Bit of a long story sorry, but I hope it paints the picture well 🙂
I’ll start with sharing some details of the pregnancy of baby no 3 which will help explain this story.
We were filled with so much joy to find out we were expecting another precious life into our family. During this time we also started respite foster care, which wasn’t often, but still often enough that we had a placement for a short time at least once a month. This plus mothering our almost 3 and almost 2 year olds, household tasks and serving at our church etc, kept me very busy.
The pregnancy was generally quite easy and smooth sailing, probably since my mind was occupied, but I didn’t have morning sickness much or many other troubling pregnancy symptoms. Then once bubba started kicking, they weren’t often and were subtle kicks, but enough to know we had a healthy baby. All of these factors contributed to a pregnancy that went quite fast and seemed to never really fully sink in. I also didn’t have much of a desire or urgency to prepare myself mentally for the impending arrival of baby. As I felt i knew enough already and just kept going about my days as I had the whole time.
Around 6 months of pregnancy when the kicks and movements become more defined, I was only feeling these movements in my pelvis. Compared to my other 2, who only kicked me near my ribs. So I assumed baby was breech, but was told by all the health professionals they thought baby was definitely head down, due to a strong heartbeat in my pelvis. Therefore we just carried on the pregnancy as normal. However, we were expecting to have our baby arrive at a “rural”hospital, they are a small hospital who only do low risk women.
At 33 weeks pregnant I saw the doctor, she measured me and checked on baby. The measurements were calculated a few weeks behind,even though they did say is not always an accurate way to determine the health of the baby, as many different factors can affect this measurement. They weren’t too concerned as I am small and usually have small baby’s, however they recommended a growth scan just in case. I wasn’t too sure about getting the scan done, but went to it anyway. It was confirmed, baby was indeed comfortable in the complete breech position. This was officially told to me by my midwife at 34 weeks pregnant. She then told me my options if baby didn’t turn and encouraged me to do some natural things to try to turn baby. Such as ‘Spinning Babies’ and webster technique at the chiropractor etc. We didn’t try all the different tricks to try turn baby, as I lost my peace when even considering how much time it would take to do that. But I had been seeing the chiropractor regularly from 16 weeks pregnant.
So my options if baby stayed breech, were stay at the hospital we hoped for and have an elective c section, try to go to a major hospital that supported natural breech delivery, or try an ECV (external cephalic version), which is manually turning baby. Now, did you know only 4% of babies remain breech by full term. We were praying that baby would turn by the time of delivery.. At 36 weeks pregnant it was checked again by the obstetrician, and bub was indeed still bottom down. So they booked an ECV to try and turn baby at 37+5 weeks.
At 37+2 weeks on the Monday, we had to see another obstetrician at another hospital, to see if they’d consider allowing a natural breech birth, and that is where the ECV had been booked. We spoke to an OB who was an older gentleman, therefore he was very comfortable birthing a breech baby as he had the experience. However being the public system, it wouldn’t of been guaranteed that he would be our doctor. He also doesn’t call the shots, so he had to consult doctors higher up and then their legal people with my case, to see if I was a good candidate for breech delivery. He assured me that being our third, it shouldn’t be a problem if baby remained breech. A referral had also been sent to a bigger hospital in Brisbane, who had more resources and experience with breech.
During pregnancy I always usually have a lot of braxton hicks, then towards the end of pregnancy I usually start having prodromal labour (on/off labour type contractions). On the Monday and Tuesday of the 37th week of pregnancy, I started having what felt like stronger braxton hicks but they were pretty regular, all of those 2 days. Come Tuesday afternoon, they became roughly every 5-10mins apart and felt a little more crampy, but I knew it was most likely early labour. I told myself however, that it could go on like this for weeks still.. After a few hours of that I messaged my midwife (who was still my midwife from the “rural” hospital) just to let her know. She rang the other hospital that we had the appointment at to let them know. They freaked out because my second was very quick, baby was breech, and they hadn’t sorted out the paperwork for our plans. So they wanted us to come in to see if I was indeed in labour. I wasn’t keen to go as I knew it was still early stages.
