Friday, March 02, 2007

Birth Story

Maya's Mom has started a blog carnival, and the first topic is "Birth Stories." It's been a while since I revisited either of my children's birth, so here goes. I couldn't possibly fit both kids' births into one entry, so stay tuned for more of the story.

Even before I was pregnant with Susie, I planned a natural childbirth. My mom had both of us naturally (mostly) and my husband's mom also had natural childbirth in her history. In my third trimester, Craig and I took the hospital's class (an all-day Saturday event) and were the only couple there planning to go natural. We also took Bradley classes. I was really excited and read a lot of birth stories in books and just knew it would be great.

Until my second-to-last prenatal visit, when the doctor discovered that Susie was breech. She mentioned "Plan B" and talked about how we'd need to schedule a Cesarean section and that laboring could be very dangerous for the baby.

I was crushed. I had pretty much snoozed through the Cesarean portion of the hospital class, quite certain that "it would never happen to me." We attended our last Bradley class and the instructor looked, well, disappointed. Maybe she thought that Craig and I should have just packed up some stuff and headed over to The Farm and let Ina May Gaskin deliver our breech baby. I don't know. But I saw the judgement in her eyes and it hurt.

The Saturday before our due date, Craig and I went on what we figured would be our "last" date as people without kids. At the restaurant, I noticed that I felt a little different. My abdomen was tightening a little more strongly than the Braxton-Hicks contractions I'd been feeling for a month. He checked his watch and we noted that they were coming every ten minutes or so. We enjoyed our meal and laughed and wondered what would happen next.

When we got home, the contractions (by then we figured that's what was going on) were still coming, and they were getting a little closer together. In our class, we'd learned that a good way to tell if it was "real" or "false" labor was to take a walk (if the contractions go away, it's false labor, if they intensify it's real). The contractions got closer together but never got so intense that I couldn't keep walking. We decided to err on the side of caution, though, and called the hospital.

Since the baby was breech, the hospital wanted me to come in and get checked. If my water broke, that could be a dangerous situation, possibly allowing the cord to prolapse (since the baby's head wasn't in place to keep the cord where it belonged). So we went in, but on the way there, the contractions spaced out. By the time we got there I already figured we were wasting our time, but we went ahead. Long story short, my doctor wasn't on call that weekend, and the other doctor sent me home with a sleeping pill and instructions to come in to the office on Monday unless things got going again. The doctor did make it clear, however, that if my doctor had been on call that weekend, I would have had the baby that night.

On Monday the doctor gave me a little good-natured teasing for the false alarm, then got on the phone with the hospital to make our appointment to have the baby. I requested "not Friday" because it would have been Friday the 13th and I didn't want to hear everyone's superstitious silliness on my baby's birthday.

On Wednesday, we headed over to the hospital without incident. Getting prepped for the surgery was mostly undramatic, other than a bad start with an IV that was pretty messy, and a really bad reaction to the epidural (I couldn't see and got really sleepy...turns out that my blood pressure had crashed to 40/20, which prompted the nurse to start yelling, "We're losing her!"). I remember being very, very hungry.

To be continued.

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