On April 24, 2016, I woke up around 5am and I took a pregnancy test. I had missed a period, then had some spotting, then missed another one. My boobs were so sore that I was in tears. But other than that, I felt completely normal. I wasn’t actually surprised when the test was positive. But now I was tasked with telling my husband!
We had been staying at my parents house while our home was being built, and we actually were set to close on everything on this exact day! I didn’t say a word to him until we were actually in our house. He was ecstatic! And so was I! At this point we estimated that I was about 6 weeks along. Time to find an OBGYN!!!
After scouring review after review online of hundreds of doctors in the Valley, I finally settled on an OB who was connected to one of the local hospitals. They wouldn’t see me until I was at least 8 weeks. So I waited…
It was then that we started researching how we wanted to have the baby. I’ve always wanted to have a baby unmedicated. I know that it’s the best way to go. But I had to decide if I wanted a hospital birth, a birth center or a home birth. My husband and I decided on seeing a Midwife at a birthing center for my and babies care from then on, but having the baby at home.
We received a lot of backlash for choosing a homebirth. It was extremely frustrating that all people could seem to ask was “well what if the baby dies?”
Don’t ask a pregnant woman that. Seriously. Just don’t.
We knew our risks and the benefits outweighed them tenfold for us. And having a textbook, perfect pregnancy, I couldn’t think of any reason to not have a home birth.
Around my 37th week, we went for an ultrasound. I’d had the order for it for weeks but we couldn’t find time to go. We were surprised to discover that little man was in a breech position.
I was devastated. My Midwives had such confidence about how he was sitting. I was confident too based on where I felt movement and hiccups. But now, I was about to lose my home birth. If he wasn’t in a certain breech position, my midwife would not deliver him at home due to all of the potential complications. Not only that, but this increased the likelihood of me having to have a C-section, something I am deathly afraid of.
We discussed his position and our options with my midwife. I told her and my husband that I don’t think I could make the safest decision for my sons arrival into this world. I selfishly still wanted my home birth, no matter the risks. I was having trouble putting my baby’s life and health before mine, something I was told would come so naturally as a mother.
It was ultimately decided that we would see an OB who would try to flip the baby into position. This procedure, called an External Cephalic Version (ECV) is basically just the doctor pushing the baby in a circle to get the head down. Unfortunately, after many attempts at it (and a very sore belly after) he would not flip. I had lost my home birth.
The good news was, the OB who tried to flip him, would allow me to labor and delivery naturally! He is one of 3 doctors in the Phoenix area who would do it, and I was ecstatic! The downfall was, he was going out of town until a few days before I was due, so who would deliver him if I went into labor before? Thankfully, his backup was comfortable delivering my baby vaginally. So we were set! I still wasn’t happy about having to go to a hospital, but I had accepted it.
I spent the next week and half attempting all of the home remedies to flip the baby as I could.
On December 8th, I woke up feeling strange. I felt truly at peace with the decisions we’d made, and even get a peace about doing whatever I had to in order to ensure he arrived healthy. After working a long day, I made a yummy pasta bake for dinner. I ended up eating 3 or 4 large, full plates and joked with my husband that my body was preparing for labor!
Around 8:30pm, my water broke. I had been rocking on an exercise ball when I suddenly felt a gush! I got up to check it out…another gush. (Did I just pee myself?) Went to the bathroom, another gush. It seemed to happen so sporadically! It’s time! The baby is coming! This is my water breaking! Holy crap! I was going to pack my hospital bag tonight. Shoot!
My husband called my midwife who wanted us to meet at the birth center to double check that he was still in a breech position. She was concerned that I wasn’t having any contractions yet, but said to still come in. Maybe we could still have that beautiful home birth after all. My husband packed us a bag while I showered, and we were off.
Much to our dismay, baby was still breech. My midwife checked me and was able to jump start my contractions. We watched videos of vaginal breech deliveries and discussed our options. We all decided the hospital was our best choice to at least get a vaginal delivery. So off we went.
We arrived at the hospital and began the triage process. The nurse was extremely concerned that I wanted to have this baby naturally, and that I wasn’t opting for a C-section. She became very cold and unwelcoming after we explained the situation to her, and that the OB we’d seen said his backup would do it. I was beginning to question our decision.
The backup OB came in and asked us what the original OB had said. He seemed very concerned and somewhat cold towards us. I explained what happened, our circumstances, my wishes and how we wanted to do this, and that his boss said he was capable. He then lightened up, and explained if I was going to do this, he’d support me, but only if things continued to progress. And I HAD to deliver on the operating room table.
We were moved to a high risk L&D room, where I labored HARD for 12 hours. They found I had preeclampsia, something that didn’t show its ugly face until just that week! So my blood pressure was constantly monitored. (My midwife actually said I would have ended up being transferred to a hospital anyways just because of my BP alone had we still done a home birth).
I tried every position to get comfortable: laying, standing, squatting, kneeling, leaning on a ball, on the toilet…everything. I attempted to sleep, but every time I would start to doze a nasty contraction would creep in. My midwife had to leave to deliver another baby in the middle of the night (lucky lady labored and delivered in 4 hours!) so it was up to my husband to keep me calm and advocate for me. I continuously asked him if I could have pain medicine, but he did exactly what I told him to and talked me out of it every time!
