SJ’s Birth Story Part 1: Baby is Breech

I found out that my baby boy had turned breech at our 36 week appointment. The midwives weren’t too concerned, and I was certain they were mistaken – but they sent me for an ultrasound anyway. I was nearly 37 weeks by the time I got in for the ultrasound, and I was CERTAIN that he was head down. The ultrasound took quite awhile, and was very uncomfortable. Eventually the tech told me (and my husband) that baby was very healthy, but he was in fact, head up. Frank breech – a good breech – but still, breech. I felt panicky and sick.
TJ (my husband) had to go back to work right after the ultrasound, so we didn’t have time to talk and process what this would mean. I started crying on the way home and my husband assured me that “we’ll figure it out”. I put on a cartoon for JJ once we were home and went into the kitchen and broke down. I was devastated. I cried so, so hard.

I realized then and there, sobbing in my kitchen, that I hadn’t fully healed from my daughter’s birth. I was still blaming myself for things not going ‘perfectly’ and was viewing my son’s birth as a ‘do over’. I felt so upset that my ‘second chance’ was being taken away from me. If I needed a C-section with a breech baby, I wouldn’t have the chance to do this second birth my way – I wanted another chance.  I felt very panicky to flip this baby ASAP. I called my midwife in a fluster and booked an appointment to see him the next day. He could tell I was in a panic and said “have you ever heard the phrase ‘don’t worry about something you can’t control’? Don’t panic, we will make a plan.” This is why I love my Alfred! I felt better already.

TJ and I were certain that a breech baby meant a C-section for sure. By the next day, I had already done ALLLLLLLL the research, so I knew what our odds were of flipping the baby, how to flip the baby, and also the risks of having a vaginal breech birth. When we got to our appointment, we were pleasantly surprised to have our midwife ask us “what do YOU want to do”. We had assumed we’d be told how we would have to handle the birth, so it was so relieving to be given options! We quickly ruled out a manual flip of the baby, simply because we would have to travel to have it done and didn’t want to risk going into labor 3 hours away from home. We discussed natural ways to flip the baby and also booked an appointment to see an OB that week for a consult in case we need a C-section.

We saw the OB a few days later and went through the caesarean discussion. Everyone was on the same page – we would wait as long as possible to give the baby a chance to flip, and only do a C-section as a last resort. It felt good to have a plan, and good to know that our OB and midwife were on the same page. We had a team and a plan and felt at peace. Over the next week and a half I did all the things to try and get baby to flip!

It was around this time that I started to warm up to the idea of having planned cesarean.  I stopped viewing my son’s birth as a ‘do-over’ and let go of my expectations around his birth. More and more, I started to feel that a planned C-section might be a major blessing. It would help us plan for childcare for our daughter better, it would give us two VERY different birth experiences, and would just be overall more convenient. Eventually I was secretly hoping that the baby wouldn’t flip and that I would get to have my new plan. I started to feel more nervous about the idea of birthing a breech baby vaginally, and hoping to just make it to my C-section date!

TO BE CONTINUED!

***I just want to note here that while I was lucky enough to have care providers who supported, heard, and respected me and my choices, not all women are. I wasn’t forced into a C-section, which made it so much easier to embrace. I was able to weigh the pros and cons of a planned C-section and a vaginal (potentially breech) birth and make the best decision for me and my baby, and I am truly grateful for that. There is no easy option – birth is birth.***

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