Parker’s Birth Story {On Breech Babies & C-Sections}

Parker's Birth Story {On Breech Babies & C-Sections} at lifeyourway.net

It’s Baby Week at Life Your Way, and I’m sharing my birth stories (with a chance for you to link up with your stories on Friday!) as well as an awesome selection of giveaways. Thanks for joining me as we celebrate the upcoming birth of our fifth baby and first son!

We moved again between the birth of our second daughter and finding out I was pregnant with #3. I briefly considered driving back to the birth center where I had given birth previously, but it had also fallen prey to rising malpractice insurance costs and closed, so I chose a midwife at a local ob/gyn practice instead. This time, they gave me a fetal fibronectin test at the beginning of my third trimester (as the braxton-hicks contractions once again returned with intensity) and decided, based on a negative test, that my uterus just liked to contract and there was no reason for modified bedrest.

After a fairly uneventful pregnancy, I began having intense back pain on a Saturday afternoon at 38 weeks pregnant. Part of me thought it might be back labor, but I wasn’t having regular, rhythmic or timeable contractions, so I just wasn’t sure. The pain went away after about 45 minutes of lying down but came back as soon as I got up.

Sean was at work, and the pain grew so intense that I called him and told him he needed to hurry home (he was already on his way, but it made me feel better to tell him to hurry!) and called my mom to tell her I just wasn’t sure what was going on. While on the phone with her, I started crying from the pain, and at that point I decided we should head to the hospital.

I’m not sure why, but I ended up calling the on-call doc first, and she pretty much just dismissed me, saying that if it was labor it would not have ever stopped and to go take a bath. I tried one more time, explaining that it hurt really bad, and she seemed unconvinced that it was anything more than a backache. {I’ve always wondered if it would have helped to explain that this was not my first pregnancy, or maybe I should have just gone to the hospital anyway!}

Sean got home and filled up the bathtub for me, and the pain went away instantly as I got in the water. After I got out, it came back and went away and came back and went away several more times before bed. At this point, I was convinced that it had something to do with labor, but perhaps Parker was facing backwards causing the back pain. I was hopeful that it would only be a couple days until I was in active labor.

Sunday, I didn’t experience much pain, and I spent the day relaxing.

At the time, I was part of the Sonlight homeschool forum, and there was an ongoing experiment about the effectiveness of peanut butter cups in causing labor. At that point, 6 or 7 people had credited eating a massive amount of peanut butter cups with sending them into labor, so I decided to try it since my body was giving the signs of being ready. If nothing else, it sounded like more fun that castor oil! Sunday afternoon I ate 8 peanut butter cups and another 5.5 before bed (it’s a lot harder than it sounds…they’re pretty hard to choke down after more than a few!).

Dylan was up many, many times throughout the night because she had a cold and couldn’t get settled. This should have been my first clue since we were up all night with a sick Peyton the night Dylan was born!

We finally settled down to sleep at 1am, and at 3:45am, I woke up with intense back pain again. I was trying to time contractions, but it was so hard to tell what was a contraction and when it started and stopped. I began to wonder if it was just a backache again! I finally got on my hands and knees, and after just a few minutes it went away, so I laid down to go back to sleep.

Sean and I got up at 5am to start the week. I was a transcriptionist at the time, and I got right to work on a transcript, hoping to finish it before the girls got up, and he started getting ready for work. It wasn’t long, however, before the back pain was back. Even though my mom was heading to my house that morning and would be there by 9am or so, the idea of being by myself with the girls while in this pain was terrifying! I told Sean I thought I needed him to stay home. And then the pain went away, and I told him never mind. And then it came back.

After literally kneeling down in the hallway from pain, I told him I thought we should head to the hospital. Since the pain was pretty localized on the left side of my back, I was beginning to wonder if I had somehow gotten a really bad kidney infection. It just didn’t seem like labor!

I went outside to call my mom (at the time, we only got cell service in certain spots and hadn’t yet hooked up our home phone), and I asked my step-dad to have her meet us at the hospital. I think my exact words were, “I don’t really know if this is labor, but we’re heading to the hospital.”

I came back in to take care of forwarding the file I was trying to transcribe and sent a couple other work-related e-mails. Then I went up to wake up Peyton while Sean dressed Dylan, and again the pain stopped. It was nerve-wracking to not know whether we were making the right decision or not, but we figured if Sean was staying home from work, we had to go to the hospital.

Following the same pattern, the pain came back when we got in the car. I was trying to time peaks in the pain as best as I could while we drove, and it seemed like maybe it was coming at 5-minute intervals. It was about a 30-35 minute drive, and we stopped at the McD’s across from the hospital to get Sean and the girls breakfast, but nothing sounded good to me at that point.

We pulled into the parking lot and again the pain stopped. I was dreading going in and having the nurses laugh at me, “Hon, you’re not even having contractions!”

We got inside, and I laughingly told them, “I have no idea whether I’m in labor or not, but I’m experiencing some major back pain.” They were so nice and took me right back to be checked.

I got situated in the exam room, and the nurse checked me. She said, “Um, when was your last appointment?” “Thursday” “And how much were you dilated?” “I was closed tight.” “Ohhhhhhh-kay.” I began to wonder what was going on, imagining that she was going to tell me I was still closed tight but also hearing something else in her voice. Then she said, “Well, you’re pretty dilated now, and I don’t think this is a head!” (I’m embarrassed to admit that my first thought was, “My baby doesn’t have a head?!”)