We didn’t go at first, but they called me and insisted I go in. So we ended up there Tuesday night… As soon as we got there a midwife and 2 OB’s were in the room. They did an ultrasound, again to check baby’s position. Breech still. So the woman OB proceeded to give me a run down of hospital policies, what they thought (c section), the risks, what they wanted to do (IV and constant monitoring etc), and confirmed that we wanted to continue with trying naturally. It makes me so angry just thinking about it again, she spoke to us so impersonally and like we had no choices or say in the outcome. It was also almost like she just expected it to be a c section. Basically in that moment, we had no support and we were very intimidated and not happy. She checked me, again very impersonally and not very nice, 2cm she announced. I then told her I did not want an IV until necessary, as I was only in VERY early labour, being my third I know how my labours generally go. She then proceeded to give us a long spiel of why I apparently without question had to have the IV, and how if an emergency arose they’d be rushing at me to get it in. I basically said I don’t care, we understand, we give informed consent, we are not having the IV until later, if at all. She then gave a bit more of a mouthful and then said “okay, as long as you are aware”. I then said I am not being strapped to a bed, as that is not a good idea with breech, so I do not want this CTG monitor unless it is wireless. Again she gave us a spiel, then said she would see what she could do. The midwife also was pretty negative and cold and started to say something. I said mindsets are powerful, and I have read many positive breech stories. But she just focused on the things that could go wrong etc. After they all left I rolled over, cried and pretty much mentally had given up and almost wanted to just have a silly c section. It was so horrible 🙁 Being made to feel absolutely powerless, sitting in a cold dingy clinical little boring birth room.
There was then a shift change and the next midwife was lovely and positive. My midwife (“rural” hospital midwife) also arrived to be a support if I progressed in labour. The contractions weren’t very strong and started to slowly die off. I had a few while there. We were told to get some sleep as they weren’t going to let me go home- sigh. Contractions stopped by the morning, so we were just waiting to be discharged by the OB. Who happened to be the gentleman from the Monday appointment. He came and chatted to us, he also suggested heading to the major hospital should labour start again. He asked if we wanted to try the ECV that day. I said only if he thought it would be successful, as the risk is sending baby into distress. Due to my build and size of baby, the ECV would have probably been unsuccessful. So we were sent home.
Hubby and I stopped at zarraffa’s on the way home, which turned out to be a little date together, as it was our 4 year wedding anniversary the next day. While there, I visited the toilet, to discover a bloody show. I then had a little panic attack following the thought of “aw man, I really am in labour!”. We proceeded to head to the car, to head home, it was around 11am.
Once home, I decided to have an Epsom salt bath before heading to bed, since the night before was spent at the hospital. While in the bath, I was just trying to bring my thoughts into captivity, pray and meditate on scripture. As my thoughts was just in fear and “I cant do this, Im not ready, I dont want to do this yet”. Haha, thoughts that are not very good with helping you have a easy lovely birth experience now were they. The nap afterwards was wonderful and well needed. Contractions were still occuring approx every 15 mins, even though I was in denial. They just felt like mild cramps, nothing extreme. I rocked on the gym ball, listened to worship music, read the bible and just tried to stop overthinking.
Around 3pm-ish we headed to the in-laws to see our toddlers. I had A LOT more show and loss of the mucous plug, which was the most intense amount I’ve had out of the three pregnancies. Contractions were roughly 10 mins a part, I was just waiting for when we’d head to the hospital. As we didn’t want to head in too early. Around 5pm from one contraction to the next, I felt it change, not dramatically, but enough for me to say “its time to go!”. Since we had no 2 in the car, we were hoping to avoid that again with a breech baby haha. I rang the hospital on the way there and told them “the contractions are 10 mins apart but I feel to come in now. Baby is breech and we were told to head here.” They responded with “Oh awesome, natural breech baby. The OB on tonight is very experienced and supportive of breech birth.” On the drive there with one of the contractions I felt baby drop a bit, a little concerned and anxious now, I told hubby to hurry up.
Upon arrival at the hospital around 6pm, we quickly headed up to check in for birth suite. The receptionists weren’t overly nice, but after taking my details they told us to sit down and wait for triage. I wasn’t in pain, however they were approx 7 mins apart I think… Anyways, I knew I didn’t have much time. We waited in that waiting room for 30mins!! Imagine if I was in pain! :/ . The triage midwife did observations and then sent us to another little waiting room to be assessed before they allow you in a birthing room. In this little assessment room, a midwife checked me and I was 3cm and bub’s heart rate good. They left to retrieve the obstetrician to talk with us due to the baby’s presentation.
