When I was about 30 weeks pregnant talk of having a scheduled c-section began to come up. In addition to all the events of my pregnancy I also found out that I have a bicornuate uterus (heart shaped). This condition increases the chance of preterm labor, uterine rupture, and breech positioning of the baby. My baby girl had been frank breech my entire pregnancy. My midwives and doctors and I discussed doing a version (external cephalic version) in which they attempt to manually rotate the baby by maneuvering and applying pressure to my belly, but there was simply nowhere for my baby to go because of the shape of my uterus. If she didn't flip on her own which was extremely unlikely I knew I was going to have a c-section. The hospital I was going to deliver at was not authorized to delivery breech babies vaginally. Delivering outside of a hospital was out the question for me because of the slight possibility of complications from the calcifications in my baby's abdomen. I felt so defeated at the realization that I was going to end up with the complete opposite of the birth I originally wanted. Looking back now I know that I could have looked into other hospitals in the area that might allow a breech delivery, but at the time I was so focused on making sure my baby was going to be perfectly healthy that the potential risks to myself weren't as important.
I met with the obstetrician (OB) that was going to perform my surgery. Luckily he was a doctor that my family and friends knew well. He delivered a lot of the babies that I knew and I had heard nothing but good things about him. My first impression was wonderful. He's a soft spoken, kind man, and eased a lot of my fears about having major surgery. We scheduled my c-section for a Friday afternoon.
After I realized I would probably end up with a c-section I started doing some research. I stumbled across a youtube video about "natural" cesarean. It showed how a calm woman centered birth was possible even with a cesarean. Early skin to skin contact was possible too. Even in the operating room! Skin to skin as soon as possible was so important to me and I was over joyed to discover it might be a possibility. After a conversation with my midwife and OB I was assured that as long as the surgery went well we had the all clear. Happy day!
That long awaited Friday came. I wasn't supposed to eat for about 8 hours before the surgery, so my husband and I woke up around 4am so that I could eat my last meal before I became a mommy. I ate bacon, scrambled eggs, and an avocado in bed while it was still dark outside. I tried to go back to sleep for a few more hours. After a good hour of tossing and turning I was able to get a little more rest. We finally got up around 10. I showered and packed last minute things, then we were on our way. It didn't feel quite right to be driving to the hospital knowing we were going to have our baby. I found myself still longing for the natural way things were supposed to happen. I wanted my water to break suddenly or to feel the on set of contractions not knowing for sure if that was really it. But this was the way we decided to do things and I was excited nonetheless. I was going to meet this tiny little person that had been bruising my insides for months. It was really time!
We arrived to the hospital and were checked into our room. I changed into the lovely hospital gown and sat on the bed. My sister in-law arrived with camera in hand and ready to document our entire birth experience. A nurse came in and tried to start an IV, which she couldn't successfully get in place. (That's what happens when you're not allowed to eat or drink for 8 hours.) I met the anesthesiologist, he started my IV and I signed some papers. We spent sometime waiting while I was being poked and prodded. Suddenly they said it was time. I put a hospital robe on and started walking back to the operating room with my husband, my midwife, and my sister by my side.
I went into the OR while my husband and sister got dressed in scrubs. I sat at the edge of the operating table slouching over a pillow while my spinal was administered. I felt a little zing in my back and they said I could lay down. I couldn't believe how quickly everything was happening. Before I knew it I was laying down on the operating table and had a blue sheet with a small window hanging in front of my face. My husband was to my left holding my hand. My midwife was to my right talking me through everything. She had such a calming presence I remember not being scared. Soon enough, like lots of patients do, I started to feel sick. I had thought for a minute that I'd be able to power through it, but then it really hit me. I was within in seconds of throwing up. They gave me something to make that awful, 4 drinks too many feeling go away. Thank goodness! My husband and sister told me I was looking pretty green there for a second.
Within minutes I felt lots of pulling and tugging from behind the blue sheet. My poor little girl had her head stuck under my ribs. No wonder I had such terrible bruising there for months. Suddenly someone told me she was here and that she had dark hair! There she was just on the other side of the blue sheet. My OB held up her tiny little body for me to see. She was carried to a table on my right where nurses wiped her down. It took her a few seconds to start breathing and they had to give her a bit of oxygen. I remember laying there with my midwife talking softly into my ear assuring me that my baby was doing great. For those few short seconds while I was waiting for her to cry I wasn't scared. I know that if I hadn't had my midwife there talking me through every step things could and probably would have been much more stressful.
Then my brand new baby let out her first of many cries. I laid there looking over at her with tears in my eyes. She was here! She was here and she was perfect! They wrapped her up and brought her over to me. My midwife unwrapped her and laid her on my bare chest. My beautiful perfect little girl cuddled up on my breast and closed her eyes. She laid there while the doctors sewed me back up. I hardly notice anything but her. What a crazy, wonderful, overwhelming, and incredibly amazing feeling that was. We just stared at her. I remember noticing that she had my mouth.
They wrapped her back up and my husband carried her as I was wheeled back to our room. Once we were there my midwife unwrapped my sweet little girl and laid her on my bare chest again. I nursed her for the first time. From the beginning she was such a good eater. She latched on and I studied her little face. My husband stood next to me and we both stared in wonder at the most beautiful thing we had ever seen. And there began the most exhausting and most wonderful time of my life.
It goes without saying that nothing came of the calcification that were seen in Ayla's abdomen and she is a healthy, growing, stubborn, and very vocal baby.