Nurses checked me and residents checked me through the night. One resident in particular was extremely rough with her exam. I told my husband to not let that woman near me again. The nurses and other residents were much more gentle in their exams, and respected my wishes to not be checked by residents after that point.
Around 730am on December 9th, I had to use the bathroom for the millionth time (contractions really do a number on your GI tract). I guess I was in there for a while, but something bizarre happened while I was in there.
The whole 12 hours, nurses kept asking me “do you feel like pushing?” And I never understood why when I’d answer “yes,” they’d just carry on. Well after that last bathroom trip, my body was ready to push.
If you’ve never had a baby, it’s a very strange feeling when you body decides it’s time. I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. My body was literally pushing the baby out for me. It was like for a brief second I was knocked out of my own body and slammed right back in.
The nurses checked me at this point, stating I was only at 9cm (you HAVE to be 10cm to deliver breech because they need you as open as possible.) They said they’d go tell the OB and be right back. My midwife threw on a glove, muttered something about them not knowing I was ready, then said “sorry honey, but I’m going to check you,” and proceeded to do her exam.
“Oh she’s so ready. It’s time.”
She and my husband peeked out the door just in time to see my OB all gowned up and ready to scrub in. He’d been waiting for this moment just as much as I had!
They transferred me to the OR on a bed. I was kneeling and leaning on a ball. We got in to the OR and a nurse put her hand on my back as I went in to a contraction.
“DON’T TOUCH ME!”
After my contraction subsided I apologized to her for snapping. “Don’t worry honey, it’s totally okay! Happens all the time.”
At this point, they said I’d have to roll on to the OR table. Flat. On. My. Back.
I can honestly tell you that once I got there, my contractions slowed significantly (if you know anything about labor, it’s that contractions need to stay quick!)
The atmosphere was light and bubbly. My midwife and husband were at my head. Husband cracked a joke: “want the good news or the bad?”
“Bad news is you’re in labor. Good news is your boobs look incredible!”
All around me tons of nurses bounced around doing this and that. My OB appeared between my legs with either one or two other doctors/residents (I don’t recall who or how many there were.) I was a spectacle! Not many of these nurses had seen a vaginal breech delivery unmedicated! My overnight nurse even stayed with me and held one of my legs because she wanted to see me through this!
I began pushing with each contraction. It felt like we didn’t get anywhere for ages! But everyone around me was still bubbly and bouncy, joking and keeping me calm in between. My midwife kept telling me how to push and breathe to get baby out safely and quickly.
I finally felt some legs flop out. Then the pee. Turns out he pooped too. And more and more of him inched in to the world.
The room started to get heavier and more serious as we came to the end. Nurses were less chatty, more emphasis was put on my pushes, and I was pushing far more frequently with little to no breaks. At this point I think he was stuck about half way around his head, a common place for vaginal breech deliveries to turn dangerous.
Then I heard it.
“Okay. I’m giving her two minutes.”
I’m not sure what my OB meant by this, but I took it as “2 minutes until I cut her however I have to.”
I pushed and pushed and pushed, and finally…release. He was out. He was here. 8:37am. All 7lbs of him.
They laid him on my chest. I had no idea what to do or say. My midwife was almost yelling at me “talk to you baby! Say hi to your baby! Tell your baby to breathe!”
All I could mutter was “hi baby.” I had no idea what was happening or what I was feeling. I didn’t even catch that she told me to tell him to breathe!
The OB announced that they were running baby to the NICU table to check him out because he was struggling a bit. My husband stayed by his side. He was given supplemental oxygen, then he regulated his breathing and was fine. They had to take him to the NICU at this point to be checked out and monitored. Husband again went with him, but had to come tell me that his hair was in fact brown like his before he went.
I delivered the placenta with no problems. Turns out though that I had lost quite a bit of blood, so before I knew it, I had a nurse stick me with something in my right thigh, then something in my left thigh, here take this pill, and sorry about this, but this one goes up your bum! All the while getting the worst “massage” I’ve ever experienced. Getting your uterus to contract again is no joke!
I was sent back to my L&D room where I was able to get a little rest. They found my blood pressure to be high still so I ended up having to get a magnesium IV which meant hospitalization for at least 24 hours. I was finally able to go see my baby after about 3 or so hours. I got to feed him and they told me he was doing so well! We were able to bring him to our next room at that point and he was discharged from the NICU a total of 6 hours after he was born.
I ended up having to be hospitalized for my blood pressure for another 2 days. All weekend nurses would come in talking about the breech delivery, not realizing it was us they were gossiping about. I didn’t mind. It was nice to be the subject of something that is so rarely done. They finally released me on blood pressure medication on Sunday Dec 11th.
My sweet boy is now 3 months old and I adore him more every day. His birth is so surreal to me, and looking back there are moments I wish I had been more coherent for. It makes me excited to have another baby.
I did what doctors say women can’t do. I did it without pain medications. And for that I am so insanely proud of myself.
A lot of things could’ve gone seriously wrong during my delivery. I am so thankful that it went the way it did. This was not my birth plan at all. But for a Plan B, this went pretty darn well.