My strong willed daughter came into the world on her terms. It wasn’t at all the birth I had imagined… unless you consider the part of the plan where I got to hold a beautiful healthy baby girl in my arms; my 1st child. Looking back it’s not surprising that she seemed to write her own story of how she wanted to enter this world… at 4 years old she continues to have her own mind about a lot of things.
Here’s how our story of her birth unfolds…
I had been under the care of a midwife with our daughter. My pregnancy had gone almost picture perfect, I was doing well and my baby girl was healthy! She was head down the ENTIRE pregnancy. Since it was nearing the 40 weeks, my husband and I sat down and planned out exactly how we imagined her birth would happen. We gathered our stuff into our suitcase and had everything prepared for our picture perfect water birth…
Our girl was taking her sweet time and we went in for our 41 week appointment. This appointment revealed that she had possibly moved because they were now detecting her heartbeat up closer to my rib cage, indicating she was not in the right place; not head down like she had been almost the entire last part of my pregnancy; not prepared to head through the birth canal. My heart sank. I sat there in disbelief. “What do you mean she’s moved?” I asked.
We went for an ultrasound and sure enough, the technician looked at us and informed us that she was in the Frank Breach position…legs up around her head, butt at the bottom. She had gotten herself turned completely around! The birth center midwife now had to refer us to the ob/gyn that backs them up in cases like mine. I was devastated. All my plans out the window. So off we went to the doc who consulted with us on our options.
He was sympathetic to where my mind was and was honest with us. He explained that above all else, “your #1 goal should be a safe and healthy baby and mamma… that is priority. Nothing else really mattered.” At first hearing that really stung because the plans did matter to me. It wasn’t that he was negating my plans – he was trying to help me have perspective… and I knew he was right.
He also told us that there was a remote possibility to turn my little baby girld and still deliver vaginally but he explained she was likely going to come via c-section. Wham! Just like that – my “perfect” pregnancy and beautiful plans for a water birth were done…. vanished. Although I still had some shred of hope and we tried everything — prayers, chiropractic, acupuncture and moxibustion….she was still head down and not budging. She had her idea about things and that was that.
Next step — we consulted with our midwife who basically said that there were no more options besides having the doctor try to turn her, which he said he could try to turn her however there were no guarantees. Also – it could be painful. So into the hospital I went at 42 weeks.
My mom was staying with us to help after the baby was born. She went with us to the hospital the morning of her birth. The doctor came in and made an attempt to turn her around without drugs. That was NOT happening – was way too painful. I was in tears and he stopped. I will say this about him – best doctor as far as how well he listens and is sensitive to his patients.
Next step – prep me for the Operating Room – both physically AND mentally.
I lay there in the hospital bed mulling over all my lost plans and what the new ones looked like. I thought about surgery which scared me and I knew at this point there was no other choice. He said he would give me some medication to help the pain and try one more time to turn her; BUT that if the situation warranted, he would have to do a c-section. Not much choice there. I had to start letting go.
I had the most wonderful team in the hospital.
The baby nurse came in to help me get prepped. Oddly enough her name was Caitlyn too… same name I would name my daughter! She used to be a midwife so she knew exactly where I was mentally… she understood the HUGE mental shift I had to make and told me she would help me. She was kind, compassionate and explained exactly what to expect once in the OR. My doctor promised me he would keep me and my baby safe. She said that I would get a spinal that would numb me from the waist down. There would be bright lights and lots of people. The doc was going to try again to turn her and if a c-section needed to happen, I could expect a lot of people rushing around into action but to not get alarmed. She and my doctor made a huge difference in helping me make that shift.
My doc did exactly as he promised… he tried to turn her from breach position and then her heart rate dropped and I heard him say “we need to get her out” – he went to work and got her out safely. There was lots of hustle with some focused on her and some focused on me. Out she came and I saw her briefly as they held her up. She looked beautiful! I was in tears.
While he stitched me up, the nurses cleaned her up and handed her to my husband (I was too nauseous to hold her from all the drugs). As I left the operating room, the doc actually stopped and took my hand. I told him “thank you” – “your welcome” he said “I told you I would keep you and your baby safe.” His priorities were in the right place.
Baby and momma are healthy and safe and my plans? I forgot them the moment I saw her and held her. When I found out she was 9lbs I was so glad that she came out via c-section! I wouldn’t have wanted to deliver her any other way!!
If you have a similar story, keep heart momma. It’s going to be ok. I understand it is challenging to make that mental shift; to birth your child in a way that you had not intended. I totally get it. If you keep focus on that little life in your arms, hopefully you will soon let go of the original plans and instead focus on counting his or her fingers and toes, kissing their tiny little head and realizing that God’s plan was better than anything imagined. God’s plan was that baby would make it safely into the world.
Now I bear the scar of not one – but 2 c-sections – for how both of my children entered this world. For me this is ok. I have embraced it. For me the best part is remembering when I saw their face for the first time; holding them, kissing them, smelling them and knowing that I grew this little human – and that God created a miracle. It’s hugging and kissing my little ones, curling up with a book, watching them grow and learn and hearing them say “momma”
So it’s ok to grieve your birth plan… do that and then turn it over to God and look at the miracle of life staring at you in the face. He or she is all that really matters. Plans fade – life is to be embraced and lived.
More info on breech position and birth can be found: