Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Lydia's Birth Story

(Let me preface this by saying that I am very thankful Lydia and I are healthy and that we were never in an emergency situation. However, after having some time to think about her bith and reading this article, I'd have to agree that a healthy mom and baby isn't all that matters.)

Lydia was a super active baby inside--probably the most active out of all three kids. I've never been very good at figuring out what position my unborn babies are in when I'm still carrying them, so it was quite a relief to find out at that she was head down at my 38 week appointment. Still pretty high so it didn't look like labor was imminent, but head down.

39 weeks pregnant
On Friday May 9th I had my 39 week appointment and we discovered she was breech. Um, what? An ultrasound confirmed and also let us know she was footling breech (feet first, which if my research/memory is correct, that's the most rare type of breech baby?). Not good. The doctor would have been willing to try turning her via an External Version had she been frank breech (butt first) but said it wasn't likely to work with the positioning of Lydia's feet. (In retrospect, I'm wishing I would have pushed this issue more, or tried to find another doctor at the practice who might have been willing to give it a shot). That left us discussing the one option I never wanted to face--a c-section. The doctor had an opening that Tuesday at 8:30 am., so did we want to do it in 4 days (Lydia's due date)?

Thankfully Chris was with me at this appointment (and we didn't have the boys with us). We went ahead and scheduled the c-section for Tuesday, but by the time we got home that day were hoping we could postpone it to give Lydia the chance to turn (again). Everything happened so quickly at the doctor's appointment that we really needed some time to talk and process our options. We'd asked the doctor about waiting until I went into labor on my own, but that didn't seem like the wisest choice for several reasons. We would end up with whoever was on call doing the c-section, and I'm pretty sure we would have been treated much more like an emergency case had we waited until I was in labor. Additionally, the risk of a cord prolapse (life or death situation) goes up significantly with a footling breech once your water has broken. That's scary in and of itself, but we're an hour away from the hospital which made us even more nervous. (My water has broken before labor started with both boys so it was a real possibility.)

A few hours old
After talking/praying/reading, Chris and I both concluded that if she still was breech, a c-section was the safest way for her to come. But what if she turned again on her own? I called the doctor on Monday to see if we could postpone, hoping she would turn. However, the doctor's only surgery opening was Tuesday--she was booked for the next 3 weeks. (This is my biggest issue with the whole situation, the fact that we were having a c-section at a time that was convenient for the doctor/hospital, not based on it being the best for us/the baby.)

Thankfully the doctor had agreed to do an ultrasound right before the c-section confirming Lydia's position, so we spent the weekend trying to get her to turn. Laying upside down, frozen veggies on the top of my belly (while sitting on a yoga ball) and praying like crazy. I was fairly certain she was still breech because on the way to the hospital I could feel a lump under my ribs on the right side.

We got to the hospital at 5:30 (yes, a.m.) to do the necessary lab work and watch the nurses try to start an IV. (I've apparently got veins of steel.) True to her word, the doctor did an ultrasound right before we went to the OR and we saw Lydia's cute face under my ribs on the right.

They wheeled me back to the OR, started the spinal, etc. It didn't take long before Lydia was out, showing off her lungs and dark hair (!!). Chris was able to be with her while they checked her lungs for fluid and then brought her over to me. They sewed me up and I met Chris and Lydia back in the room.

Snuggling at the hospital
 One of my biggest fears was that they would take her to the nursery or we would somehow end up separated, but thankfully that didn't happen at all. As soon as we were back in the room, I started skin-to-skin with Lydia and we oohed and ahhed over her hair (I didn't think she'd have any, but the ultrasound on Friday showed that she did) and overall cuteness. Phone calls were made, pictures were texted and we thanked God for the safe arrival of our beautiful girl.

I started writing this not long after Lydia was born, and now that she's almost six weeks old, I've had some more time to process everything. I still regret not pushing to see if there was a doctor who would have tried turning her before resorting to a c-section. And even though we had a birth plan for the c-section (finalized less than 12 hours before she was born), it felt rushed and I don't recall discussing it in detail with the doctor.

6.5 weeks old 
 While I may have some regrets and all sorts of emotions surrounding Lydia's birth, I'm thankful for our baby girl and am so glad she's here, even though the story was nothing like I imagined.