Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jadon's Birth Story, Part II: A Change in Plans

The waiting game finally ended at 8:45 pm on Saturday, September 1, 2012. My water broke while hanging out in my brother-in-law's apartment. Since my brother-in-law lives downstairs in the same building as us, we didn't have far to go to be ready for our planned home birth.

My husband and I decided to go for a walk to try to get some contractions started. Jon grabbed some bills we needed to mail and we walked to the post office, calling my midwife on the way. She said that if the walking didn't work, we should just go to bed and try to get some rest before things started on their own.

11 days past the due date...happy that labor has begun!
The walk didn't result in any contractions, so we got ready for bed. We prayed together before turning out the light, asking God to be with us through the labor, no matter how long or hard it would turn out to be. After saying "amen," I felt a movement unlike anything I had felt in pregnancy. "Woah!" I said out loud to Jon. "Jadon must have finally fully descended or something because I felt something hit my pubic bone really hard."

Within five minutes, my contractions started. It was 11:04 pm. We called my midwife again to give her the update, and she said that she would come whenever we wanted her there. However, since the contractions were eight or nine minutes apart, she told us that we could have several hours ahead of us before she needed to be there. "I would definitely want to know when they get to around four minutes apart. But again, call me when you want me there. I'll come over whenever you feel ready." We decided to try laboring solo for a while.

I spent the next three hours in the comfort of my bed laboring and resting in between contractions. Jon started filling the birthing tub. You have to empty your hot water heater 2 or 3 times in order to fill the tub, so we knew we couldn't wait too long to start filling it. All the while, Jon was at my side for every contraction, recording their intervals, rubbing my back, putting pressure on my hips, and giving me sips of water when the tension passed.

Around 2:00 am, my doula arrived. My contractions were around five minutes apart at that time, and then one came after three minutes. After getting our next call, my midwife arrived at about 2:20 am.

She observed me laboring for a few minutes and asked me how I was feeling. I told her that I was doing fine, but that contractions were becoming increasingly intense. Then she said that she wanted to do a quick exam to see how dilated I was. Because my water was continuing to leak, I wanted to clean myself up a bit before she checked me. In the bathroom, I discovered that my pad was covered in a thick, blackish substance. I showed it to my midwife.

"That's definitely meconium," she said. "Alison, this makes me think that Jadon is breech." She explained that the meconium (baby's first poop) was not mixed with any amniotic fluid, so his butt must be right at the opening of my cervix.

Breech. That wasn't part of the original plan.

My midwife checked my cervix and informed me that I was 6 cm dilated. "And I definitely feel butt," she said with a serious look on her face. "Jadon is breech."

How could he be breech? He had been head down for the past month and a half! Could that movement I felt earlier in bed have been him turning?

"Alison, I've never delivered breech," my midwife continued. "I have been trained in how to deliver breech, and I know what I would do to deliver a breech baby. But I've never actually delivered breech. I can't force you to go to the hospital, and I won't leave your side, but I want you to know how much more risky a breech birth is."

For the next five minutes, we discussed our options. Jon wanted to know if there was a way we could turn him. My midwife had successfully turned breech babies before, but not during active labor. Turning him would be harder for us because my water had already broken. We could just move forward with the plans to use the birthing tub, and deliver him at home whether he was breech or not. All the while, I continued to experience contractions that were lengthening and getting more intense.

Then my doula turned to me and asked what I wanted. If I chose to try and turn Jadon, we might be successful, and I would get the natural waterbirth I wanted. However, if we couldn't turn him, I would have to deliver a risky breech baby at home or be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. If we left now, and followed our "plan B," we could drive in our car to the hospital ten minutes away. I knew that a hospital would most likely perform a c-section, which was about the last way I wanted to deliver my son.

"I think we should go to the hospital before an ambulance is needed," I finally replied. Without another word, everyone prepared to transfer to the hospital. My midwife called ahead to let them know that we were coming and gathered the necessary paperwork they would want to see. Jon packed the things we would need for our hospital stay. My doula stayed with me and continued to coach me through contractions.

When it was time to leave, I walked out of the apartment with purpose. I'm going to see my son soon. I paced the building parking lot, not even pausing through contractions. I'm going to see my son soon. I slowly lowered myself into the back seat of our car. I'm going to see my son soon.

And then we left.

I'm going to see my son soon.

Part III coming soon.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!! That is incredible! And so bizarre because "typically" babies settle into their final position in the month or so preceding labor/birth, right? Supposedly, I thought. I can't imagine being faced with that news in the middle of labor/contractions! But I love how you ended this post, because somewhere during labor, probably for all women, no matter what the circumstances, you hit a point where it dawns on you: the child that's been secretly growing inside you, hidden away, is going to make his/her appearance and meet you face to face! It's a moment of wonder and awe, contemplating and anticipating that reality. And nothing can really prepare for it. :-)