to her car outside with me and my husband in the back seat. I sort of leaned on him but did not lay down for the few minutes to the emergency room entrance. My midwife called and let them know a fully dilated woman was coming in for a surprise breech. When we got there I walked from the car to the entrance and they just looked at us. My midwife had to explain I was fully dilated and they did not believe her because I was keeping almost too calm at this point. Finally they put me in a wheelchair to go to a prepped room to get ready.
The OB came in and my midwife immediately asked if the hospital did vaginal breech deliveries. The OB said yes but that she would not do one on me since she did not know me. My midwife offered the OB my file to review and the OB would not even look at my midwife or touch the file. She was completely dismissive and said my only choice with her was a c-section. The OB also said my midwife would not be allowed in the operating room. Preparing for this kind of moment was why I was being so “stoic” with my demeanor despite some pretty effin’ intense labor pains and no meds still at this point. FYI – “stoic” was the word the anesthesiologist used for me about the ordeal once the surgery was done.
So I consented willingly to a c-section even though I was not given a choice. I asked that my midwife be allowed in to the operating room despite being told no repeatedly and then put on the “acting” of being dramatic and tears while holding my midwife’s hand to show how “desperately” I needed her. My husband was given scrubs and so was my midwife and I was wheeled into another room.
The anesthesiologist was waiting and I was moved to the operating table. She had me lay on my side – still severe labor pains, and ball up pulling my knees into my chest as tight as I could. I had to have her hold off for a moment while I breathed through an intense labor pain then go right back to the position so she could catch me in a moment when I was not completely losing it inside my mind with all my nerve endings. And finally I was put on my back with a wedge under my right hip while the preparations for the blue curtain were erected over my torso as well as prep for what was about to happen with the incisions. After a while and more pleading my midwife and husband were finally allowed in. I really have to thank the anesthesiologist for making sure the requests that were in my control were met.
I held my shit together as the surgery took place and baby was removed. Our game plan was the midwife was to stay with me and my husband was not to leave our son’s side no matter what happened. Baby boy’s official birth time was 2245 and the greatest injustice of the whole situation besides not being allowed to have a vaginal breech delivery at a hospital that did them (if it had been one of the other two more experienced/older attendants I may have been given the option) was the fact that the OR staff was playing Bare Naked Ladies during his actual pulling-the-baby-out-of-my-gut time. Bare Naked Ladies playing the beginning soundtrack of your life? Not cool.
The OB did show why she is a younger surgeon and did an amazing job cleanly putting my parts back inside me and stitching me up. I have to thank her for that. I have been told I could have a VBAC with no issue – well except that our plan has been two kids all along and then that is it.
I was eventually wheeled into a recovery room. Then into a room where I was supposed to rest for at least 72 hours. In the end I was out of the hospital less than 40 hours after walking in. I have learned that hospitals are no place to rest with how much new mothers are not allowed to sleep. In a period of 3 days from first labor pains to getting out of the hospital I had less than 11 hours of sleep. My son did get skin-to-skin contact with me fairly quickly after he was born. I was not allowed to let him attempt to latch for an hour after his birth since I was being forced to wait for a lactation consultant, my midwife and I said screw it and I put him on the teat anyway (which the LC was happy with when she finally got to me). My son did not have delayed cord clamping per OR protocol but I was allowed to keep my placenta for encapsulation. All the vernix on my babe was wiped off despite it actually being good for him almost immediately after he was born.
For the most part the staff I encountered at the hospital was fantastic and friendly. It helps that we were super low-maintenance. My husband and I are working on our narrative because there are three things we need to file with the hospital’s patient advocate including a misguided nurse trying to push formula on me 24 hours after my son’s birth, a misguided pediatrician that I ended up losing my shit on after he made me so mad with a choice I made that he disagreed with then showed me a video minus audio of children with varying neurological abilities then had the audacity to refer to them as not normal, and some issues with the OB and my intake including how dismissive/rude she was.
I am grateful for my health and my babe’s health. I am grateful I was pushing my health for a home birth because physically I am sailing through this recovery. Actually my health through the process too. Some of the OR and prep team wanted to know what birth classes I took to be able to handle the pain I was in with my breathing and still be able to communicate with them as well as I did without meds. I was walking, had my catheter taken out, and off of narcotics less than 8 hours after surgery. I was pooping less than 24 hours after surgery. It was no problem getting released from care less than 48 hours after surgery. My big things are focusing on recovery at home now. Resting for 6-8 weeks (I had planned at least 6 anyway). Not laughing or doing anything else that could hurt my surgery site too much. This one has been hard considering my husband showed me the hippo farting video on you tube and I had to remind him I can’t laugh too hard. Also, since I have been home my husband and I have managed 7-8 hours of sleep a night even with a newborn. We are feeling GREAT!
I am still under midwifery care for another six weeks too. I get to see her tomorrow as a matter of fact as she checks on me and baby. She feels horrible that she missed the baby turning breech – if we had known we could have tried to turn it. She has already consulted the doctor that did my ultrasounds (a geneticist that has delivered over 12K babies in CO) and he assures her things were good and that babies flip. There is a chance this baby flipped that day or within the week. I had a flipper. My son sees his pediatrician next week and for right now that is fine since his ped is respectfully familiar with my midwife and not dismissive of her care in the interim.
That is the story of me and my Kai Dennis. 27 March 2013. 2245. 8 lbs. 4 oz. 20.25″ – he is such a happy addition to our family. I am overjoyed that he is here. Going forward I hope I do not develop any issues with regrets for my birth experience, I am compiling a list of pros to talk to just in case I do. However I hope I do not. I mean it is like a bride who whines about an imperfect wedding despite having a lifetime of a marriage with someone she loves. I have no idea if my post-partum hormones will give me the luxury of loving on my two sons and husband without regard to how we completed our family.
For everyone that checked on me and sent their good wishes thank you so much. I appreciate all of you and your efforts. One other good thing, the rose quartz necklace made at my blessingway stayed on me through laboring to full dilation at home, surgery, and the entire hospital stay. I did feel the love, self and from all of you. Thank you. xoxo