Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When Babies Make Plans of Their Own, Part 1: Saying Bye-Bye to My Birth Center

I didn't talk to much about my birth plans prior to the actual birth, because I didn't want to jinx anything (turns out I was a bit jinxed for a while, but c'est la vie). When I thought about bringing our baby into this world, I really wanted the experience to be the same as so many other aspects of my life...as completely natural as possible (specifically a hypnobirthing/waterbirth).

When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately set up my first appointment with The Birth Center. The experience there was absolutely amazing. You get to meet with all of the midwives during your pregnancy, and the appointments are pretty much run by the patients (besides the tests and measurements and such).  Each appointment was scheduled for an hour, which I found to be wonderful. For some of my appointments, I really didn't have too many questions and was in and out the door. But for those days when I was anxious, or confused, or had a gazillion and one questions, those hour long appointment slots were a God-send. I really bonded with the staff (my awesome aunt is even one of the nurses!), the classes offered were fantastic, and I loved that I felt really supported in all of my pregnancy decisions.

But, my natural birth was not to be. I kind of had an inkling that our little one wasn't exactly in the right position when everyone else was talking about rib-cage kicks, and I was getting karate chopped in the cervix (which fyi is just as painful as it sounds). I noticed this trend super early, and it never really changed. As my due date got closer, and our baby was still breech, I upped the "lets get this turning show on the road" ante and added in moxibustion at my acupuncture appointments, and began seeing a chiropractor who specialized in the webster technique three times a week. Because mcnugget had been in an incorrect position for so long, I decided against trying an external cephalic version. In my gut I just felt that it wasn't the right option for our situation...I honestly believe she was positioned where she was for a reason, and the risks outweighed the rewards this time.

Eventually, I let myself come to terms with the fact that I would be ok with a c-section if I did everything within my control (that I was comfortable with) to get this baby to flip. If mcnugget decided not to do so, I would trust her instincts, and be at peace with what would happen. I definitely believe I gave it my all...I even had to call my chiropractor on the way to the hospital to cancel my appointment for that afternoon when my water broke on its own!

At my 37 week appointment, it was determined that I had to switch over to a doctor who could preform a c-section (the midwives do not do this). I was seen fairly quickly that week, as I was 37 weeks pregnant after all. While I had come to terms with being ok with a possible c-section, I quickly learned that I would have a very hard time saying good-bye to my birth center. The doctor and I just did not click (almost all of my requests were met with a "no," and I was actually referred to as being a part of a "different birthing community"). The atmosphere was also very different...instead of the warm welcoming rooms with comfy, worn furniture, everything in the office was sterile and much more clinical. Needless to say, I walked out of the appointment and just broke down.
(I want to note here that this reaction is based on my feelings, expectations and experiences with ONE doctor...everyone has different preferences and expectations, and you need to receive your care where you feel most comfortable and happy!).

So, in true type-A fashion, I calmed myself down by trying to figure out everything I could control about the situation. I came up with a c-section birth plan, which I went over in detail with my husband as soon as it was finished (it went over medicine allergies, baby vaccine/shot preferences, husband's desire to announce the gender, etc.). Just doing this made me feel as though I had some control over the situation, and it really helped Ryan be my advocate while I was in the hospital (when you have major surgery, and you are experiencing the"oh my goodness I'm having a baby" freakout/excitement...you NEED someone else to be your advocate). The c-section plan was a huge blessing because we were able to speak clearly and ask questions about our preferences with all of the staff (it was extra helpful too because I had TWO shift changes before the surgery). Right before the surgery was to take place (I was strapped on the table at this point and Ryan was in the room), the head surgeon even took a time-out to clearly state all of our expectations with every other staff person in the room. That alone was awesome, and it really helped me calm down.

As for the surgery itself, I'm not going to lie...I was completely freaked out. I tend to get a bit claustrophobic, and was really panicked about being strapped down on a table. I also wasn't a huge fan of having a massive needle stuck in my back (I had a spinal not an epidural), while my husband was outside of the room. It was also exceptionally hard to mentally prepare myself for the surgery FOUR times before it actually happened. And I'm not going to lie...c-section surgery is no freaking joke. I think because it is so common, people forget that it is still major surgery. You may not feel pain, but you feel everything else, and it is NOT pleasant at all. Oh and you are AWAKE. It is by no means the easy way out, and it comes with it's own set of unpleasantries. Somehow I pulled myself together and got through it (I was actually a bit concerned that I would pass out...I was super hot throughout the entire procedure and requested an ice pack for my forehead...and I'm pretty sure the temperature was actually at about umm freezing in the room).

I will also be forever thankful that Fiona decided to pick her own birthday. Because of this, we ended up with a completely different doctor. She, along with all of the other staff in the room, were fantastic. The surgeon held my hands while the spinal was administered, the anesthesiologist was cracking hysterical jokes (your baby has red hair, an full Irish name and her daddy speaks SPANISH to her?!?) , the anesthetist held the ice pack on my forehead the entire time and walked me through everything, and everyone was in a great mood. It was an unbelievable answer to prayer. All in all, the surgery itself was definitely the best situation it possibly could have been.

As for the future, we'll take it as it comes. I'll be joining the new mom's group at the Birth Center as soon as I can drive and handle stairs, and I'm super excited to meet some moms going through the same things. When the time is right, I would love to try for a VBAC for mcnugget number 2 (which will have to be at a hospital). Thankfully, there are a lot of doctors in the area that are supportive of this, and I will still be able to go to the Birth Center up until week 28. But we'll handle that when the time comes! Right now I just want to enjoy every second with my baby girl.

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