The Delivery That I Never Knew I Wanted – Part 2

An expectant mother holds her belly.
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This was happening!

As we drove, we called our parents to let them know what was going on. We then called our doula to fill her in and get any advice she might have to offer. The drive was fairly calm, though I’m sure if you asked my husband, he may have felt differently on the inside. I was distracted by making the phone calls and gleaning any last-minute wisdom I could from our doula. She assured us that, given our circumstances, the bag of waters breaking was best case scenario. My body was now experiencing the rush of hormones that it took to naturally start a labor which was great for both me and baby!

Even though we knew the end game was a c-section, this news encouraged our hearts. She then explained that the doctor would most likely start me on IV fluids. And since I had recently eaten, they would not allow me to eat or drink anything at the hospital. They would wait 8 hours after my arrival to do the c-section to allow my stomach to empty.

We were relieved to find that of all the OB’s who might be on call that night, that it was our doctor who was there! Talk about relief. What a comfort to know that it wasn’t just some random resident who would deliver our baby. Instead it would be a doctor who knew us and was familiar with our circumstances. This was just one of many incredible blessings we would experience over the next several hours.

Having brought herself up to speed on our situation, our doctor was waiting and ready when we arrived.

It didn’t take more than 5 minutes in the hospital exam room for her to tell us that we were going to have a baby. And that we were going to have her now. Now??! I don’t recall anyone ever saying “emergency c-section”. However, we were in triage for less than 10 minutes before everything started to unfold rather quickly. Kudos to the staff for remaining calm!

During that brief interlude we tried to wrap our heads around everything that was happening. We would be meeting our baby in mere minutes, not hours as we had originally thought! Holding our birth plans loosely played greatly to our benefit as we realized that this must be the best thing for mama and baby. There was a special peace and joy in the triage room as we spent those last few moments of being just “the two of us”.

Moments later, the team wheeled me into the operating room. And simultaneously, they whisked my husband off to dress appropriately for the occasion. I was not at all thrilled that we had to be separated, but the OR staff assured me that he would be with me as soon as possible. I was so relieved when he walked into the OR, outfitted in scrubs and the whole 9 yards. With our camera in hand, and a reassuring smile on his face, he quickly made his way to my side. He spoke encouraging words and asked me how I was doing as the OR team quickly moved into action. I must note my husband’s bravery here- this was WAY out of his comfort zone! But with unflinching loyalty, he stayed right by my side. This all for the woman(and the child) that he loved.

What birth plan?

While we had to scrap most of our birth plan, we were able to salvage a couple significant pieces. Our plan stated that my husband was to be the first one to announce our baby’s gender and name. We made sure to share these pieces of information with the OR team. When it was time, he stood up, peeked over the curtain in front of my face and announced that we had a daughter! And that she was beautiful! I heard her cry even before I saw her- music to my ears! Our doctor briefly lifted her high enough so that I could see her while I lay on the OR table. Then she quickly took her to the far corner of the room where an infant warming bed sat waiting for her. There the staff checked her vitals, wiped her down, and swaddled her.

I urged my husband to leave my side and be close to her as they checked her over. It was important for me to know that her daddy was close by watching over her. Especially since I was strapped to a table and couldn’t go to her myself. Shortly after they checked her out, my husband did the honors of bringing our sweet little bundle of girl over to meet me.

After the doctor inspected my insides and stitched me up, they got me ready to roll out of the OR. The nursing staff unbundled my tiny precious baby girl and placed her directly on my chest. We were skin-to-skin for the first time! It was so hard to think that I had ever lived life without her. I can still feel her warm little body, perfectly snuggled just under my chin. And I can still feel that joy the overwhelmed me as I soaked in the fact that I was her mama.

There is more to the story.

During the c-section, it was discovered that I had fibroids covering my uterus. A theory on why baby girl wouldn’t flip head down is that the fibroids were uncomfortable and pushing in on her little noggin. Who knows? But I can tell you that my girl, even today, does not like the teeniest bit of discomfort! It only takes her a moment in a pair of shoes or jeans to know whether she likes them or not. This has little to do with how they look, but almost solely with how they feel. I have to laugh at this given her stubbornness even before she was born and her uncompromising dedication to comfort. Whereas my second-born can run around with shoes on the wrong feet all day and not even bat an eye!

We processed our birthing experience partly by talking extensively with our caregivers over the next several days, weeks, and months. Debriefing with our team enlightened us to the fact that, had my body been allowed to go into full on labor, baby and I may have experienced significant complications. An external cephalic version (manual manipulation of baby from outside of my abdomen to try and position her for a natural birth) could have been very dangerous for baby and I given her specific breech position of single footling breech. Single footling breech means that baby was presenting one foot first, with the other drawn up.

Later we learned that this particular breech position could allow for any number of things to go wrong. Our doctor told us that she wouldn’t have even attempted to perform the external cephalic version upon seeing the ultrasound report of single footling breech. We were blissfully unaware of any of these concerns leaving the sonographers office that evening. Or heading into the hospital later that night.

My firstborn daughter loves when I tell her the story about her birth, especially the part where she wasn’t going to let anyone tell her what to do. No, she was going to come when she very well pleased! And not a moment later.

Everyone has a story to share.

I believe that all birth stories are beautiful… and knowledge gained is never wasted. Knowledge truly is power. Though I would never claim to “know it all”, I certainly have learned a lot over the last ~9 years about how my body carries and delivers babies. I have proceeded to have 5 vaginal deliveries after my c-section (VBACs), 3 in the hospital and 2… not in the hospital. With each subsequent pregnancy and labor I’ve gained many additional tools for my belt. I have experienced birth as a major medical and surgical event with all personnel on deck to, just last year, laboring and delivering assisted by a midwife in my home with my husband supporting me (this man is my constant. And much to my delight, he has become my birth coach after all!).

Even if I had never gone on to have more children, I believe that my experience and the knowledge that I gained from my first birth could be invaluable to a mama facing similar circumstances.

Holding plans with open hands allows for so much peace at the inevitable changes that occur in life. This certainly applies to all of the unforeseen circumstances, those that are out of our control. This is probably especially important when it comes to our children. I am so grateful to have learned this lesson in a big way early on in my parenting with that c-section. I don’t have it down perfectly, but I do live under the assumption that things can change at a moments notice. And that it’s OK. You may never know why a particular circumstance may play out in a certain way. Some of the reasons might be plain as day, and some reason shrouded in mystery.

Someone else may benefit from your story.

If you’re experiencing a difficult pregnancy or life situation, remember that down the road, there may be someone who needs encouragement. They may find themselves in a similar situation as to what you have been through. And they may need to see that someone else has weathered the storm before them and is still standing. Please don’t ever be afraid to share your story. You never know who may need to hear it.

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Mandy B.
Mandy is originally from Upstate New York, though she spent most of her life in Central Pennsylvania. After several years of working in the medical field in PA, she married the love of her life and moved back to Rochester in 2012. Mandy is now an incredibly blessed mama of 6 little ones (5 on earth and 1 in heaven). Her days are filled with homeschooling, changing diapers, caring for her amazing family and for her 5 fish. She enjoys quality time with her husband, snuggles from her babies, living room dance parties, and being plugged into her local church.