The version was scheduled for 10:00 that morning. Though my midwife had told me to come at 7:00, apparently the nurses weren't expecting me until 9:00. It wasn't a big deal though, we just got in some extra monitoring time, and played some Uno :)
So, the doctor. He has a somewhat complicated last name, so everyone calls him Dr Tom. My midwife had scheduled everything around his schedule; she told me that he was extremely good at what he did, especially concerning ECV's and cesareans, but still had an attitude that would be very complimentary to my "as little intervention as possible" wishes. It boosted my confidence to have him on my side!
Now, my midwife. So, as I mentioned, I actually saw a team of midwives during my prenatal care. All of them were wonderful, but I had a favorite: Pat. Pat is Irish, and so motherly and wonderful. I had hoped my whole pregnancy that I could deliver with her. Well, guess who was starting a 36 hour shift that very morning?! I was so thrilled to have her. That also made me feel hopeful, no matter what happened.
10:00 finally came, and baby's stats were all double checked, as well as positioning (yep, still breech!). I used my Hypnobabies to help me relax during the procedure, which everyone insisted afterward was a major contributor to the outcome. I'm assuming it took about 30-40 minutes, but the only thing I have to base that on is that once they succeeded (yay!!!) my water was broken to keep the baby head down, and that happened right around 11:00. It turned out I had had a few contractions during the procedure, small ones but definitely contractions! That was exciting to me, that my body was doing SOMETHING on its own, which would hopefully mean a better response to the induction-I really didn't want to start at nothing! Then, when they checked my cervix, I was somewhat dilated and effaced. I honestly don't remember the exact numbers, maybe something like a 3 and 50%? Enough to know that something was happening, but not enough to really say I was necessarily on my way.
I had to stay on the monitors for a few hours to make sure that the baby was "tolerating the procedure", as sometimes ECV's may lead to distress. I apparently continued having contractions during this time, but for the most part I wasn't even aware of them happening. I listened to a few hypno-tracks to help me stay relaxed, and that also enabled me to take a small nap. At 2:00, I was finally given the okay to get out of bed, but would only have an hour because we were to start pitocin at 3:00 (which would mean constant monitoring). Me and my doula (who is also named Tiffany!) spent that entire hour power walking through the L&D ward. Which, by the way, only consisted of 2 hallways shaped like a T, so I'm sure we looked kinda loony passing the nurses station every 15 seconds! But I wanted to make the most out of my freedom of movement, as well as do all that I could to help my body progress naturally.
So at maybe a quarter past 3:00, the pitocin was started. Then, honestly, the next 12 hours were pretty consistent as far as contents goes! But these are the 3 main reasons I made it through:
1. Evan and Tiffany. Evan's love, and Tiffany's skills. You guys, I could NOT have done this without my doula. No way. I am so incredibly grateful for her-words cannot convey how huge of a role she played.
2. Counter pressure on my hips. Because although we got the little babe head down, he wasn't FACE down. My sunny side up baby=100% back labor. Not one contraction in front.
3. This goes back to Tiffany as well, since she's the one that helped direct me to do this and reminded me throughout to continue it, but "ohhh"-ing through each contraction. Low tone, and as if I was saying the word "open" (which I did end up saying a lot toward the end, because it helped me visualize myself opening up, and helped me make sure I was keeping that low tone.)
