How It All Came Out In the End

13 09 2011

Between thirty-four and thirty-five weeks, Jason and I quietly returned to the idea of an out-of-hospital birth.  The midwife at our ob-gyn supported the idea.  Our pregnancy, nearing completion, had been uncomplicated and the baby was in a good position.

We interviewed lay midwives, learned as much as we could about home birth, and eventually settled on the same birthing center we had chosen for our first pregnancy.  With just a month left to go, everything seemed set.  My blood pressure rose, but no other complications interfered with our plan.

At just over 39 weeks, my labor started late Wednesday night and continued through to the morning.  Jason and I were too excited to do much resting; Jason immediately set up an Excel spreadsheet to start tracking contractions and I did the dishes (yes, between contractions at 3:30am).  It all seemed very normal.

Things had actually started getting complicated long before labor started, but we had no idea.  The first indication was that I seemed to have started sort of wetting my pants almost five days earlier – but due to a miscommunication about the amount of fluid I was leaking, the liquid wasn’t tested to see if my water had broken.  In fact, I was given the go-ahead to keep swimming.  Wednesday evening, the discharge changed color, from clear to green, and I started to worry about some kind of infection (I was seriously, seriously grossed out, honestly).  Thursday morning, we went into the birthing center so they could do an exam; they had already determined that I was still very early in labor, too early to come in, but they wanted to check out this fluid.

Jason and I had some notion that we might end up staying at the birthing center for the rest of our labor, and threw a few things in the car.  Which didn’t start.

We switched to the other car, and headed off, not a clue that we wouldn’t be back for three days.

At the birthing center, we found out that I didn’t have some cootchie infection (relief), but that the baby had at some point pooped – the stuff was meconium, a sign of fetal distress.  My water was broken, and had been for days.  Also, upon physical exam, the midwife thought the baby was coming face first, a potentially serious position.  Despite these dangers, the baby’s heartbeat was strong and regular; this fact got us through the next five hours.

We headed to the hospital.

The doctor also performed an exam and confirmed the face-first position.

Then we had the ultrasound.  That wasn’t her face, it was her butt.

Within a half hour or so of this determination, I was in surgery.

Even during the surgery, the baby managed to give us one last scare: as they tried to pull her out, my uterus contracted, trapping her head.  Hearing the stress and tension in the two surgeons’ voices as I waited for my daughter was a nightmare.  Drugs didn’t help release her head, and a second cut was made to finally free her.  She was rushed to a respiratory team to have her lungs suctioned in case she had inhaled any of the meconium.  I had to wait to hear her cry; I had to wait to see her.  I was too terrified even to ask what was happening.

Jason swears it was minutes.  I swear it was an eternity.

Eventually, I heard her voice and then she was on my chest, bloody spit coming out her mouth and nose but with an all-clear: she was healthy.

She was ours.

I wanted a natural birth.  Unmedicated.  No interventions.  What I got was one of the most serious kinds of hospital births out there.

I don’t care.

As I walked up and down the hall post-surgery, I passed the NICU again and again.  All I could do was wonder, how come we aren’t there?  With all that went wrong, with all the potential for serious infection, with mistakes that had been made, how on earth did we end up with the most beautiful, perfect little girl in the world?  Thank you, thank you, thank you ran through my head.  Still runs through my head.

Baby girl is sleeping right in front of me now.  Miracles happen.

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3 responses

13 09 2011
Karen

Awww. I’m going to cry. What a positive outlook, and what a beautiful birth story. You should print this for her baby book.

13 09 2011
Kristine

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your positive c-section story with women everywhere!

16 09 2011
jaimey

yay for the technology find out she was butt first BEFORE you got to the pushing part! My dad was butt first and I am surprised my gram lived through it, seriously HORRIBLE! I am so happy for your little family. And look at it this way, next time you too can hopefully achieve a VBAC. It is amazing! But never as amazing as the first look in their eyes. Enjoy the baby moon mama! Love and hugs!

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