The obstetrician was a lovely older gentleman who had delivered many breech babies naturally over his 46 years of experience. He said to us however, he would like to of had my pelvis size scanned, baby and the cord’s estimated position noted and a few other things known before being keen for breech delivery. But since I was in labour before my appointment with this hospital was scheduled, he didn’t have all these facts about me and baby, that he likes to have before allowing a trial of labour with a breech bub. He also stated one negative situation he had when he allowed a woman to go ahead naturally, despite not knowing all the evidence he’d like to have. He said all of this to us kindly, and in a way that it felt like we were still in control; which was nice. But even though he said it all correctly, I guess technically we were still manipulated. Anyway, he said he’d recommend a c section, but would still support us if we chose to go ahead naturally. He then left to give us time to think.
This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in such a short amount of time (I usually take ages to make a life changing type of decision). Once he left, my husband and I spoke and prayed. I didn’t think I was in the right head space to deliver a breech baby naturally, after all the negative things they tell you :(, Cameron wasn’t keen on it, but he of course would support whatever decision I made. So regrettfully and afraid, but also having peace, we decided on a cesarean… My waters then broke! We quickly called out, as we knew we wouldn’t have much time now. They were meconium stained, which is the case with most breech babies with the bottom being squeezed. A midwife checked me and I was still at 3cm, but I was now needing to breathe through contractions and they were closer together. We told the OB we’d do a c section, so they were prepping me for that. I did quickly state I wanted a gentle c section, with delayed cord clamping and breastfeeding in theater. I then had about 2 more contractions from that point to the operating theater. Oh, and through all this I remained on my back hoping it’d slow things down (which it didnt haha), and telling myself “set your mind on things above, not on things below.”
In theater I had another contraction that I started moaning through. The OB asked if I felt pressure, I said yes. So he then checked me, he said “Oh she’s fully dilated.” And paused. My thoughts “Far out, I have no choice now but to deliver naturally right here in front of all these people”, I was so afraid, (I really dont like hospitals by the way). He then corrected himself and said “no, i think there is still a lip, so about 8-9cm dilated”. So I went from 3- about a 9 in the space of about 15 mins!.. Another contraction and then the anesthetist gave me the spinal and they went about the procedure. The OB made the comment that hubby looked more nervous then me 🙂 . It seemed pretty fast but still daunting, lots of tugging and pulling feelings in my abdomen. Then he pulled baby out and up so we could see, “Its a girl!” he said. I looked at Cameron and we were both crying. One of the most intimate beautiful moments we’ve had together, as at our other births he wasn’t really present, one being in the car, the other being our first… Baby no 3 was born at 7:53pm.
I didn’t get my “gentle” c section, however the staff were all so lovely. While Cameron was over with our baby girl, who was unnamed at this stage, while she received some oxygen. Another anesthetist sat with me, held my hand and talked with me. <3
They almost had to take her to special care, due to needing oxygen for about 30mins, but she came good. Baby girl was 6lb 14.5oz and 49cm long. With a perfectly round head, and legs that wanted to stick upwards towards her head still.
In recovery I struggled with the side effects of the morphine and other drugs. Vomiting, chills, nausea and non stop itching. Wasn’t very nice to experience. They brought in bub for her first breastfeed, and she happily fed for about 40 or so mins. So precious.
I continued to struggle with these side effects for several more hours, until some other drugs they gave me kicked in. The next morning after her birth, was our anniversary and we decided to name her Bethany. She was the sweetest little baby. Very sleepy though. Feeding difficulties, which is for another post. I was kind of thankful she was sleepy, due to the fact I was in so much pain and discomfort, even though I knew she should be feeding more. It was hard. I now would encourage others, go with your gut. In the hospital system, unfortunately, you have to fight for your rights and for what you want. Push for answers, ask lots of questions, you have the right for the best most beneficial, empowering birth story that you can have!
In hindsight, I’m thankful for the experience we had, learning how my body works and that we have a healthy baby. But after writing this all out, it does sadden me and brings up regret. What I missed out on and could of had. I could have had that amazing empowering natural breech birth I hoped for and was expecting. But in the moment I was afraid and just couldn’t wrap my head around it, so in the moment it seemed like the best choice. I believe the Lord will use it for His glory and for a purpose. 🙂 All in all, I don’t think I’d choose a c section again willingly though, knowing how much harder the recovery was and is 3 months later… Just having to keep moving forward.. She is a beautiful little baby girl and this is some of our story.
God bless, I hope you enjoyed this story. Please message me or comment any further questions or anything else you’d like to suggest I discuss here 🙂
Birth stories of babies no 1 and 2 will be in the making.