So, by 8:00, I was definitely ready for a nap. That's when I had all of those thoughts that I honestly (naively) thought I wouldn't have: "I'm never having a baby again" "This will NEVER END!" "How did I think I could do this?" I told my doula I just wanted to take a break...I'd come back to it later! I was actually able to relax really deeply between contractions, nearly falling asleep! But in some ways that just bugged me even more-imagine being about to drift away to the sweet relief that sleep offers, then being woken up by a CONTRACTION...every 5 minutes or less...for 12 hours. Pretty annoying, lol! I never did ask for, or even want an epidural, but not because I wouldn't have appreciated some relief-it was that I knew full well there was NO WAY I was willing to sit still long enough to get one! No way. Every time I had to get a cervical exam, I just wanted to cry, because I hated having to sit/lay still. Anyway, it was around that 8:00 hour that I felt most discouraged. I knew I wasn't anywhere near the end, and felt overwhelmed with the idea of continuing this for hours. Tiffany said wonderful things that encouraged and reassured me, and soon I realized I just had to make a mental switch if I was going to do this. And I WAS going to do this, because I frankly had no choice, so I might as well make it easier in myself by switching my mindset! I started noticing that if I could just make it to the 3rd breath during a contraction, (out of the 5-6 I'd take) I'd be past the worst of it. So I tried taking it just one contraction at a time, just focusing on getting to that 3rd breath. That felt MUCH more doable than thinking of another 7 hours of contractions (boy, am I glad I had no idea I still had that long! Probably would have put a damper on my mental strength ;))
So that pretty much was how I spent my time until sometime near the 3:00 hour the next morning. Isn't time during labor so strange? I had absolutely no concept of it-besides feeling like there was too much between where I was, and where it all would end! But when Evan and Tiffany told me we were hitting midnight, and our baby would actually be born the 20th, I thought it was so strange how much time had passed! Anyway, eventually I felt the urge to push, but was still only at an 8 and therefore had to ignore that instinct. That. Was. AWFUL! It felt so much better to push with the contractions. Then, when I was finally given the go-ahead to push, nothing much happened, so I had coached pushing, which then lasted two hours! That whole situation was definitely the worst, because I felt so unproductive. Eames' head was visible for a large portion of that time, but any progress I made reversed as soon as I stopped pushing. When I did finally delivered his head, it wasn't because I magically got more strength or anything. It just seemed to finally work-but Tiffany has a theory that I think makes sense:
Apparently he did come out face down, despite my back labor. She thinks that he was sunny side up, but twisted head down in the birth canal, which would help explain the cord that was wrapped so tightly around his neck, and would mean there was less cord to work with for me to get him out. She hypothesizes that my placenta finally detached, which allowed me more give to finally get him out.
Whatever ended up happening, it was so wonderful that it finally did after so much time passing of feeling like a failure who didn't know how to push her baby out!
As I said, his cord was wrapped incredibly tight around his neck, tight enough that Pat immediately cut it. I pushed the rest of him out, and he was pretty much immediately taken to that little table where they worked to get him breathing. I knew things were a little more severe than normal, because I had asked for delayed cord clamping + immediate skin to skin, and there was no way Pat would disregard that without valid reason. Evan went to be with Eames (though we didn't know he was an "Eames" yet...Tiffany was actually the one to remind Evan to go check the gender!) while I was stitched up (minor tearing). It was about 10 minutes before he was brought to me, all bundled with his cap on.
He looked EXACTLY like Evan to me. He looked straight into my eyes while I held and talked to him, but it was so short lived-less than 5 minutes-before they took him to the NICU for some monitoring.
I thought it would be an hour or so. Then it was a few hours. Then, a neonatologist came in to talk to both me and Evan, and we were informed they were concerned about something called perinatal asphyxia. They wanted to run some tests, but they weren't available at our location and Eames would be transferred to a different location an hour away. Evan and I got to go see him in the NICU for about 10 minutes, then he left shortly after because the main test they wanted to do needed to be done within 6 hours of birth, and it had already been a few hours.
Now I'll just state facts: Eames passed all tests beautifully, and all original concerns were eventually disregarded. He was born on a Wednesday, I was discharged Friday and we immediately went to see him. We got a hotel for the weekend so we could spend as much time as possible with him. He was discharged that Sunday.
I can't yet write about my feelings of those first few days. Even though he's home, two weeks old and perfectly healthy, it's still too painful. Even when I just think to myself, it makes me sob, so I try to focus on the now-he's beautiful, healthy, and I am beyond grateful to have him home with us. Maybe someday I'll be able to elaborate...perhaps when my hormones are a bit more regulated? :)
As far as feelings toward the birth, I feel very proud of what my body was able to accomplish! But if next time, I could just not have pitocin induced back labor...that'd be awesome! ;) I'll take either one without the other if I have to! Really though, at this point I'm thinking, if I can have a regular, natural progressing labor... I will be so ready to handle that!
Here is my beautiful son, Eames Kenneth Nay
Born Aug 20, 5:05 am
7 lb 9 oz, 20"