The story of Jack's birth starts with my 38 week appointment on Tuesday. When Dr G felt around my belly for his position, he noted that baby was really low in my pelvis - which was a good improvement from the week before. But then he frowned. Once again, my "good amount of ab definition" was having him second guess whether baby was really head down. This is still hilarious to me, because even not pregnant, I have roughly the ab definition of the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
However we moved on to the cervical check. Dr. G stuck pretty much his entire fist up to his elbow inside me and felt around. He couldn't get a good feeling on the skull line, but he wasn't sure he was feeling a butt either. So he sent me for an ultrasound.
The ultrasound quickly confirmed what I dreaded. Baby was breech.
We then met with the head of the OB department, Dr R, to go over our options: basically attempt an ECV, schedule a c-section for 39.5 weeks, or wait to go into labor on my own and then get a c-section.
Well, none of these options were really what I was planning on my baby's birth to look like. I was pretty disappointed and totally unsure of what to do. I almost wrote a blog post about everything to get your thoughts, but I was still too shocked and unsure to put anything into words.
The ECV had risks and I knew it was painful. Plus I was positive it wouldn't work. Call it mother's intuition or my general pessimism around this pregnancy, but for whatever reason, I was fairly confident baby was not going to move.
I had some qualms about scheduling a c-section. What if my dates were off and it made baby too early? What if it interfered with the hormones for bonding and breastfeeding? Babies are supposed to come when they're ready. As uncomfortable and sick of being pregnant as I was, I felt bad about forcing baby out - especially before its due date.
But waiting to go into labor had its own risks. Dr. G and Dr. R stressed I shouldn't let myself get too dilated or have too many contractions. They didn't want baby any lower in my pelvis. I was already dilated to 2 at my appointment and thinning out. But they both reminded me it could still be weeks until baby was ready.
We finally made it home Tuesday night with all this new information and big life-changing decisions to make. So naturally Bobby went to Fast and Furious 7 with some friends and I took a bubble bath and went to bed. Except the cervical check from hell was plaguing me with bad bleeding, tons of mucous discharge, and what felt like menstrual cramps.
In fact, I was up most of the night trying to clean up blood and mucous and wondering if this was what losing my mucous plug meant, or if Dr G had just really irritated things. The cramps weren't too painful, and I did wonder briefly if they were contractions, but it was pretty constant - not timeable - so I tried to ignore them and sleep. Plus, when I pooped the next morning, they seemed to subside. Glad I didn't spend all night trying to time my poop!
Bobby left for work Wednesday morning and I tried to sleep for a few hours. Eventually I got up, but I was feeling super lazy. I had to make some phone calls about our breast pump insurance coverage, my summer volleyball team sponsorship, and eventually I texted Dr G and asked him to call me so we could discuss my options. He texted back that he'd call soon, but he didn't get back to me til afternoon.
We went over the options again - ECV, scheduled c-section, or c-section after going into labor. Then I briefly brought up the mucous, bleeding, and cramping. He didn't like the cramping, so he suggested I call and go to labor and delivery just to get checked out. It was likely nothing, but he didn't want my cervix to change too much, since I was dilated some already. I told him I had a few things to do, but I'd go get checked out around 4 when Bobby got home.
I called L&D and they had already heard from Dr G and were expecting me. I told them I wasn't really having contractions, and I felt fine but I'd be there in a few hours. They seemed reluctant to let me wait that long, but I really wanted to wait for Bobby.
So I called him around 2, urged him to not panic but let him know we were going in for monitoring that night. I told him to finish up work - and maybe wrap things up for the week, just in case - but I also needed him to go pick up a check from my volleyball sponsor on his way home. No hurry.
I laid down, telling myself to relax and get some sleep if this was the real thing but I didn't think it was. This was way too easy to be labor. I figured we'd be sent home from monitoring, but I threw together a few overnight bags anyway.
Eventually Bobby came home around 4 pm. He kind of putzed around, but I think he was taking his cues from me. I assured him we'd be sent home that night.
Well...we got to the hospital and as I stepped down out of the truck, there was a huge gush. My water broke. Hollywood style. In the parking lot. Now my pants were soaked. And I sort of started to panic. This was really happening - and it was super uncomfortable walking with really wet pants.
