I cannot believe it’s been over 3 months since our little Maddie joined the world. It feels like both yesterday and forever since I’ve grown so accustomed to her being in our lives. Pretty much since we brought her home from the hospital I’ve thought to myself “I should really write down her birth story”, but life with a newborn is exhausting, all consuming, and also amazing. Better late than never, right? Let’s jump in!
Around the 32 week mark, I had my regular midwife appointment and it was the first time they were able to feel for baby’s positioning. My midwife told me she suspected baby may be breech, but there was still time for her to turn head down. I wasn’t extremely worried at that point because I was seeing a chiropractor who specialized in the webster technique and I was familiar with Spinning Babies. At my 34 week appointment, they did feel she was still breech and decided to order an ultrasound to confirm. From there, I went to the chiropractor more frequently, did spinning babies exercises throughout the day, light inversions, frozen veggies on the top of my belly, anything to get her to flip!
For the longest time in my pregnancy, I always felt this hard round head like structure under my ribs, pretty much any time I would touch my belly. So I had a good idea of her positioning just by feel. Even with all the things I was doing, I wasn’t feeling much movement. At the 36 week ultrasound, it was confirmed that she was breech. I felt devastated at that point and had my midwife appointment the next day. Before going in, I researched breech babies, the options to flip, and what happens if they don’t flip. The spark notes version is that you can try for an ECV (a version) where they manually try to move baby from the outside. I tried not to go in too deep on the internet during my pregnancy because you can find so many sad stories, so I stuck with Evidence Based Birth as a place to find good reliable information. I read this regarding ECVs so that I felt knowledgeable when I had my appointment with my midwife. Based on the information in that article, how I felt about all the things I had tried to get her to flip, and also my mental health, I went into the appointment knowing I wanted to go the C-Section route. By no means am I saying this was an easy decision. Surgery was really scary to me and not the birth I had envisioned for myself. I feel so blessed that my midwife was super supportive.
I had been under the primary care of midwives during my entire pregnancy, so that meant I needed to transfer care to an OB-GYN now that I required the c-section. Luckily they were overseen by a great group, and I got in quickly. The physician who took over my care was kind and really took the time to get to know me, despite being already 37 weeks when I saw him! The whole process felt fast once I got in. I had 2 appointments with him and scheduled the C section for 39 weeks and 4 days – March 6, 2020.
I was extremely nervous about the surgery. Devin and I had been working with a doula preparing for the birth, and she helped me so much in preparing my mind for the c section. Because she was a c section mama, I was able to ask the scary questions like “does the spinal hurt?”, “what’s it like to have a catheter”, “what will it feel like for the baby to come out?”. We had some giggles, but she put my mind at ease.
My original scheduled time was 3pm, but the day before, we got a call that I had been moved up to the 11am time frame. I was grateful because I had heard that the later you go in the longer you may need to wait due to emergency c sections that need to happen before yours. Devin and I got up that morning, packing the last minute items and looking at each other like “we’re going to have a baby today!”. I felt so nervous but also so excited – it was such a weird feeling. We live about 30 minutes from the hospital and it was a beautiful early spring morning with the sun shining. At the hospital, Devin couldn’t initially find parking, so he went to the valet and asked where the pregnancy parking was. I giggled so much because we were at a women’s hospital that mostly sees pregnant and birthing mothers! I’m sure the valet got a good laugh too.
Once we arrived, the receptionist got us checked in quickly and within 30 minutes we were back in the PACU. Our doula joined us a little later, once I had started to get prepped. There were a lot of questions, needing to get into my gown, and quite a few other things. But there was also a lot of waiting. We had arrived at 9am, got into the PACU at 9:30 and I was probably fully prepped by 10:30am. My scheduled time was 11am. And 11am came and went. Around noon, the anethesiologist came in and prepped me on what would happen for the spinal. It wasn’t long after that I was then told it was time and was getting wheeled back into the operating room. Devin nor my doula could come back initially when I was having my spinal done which really made me nervous. However, I had the nicest nurses who held my hands the entire time. I was told it would feel like a bee sting but honestly it didn’t even feel that bad, like a small pinch. Next thing I knew, I was feeling pins and needles and I was getting numb. My doctor came in and went over a few things, the drape went up, and it was time to start. Devin and my doula came in and Devin immediately grabbed my hand. It wasn’t even 10 minutes later that they said she was here! I heard a small cry and then they showed her to us through the plastic on the drape. I can still visualize it – her smooshed little face and squishy body. The tears just flowed. They took her over to do an evaluation. Within a few minutes they brought her over and put her right under my chin.
She stayed there almost until it was over. I think they did take her off for the last few minutes to do the eye ointment and something else. The last part of the surgery took the longest where my placenta had to be delivered and then of course stitched. But, I don’t remember too much about it! I had this huge feeling of elation. I was giddy! Then they rolled Maddie and I back to the PACU.
We stayed in the PACU for about 2 hours after. They checked her a few times, along with slowly taking off some of the monitors I had for the surgery. I also remember finally getting a few ice chips and it was amazing! My doula assisted in getting us started with breastfeeding. We worked on getting her latched within an hour after delivery. Breastfeeding is a story for another day, but I’m grateful I had someone there to help us get started quickly.
While our stay at the hospital was pretty uneventful due to us having Maddie about a week before all the lockdowns for Covid, it was still my least favorite part of the entire experience. I try to think back on her being the little itty bitty baby she was along with the snuggles, but the first few days after c section are the hardest. It’s when you’re the most sore and have the most difficulty with movement. But I had angel nurses and Devin there, which I think made it was good as it could be.
I’ll share more about our first few months home with her along with our breastfeeding journey later. I’m just glad I was able to write about her arrival! Having a baby has been the most transformative thing so far in my life. And now I understand why everyone says it’s the hardest but most gratifying experience.