Wow. I am not really sure how to describe this week. I am sitting here in my bed at home trying to rest but I am finding it to be an impossible task. Tuesday morning I was scheduled to go into labor and delivery at my hospital to attempt to turn my baby from the breech position using a technique called External Cephalic Version. If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have tried as many natural techniques as possible including swimming, inversions, and the Webster Technique. On Monday, my chiropractor told me that my pelvis is perfectly aligned and baby boy should be able to turn on his own. So I was hopeful that I would walk into the hospital Tuesday morning and he would be head down and I could go home and eat some pancakes.
After arriving at the hospital early Tuesday morning, I was hooked up to the usual monitors and the doctor rolls in the ultrasound machine to check his position. Turns out, he is still breech. Not only that but he is completely blocked by my placenta which is currently acting as a head pillow for my little man. Adorable and frustrating at the same time, yes? Despite the position of the placenta, my doctor decides to proceed with the ECV. She said that she will try 3 times, 30 seconds each and if he turns, he will turn right away. I am given a shot of a tocolytic to relax my uterus by a stoic nurse of few words. Her behavior was not helping with the relaxation part. Another doctor arrives to assist. I have never met him but I like him already. He squeezes my hand and gives me a warm hello. His friendly demeanor helps me to relax instantly. Before I know it my doctor is attempting to lift my son’s booty and the Dr. Friendly is grabbing baby boy’s head to somersault him into the head down position. Suddenly I can’t breathe. The procedure itself is not necessarily painful the whole time but extremely uncomfortable. I mean, lying flat on your back while your child is being pushed up and around your belly doesn’t exactly allow for a ton a breathing room. Not only that but my doctor keeps saying that my son is stuck in my pelvic bone. Needless to say, I found breathing to be a challenge. Luckily, Dr. Friendly contends that he has a good grasp of my son’s head and he thinks he is moving along nicely. So we continue. The next push is painful. No way around it. The sensitive skin on my belly felt like it was being pulled in several different directions at once. Steady breathing at that point felt nearly impossible and I looked at my nurse and without a sound she grabbed my hand. I closed my eyes, visualized him moving head down and squeezed the shit out of her hand. I feel a sudden shift in my uterus and both doctors announce that he flipped. My eyes immediately start welling up with tears. In that moment, I am so happy that I am that much closer to not having a C-Section.
Per procedure, my doctor sticks around to monitor the baby and as soon as she gets a clear read on the ultrasound, her and the nurse look at each other and immediately flip me over to my side and open the back of my gown. Then the doctor leaves the room and says she will be right back. In what seems like 5 seconds, she arrives back in my room with two more nurses and fully dressed for what appears to be surgery. She tells me that my son’s heartbeat has slowed down significantly and they are prepping me for a C-Section. Immediately, an IV is jammed into my arm and I am looking at my husband with tears streaming down my face. Up until this point he hasn’t been able to be by my side. He is watching as close as he can as the nurses prep me for surgery. I want to say something but an oxygen mask is quickly placed on my face. I am in shock and can’t talk to him. I just look at him and he knows I am scared. The nurse can see my fear and reassures me that they will have the baby out in less than five minutes. Reg and I just stare at each other and immediately I felt better. We were about to meet our son. Just as they are about to wheel me into the operating room, the baby’s heartbeat jumped to 90 bpm, and then increased to 120 bpm. Everyone paused. The doctor announced that she is going to hold off on the C-Section for a little while longer. Because his heartbeat increased to a reasonable rate, they decided to monitor me for the next couple hours. She apologized for the fire drill but let me know that my son’s heartbeat stopped and then jumped to 60 bpm. They had to act fast and get that baby out. They decided to just sit tight and monitor the baby for the next couple hours. Once the hospital personnel left the room, it was just me, Reg, and my sister in the room. I think we were all shaking.
Of course I knew that an emergency C-Section was a potential risk from the ECV but considering how much people kept telling me it was highly unusual, I never thought it was going to happen. And it didn’t but I came pretty darn close. I started to feel guilty like I should have just scheduled the C-Section and not attempted the ECV and avoided all the drama. I still do despite the fact that his heartbeat has been staying in the 140-160 bpm range since the procedure. He is thriving and kicking as much as usual but the guilt is still there. I didn’t know that feeling started before the kid is even born.
At the end of the day, I walked away knowing this. Beyond the guilt, I feel extremely confident with the staff at the hospital and my decision to give birth there. It was a well oiled machine. I had never been more scared in my life or more protective of the child I have been carrying for 9 months. I love this little boy so much already and I am thrilled that I am most likely going to be able to avoid surgery. But if his heartbeat drops again and they want to prep me for surgery, I say “bring it on.” Whatever gets my little guy out safe and sound, is the best plan for me.