Thursday, September 12, 2013

Skye's birth story

FYI, bodily fluids and functions discussed, read at your own peril :)

We found out we were pregnant in January with the estimated due date of 9/11/13. My husband Nate was not thrilled with that date. All along he predicted I was farther along than the medical people said. The pregnancy went well with no problems. At 20 weeks we learned we were having another little girl! We decided her name would be Skye. We also learned that she was in a breech position. I didn’t worry too much about it since I figured she would have lots of time to move and rearrange. But it was an issue that remained in the back of my mind. In the last weeks of my pregnancy I began to ask the midwife at each appointment if she was still breech. They had a hard time telling her position by feeling my belly. They told me not to worry; she still had plenty of time to turn. At my 36 week appointment I couldn’t take the suspense any longer. When the midwife asked if there was anything I was concerned about I told her I thought it was time we figure out for sure which way this baby was lying. She felt around and was very confident Skye was head down. Whew! She suggested we do an ultrasound to confirm. Fine with me, I wasn’t about to turn down a chance to see my baby. She also said my belly was measuring smaller than it should be and she wanted to get some measurements from the ultrasound as well. This really didn’t concern me since I didn’t get huge with my first daughter and she was born a very healthy 7 pounds. The ultrasound was scheduled for Tuesday August 20th. At the ultrasound my heart sank when the technician said she was still breech. She also said I was measuring a week smaller than I should be and would need to see the OB and come in for non stress testing. These measurements never gave me alarm. The issue that really was giving me stress was the breech position. Wednesday August 21st I went in for the testing. Skye was doing fine and had a heartbeat like a champ. What was really concerning was the OB’s lack of interest in the breech position. Why weren’t we discussing that? What were my options? So I started peppering him with questions. Did he have any experience delivering a breech baby? The answer was no, and he told me neither did anyone in the whole practice. I told him I was very interested in the possibility of delivering this baby vaginally and avoiding a c-section. He then brought out the scary stuff, explaining doctors do not deliver breech babies anymore and are not even trained to. He said people just didn’t like to talk about even attempting a breech delivery because when it goes wrong it’s just too horrible to talk about. In my head I thought, “Well, yeah, when anything goes wrong in any type of birth scenario no one wants to talk about it.” He emphasized the point that if I stayed at this practice I would be having a c-section. No discussion, just plain as that, I would be having major abdominal surgery. I had been doing breech tilts since the ultrasound the day before and had read about an external version. At this point I was 37 weeks and knew if a version was going to work we needed to do it now. So that was my next question, when can we try a version? 39 weeks. He wanted to wait till 39 weeks to insure the baby had a few more weeks to grow in case the version led to an emergency c-section. I could feel there already wasn’t much room left for Skye to move inside me and I knew if we waited until 39 weeks I’d be signing up for a painful procedure that wouldn’t work or worst case scenario would send me into emergency surgery. As I was leaving this appointment I felt so defeated, worried, and frightened. I had seen midwives the entire pregnancy and never left an appointment feeling so down. I stopped at the front desk and asked which midwives were working that afternoon. Jaya was working and I had seen her a week or two before. I left a message asking her to call me. Then I headed to my parents’ pool to do flips in the water to encourage Skye to move. Guess what? That didn’t work either. Jaya called me that evening. I vented about the appointment with the OB. She took it all in and said she wanted to consult with the other midwives and call me back with a plan of care. Finally, some real dialogue about the situation. She called me back the next afternoon. She was confused as to why I had suddenly been switched to an OB instead of midwife. The small measurements were still well in the normal range and did not require non stress testing and a high risk OB appointment. She said she had some options and information to go over with me. So we cancelled the OB appointment that was set for the following day and set an appointment with her to go over everything. Luckily, Nate was able to get off work early to come with me to the appointment. I was so glad he was there to hear all the information first hand. Jaya explained the different breech positions, how a breech delivery was accomplished, the risks, etc. Nate and I both agreed we wanted to try for a vaginal delivery. So a game plan was created. There was an OB willing to try a version before 39 weeks and there were two OB’s who were comfortable assisting in a breech delivery. In the meantime I needed to have an ultrasound with a specialist to confirm there were no growth restrictions and to determine which breech position Skye was in. Before the specialist ultrasound I made appointments to try the Webster method with a chiropractor and moxibustion with an acupuncturist. I was determined to try everything before considering a c-section. On Sunday evening I felt a pain I had experienced in my first pregnancy. This baby was dropping. Either her butt or her head was engaging in my pelvis. The pain was so similar to my first daughter’s pregnancy I seriously thought she must have flipped