She asked another nurse to come in and do an ultrasound, but we really couldn’t figure anything out by looking at the screen. That nurse also checked me and said, “No, definitely not a head. And you’re about 4cm.” EEK!

Parker's Birth Story {On Breech Babies & C-Sections} at lifeyourway.net

At this point, Sean took the girls to the waiting room because the room was getting kind of crowded. We called my mom, and she and my sister were about 20 minutes out, but I know poor Sean felt completely helpless since he couldn’t even be in the room with me as all of this was going on!

They had the charge nurse come in and try to do a second ultrasound, and she confirmed that Parker’s head was way up by my ribs. At this point, I began asking questions. I was pretty sure that even if they allowed it, I did not want to try to give birth naturally; I’m just not a confident enough pusher. Turns out they wouldn’t have allowed it anyway because she was footling breech, meaning it wasn’t even her butt presenting first but just her feet! I also had read about manual versions, where they try to turn the baby, but I’ve always known I wouldn’t do one of those either because it seems to me that if the baby is breech, there may be a reason why, and it makes me uncomfortable to try to force it! Turns out they wouldn’t have tried that either because of how quickly I was dilating and the fear of my water breaking.

As it was, I wasn’t allowed to even walk to the c-section prepare area because of my history of fast labors, and they rolled me through the nurses station on the bed.

My midwife arrived about 20 minutes later and also checked me (I’m not sure she believed them that Parker was breech) and said, “Oh, yeah, those are feet. She’s a good 5cm now with a bulging bag of water.” We then did all of the paperwork and c-section prep while waiting for the doctor (whom I had never met…again!) to arrive.

I was amazingly peaceful, although I could see the stress on Sean and my mom’s faces. I didn’t have anyone’s phone number with me because we’d left the bags in the car in case they told me to go home, and I kept thinking about the people I wanted to call while I just waited there!

At one point, the pain in my back got so intense that I thought I was gonna lose it. I wanted desperately to get back on my hands and knees, but I wasn’t allowed to move at all because things were progressing so quickly.

At this point, I was being poked and prodded from all sides…blood draws, IVs, etc. I also had to drink this nasty stuff that was supposed to prevent nauseousness from the spinal. The anesthesiologist came in, and he was a non-stop talker/joker who just kept making corny joke after corny joke. It was part-annoying, part-distracting.

They wheeled me into the OR at 9:34am and gave me my spinal and then set us up for the c-section. I seriously was disappointed about the curtain (although I know it’s normal!) because I think it would have been really cool to watch!

As they began the surgery, Sean sat by my head, and we talked quietly. It’s actually one of my favorite memories of the whole day!

I could not feel anything…not a poke or prod or pull or push, but suddenly the doctor told us she was about to cut into my uterus…and then she said, “Yep, those are feet!” She tried three or four times to grab one of them only to have Parker pull it back in quickly. But she finally got a hold of her and delivered our precious girl at 9:53am!

This is the first time I’ve actually gotten teary eyed at the birth of one of my babies! I always grin ear to ear, but as they were cleaning her up off to my right, I was so excited and anxious to see her, and my eyes filled with tears. The anesthesiologists and nurses were passing a digital camera around to get pics for us, and before she was even brought over to me, they had printed several out for me to hold. They did finally bring her to us and Sean held her by my head so I could see and kiss her!

Parker's Birth Story {On Breech Babies & C-Sections} at lifeyourway.net

They then began the long process of stitching me back up, and Sean followed Parker to the nursery so that he could be there when Peyton and Dylan got to see her through the nursery window for the first time. I am so sad to have missed that moment!

I had asked beforehand when I would get to have her back with me, and they said once I was taken to the mother-baby unit, she would be brought to me. It would be an hour or two, and I would have to have movement in my legs first. So while they were stitching me up, I focused all my efforts on getting my toes to move! Ever so slowly, I began to move my toes and by the time I was in recovery, I could move my whole foot. When the nurse checked my uterus for the first time, she was very surprised when I moved my whole leg. But it still took forever, and I was such a pest the whole time, “Can I go to mother-baby now? Can I have my baby now?”

I was feeling a little dizzy at that point, and I was also pestering them for some orange juice because I was sure that it was just because of my blood sugar. (It ended up taking me hours to finally get it! Not to mention I was starving and they would not give me any food at all!) In hindsight, I should have taken someone up on their offer to sneak me in some.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, they began to wheel me to mother-baby. We stopped at the nursery to see Parker through the window, and it made my arms ache all that much more. They said that she would be brought to me as soon as I was settled in my room and her temp was up. I continued to bug those nurses to bring her to me as well!

From the moment they brought her in, she nursed like a champ, the best of any of the girls so far! I held her for pretty much the entire 48 hours I was there, and although I missed Sean and the girls a lot, I was also glad to have that time with just me and her. It’s the first time I’ve actually enjoyed my hospital stay and not been super anxious to go home.

Since I can never tell whether I’m really in labor or really need to push, it’s no wonder that I ended up at labor & delivery twice with our 4th daughter without actually being in labor. In the end, we ended up scheduling an induction, which I’ll share more about tomorrow.

Mandi Ehman is the blogger behind Life Your Way. She and her husband have four beautiful girls plus one baby boy, and together they live, work and homeschool on a little slice of heaven in wild, wonderful West Virginia. Mandi loves coffee, chocolate, easy meals, beautiful things and minimalist spaces.