Birth Story: Baby Joshua


 

I asked a lot of questions about labor from girlfriends since my mother and sister both had c-sections due to breech presentation with their first babies. I had heard that sometimes the speed and difficulty of labor runs in families, but since they weren’t able to offer any information on contractions, etc…. I even asked my doctor if breech presentation ran in families in her experience where it might become more likely for me. She said probably not. Well…my son was head down towards the end like he was supposed to be and 2 weeks before my due date at my appointment she thought maybe he had flipped butt first. She recommended going to get an ultrasound the first of the week (I think it was Friday) to confirm, then schedule a c-section for the end of that week if necessary. I had read about tricks to flip the baby using positions or manual manipulation, but was not dead-set against a c-section if it was recommended by the doctor.

On that Monday the ultrasound confirmed he had flipped (so maybe that was the single “contraction” I had the other morning when I thought I might have finally experienced a Braxton-Hicks). Man! We had almost made it to the end! So maybe it does have a family component….

The next day I was babysitting my nephew and talking with my husband who had stopped home from work for a quick lunch. We were discussing the pros and cons of getting to plan the date of birth as far as using the fewest days of vacation for him to get the longest time off, etc. I was a little bummed about not getting to experience the excitement of my water breaking and the adrenaline of rushing to the hospital. My husband reminded me that that exciting moment might end up being at 3 am and I was a little less bummed. During this conversation I walked over to sit on the couch and thought I had an “accident”. Most pregnant women know this is not uncommon when you laugh or sneeze, but I had done neither. So I went to the restroom and there was more and then I called to my husband that I think my water broke. He kept asking if I was sure, which I wasn’t at first, but then I started mentally going through the checklist of the things I had read to watch for and then I was sure.

I just couldn’t stop smiling as we gathered our bags together, called his work, and called my mom to let her know we were dropping off my nephew and headed to the hospital. Bring on the adrenaline and excitement! Felt weird sitting on towels in the car on the way there (how much fluid is there?) but was excited to feel a few little contractions on the way as another confirmation that it was the real thing. When we were checked in and filled everyone in about the recent breech discovery, they wanted to confirm that again and had to do a lab test to confirm I was indeed in labor. I was told since I just had lunch they were going to have to wait and hour or two to do a c-section, which sounded okay because that would give our families some time to get there. The contractions were getting stronger, but just real bad cramps at this point. My doctor came in and checked me, then sat down to discuss c-section a little more since we were early and hadn’t more than briefly touched on it at my appointment the last week. She told me about how they can try to turn the baby, how successful that normally is and what it feels like (not comfortable), etc. When I told her I was okay with a c-section, she said she was relieved since most attempts are not successful and especially with it being my first baby a breech delivery would probably be very difficult. She also told me that I had the option of staples or stitches-she always does stitches because the scarring is usually less and they dissolve on their own. I was also was informed that most hospitals/doctors do staples because it takes about half the time and is therefore cheaper. Um, yes, stitches, please. She checked me again and I was dilating and progressing faster than they thought, so she upped the schedule and said I’d be in surgery in about half an hour.

I was grateful I had listened to the description of epidurals in our classes, and everything went just as described with who was there, what they’d tell me and what I would be able to feel. It felt like a long time before they held my little guy up for me to see right after, then they bundled him up and daddy got to hold him right by me as they started to patch me up. An even 8 pounds-so much for being a week early (our own figures were right all along!) ! I was coherent and could tell what was going on, although recovery was a little groggy (and a little nauseous) for the next half hour or so. Yes, that is precious bonding time, but the babe was with daddy and family and was in good hands. They made sure I was comfortable and gave me some anti-nausea medicine, anti-itch meds (the epidural can cause this reaction I guess) and pain meds that would not interfere with breastfeeding, then rolled me down to my room. And ladies-take advantage of the nursery! Of course when my husband and I were awake, he was with us in our room, but in the middle of the night while baby is sleeping, try to sleep too. My nurses were excellent in bringing him down whenever he was hungry, but not disturbing us if a diaper was all that needed fixing. They would come back after a bit to see if nursing was going okay, and if he was done, and then cuddle him back to bed. After the first night they didn’t check in as often which gave us some privacy, or they would just leave him to snooze with me until the next feeding.

The lactation nurse was very helpful the next day, and I was thankful the breastfeeding was going smoothly. I was also glad my husband was there to listen to her instructions too so he could help me remember and help move the baby into position. At first the pillows and boppies and stools are a lot to get arranged correctly when you are still figuring out what position works best. I had heard stories about other nurses being a little too helpful or intrusive, but mine were nice and asked before they started manhandling anything or showing me a technique that was touchy-feely. Another recommendation-make sure you go to the lactation nurse as recommended after discharge (maybe a week or two after?). It’s nice to hear confirmation that your baby is growing well and eating enough and her tips to help with the engorgement when your nipples are getting raw were way helpful. When they tell you you’ll know when your milk officially “comes in” they aren’t kidding! My trick I’ll for sure use next time is using those frozen slushy treats (all hooked together in plastic tubes) to help cool those milk-makers off for that 48 hours (or so) that is pretty uncomfortable.

So now my little guy is 1 year old and we are expecting number 2 this fall, and look forward to another good experience- whether c-section or natural this time I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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