Thankfully Bobby took over and got me to just keep walking. We went into the main entrance and basically everyone ignored us. I shuffled to the bathroom to try to contain the leaking, but it was useless. We finally made it up to labor and delivery where they buzzed us in.
Dr. R was on call, so he was sitting at the desk. They were talking about me. He told us he wasn't supposed to see us so soon.
"I think my water broke," I blurted out.
A nurse standing behind me smiled and said, "I think you're right."
They took us into a triage room and I changed into a gown. They began the check in process. I was dilated to 4 cm. This was definitely it. It was about 4:30 and Dr R came in to chat with us. He looked at the clock. "You guys should have a baby by 6:15."
The next hour went so fast and excruciatingly slow. I was having pretty strong contractions, which wouldn't have seemed so bad if I was actually laboring and working up to pushing. But knowing that they were all for nothing kind of sucked.
I met with the anesthesiologist team and a bunch of nurses. Dr. G came too, and I was so thankful. I didn't actually know if he'd be there, since Dr R was doing the c-section, but he was since he's the baby's doctor. He attended the whole thing, and sat with Bobby (who was extremely grateful for the calming presence) and then did all the baby after care.
Finally I was walked down to the OR. They helped me on the table, gave me heated blankets and the anesthesiologist did his thing on my spine. It wasn't too bad, mostly because I was ready to be done with contractions at that point. I laid down, they gave me oxygen and put up a sheet.
Dr G and Bobby came in and sat by my head. The delivery team made small talk, and Dr G told me it was because everything had to be timed, plus they wanted me to feel calm. I was pretty out of it - between the rush in, the drugs, and the oxygen. They all made guesses about the gender. Only Bobby and one other nurse said boy.
The c-section itself felt weird. I could feel my belly being manipulated and my organs moved around, but no sharp pain. Though it was pretty uncomfortable. And it took longer than I expected. I just wanted baby out!
Finally, I heard Dr. R say he could see baby's head. More tugging, and then he announced, "Dad and nurse Tara were right. We have a boy."
They held him briefly by my face, and then Dr. G took him to a little station to assess him. He was really purple, but crying. They assured me it was a good cry. They worked on him at the station, and it was close to my head so I could see everything and Bobby was right there too. I thought they'd take him away and I'd be alone, since everything happened so fast, we didn't have anyone else at the hospital. Thankfully they were just a few feet away while the team finished sewing me up. It took awhile to finish my surgery part, but they wrapped baby up and Bobby held him while sitting on the stool by my head. Jack was so chill and good. And of course Bobby is a baby whisperer, so he did great. I could see them both and I was so happy.
The big shock was when they weighed Jack. Dr G had been telling me he was pretty sure baby would be around 6 pounds at birth, due to my height/weight and my belly consistently measuring small. So it was surprising to everyone in the room when he weighed in 8 pounds, 5 ounces. 2 weeks early! Dr. G later told me that I likely would have ended up with a c-section even if he wasn't breech, since he didn't think a baby that big would have fit through my pelvis. And that would have been after many hours of hard labor. So I am thankful things worked out the way they did.
We had three nights in the hospital - it was a whirlwind trying to call our parents and families that night after the mandatory recovery time. It was about 10 pm then, and no one knew we were even at the hospital. It just happened too fast.
We're home now and mostly doing well. Jack is such a calm kid, even when we've had big groups visit and pass him around. He does have his days and nights mixed up, so he's really chill all day and then won't go to sleep at night unless he's being held.
Breastfeeding has been an adventure. It's tough - my nipple are raw and I had to use a nipple shield and start pumping in the hospital. We had to supplement with a bit of formula too, since I don't think I was producing anything for a few days and Jack dropped close to a pound pretty quickly. Hopefully my milk will come in soon.
Healing from the c-section has been hard. The incision looks great (according to all doctors/nurses/Bobby/my mom - I can't actually see it, and I'm a little scared to look), and Dr. R even said I'd be a good candidate for a VBAC in the future if I wanted. It's painful to get around, and my back is sore from compensating for not using my abs, but I'm getting there.
Oh and sleep is a million times more comfortable now than being 9 months pregnant - so those of you who are still getting there, it does get better!
And it's totally worth it.