and this was her head causing the pain. On Monday morning I went to the acupuncturist. After discussing the pelvic pain, he suggested waiting to try the moxibustion till the ultrasound confirmed her position. He did not want to risk flipping a head down baby to a breech position. Neither did I. That afternoon I went to the chiropractor for a second visit. Tuesday August 27th I went to the specialist for the ultrasound. Big surprise, Skye was still breech. At this point I started to accept the fact that she was not going to turn on her own. The ultrasound confirmed she was growing fine and also had a head full of hair. I had my routine weekly appointment with the midwives scheduled for the following day but decided to move it up to that afternoon. At the appointment Jaya and I went over the ultrasound results and continued to discuss options. A version had been scheduled for the upcoming Friday. She informed me that I could schedule to be induced on a day when one of the two breech comfortable doctors were on call or l could just hope I went into labor when they happened to be on duty. I did not feel good about being induced and felt much better leaving the timing of everything in God’s hands. Jaya brought in two midwives who both had recent experiences delivering and assisting with breech deliveries. They really encouraged me and made me feel safe. I wasn’t crazy for pursuing a breech vaginal delivery. Skye was frank breech, a very favorable position to attempt a vaginal delivery. I had a proven pelvis since I delivered my first daughter without complications. I didn’t have huge babies. All of these factors made me a good candidate for a vaginal delivery. I am so grateful these women were honest with their experiences and encouraged me to go with my instincts. I left that appointment feeling empowered and confident that whatever happened Skye and I were in good hands. That evening around 10 pm I tried the moxibustion as the acupuncturist had suggested. Then I showered and went to bed. After having been asleep for a few hours I shifted positions and felt like I had wet my underwear. Figuring it was a bladder control issue, I went to the bathroom, changed underwear and went back to bed. Soon I was woken up by a dull contraction but since I had been getting those off and on for a week or two I ignored it and went back to sleep. Then another woke me up. I still didn’t worry about it, just got up and went to the bathroom again. As I was headed back to bed I thought, “Wait a second, I’ve had a few of these contractions, maybe I should start paying attention to them.” I decided I would start timing them if I had anymore. The next one was a big one, one that left no doubt in my mind that this was the real deal. It was about 3 am. I woke Nate up to take over timing as I gathered a few things and called the midwife. We both got pretty excited at this point. Finally time to meet our baby! Stephanie was the midwife on call that morning. I told her I was having strong contractions about 3-5 minutes apart and we were coming in to the hospital. She asked if I was sure I didn’t want to labor some more at home. I told her I’m pretty fast and this baby was breech. Then she asked, “Oh, is this Elise?” This made me laugh. Jaya had made sure everyone was up to speed on my situation. Then I asked her which OB was on call. She told me it was the OB I had seen at the clinic. My heart sank, but only for a moment. Okay, I thought, I’ll just have to go in there prepared for a fight.  We got to the hospital about 4 am. Stephanie checked me and sure enough I was already at an 8 or 9. Then all of these people started rushing me with forms to sign. Consent forms for surgery, for anesthesia, and who knows what else. Stephanie then asked me, “What’s the plan?” I told her we wanted to deliver vaginally. She left to talk to the OB and when she returned she said “He knows you are here, he knows you don’t want a c-section, and he is not happy. Are you sure this is what you want?” This is when the moment of doubt stepped in. I looked up at Nate, panicked and asked him, “What do I do? What do I do?” Calmly, he replied, “Stick with the game plan.” Wow. What an amazing man I married.  Once he said that I knew I could do it. I turned to Stephanie and said, “No c-section,” and she replied, “Okay, let’s do this.” She called one of the OB’s comfortable assisting and they agreed to come in. The pushing seemed to take forever and go on and on. I was really focused on pushing really well during the contractions and trying to rest in between. During one of these breaks Nate pointed out the shirt he chose to wear, an “In and Out Burger” shirt. Message understood! Also during one of these small breaks Stephanie yelled out, “Push! I need you to push now!” This startled me because Stephanie’s nature is very calm and mellow. She told me the baby’s heart beat was dropping and she wanted to make sure we were able to get it back up right away. She assured me everything was okay and it’s normal for baby’s heart rate to go up and down with contractions. Finally Skye’s butt started coming out and I could feel Stephanie help the legs be delivered. I had my eyes closed during this time. I was sure if I looked down and saw half a body I would panic. Then everyone started cheering for one more big push. The OB came over and helped deliver Skye’s head. And whoosh! Finally that great sense of relief came and the let up of extreme pressure. Skye Marie was born at 7:12 am August 28th, 6 pounds and 3 ounces. After a quick check to confirm she was okay she was placed on my stomach, skin to skin. Looking back I could not have gone through this experience without the fabulous support of my husband, family, and wonderful midwives willing to listen and be my advocate. I’m so glad I was encouraged to believe in myself, my baby, and my body.