Monday, September 1, 2014

Birth Story, part one-background

 Wow. Here it is. My birth story.

I've been wondering for years now, what exactly my story would be.
Anyone close to me knows I've been somewhat obsessed with labor and delivery for a few years now. I started researching it after watching The Business of Being Born sometime in 2010.  I will say, that all of the knowledge that I'd obtained helped me feel SO excited, now that I finally had an actual birth to prepare for. I also started Hypnobabies around 30 weeks pregnant, thanks to the recommendation of a wonderful friend, and that boosted me to the point that I truly had no fear as I looked forward to my birthing day, which I think is a pretty remarkable thing for a first time mom! I was completely confident in my body, I understood pretty much all of the medical options I may be faced with, and I trusted that birth is a natural thing. Knowledge truly is power, and I'm so thankful I was able to spend my pregnancy filled with excitement rather than fear of the unknown that was to come. Even though things didn't end up at all ideal, I do not in anyway regret all of the effort I put into preparing myself for birth, nor do I think it was silly or naive of me to feel the way I did. I still do believe in my body, and that labor is a natural thing that is often over-medicalized.

I had wanted a homebirth for a long time, but with our insurance (Tricare) it was easier (not to mention, free) to go where they referred me to. I ended up being sent to a hospital with a team of midwives I could receive care from, so I settled with that. Interestingly, the hospital I was referred to is different than the one that nearly everyone else in my area gets referred to. I think of it as a thoughtful blessing, so that I could have the team of midwives that I did.

So, my pregnancy was, to be honest, nothing short of amazing in my opinion. I didn't have any major issues, or even minor ones, really. Besides my extreme food aversions in the first trimester, I can't think of anything to complain about.

At 33 weeks, we had our growth scan ultrasound done, and everything looked perfect. Baby Nay continued to be extremely active, and even kicked at the tech's ultrasound wand! He hated things on
my belly. It was at my almost-37 week appt, my midwife put her hands on my belly and we learned that this crazy mover of ours had turned himself breech. Though it was a bit of a shock, I left that appt somewhat optimistic, feeling that I still had a few weeks to get this baby to turn. I dutifully spent the next few weeks doing handstands in the pool, pelvic tilts during entire movies, cat/cow positions, ice packs on my belly, inversions, hypnosis targeted to encourage the baby to turn, and even went to a chiropractor! I became even more desperate with these things after my next appt, where we talked about how if the baby didn't turn by the time I came in next, we had to make a plan. And that plan may involve a c-section. I left that appt emotionally crushed at how real the prospect was of my completely losing out on the birth experience I'd been dreaming of, and preparing so hard for. I couldn't help seeing the irony of feeling so prepared for birth, yet may not even get to go
through labor. I eventually did come to a place mentally where I was able to accept whatever came my way, but I let myself mourn that weekend. Please understand, this birth I was looking forward to wasn't about control, It wasn't about proving myself to anybody, It wasn't about things being perfect and according to MY plan. I was genuinely excited to go into labor! I was excited to experience the natural progression of labor, and to deliver my baby. And before learning that the baby was breech, I had had every reason in the world to assume I'd have that opportunity. So when I learned that I may not get ANY of that, I was pretty heartbroken, even though I knew that technically everything would be okay in the end. But I needed to let myself just feel the way I felt, no matter how ridiculous it seemed. So, I let myself feel the sad things, without immediately reminding myself of the positive things (I'd had a great pregnancy, I was still healthy, the baby was healthy, I'd be a great VBAC candidate someday, etc). I started spending time reading positive stories about successful ECV's, (external cephalic version) a procedure to try to manually turn the baby by pressing the stomach. We were going to attempt an ECV, and the rest would depend on if it was successful or not. I decided to focus my energy on imagining a successful version, while still keeping my mind open to the fact that whatever happened would be okay. I continued using Hypnobabies, there is a track called "fear release" that I listened to everyday to try to rid myself of the anxiety I had been feeling. Because really, I just wanted to be able to continue looking at this birth as a joyous thing. Birth should be joyous! It's such an incredible thing, the moment a human is brought into the world, and it's beautiful no matter how it ends up happening.
At my next appointment, we planned a day. Tuesday, August 19th, at 39 weeks*, I would go to the hospital for my ECV. If we succeeded at turning the baby, I would then be induced to ensure the baby was head down when I went into labor (the doctor and midwife didn't want to give the baby a chance to turn back). If it was unsuccessful, we would do the cesarean that day because 1) I'd inevitably have one anyway, and 2) they didn't want me going into actual labor with a breech baby.
This plan was made 5 days beforehand, and officially confirmed 2 days beforehand. We went from thinking I may have a September baby (since so many 1st time moms go overdue) to "actually let's just have a baby now". It was quite the head trip! I asked Evan for a blessing that Sunday, and it was extremely reassuring. I love priesthood blessings!
We spent Monday doing some shopping (a last Costco trip, and a few more onesies). We went swimming. We were surprisingly calm! I took a nap that afternoon, then went with a friend to a yoga session at our local community center that evening. It was such a great way to spend my last night-it cleared my mind, relaxed me, and made me feel so strong and proud of my body. I felt so at peace about everything. Afterward, my friend and I went on a walk around the neighborhood. It was the perfect summer night weather, and that just added to the peace that I felt.
I got home around 9:30, Evan was already asleep (I knew he would be-his sleep schedule is weird since he works nights, so he was trying to sneak any sleep in that he could) and I tried to sleep as well. I think I succeeded until about 2 am, then it was nearly impossible! Evan woke up during the early morning as well. We finished some packing, Evan filled the car with gas. I took a bath to try to at least keep myself relaxed, then laid down again to just rest. We were supposed to be at the hospital at 7:00-we were ready by about a quarter to 6:00! (It takes maybe 25 minutes to get there). Our doula was originally going to meet us at our house and follow us there, but we were too antsy to wait and ended up meeting her at the hospital.

I will follow up with the actual labor and recovery!
Stay tuned for part two.

*so, my original due date was August 25. At my first appt, they said August 30th looked like it was more accurate based on growth. So, I took that to mean "August 30th is now your due date", but the hospital neglected to tell me that they only adjust the date for their records if it's a 10 or more day difference. So, I tracked everything based on the 30th, but the hospital tracked it based on the 25th. That's why there's a slight discrepancy with my weekly bump pictures and me being 39w2d on the 19th.

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